A Little History...
In the early 1860's a man named Charles Bertrand bought an island that was located in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey. This island was separated from the mainland by a narrow channel. This is where Mr. Bertrand built quite a large home for his family to live. A small wooden bridge was built to allow horses and wagons, and later automobiles, to reach the island from Mount Arlington.
Some years after Charles Bertrand died in 1870, the house burned down. The land was then sold to a group of men who built a clubhouse on the old foundation. They named the clubhouse The Bertrand Island Club. It was a place for members to bring their families and enjoy the summer months. In the 1890's, The Bertrand Island Club was destroyed by fire.
Not much was done with the island until 1905 when another group of business men purchased the land. These men came in with lots of plans for this wonderful piece of property. While the majority of their plans never materialized, they were responsible for the start of something great!
They started out by creating the beach. Bertrand Island Park was quickly becoming a popular spot for vacationers to come, relax and enjoy themselves. So popular, that it was referred to as 'Little Coney' after New York's famous Coney Island.
On Memorial Day in 1910, trolley service to Bertrand Island began, making the beach accessible to large numbers of people. As popularity was growing, Bertrand Island added an open air dance pavilion, a carousel, food stands and a few amusements. At the beach area, a shooting range, water chute and diving float were added.
In 1919, a man named Louis Kraus bought some property neighboring the beach. On this land he built a small hotel, and called it The California Lodge. Watching the growing popularity of the amusement business that surrounded his hotel, Mr. Kraus, along with a man named Charles Schleicher, jumped at the chance to purchase the beach when it went up for sale in 1921. They soon added a boardwalk along the lake.
In 1925, four years into the ownership of Schleicher & Kraus, Bertrand Island's bridge was filled in, and some major new rides were introduced. The Whip, The Aeroplane Swing, and The Rolling Wave all made their debut, but, no ride transformed the park more than the debut of the Roller Coaster! The Coaster was specifically designed for the narrow strip of land that the park was located on. During opening week of 1925, ten thousand visitors crammed into the park to enjoy all the new amusements!
Did you ever wonder how Bertrand Island
got its name?
Bertrand Island Amusement Park
The focus of the park during these early years was mainly on special events, such as Vaudeville Shows, Daredevil Acts, Amateur Shows, and fireworks. One of the acts that appeared at Bertrand Island's 'JUNE ROSE BALLROOM' was a radio orchestra band known as 'Walt Sears and His Dixies'. Appearing with the band was a young singer by the name of Dino Martini. In 1940, young Dino shortened his stage name to Dean Martin (yes...THAT Dean Martin!)
Beginning in 1926, crowds would gather to see a number of beauty pageants that were held at Bertrand Island Amusement Park. Pageants such as Miss Bertrand Island, Little Miss Lake Hopatcong, and, most remembered, The Miss America 1934 pageant, were definite crowd pleasers!
1922 - 1983