Tomahawk Lake Waterpark celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2002. It?s been quite a journey.

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In the 1950s, workers (above) excavated a lake on the McMickle Farm. The formerly rundown property was soon transformed into a popular waterpark.

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Back in the 1950s, Howard and Pearl Laucks and Ernie and Phyllis Yonkers bought a rundown property known as the ?McMickle Farm? on McMickle Road in Byram Township, N.J. They built a lake for swimming, along with refreshment stands and restrooms, and opened a private picnic club.

It was called Tomahawk Lake because an Indian stone Tomahawk was found during construction. In fact, the lake was bulldozed out in the shape of a Tomahawk. Further, when Howard Laucks asked about changing the name McMickle Road to ?Tomahawk Trail,? the mayor, Carl Johnson, said, ?Sure, go ahead change it!?

The club was sold to Chester Wallace and others in 1956. Eventually, Wallace became sole owner and opened the club to the public in the 1970s.

During this time, Herb L. Closs, who worked at the construction company that had built the lake, began to frequent the park for its special deep-fried hotdogs. He encouraged Wallace to put in a waterslide built in to the natural terrain of mountain that surrounds the lake.

In 1979, our first bodyslide was built, emptying into a 3-foot-deep chlorinated drop-off pool. It was such a successthat soon after two other slides were added. And then a coasted sled ride was put in, and on and on and, eventually, Tomahawk Lake Picnic Park became Tomahawk Lake Waterpark.

Other attractions have been added: an 18-hold miniature golf course, circus tents for catered picnics, an arcade tent, bumper boats, paddle boats, a kiddie waterworld area and sand volleyball courts.

Not bad for rundown McMickle Farm.