About Us | HISTORY
In the late 1800s, the property was used for timber and agriculture. There is also evidence of iron mine prospecting, possibly connected to the Edison mine works located nearby. Along with the beautiful natural setting, there is a reliable source of water located just upstream of the lake. This spring is mentioned in deeds and early leases as a water supply for surrounding neighbors as well as for Rock Lodge.
Beginning in 1904, A.L.A. Himmelwright began his acquisition of the property.
In 1904 - 1905 oxen dredged the lake bottom and a dam was built creating the spring-fed jewel we enjoy today. There are also 17 underwater springs feeding the lake.
In 1907 the Stone House was completed. It featured a poured concrete roof, stained glass, a basement with coal furnace, and a state-of-the-art (in its day) water supply system which pumped water from the spring to a holding tank on the third floor. This residence was designed and built by Mr. Himmelwright and served as a "model fireproof farmhouse" according to the placard at the entry. On the grounds nearby there was an apple orchard, a large garden, and livestock areas.
Other early buildings included the stone garage (now known as the Hacienda), an ice house, and a chicken coop. Around 1916 the bungalow (clubhouse) was built, when the property was being used as a training camp for boxers. It featured an indoor handball court and coal heat, with a fireplace, a living room and a men's room (but no ladies' room). The boxer's camp was but one venture undertaken to make Rock Lodge profitable. Another was the Rock Lodge Health Farm which, in its early days, was operated by Dr B.F. Roller, a professional wrestler and physician. Nudism came to Rock Lodge as early as 1932 as indicated by a painting done by Richard Ederheimer, in the collection of the NJ Historical Society. During the depression Herman Shoshinsky leased the property as the proprietor of the American Gymnosphical Association. In those days you paid at the gate and meals were included and served at the Stone House.
By 1938-39 ownership changed hands as the property was bought by Dr. dePaolo, a chiropractor who lived across Rock Lodge Road near the spring. In 1942 Dr. dePaolo and Herman Shoshinsky had a falling out, and the A.G.A. moved to Newfoundland. Rock Lodge as a cooperative nudist club began that year with a one year lease. In 1946 a 10-year lease was negotiated, and summer cabins began to appear, though some may have been built in the '30's. In 1955 a 40-year lease went into effect, and a building boom occurred. Along with summer cabins, much of the club infrastructure was built in the late '50's and '60's. Improvements included:
- Bungalow Patio
- Parking Lot
- Well Water Supply
- Lower Tennis Court
- Electricity System
- Himmelfahrt' Weg (road up the hill)
- Volleyball and Badminton Court Paving
- Bungalow and Stone House Septic Systems
- Bungalow Ladies' Rooms
- Laundry Room
By the mid '70's a sauna was added, and we had more rooms in the Bungalow attic, a water slide on the Rock Beach, outdoor showers, some paved driveways, and a few year-round residents in larger cabins (homes). In the 80's our favorite gathering spot, Sandy Beach, was created. Sand was brought in, a dock was built and benches installed, which made a natural haven for our sunbathers and their children. The 1990's saw the addition of a hot tub and a children's playground by the volleyball court.
By the late 1980's the end of our 40-year lease was in the near future, and several attempts were made to organize a purchase by members. In 1988 Rock Properties was formed and money was lent by members for the purchase of 35 acres. This was soon paid off and another land purchase was made in 1995 bringing our total to 145 acres, assuring our beautiful lake-water quality and our quality of life for generations to come.
In the new century, we celebrated the centennial of the construction of the Stone House in 2007 and the centennial of the Bungalow construction in 2016.
We've also made some significant improvements to the property:
- The Bungalow was modernized with a new roof, upgraded electrical system, a fire alarm system, and emergency lighting. The kitchen was redone with new appliances, counters, and sinks.
- Keeping up with new technology, this website was created and Wi-Fi service covering most of the common and socially active areas of the property was installed.
- Wonderful new landscaping and plantings are apparent throughout the club grounds. A new front gate was constructed and replacement of the perimeter fence is on-going.
- The dam was completely upgraded to meet new state safety standards and a beautiful new spillway and bridge were created. The docks on the two beaches were replaced and Sandy Beach was upgraded. Kayaks have been added to our repertoire of lake sporting equipment.
- Our clay tennis court was professionally redone and a sophisticated sprinkler system installed to assure that the surface is perfectly maintained. The hard surface tennis court and the volley ball court were both resurfaced and the hard surface court set up to accommodate Pickleball as well as tennis.
- We now have a beautiful new deck and cedar hot tub overlooking the tennis court.
- The area adjacent to the entrance to the Rec Room was reconstructed to enable wheelchair access. The Rec Room was completely redone (walls, ceiling and floor) and a 55" LCD TV mounted on the wall. A portion of the interior walls were brought back to their original splendor to truly indicate it had been a world class handball court.
- Thanks to a bequest from one of our beloved, long-time members, we were able to replace the old painted concrete patio with a gorgeous new patio of landscaping blocks and added new lighting. New cedar tables and benches were built to make dining and socializing on the patio more convenient and comfortable.