Rock Ridge Lake: A History
In 1772, a man named John Cook purchased a large parcel of land in this area, part of which we now know as Rock Ridge. This land was handed down from father to son until 1907, when it was purchased by a pair of entrepreneurs for development purposes. Just prior to selling the property, a wooden dam was built, and what was formally a swamp became Rock Ridge Lake. As homes in the area were built, residents gained recreational access to the lake through an informal agreement with the property owners. Later, to ensure continuous usage rights to the lake property, homeowners established the Rock Ridge Community Club, Inc. This organization was set up to protect the lake, as well as surrounding lands, ensuring that homeowners in the locality would continue to enjoy the most important benefit in the Rock Ridge community.
Today, the Rock Ridge Community Club, Inc. continues to serve as the governing body of the lake and surrounding property. An executive committee of 10 elected officers oversees the day-to-day operations of the lake as well as a number of special purpose sub-committees. Membership is available to all residents owning or renting a home within the Rock Ridge boundaries. Over the years, as more homes were built, the boundaries were extended to offer membership opportunities to additional residents. Today, Rock Ridge has over 200 member households, and that number is increasing.
The Lake Activities Committee:
Karen DeCongelio, Emily Hausman, Adriene Whitney
The Rock Ridge Lake Executive Committee:
Christy Dagostino/Laura Shally
Tony Titone, Chris Mahoney
Tony Titone/Dan Simon/Chris Mahoney
RRCC Hub Lakes Rep
Chris Mahoney and Tony Titone
Cindy Carolan/Tony Titone
Features and Benefits of Rock Ridge Lake
The Clubhouse serves as the center for many of Rock Ridge’s events. With a large open area, commercial kitchen, stage, and bathrooms, it is the perfect place to host parties and other community functions. The clubhouse is also available for rental to members whose membership is current. Birthday parties (children’s and adults), communions, confirmations, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, sweet 16, anniversaries, weddings and meetings are some of the occasions for which rentals are requested. Currently, we are in the process of planning a major facelift to the clubhouse in order to further improve its functionality in appearance.
Between the high iron deposits in the surrounding area and the accumulation of leaves, our water has a natural patina. Nonetheless, we can state the water quality is excellent and perfectly safe for fun family activities. Since 1951, Rock Ridge Lake has been treated by a professional water management company. This commitment to our lake has resulted in one of the highest rated lakes in Morris County for water quality. We are thankful for the Rock Ridge members of 1924, who hauled loads of sand to the edge of our lake to form what is now our beach area.
Rock Ridge’s white sandy beach offers a shallow protected bathing area for young children, six 25m lanes for the more active swimmers, a Red Cross certified swim instructor and qualified lifeguards during the summer season. Those members of 1924 would be happy to hear the laughter of our children today, still enjoying the gift that they gave us so many years ago. Rock Ridge Community Club provides its members with some of the best private fishing in the area. The lake is stocked with large and small mouth bass, northern pike, channel catfish, pickerel, sunny and crappy. Fishing at Rock Ridge is fun for all levels from toddlers to the serious angler.
Along with swimming and fishing, boating is always been another favorite pastime for Rock Ridgers. With the 11 acre lake, there are plenty of interesting spots to sail, row, or pedal. Coasting along the island, visiting the cove, or just floating on a sunny day is a great way to relax and experience the natural beauty of Rock Ridge.
At a time when towns are scrambling to acquire land in order to preserve open space, we are lucky to have an existing piece of natural beauty in our community. Indeed the space is priceless, but it also serves a much more important purpose. Today, every which way you turn new buildings, homes, and parking lots are being developed. To maintain our quality of life, we need to protect our undeveloped land which plays a vital part in protecting us with one of the most basic necessities of life: water. Open space is necessary to in order to provide water to the underground aquifers, which in turn supplies our wells with clean drinking water. As more and more land is developed, many communities fear that the quality of drinking water will decrease and supply will be limited. The existence of Rock Ridge Community Club aids in the cause of maintaining sufficient open-space. Denville is an amazing town having so many lakes within its borders, and Rock Ridge is proud to be one of them, helping to preserve the country-like quality of the area.
Rock Ridge Lake is valued for its environmental benefits not only by us, but also by our animal friends. Over the years, our lake has been a permanent or temporary home for many species of wildlife. Nowadays, some of the commonly seen animals are deer, woodchuck, rabbit, gray squirrel, chipmunks, turtles, frogs, mallard ducks, Canadian geese, swan, blue heron, green heron, and a wide variety of fish and other birds. The more elusive ones include beavers, muskrats, weasels, fox, snakes, turkey, owl, hawks, falcons, vultures and the occasional black bear.