As I stated in my initial letter both sets of my grandparents moved to Mountain Lakes during its formative years. Mostly what I know is from family records and from listening to stories told by my parents and older sisters. I hope that what follows does not contain too much personal history but I know that sometimes personal histories can help to solve of the mysteries of the past.
My grandfather, James R. Gooding was born in St. Paul, MN in 1877. My grandmother, Una Ernestine Spencer Gooding (Erna) was born in Columbus, OH in 1876. James stated his own business at the age of 22 selling bank stationery and check security systems to the banks in St. Paul. They were married in 1900 in St. Paul and moved about the country as sales opportunities presented themselves. They had three surviving children; Phyllis, born 1902 in Chicago; Frances, born 1905 in Spokane, WA; and James T (Todd), born 1908, in Rochester NY.
My grandfather Gooding was a very talented and successful salesman. In 1900 He Joined the W.A. Todd Co. of Rochester, NY which produced the “Protectograph” check writing machine which became the standard among businesses up until the 1960s. It was the machine that embossed the checks so that they could not be forged or raised. The company continued in business until the 1980s as the Boroughs Corp. My grandfather opened offices in Portland, OR and Spokane, WA. Then in 1907 he was called to the home office to train other salesmen. In 1912 He was assigned to the New York region to sell and to train. He opened an office in the recently completed Woolworth Building. The family moved to New York City for a short time until their home in Mountain Lakes could be finished. He bought a lot on the Boulevard at the northeast corner of Martin Lane. I believe he paid $6000 for the lot. I do not know how much he paid for the house.
For a few weeks the family rented a house along the south shore on Lake Drive until the home on the Boulevard was complete. They did this so that the children could start school in Mt. Lakes. However, neither was the Mountain Lakes School completed. The children began school at the St. John’s Church and were there for a few months. At that time Phyllis would have been 10 years old, Frances (my mother) 8 and Todd 5.
The Gooding house had about 18 rooms including a shooting gallery in the basement (one of my grandfather’s hobbies). There was a carriage house where the maid and the gardener lived upstairs. Behind the carriage house and the house was a raised terrace and a vineyard. To the left side of the house were a formal garden and some trellises. The house was next to the Hapgood house. As I recall the Hapgoods had a daughter near the age of my mother and aunt and they played together. Mr. Hapgood and my grandfather were both ushers at the St Johns Church. They would call each other on Sunday mornings to see that their clothing was coordinated. My grandfather often wore a light gray suit and a salmon colored tie.
James Gooding commuted by train to New York. If the weather was good he would walk to the Mountain Lakes station. If the weather was not good or if he did not have the time he would get off the train in Boonton and take the trolley to his front door. In those days children were given the choice of going to Boonton or Morristown high schools. My mother chose to go to Morristown High because it was a longer ride on the trolley and because Morristown schools opened a bit later than Boonton’s. In later years she confessed to me that she and other girls would play hooky and spend their days in Rattlesnake Meadow or on the Tourne. She also told me that many times the high school students would stand on the rear platform of the trolley and bounce up and down until the trolley jumped the track. Then everyone would have to wait for the crew to come and put the trolley back on the track. It was a good excuse for being late.
James R. Gooding was an excellent salesman and showman. He was also mechanically skilled. When they first moved to Mountain lakes there was no form of entertainment. James knew how to run a movie projector. My grandmother was deaf from the time of infancy and was very good at pantomime. Once a week there was an amateur night at the vaudeville theater in Boonton (I think that it was called the Lyceum Theater). My grandfather would show movies of any kind and amateurs would perform between reels. My grandmother was well received as one of the acts. I believe that the routine changed once the Mountain Lakes Club got established.
The Gooding house was sold in 1922 and the family moved back to New York City. For about six months they rented a house on Pollard Road, at the intersection of Rockaway Terrace so that my mother could graduate from Morristown High. I do not know which house it was but I do remember that the house caught on fire and that my uncle threw his clothes out the second floor window then ran downstairs to pick up his clothes before the firemen stepped on them.
