What do softball games, soccer games, ice skating, an Easter Egg Hunt, barn owls nesting, a 9/11 Memorial, rugby matches, July 4th fireworks and, oh yes, swimming all have in common? They all happen at Allendale's Crestwood Lake. The 71 acre park is town owned and the focal point for many of the town's activities bringing it's residents together. But it wasn't always like this.
I've lived in town since 1965 and can give you a fairly accurate description of the history of the lake since then. Prior to that point I rely on bits and pieces I have gathered over the years from the old timers, and Allendale history books. From what I can gather, back in the 1920's the land around Crestwood lake was purchased and the plan was to build a lake community. As the depression hit, the need for housing declined and with it the idea of the lake front homes. Instead a swim club was opened. Unique to its day, in the early 1930's Crestwood Lake put Allendale on the map. Located only about a quarter mile from the train station, people numbering in the thousands made their way to Crestwood lake from southern Bergen County and Paterson. I have seen pictures which show a parade of people coming down West Allendale Ave from the train station during this time. Accounts I have read say more than 3000 people visited the lake on a summer Sunday.
I actually remember one day in the late 1960's while playing a baseball game at the Recreation Field across the street from Crestwood, a line of cars waiting to get into the swim club. As the cars drew closer to the entrance, people would get out of the car and open the trunk of the car and get inside. They were trying to save the per head cost of admission for a day's swim by hiding in the trunk.
The owners of Crestwood Lake tried to sell the property in the mid 60's but meet resistance from the planning board when attempting to get the area zone for industrial use. A couple of years later, the town opted to try to purchase the lake itself and in 1972 Crestwood Lake was opened for swimming for town residents only.
Since that time, tennis courts have been added over by the red barn, a softball diamond was added in back of the barn and a soccer field was landscaped over on the west side of the lake. Today Crestwood Park has a children's playground and is home to the town's 9/11 Memorial which sits in a serene area in the north corner of the property.
In 2007, the new mayor has formed a committee to look at ways to improve the lake area. As the swimming season has begun, you can see improvements in the refreshment stand area, new paint on the docks and dam areas and a general refreshing upgrade overall. Allendale is proud of its crown jewel, Crestwood Lake and its ability to bring its residents together in fun and games.
Interested to know more about Allendale and about its real estate market? Contact me for a free consultation!