Parsippany’s Hidden Gem

by Sally Capone
March 22, 2022

Just a hop, skip, and a jump from one of the busiest stretches of highway in the state, waterfowl and brightly colored sailboats glide along a serene body of water. Sunbathers stretch out on beach chairs while children frolic in the sand. Anglers try their luck in a lake stocked with trout. All these recreational activities can be enjoyed today thanks to, of all things, The New York Daily Mirror. Lake Parsippany and the enclave surrounding it were created by the media company in 1930 to boost revenue.

As a rather interesting business plan, the Mirror Holding Corporation purchased acres of pasture and farmland in Parsippany, hoping the community would generate faithful readers. The lake was created by digging out 159 acres and erecting a dam, while the surrounding area was divvied into 7,916 lots available to anyone agreeing to subscribe to the 

Daily Mirror for six months. The lots, measuring 20×100 feet, were offered for $98.50 each, but building a cabin required the purchasing of two lots at minimum.

It didn’t take long before Lake Parsippany began feeling and acting like a tight-knit community, intermingling seasonal and year-round residents. From the 1,500 lot owners in attendance at the 1933 meeting to incorporate the Lake Parsippany Property Owners Association, the community quickly blossomed. The Spring 1934 Lake Parsippany Pilot urged residents to “be a booster, tell everyone you meet about the beauties and opportunities of Lake Parsippany… you should be proud to tell the whole world.” And proud they were. Gobel’s Athletic Field was dedicated on July 4, 1941 in honor of Harry Gobel, Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills town board. Soon after, Drewes Beach, Hoffman Beach, Johnson Beach, and Joerges Beach were dedicated to property owners and WWII heroes who’d lost their lives in service to their country.

Today, 59 years after The New York Daily Mirror ceased publication, the community it started as a way to gain readership is far beyond what might have been expected. While some modified bungalows and narrow tree-lined roads can still be found throughout this highly sought neighborhood, few may realize they have a “10% news and 90% entertainment” tabloid newspaper to thank.