The history of this place begins with Joseph Slater, who around 1861 bought Ford’s Mill, located on Paterson-Hamburg Turnpike near the intersection of Newark-Pompton Turnpike. That mill became Slater’s Mill, which processed felt for hats. A relative (brother?) named Otis built a house across the intersection on the southeast corner.
- Old Maple Inn (unconfirmed)
- Scherer’s Inn (Joseph Scherer, proprietor) – 1920s
- Riverdale Hotel and Restaurant – 1930s
- Old Heidelberg Tavern (Herman & Anna Zerr, proprietors) – 1930s
- German Inn (unconfirmed)
- Hunter’s Inn (Bert Lamb, proprietor) – early 1940s
Bert Lamb’s Riverdale Lodge (Bert Lamb, proprietor) – 1942-1946(Lamb sold it in 1946 but it was still in operation in 1948)
I don’t know the full history of this busy corner, but at some point in the 1920s the house was purchased by a German immigrant named Joseph Scherer. He might have turned the place into a restaurant/guest house (or perhaps it already was) and named it” Scherer’s Inn”. Scherer and his family — a wife, four (or five) children, and some others — lived there as well as ran it.
A 1946 newspaper article notes that Lamb sold it to Joseph Sudyka of Bloomfield for $40,000. An article from 1948 revealed that it was still a going concern.
It’s worth noting the telephone number, from Scherer (at least) through Lamb, never changed: POmpton Lakes 540.
A classified ad offered the place for sale in 1963, noting the property contained “152 foot road frontage on Paterson-Hamburg Turnpike” and was “357 feet deep”.
At some point — perhaps the 1960s — the decision was made to widen that portion of Hamburg Turnpike. That spelled the end for the venerable old house. Today, the site is occupied by a gas station.