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? Don’t know yet) named Otis built a house across the intersection on the southeast corner.
I don’t know anything about the intervening period, but at some point in the 1920s the house was purchased by a German immigrant named Joseph Scherer. He turned the place into a restaurant/guest house he named “Scherer’s Inn”. Scherer and his family — a wife, four (or five) children, and some others — lived there as well as ran it.
I haven’t delved deeply into the Scherer family, but I know Joe Scherer was born about 1880. At the time the next owner, Bert N. Lamb, took over about 1941, Joe would have been about 60, and probably ready to retire after four decades or so of running an inn.
Bert Lamb, a New York entrepreneur, renamed it “Bert N. Lamb’s Riverdale Lodge”, and held a glorious grand opening on May 20, 1942. The place was open from 2 p.m. “until closing” and offered a buffet lunch and barbecue, accompanied by the sounds of Harold G. Hoffman’s band.
At some point — I want to say the 1970s, but perhaps earlier — the decision was made to widen that portion of the Newark-Pompton Turnpike. That spelled the end for the venerable old house. Today, the site is occupied by a gas station.