Friday, August 23, 2019

Idylease: West Milford's 1903 Inn, Where Thomas Edison was a Guest, Seeks Historic Listing on National Register of Historic Places.




WEST MILFORD — (August 22, 2019) Idylease Inn, a turn-of-the-century health resort that counted inventor Thomas Edison among its famous guests, may soon make its bid for the National Register of Historic Places.

The inn, the first property named on the town’s list of historic sites, is a five-floor Dutch Colonial hotel and the last of more than a dozen similar facilities that stood in town during the tourism heyday of the early-20th century. Its guestbook contains the names of many famous visitors, including New Jersey’s first female congresswoman, Mary Norton.

It has a tremendous history,” said Richard Zampella, the property owner. “There used to be dozens of these resort hotels around northern New Jersey, nearly all of them were lost to fire or neglect.”

Opened in 1903, Idylease thrived in the Ragtime Era. The inn was a short trip from the Newfoundland Train station on the way to tourist-filled Greenwood Lake. Promoted as a health retreat, it sat amid pastoral country on the hilly border of New Jersey’s iron belt.

Its location is what drew Edison.

Then based in West Orange, Edison opened a self-named mine near Sussex County’s Franklin-Ogdensburg mining district in 1889. His plan was to harvest a previously overlooked pocket of lower quality ore on Sparta Mountain, break the rock up on conveyor belts and suck out the iron with electromagnets.

Plagued by problems with the machinery and undercut by the discovery of the massive Mesabi Iron Range in Minnesota, the mine closed a decade later. Perhaps as it was for the phonograph, which Edison thought would be better used for stenography than playing music, he may have misjudged the best use for his mining innovations.

Edison later applied his rock-crushing technology to aid in the creation of the durable cement used in the original Yankee Stadium and help the New Jersey Zinc Company process minerals at Sterling Mine in Ogdensburg.

When making the trip across North Jersey, Edison spent nights at Idylease, the inn's guest logs show. The Newfoundland area was a favorite of Edison’s, Zampella noted. Scenes from 1903’s "The Great Train Robbery" were filmed nearby, including at Echo Lake.

The main entry at Idylease Inn on Union Valley Road in West Milford features a dual staircase made of local oak. The inn's former owner, Arthur Zampella, wanted to relocate the staircase when he considered demolishing the inn in the late 1980s.

Idylease, named for Alfred Tennyson’s epic poem of King Arthur of Camelot, “Idylls of the King,” was built in 1902 by local carpenters lured by newspaper ads offering $2.50 for a nine-hour shift. Designed by John Boylston of John B. Snook & Sons, the inn gained prestige early on for its design and amenities. It was billed in June 1903 by The Montclair Times as “a hostelry of which New Jersey may well be proud.”

More than a place to stay, Idylease was a place to renew.

See photo Gallery at northjersey.com
The inn was conceived by a group of 11 investors collectively called The Newfoundland Health Association. Headed by New York City doctors – first Edgar Day, then Daniel Drake – the group brought city dwellers to receive treatment at their country sanitarium for the cost of $10 to $20 a week, Zampella said.

Among the early visitors was H. Montague Vickers, a prominent member of the New York Stock Exchange. A guest in 1906, Vickers later sat on the board of directors for Rahway Valley Railroad and purchased his own farm in the Newfoundland section.

Idylease was known for its expansive open-air veranda, marble hydrotherapy pools and ability to entrench guests in purportedly therapeutic wilderness. The self-sustaining sanitarium had its own ice house, blacksmith shop and farm complex.

The township’s Historic Preservation Commission named Idylease, the Newark watershed’s New City and the Town Hall Annex the first three properties on its list of local historic landmarks in 1988. Only 10 more historic sites have since been named to the local list, records show. Only one, Long Pond Ironworks, is on the national register.

Zampella said he believes the inn is deserving of the designation, due to its architecture, guests and contribution to American history, and plans to soon file an application with the federal government.

The 53-year-old film and multimedia producer who also works in the hospitality industry has been blogging about the site’s history since April 2016. He has collected old records and photos, including the guest books that he said have been eye-opening.

