4) The Towns Around Asbury

Interlaken, Page 1


Image 1.4. Behind the RR crossing, is the pillared main entrance to Interlaken, where the basin of Deal Lake splits into two branches and carves out the town.


Image 2.4. Another way into Interlaken, from Loch Arbour, is by Canoe, under the tracks.

The cozy, nestled, peninsular borough of Interlaken sits between Branches One and Two of Deal Lake. If you look at the Deal Lake Reference View, Interlaken appears a wooded medallion of land striped east-to-west with four roads. A fifth east-to-west street (Bridlemere Avenue) winds along its northern edge.

Image 3.4. Grasmere Avenue is the main road through Interlaken.

The population of Interlaken hovers around 1000. Except for tiny Borough Hall (which holds the police station), the town is completely residential. It has two small parks: an undeveloped rectangle of land on the northwest side (where the yearly picnic is held) and a little corner arboretum just past the entrance pillars.

Image 4.4. The bridge off Monmouth Road is the north entrance to Interlaken.

The name Interlaken (which a few older folks pronounce Interlocken) comes from the famous Swiss resort (which is now the "sister city" of New Jersey's Interlaken). The name means between the lakes. History has it that Mr. And Mrs. Francis Weld, a well-traveled couple from the Boston area, visiting the newborn Jersey resorts, wound up on the wooded tract after adventurously wandering off the roads that were usually prescribed for Deal Beach and Asbury Park visitors. The wooded peninsula stole their heart; they purchased it, intent on making it their permanent home.

What to call a place that is between the branches of a lake? Switzerland's Interlaken was fresh on Mrs. Weld's mind, as she and her husband had honeymooned at that resort. So there you go.

Perhaps tending to blue ribbon cattle did not suit the Welds. After a few years they decided to turn the area into a "high-class year-round residential community." Several of the Welds' prominent New York acquaintances joined the venture, and by 1888 a pattern of streets was laid out. (The east to west streets are named after the British Lakes and the north-to-south streets after the Scottish Isles.)

In 1922, some of the pioneers, most of them artists and writers, decided to make Interlaken an official municipality. Interlaken seceded from Ocean Township and became an independent borough.

You can find some beautiful houses, of various styles, in this little peninsular borough.

Image 5.4 A tall and elegant Victorian-style house as seen
(zoomed in a little)
from at RR tracks in Loch Arbour

Aside from Grace Trocchia losing her cat, about the most spectacular thing that has ever happened in Interlaken was the air show. You remember it, don't you? Billed as "The Greatest Aviation Meet", this event took place in August, 1910, over a period of ten days on an undeveloped northside tract of land (the only remaining piece of which is Interlaken's little park). Orville and Wilbur Wright directed the show but stayed firmly on the ground. Though the show was a great success, it was not without unfortunate incident. Pioneer flyer Walter Benjamin flew his plane into the grandstand, injuring himself and a few spectators. Balloon trapeze performer "Benny" Prinz was killed when his trapeze bar broke. He fell 4000 feet and landed in a tree on Wickapecko Drive. The tree, I understand, is still standing.

Image 5.5. Kids playing baseball in Interlaken's little park,
site of the famous aviation meet

Interlaken has always been a town of artists. The first mayor was Frank Stick, the editor of Field and Stream magazine, who painted and also wrote. To name only a few, there was the painter Percy Couse (one of whose works I saw at an auction recently in California) and his sister Emily Birdsall. W.H.D. Koerner (1904-1988), well known and influential for his western art (and whose illustrations often appeared on Saturday Evening Post covers), was also an Interlaken resident (and member of the early Interlaken Council). Listen to this: The Whitney Gallery of Western Art, in Cody, Wyoming, contains an exact recreation of his Interlaken studio.

Please go to the next page to see a few more Interlaken sights.



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