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Then and Now: Attol Tryst

A Van Every Cove house that once belonged to a popular actress has been restored to its Victorian grandeur, thanks to the hard and meticulous work of the current occupants.

Then: The Breslin Hotel was planned so that it would encircled by a ring of elegent cottages.  It was felt that being part of a millionaires’ summer community would help draw the "appropriate" clientele to the hotel.  The most celebrated resident of the community, known as Breslin Park, was Lotta Crabtree, whose house was also designed by architect Frank Furness.  Famous enough to be known simply as "Miss Lotta," she was the most popular actress of her era, performing a musical comedy act loved by audiences of the day.  From the 1870s through the early 1890s her popularity (and income) even surpassed the great Sarah Bernhardt.  Lotta used the home, called "Attol Tryst" (Lotta backwards) as a summer retreat.

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Now: Lotta Crabtree performed continuously from the 1850s until 1891 when she was injured in an onstage fall.  After recuperating at Lake Hopatcong, she attempted a comeback, but due to the pain retired permanently in 1892.  She was then 45 years old and one of America’s wealthiest women.  After selling Attol Tryst in 1904, Lotta continued to visit the lake until her death in 1924.  In later years, she became very concerned with several charitable causes, including the welfare of veterans and animals.  The Lotta Crabtree Trust, established in her will, continues to help worthwhile causes today.  Her house is still one of Lake Hopatcong’s grandest, having received wonderful care and restoration in recent years by owner and contractor Bob O’Donnell.

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These and dozens of other "Then and Now" images and stories are available in an updated version of Lake Hopatcong: Then and Now by Marty Kane, president of the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum. Purchase that and other lake-related history books here on the museum’s website. And see hundreds of photos and other historical paraphernalia at the museum, which is located in Hopatcong State Park.

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