For generations of Morris County area residents, Memorial Day wasn’t just another holiday. It signaled the opening of the landmark Bertrand Island Amusement Park on Lake Hopatcong.
Although nothing remains of the park today except a stone marker in Mount Arlington, the Morris County Historical Society (MCHS) will relive the joy this former landmark brought to millions who enjoyed the rides, beaches, and events offered at Bertrand Island for more than 60 years.
Tuesday, May 7, at 1:30 – Matinee showing of Greetings from Bertrand Island, a 45-minute film commemorating the history of the amusement park.
Thursday, May 9, at 7:00 – Encore showing of the film along with a Q&A session featuring Martin Kane, president of the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum, who will provide a glimpse into the magic of this former landmark.
Begun as a bathing beach at the turn of the century, by the 1920s Bertrand Island had expanded to offer 20 rides. Visitors enjoyed the Wildcat, a wooden roller coaster, an airplane swing, bumper cars, Skee-Ball arcade, dance hall, and cafeteria with picnic area. The carousel, a famous Illions Monarch II Supreme, was later sold to Circus World in Florida. An original horse from the carousel is on permanent display at the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum.
Bertrand Island Amusement Park closed in the early 1980s due to competition from larger theme parks and the evolution of Lake Hopatcong into a year-round community.
Founded in 1945, MCHS is a member-supported nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and promote the history of Morris County. MCHS is located at Acorn Hall (68 Morris Avenue, Morristown). For more information or to register for the May 9 event, call MCHS at 973-267-3465 by Tuesday, May 7, or visit MorrisCountyHistory.org.