“History of Meyer’s Lane”
(End of Cedar Lake West, fork right down to lakefront)
Written by: Tom Leto
Walter Lowell, a Broadway actor, whose stage name was “Wright Lorimer” bought several lots between 1909 and 1910 to create a summer camp near the northwest end of Cedar Lake in the development then named “Cedar Lake Park, Incorporated.” He bought lots from Cedar Lake Park, Inc. and from several individuals who had already purchased lots. One of the individuals was Lewis Van Duyne, the surveyor for Cedar Lake Park, Inc. and the person probably responsible for the infamous property line discrepancies around Cedar Lake today. Lewis was astute enough to acquire the lot that had a spring, which for several years supplied water to the houses in the surrounding area. The camp boundaries were along the south side of 146 Cedar Lake West (Peer) which then was a carriage house, the north side of 156 Cedar Lake West (Leto), to the east was Cedar Lake and to the west up the hill as far as the paper road Fox Glen Road as shown on the Cedar Lake Park, Inc. survey of 1906.
For reasons unknown, Walter died in September of 1911, leaving his wife, Kitty and three children without a will. Kitty had Lewis Van Duyne survey the property in October of 1912. That survey shows at that time the camp had a house, carriage house, boardwalk, two chicken coops, pool, wells, pump house, water tower, and a large stone dock which can be seen today at 154 Cedar Lake West (Compton). One chicken coop that became known as the “Upenuf’ bungalow is 169 Cedar Lake West (Summers). Stories have been told about an outdoor amphitheater where plays were performed during the summer next to 100 Watchtower Road (Warriner). Kitty sold the land in 1913 to David Young and E. (Elias) Bertram Mott. In 1915 Bertram bought out David.
Bertram started in the Morris County Clerk’s office in 1898 as the deputy county clerk under his father. He worked in the same job when “Uncle Dan” took over and then Bertram became the county clerk from 1909 until his death in 1961. Bertram was known as “Mr. Republican” because he was the chairman of the County Republican Committee for 18 years and also served several years as the chairman of the State Republican Committee, retiring from party leadership in 1954. Mott Hollow in Randolph is named after the family homestead. You will see his name on old Cedar Lake deeds. Bertram split the camp up, named a little paper road there “Bertram Drive” and began to sell off lots around 1920.
Summer houses were called bungalows in the old deeds. Bertram sold a lot, part of which was first owned by Lewis Van Duyne, to Charles Wilkens in 1921 which is now 152 CLW (Leto – now Clarke). This lot had a pump house over the spring and became known as the “Spring House” bungalow. Charlie was part of the group of bachelors who came summers and stayed in the carriage house up the hill. That is probably why the carriage house became known as the “Bachalow” in future deeds, a combination of the words bachelor and bungalow.
Big band leader John Guarnieri, who made at least one record, and his wife Violet bought what is today 150 CLW (Hungerford) in 1945 after it had changed hands three times since Bertram Mott first sold it in 1921. John bought out Violet in 1954 after she ran off with the mason hired to build a fireplace. When the fireplace was torn down to remodel around 1998, beer cans were found stuck all over between the cinder blocks. One can only image what a combination of a mason, beer and the wife of a traveling band leader could lead to. By the way, it is unknown whether it was a lack of skill, concentration, or both, but the fireplace never worked very well.
Helen Lane, as she was then known, came to Cedar Lake in her teens and stayed as a guest at 166 CLW (Mann). She married Charles “Whitey” Meyer and they spent their honeymoon at 132 CLW (Vogt). In 1936 they bought a lot with two houses (154 & 156 CLW) from the Morris County Building & Loan Association. The Morris County Building & Loan Assoc. had acquired two lots with three houses (154, 156 & 169 CLW-a.k.a. “Upenuf’ bungalow) through foreclosure from Daniel O’Dea, who had bought from Bertram Mott in 1923. That’s why the gray garage on the road has three stalls, one for each house.
Whitey’s childhood friend, Clyde Compton bought into the lot with Whitey in 1937, since the lot had two houses. Before Whitey went off to help the World War JJ effort, Clyde and he split the lot between the two houses in 1942. After the war, it was discovered they gave each other the wrong half so they switched lots in 1948. Clyde’s brother Harold bought the “Upenuf bungalow from the Morris County Building & Loan Assoc. around 1938. In 1960 Harold sold “Upenuf” to Kathleen Summers parents and bought John Guarnieri’s property. Harold’s sister-in-law and husband, Elsie and Gil Collins, bought the next house known as the “Lakeview” bungalow (148 Cedar Lake West) in 1955 from Annie Preston, who had bought from Bertram Mott in 1920. By then, among the five houses were two sisters, two brothers, and lots of childhood friends.
Whitey, an engineer, constructed the famous trolley car to bring them down the hill. The platform where one would climb aboard the trolley can still be seen by the road today just north of the three-car gray garage. Later he was the principal mover to construct a long driveway down to the five houses. The property (tax lot 71) on top of the hill where Walter’s Lowell’s house stood until it burned down around 1960 was bought to use as the starting point of the driveway. The old house was about where today 10 mailboxes are located next to the driveway.
And all that brings us to the name of the driveway. A few years ago, Elsie Collins came up with the noble idea to name the driveway after Whitey and Helen’s surnames, “Meyer’s Lane” in honor of them. On a final note, Helen (Lane) Meyer passed away peacefully on April 6, 2000, at the age of 92.