Just north of Asbury Park, the Borough of Interlaken is a peaceful and small-scale residential community of homes ranging from Victorian-era cottages to modern residences and expansive seashore Colonials. Vibrant and diverse, it’s a peninsula that’s surrounded by Deal Lake and a located short distance from the ocean.
In 1888, Boston physician Dr. Francis Weld and his wife Fannie fell in love with this part of the Jersey Shore and purchased a 364-acre tract which they called Interlaken Farm, named after a similar peninsula in Switzerland that they had just visited. In 1890, Dr. Weld formed the Interlaken Land Company to convert his farm into an exclusive residential community.
Early efforts to establish Interlaken failed due to the building codes that would only approve construction of large-scale homes. The property subsequently passed to the International Trust Company of Boston. In 1905, they hired the Stormfelz-Lovely-Neville Company to initiate new developments. As part of their vision for Interlaken, the developers constructed the graceful stone gates on Grasmere Avenue that still announce your arrival into the borough.
With the exception of Bridlemere, eastern and western avenues ending in “mere” were named after lakes in England’s northern district. The cross streets of Iona, Staffa, Westra, Scarba, Barra and Rona were names taken from the Scottish Hebrides Islands in the Irish Sea.
Interlaken has always been a town of artists who were undoubtedly inspired by its serene lakeside setting. The town’s first mayor, Frank Stick, was the editor of Field and Stream magazine; he painted and also wrote. Other Interlaken artists included the painter Percy Couse and his sister Emily Birdsall. W.H.D. Koerner, well-known for his western art (and whose illustrations often appeared on Saturday Evening Post covers), was member of the early Interlaken town council. The Whitney Gallery of Western Art in Wyoming contains an exact replica of Koerner’s Interlaken studio.
Interlaken’s town council was established in 1922. When Interlaken seceded from Ocean Township, many predicted that the tiny borough – its total land area is 0.33-mile – would never be able to support itself. As a surprise to none of the 820 residents of Interlaken, it remains a strictly residential community… just as the original developers intended.