Then and Now: Mira Lacum

For our final “Then and Now” of this off season (as we gear up for our regular summer features), we bring you a building that hasn’t changed much over the years, and commands the lake with one of the most extraordinary facades on the water: the home once known as Mira Lacum.

Then: With the construction costs of a then-astonishing $75,000, this summer cottage was built of imported stone and meant to resemble a castle on the Rhine.  Designed by and built for Francis Himpler, a noted architect, the cottage was called “Mira Lacum” (“view of the lake”).  Himpler built his reputation by designing and supervising the construction of Gothic churches in the midwest during the latter part of the 19th century.  After moving east, he designed several public buildings in Hoboken.  He bought one of the last remaining lakefront lots in Breslin Park and built his castle in 1895.

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Now: The grounds of Mira Lacum have been subdivided over the years, but the house remains one of the most striking on Lake Hopatcong.

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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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