Guests included sports writer William B. Hanna, Civil War correspondent David Banks Sickels, and Grace Abbott, the head of the United States Children's Bureau from 1921 to 1934.

Towards the end of the age of the area’s railroad-driven tourism in the late 1920s, Idylease welcomed Victor Harrison-Berlitz, who managed 410 of the Berlitz Corporation’s language centers, Joseph French Johnson, the founding dean of the Alexander Hamilton Institute, and Congresswoman Norton, the sixth woman in the United States Congress but the first to hail from the East and win as a Democrat.

Post-tourism revival

Richard Zampella’s knowledge of the site goes beyond his recent findings, having grown up on the grounds. His father, Dr. Arthur Zampella, owned the property for nearly 40 years starting in 1954. Since Zampella acquired the property in 2016, he said he has been attempting to complete the site's history.

“Researching the history of Idylease has been a lifelong endeavor,” he said.

When Zampella was young, and the tourism boom that established North Jersey’s lake communities was long over, his father operated the inn as a nursing home until 1972. His father's vision was to create a community clinic with a nearby research center and senior village.

Proposed in 1962, the medical complex concept became known as Lakecrest General Hospital. There were multiple attempts by various groups to raise funds and obtain state certification. In 1976, voters approved a township-led project via non-binding referendum. Lakecrest

Zampella's father continued to chase his dream and by 1986 had joined with developers to pitch a $110 million long-term care center with residential cottages and on-site services.

By 1987, Idylease was slated for demolition. In response, elected officials established the township's Historic Preservation Commission later that year. Its members moved in 1988 to have the home designated as historic and preserved from unapproved alterations. Issues that year at the local planning and zoning board later doomed the overarching effort.

The site today still operates as a boarding house for long-term occupants. Period furnishings adorn the rooms and guests have use of the large country kitchen and other common spaces in a congregate living setup.

Mostly preserved as it was designed, Zampella said it makes sense to use the inn to provide people a place to stay. Monthly rentals start at $800, including utilities, for rooms with basic furnishings and a half-bath.

“It really is a magical place,” he said. “The Newfoundland area and West Milford have such a rich history and Idylease stands as a daily reminder.”

This article originally appeared in north jersey.com at: https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/passaic/west-milford/2019/08/22/west-milfords-1903-inn-where-thomas-edison-was-a-guest-seeks-historic-listing/2064469001/

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Transmultimedia Entertainment

west milford nj webdesign
Transmultimedia: West Milford, NJ
Transmultimedia is a boutique creative services agency located in the Newfoundland section of West Milford, New Jersey. We are a group of experienced internet designers and developers that set new standards in marketing & branding. Our team of professionals at Transmultimedia can create the perfect website solution for your business or organization. From graphic design, to corporate videos, to Google Adword campaigns and custom application programming, Transmultimedia in West Milford, NJ can meet all of your website and corporate media needs. Visit us on the web at : http://newfoundlandnj.com

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Idylease Facebook Retrospective

April of 2019 marked the three year anniversary since Richard Zampella assumed management of Idylease: A Historic Landmark in Newfoundland, NJ. He produced this 3 minute retrospective from media created for the Inns Facebook page. http://www.idylease.org #idylease #historic #landmark #westmilford


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Idylease Helistop and Jungle Habitat

idylease helistop
Idylease Helistop is Located in the Newfoundland Section of West Milford, NJ
In 1972, executives from Warner Brother’s had a problem with one of the most popular attractions at Jungle Junction. The reptile house had an hourly show that featured highly poisonous snakes. The issue was that the handler was allergic to the anti-venom if he was bitten. Park management needed a find a method to quickly transport the handler to a medical treatment facility.

Warner Brothers contacted local physician Dr. Arthur Zampella and together, application was made to the Federal Aviation Administration for a heliport at Idylease. In the off possibility of a snake bite, the handler would be transported to Idylease and then flown by air to a trauma center where he would be treated by alternative methods.

