I know all of you have been to Swartswood Lake. Some of us, including me, live on the lake.

It was originally named for Anthony Swartwout, who owned a farm, in the area. He was killed in the French & Indian War in 1756.  The area around the lake was very  sparsely settled.  By 1852, as more settlers moved into the area the name was changed to SWARTSWOOD LAKE.

Swartswood became a summer resort area in the late 1800’s and many hotels were built up around the Lake.

In 1888 Andrew Albright bought most of the lake and constructed a lakefront estate. Andrew was a Newark factory owner who owned the  Rubberset Company. This firm invented and made a special hard rubber that held the bristles in paint brushes, among other uses.

By 1898 Andrew became annoyed at the numbers of people fishing on the lake and staying at the various hotels. He believed it was alright for local persons to use the lake, but he resented the outsiders. At least, he thought they should pay him. He charged a dollar a day.

He took those who refused to pay to court and charged them with trespassing. There were several challenges to his assertion that since he owned the land under the water, that he could therefore charge for the right to fish.

The court confirmed his right to assess the fishing fee. This was among several other factors that precipitated the decline of the area as a leading summer resort,

The State, after this court decision, enacted a law , in 1907, that authorized it to purchase any land surrounded or covered by freshwater lakes or ponds.

After Albright died, his children sold Swartswood Lake to the State in 1914. This was the first time the Act was used to buy land solely for a public park.

In 1916 George Emmons added to the land area by donating an additional 12.5 acres of lakefront to the park. The park now includes 2 lakes and covers a total of 3,460 acres.

The popularity of Swartswood State Park led the State to begin buying and developing other parks.