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History

Many Denville residents remember Catfish Pond from their boyhood fishing experiences. This was a large spring-fed natural body of water which was known for years as Protectory Pond as it belonged to the Catholic Protectory for Boys conducted by the Benedictine Fathers.

Through the years the pond had gotten smaller and smaller as a heavy bog kept bringing the shoreline further into the water. It was fairly deep and the water actually went quite a way under the shore line because of these overhanging bogs, but the fishing was good with a plain bent pin and a worm.

In 1895 the Benedictine Fathers passed the property to the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother who converted the property to the St. Francis Health Resort for the famous Kneipp Water Cure.

The Boonton branch of the Morris County Traction Company passed through the northern end of what is now Lake Arrowhead until about 1917 when the line was rerouted over higher ground to the south before proceeding on its route to what is now the Boulevard in Mountain Lakes to Boonton.

In the winter of 1924-25, the Arthur D: Crane Company purchased approximately 100 acres from St. Francis Health Resort. The health resort in turn used the money received to start an extensive building program shortly thereafter. The Crane Company also bought approximately 50 acres in small parcels from various owners to complete its project.

In the fall of 1925, the Crane Company built the dam near the present clubhouse, but, of course, were somewhat limited by the tracks for the trolley which was still running at that time. The first house was built during 1925 and was occupied by the Herbert L. Closs family. The second house was owned by Frank Wheeler.

In the spring of 1926, the water level had been raised seven feet from its original level, but with it came problems. The entire bottom seemed to come to the top. The lake had practically returned to its original size. It was possible to walk over most of the surface of this four foot thick floating island. It had to be arduously cut into small pieces and gradually removed.

An office was built and the development was under way. The people who bought the homes formed a club,and by 1930 there were 65 members all of whom owned property on the lake. Of the 65 members, 22 were year round residents, the balance summer cottages. The Crane Company had installed a water system but all of it was not for year round water use.

A log cabin restaurant/home combination was built for the Bauernschmitts at the entrance to the lake. This was the social gathering place for the residents for years. Later the Arrowhead Club purchased the Crane Co. real estate office for its clubhouse.