The Idylease Helistop is a remnant of Jungle Habitat from 40 years ago and still maintains the FAA license. The heliport is currently used by the NJ State Police if major accidents occur in the area. Patients are transported to Idylease and flown to the nearest trauma center from the landing field.

For more information visit the Idylease Helistop Website at: http://njhelistop.com

Monday, April 15, 2019

Michael Karp Composes Score for Elmore Leonard Documentary

Michael Karp Completes Score for Elmore Leonard Documentary

NEW YORK, NY -- Michael has received two Emmys and one Emmy nomination for his work and is an eleven-time recipient of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers' prestigious "Most Performed Television Theme" award and the winner of the "Special Distinction" award for "Affirmation for Strings", a work for the concert stage. From works for large orchestra to solo instruments - such diverse music as rock, pop, rhythm and blues, alternative, punk, rap, hip-hop, jazz, world and classical - Michael's music transcends all styles and genres.

Whether enhancing the beauty or majesty of the Olympics, or adding excitement, drama and raw energy to New York Yankees Baseball, Major League Baseball's, World Series, International, or HBO's, Greatest Sports Upsets, Michael Karp's music excites. Whether underscoring the humor, emotions and cultural differences in National Geographic's, Worlds Apart, or providing the musical identity for Dateline NBC, NBC News' Presidential Election Coverage, or Operation: Freedom, Michael Karp's music inspires.

Having created music for all the major broadcast networks as well as many of the national cable networks, independent and affiliated stations and major broadcast syndicators, Michael brings a unique blend of experience, creativity, vision and understanding to his work - always striving for that perfect complement - when music and visuals combine to create a truly magical experience.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Elmore Leonard: But Don't Try to Write


There's Literature... There's Genre... and then there's Elmore Leonard - A Documentary Coming Spring 2019.

Elmore Leonard, one of the most popular and admired authors of his time, wrote more than forty novels and dozens of short stories. Among his many NY Times bestsellers: Tishomingo Blues, Glitz, Get Shorty, Maximum Bob, and Rum Punch. Unlike most (so-called) genre writers, however, Leonard is taken seriously, indeed, by those in the literary arena. This documentary film from Transmultimedia Entertainment is Produced/Edited by Richard Zampella and Written/Directed by John Mulholland. Craig Gilbert is Executive Producer and Campbell Scott Narrates.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Food Mill in Point Lookout NY

zampella food mill
The Food Mill in Point Lookout, NY -- Designed, Built and Operated by Richard Zampella
Richard Zampella has worked in all areas of the hospitality and food service industry for over 30 years. He has managed the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel and served as Food and Beverage Manager of the The Essex House Hotel on Central Park South. For 15 years he worked 65 floors high atop Rockefeller Center at the Rainbow Room under legendary restauranteur Joe Baum. In 2010, he created the concept and design for Skipperdee’s Ice Cream Shop in the seaside hamlet of Point Lookout, NY.

As a restaurant designer he executed designs for Heneghan’s Tavern in Point Lookout, NY and Brixx & Barley in Long Beach, NY.

In 2018, he designed, built and re-opened the market Nicholas and Carmela Merola opened in 1930 in the tiny Long Island hamlet of Point Lookout, NY at 40 Lido Boulevard. The Food Mill continues the tradition of operating a community market recalling an era celebrating value and quality.


Richard Zampella is the Managing Partner of Transmultimedia. He produced Cooper and Hemingway: The True Gen which is narrated by Sam Waterston. Cooper and Hemingway: The True Gen was reviewed by The New York Times film critic Andy Webster on October 11, 2013 and was named an NY Times Critics’ Pic by Manohla Dargis, A. O. Scott and Stephen Holden. Webster said the picture was proof that the work of these two men "endures and so does what they stood for". Other producer credits include; Sergeant York: Of God and Country for Warner Home Video which was narrated by Liam Neeson and Inside High Noon for Paramount Pictures which was narrated by Frank Langella with an introduction by President Bill Clinton. Zampella is currently working on a documentary about American writer Elmore Leonard entitled 'But Don't Try to Write'.

Richard is the proprietor of Idylease, A Historic Landmark located in Newfoundland, NJ.