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1940's Landing New Jersey

We received a letter and some wonderful vintage Landing photos from a correspondent who only identified himself as "Toes", who was born in Landing in the late 1920's, and lived there for the next 25 years. He sends these photos of the 1942 Dedication ceremony of the "Landing Roll of Honor", the display with the names of those who were serving in World War II. His description of life in 1940's Landing follows. We'd love to receive more remembrances from this time, and photos as well. What do you have in your shoebox?

The 1942 Dedication ceremony of the "Landing Roll of Honor", the display with the names of those who were 
serving in World War II. Port Morris had a similar display with names from that community. 

An overview of the Dedication ceremony, probably October, 1942. The location is the arm of land that juts into
Lake Hopatcong across from the intersection of Lakeside Blvd. and Mt. Arlington Blvd. "Toes" writes: "Take notice of 
the white arrow in the center of the picture. It was a neon sign pointing the way to Bertrand Island.

A side view of the ceremonial board. 'Toes' writes: "Across the lake, under the big tree is Sam McElroy's house. 
There was a wooden ramp
there to launch boats and where I learned to swim. Sam McElroy was the gatekeeper for the 
Kingsland Association, (although there was never a gate). He was very strict about who entered on that dirt road"

"Toes" continues: "There were some wonderful people living in Kingsland . I don't remember the name of the Hagen boys aunt who lived a few houses down the lane, but they used to let the local kids use their rowboat, and I spent many happy hours rowing around the lake, sometimes as far as Bertrand Island.

Further on, around the bend lived Pete Bitter (not sure of the spelling of his name), who also used to let us use his rowboat, and swim off his dock. We were swimming there one day and I went into the outhouse (everybody had outhouses in those days), it was the 30's. Someone wedged a board against the door and they all left. I spent what seems like hours, in a hot, smelly, outhouse until Pete got home and let me out.

Further on was and is a beautiful home, lived in at that time by the Casey's. They had a daughter Jean, a very lovely girl. We all looked upon her as you would a Katherine Hepburn. Lovely, untouchable and far above our station in life. 

When I was in my 20's I carpooled to Picatinny with Mack Lafko, who lived in that house. I learned to Waterski from their dock and almost wrecked his boat one day when instead of decreasing, I increased the speed and did a fast circle around the stumps that were all around what we called the "floating island" that was in the center of the lake at that point. Supposedly it was a bit of land that broke loose from the big lake and floated to that point before it hit shallow water and rooted.

Back to the old days. The Kingsland lane ended at The State Park and we would walk from Landing to the Park, entering in from the back way, without paying, although I really don't remember if they were charging admission at that time. It was a very different world then.

Just a little further up from the Arrow sign was a lovely little beach called both "The Pines" and "BAB". We held picnics there some days and swam there. At other times we swam "minus clothes", thus BAB. You can just make out a line of white in the upper left hand corner which is the ruins of the old Atlas Powder Company. We used to climb under the fence and play among the ruined buildings. One of the most dangerous, although we didn't know it, was, we took home bags full of little smokeless power that we could pick up on the ground around one of those buildings and burned them. When my grandfather, who worked at the plant when it was opened, found out what we were doing, he threw a fit. If the ends of the pellets had been blocked they would have exploded when we burned them. Many years later, when I was married and living in Shore Hills, they dug up a lot of dynamite across the street from our house. My grandfather also had told us that when they got a bad batch of dynamite they buried it in the woods and when they started to build Shore Hills he predicted someday they would dig into it and it would blow. Well, it didn't.

Roxbury High School NJ marching Band 1942

-Landing NJ World War Two Honor Roll
Dedication in 1942

Each Community had an "HONOR ROLL",
those in the service. Landing had 23 listed, the Port Morris Honor Roll had twice as many names listed, as their number of homes was greater during this time.

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