The Stowaway Dam, at the South end of what is now Pinecliff Lake was constructed in before 1900 to harness the energy of Belchers Creek. A grist mill was built on this site which is where the "Milford" in West Milford originated. In 1927 construction of a Pinecliff Lake dam was completed and in 1928 the lots surrounding Pinecliff Lake were being sold by the Pinecliff Reality Company, which was headquartered in the location now occupied by Century 21 at the intersection of Union Valley Rd and Vista Rd (formerly Vista Way).
Many of the early homes built around Pinecliff Lake were log cabins, made from local Chestnut trees. Through the 30s and 40s the community grew and became a very popular place to spend the summer. It was common for there to be a dance most Saturday nights during the summer and the day camp program brought mothers together on the beach while children were learning to swim and competing in sporting events. The day camp program was the center piece of the community.
Through the 50s and 60s the family-oriented programs flourished as did Pinecliff Lake. Increasing state regulations began to challenge the status quo requiring a mandate to upgrade the water supply system or "summer water" as it was affectionately known. The community decided to abandon the summer water system. This required the significant investment for each homeowner to drilling a well.
The 70's saw the beginning of a huge change in lifestyle at Pinecliff Lake. As was a trend in many lake communities to the south and east of Pinecliff, the community became more year round residents than summer. The trend continued through the 80's and 90's and there are very few summer residences remaining. Although the number of children within the age-group to participate in day camp has greatly reduced, the program is still the centerpiece of the community. Although the parents of many young children require day care, which is not provided at day camp, many mothers find child care through neighbors and friends so their children can participate in the day camp program.
As has been the case thought the history of Pinecliff Lake and many other lake communities in North Jersey, a dedicated group of elected, volunteer trustees ensures the items necessary to keep the lake community viable get accomplished at minimal expense.
E Spirko - membership trustee 11/2/07