This is a rare photograph of Lincoln Park’s old Farmers Hotel. It once was “home away from home” for the many visitors of old Lincoln Park.
Lincoln Park, New Jersey’s Golden History: The Farmers Hotel
By Richard Mabey Jr.
The history of Lincoln Park is one of being a quiet, peaceful small town. From the days just before the Civil War till 1940, Lincoln Park once had a large hotel in the middle of town. It was known as the Farmers Hotel. This large four-story hotel was located on Lincoln Park’s Main Street and had quite a legacy of being known as a great place to stay. It is known that people had traveled from Florida, western Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts to stay at the legendary Farmers Hotel.
The Farmers Hotel had a wide and spanning front and side open porch. The specific location of the Farmers Hotel was at the southeastern corner of the intersection of Main Street and Chapel Hill Road. In other words, if you were traveling north on Chapel Hill Road where the road meets Main Street, the Farmers Hotel would have stood on your right hand side. Today there is a service station at the former site of the hotel.
The documentation as to when the Farmers Hotel was built, at this point in time, has not yet been found. There are references to this hotel in letters, articles, and documents that date back before the Civil War. The hotel was a grand and glorious structure. It had several fireplaces, a beautiful chandelier hung in the main foyer, and each room was furnished with maple or oak bureaus.
The Morris Canal contributed greatly to the financial success of the Farmers Hotel. Lincoln Park was a popular place for canal boat passengers to stop at and spend a day or two and visit the small village. The base of Incline Plane Ten East (once located near Route 202 at the Lincoln Park/Towaco border) had one of the largest waiting areas of the entire Morris Canal. It was a large lake-like reservoir of water. This made it a great place for canal boat captains to dock for the night to get rest for themselves, their crew, the passengers, and of course their faithful mules. Another great draw for the hotel was the fact that there was a blacksmith’s shop right behind the Farmers Hotel that had stables for the canal mules to stay.
There is documentation of letters and writings to support the fact that Lincoln Park drew a lot of people to its humble valley to visit and enjoy a few days in this peaceful farming village. Also, the town’s two major rivers (the Passaic River and the Pompton River) were once very popular sites for swimming, canoeing, and fishing. Also, the gentle, quiet, serene lifestyle of old Lincoln Park greatly appealed to many people who lived and worked in large cities. The vast majority of these visitors found comfortable hospitality at the Farmers Hotel.
Sadly, the Farmers Hotel was torn down in 1940. Upon extensively researching this event, not much was found as to why this famous landmark had been torn down. There are a few photographs of Lincoln Park’s charming hotel that are still with us. But gone, are the long sweeping porches, the brick chimneys reaching toward the clouds, and the quaint wooden shutters that bordered the windows. The Farmers Hotel was truly a legendary landmark that contributed to draw many people from all parts of New Jersey, and even from far-off spots in the U.S., to become acquainted with the wonderful splendor of old Lincoln Park.