Historically, Medford Lakes has a rich heritage. During the Revolutionary War, the Aetna Furnace made a local contribution to the war effort through the manufacture of cannon balls. Also a part of the industrial life of what is now Medford Lakes was the saw and grist mill erected by John Haines.
Construction & New Beginnings
The Medford Lakes Development Company was formed in 1927, and in 1928 the Colony Club Pavilion was built by Colonists on ground donated by the Development Company. Construction of the Golf Course began in 1929. Medford Lakes Camp came into being in 1930. The Medford Lakes Log Cabin Hotel (later known as the Lodge and finally Settlers Inn) was constructed in 1931. 1931 was also the year that the Cathedral of the Woods Protestant Church was dedicated. After the collapse of the Pavilion from a snow storm in 1938, the Vaughn Community House was built. The sewage system for the community was built in 1937 to 1938 through WPA assistance and has been extended so that now Medford Lakes is completely sewered.
Medford Lakes Borough was established as an independent municipality in 1939.
Resort with a Unique Concept
Medford Lakes started as a resort with a unique concept, all construction would be made of log! Shiploads of cedar logs were imported and craftsmen fashioned them into palatial homes. Inside and out, the walls were of solid log. Some of the logs had their bark scraped off while other logs were used bark and all. Cedar, being a porous wood, is an excellent insulator so the cabins were cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The resort enjoyed an extended season because the big stone fireplaces could heat the rustic houses even in the chilliest weather.
The cabins blended into the area with its pine trees and dozens of small lakes. By 1939 the resort had evolved into a year ‘round community. Log cabins were built exclusively in the borough throughout the 1930’s and into the 1940’s. While there is no record of anyone complaining about the unusual building restrictions, by the 1950’s the full log requirements were relaxed a bit to permit the construction of cabins with simulated log siding.
The full log cabins with their joining mortar, called "chinking," are truly a prized historical asset. While log cabin construction continues to remain popular in many parts of the country, it is difficult to obtain the massive spars used in the construction of some of the larger cabins found in Medford Lakes. And the artisans capable of constructing these homes are vanishing breed. Each log was notched and overlapped at the corners so a craftsman must cut just the right notches to make them fit together. The irregularity of the material makes every notch a custom job. Once the logs are in place, there is complicated work ahead with the wiring and plumbing. Everything has to go through the chinking spaces between layers or else holes bored with extra long drills.
By today’s standards, it would take a tremendous effort and cost to build a new cabin to the standards of our existing Cabins. These cabins are just one of the unique features that makes Medford Lakes some place special.