My other grandparents, Joseph T Bartmann, born in St. Louis, MO in 1876; and Clara Augusta Shrock Bartmann , born in Cleveland, OH in 1881, met in New York City and were married in Brooklyn NY. Joe had attended the Philadelphia School of Textile Design and worked in the textile industry all his life. He was the senior partner in a New York City based firm Called Bartmann and Bixer. They owned a factory in Clifton, NJ that employed about 700 workers who manufactured drapes and curtains, especially lace curtains, under the label of Kenneth Curtains. My grand father commuted by train to his New York office and often stopped in Clifton to supervise the plant. The Bartmanns bought their house in Mountain Lakes at 3 Barton Road in 1912. I believe they paid $3000 for the house and lot. It was not a large house and my grandmother always said that she thought that is was the ugliest house in the community (looking at the old pictures of the house I would agree with her). They added a wraparound porch in 1926 and a second floor sun porch on the left side in about 1938.
The Bartmanns had one child, my father Edward J, born in 1903 in Brooklyn, NY. Edward attended Boy’s High in Brooklyn. When the family moved to Mountain Lakes in 1912 he went to Morristown High. That is were he first met my mother. He did not care for Morristown High so he commuted to Hoboken to finish at Stevens Prep. He then went on to study a Stevens Institute of Technology and to become a textile salesman in New York. It Was there that my mother and father were reconnected. They married in NYC in 1926 and moved to Boonton. They lived in Boonton until 1929 when their second daughter was born. The place in Boonton was too crowded and the Depression made times tough. My father and family moved in with my grandparents. My older sister Marjorie, 2 years old and infant Dorothy lived in mountain Lakes for about three years until my parents bought an old farm house in Boonton Manor, Parsippany-Troy Hills.
My grandfather was able to retire early in about 1935 (the year I was born). My grandparents wintered in Florida and in 1942 built a house in St. Petersburg but came north for the summers. My grandmother was active in the Community Church and played hours of bridge with friends and at the Club. My grandfather loved to fish and kept a canoe at the landing where the canal enters Wildwood Lake. I think that my sisters spent most of their time at Wildwood . Only occasionally did they go to the big lake. My fondest memories were when my father and grandfather would take me in the canoe along the canal. My grandfather knew everybody along the canal and would stop for conversation. I also recall going to the beach on the big lake to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July.
When I was young the lot on the right side of the house was woods. Later on the Church used as an unpaved parking area with the cars squeezing in between trees. My grandparent’s lot had a one-car garage on the left side and a wonderful rose garden on the right side. My grandfather’s backed up to a house on Oak Lane. This house was owned by Judge Fred Bain. Lenora Schrock Bain was my grandmother’s sister. There was a fine stand of oak trees and a pathway between the two houses. I did not find any early photos of that house. My sister recalls that the house was originally pale ochre stucco with dark oak half timbering. There was no garage on the right side. The garage was in the basement on the left rear side.
The house on the left of my grandparents was a 1-1/2 story house owned by Mr. Smiley. Across the road and westward a few houses was the Fingar residence . I remember this because Mr. Fingar had a shuffle board court in his back yard that went down to the canal. The men would gather there to play and smoke cigars.
While decorating for a dance at the Club my Aunt Phyllis fell in love with a violin player who was a member of the orchestra that was to play that evening. She married the violin player and the eventually settled in Lincoln Park. My mother and father spent their life fixing and restoring their old farmhouse. My Uncle James Todd Gooding settled in Riverdale.
My grandmother Gooding died in 1949. James R. Gooding died in 1956. Joseph T. Bartmann died in 1947 and Clara Bartmann died in 1966. Edward Bartmann died in 1976 and Frances Gooding Bartmann died in 1986 in Boonton. My Uncle James Todd Gooding lived to be 90. He died in l998 in Riverdale. Some in Mountain Lakes may remember him. He organized the 5Oth Reunion of the Mountain Lakes School. My mother also attended the celebration.
My grandmother Gooding maintained contact with her many friends in Mountain Lakes. Whenever she came to visit at our house in Boonton Manor my mother would have tea for her or she would lunch with them at the Mansion House in Boonton.