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The History of Miss Lotta: The Person and The Ship

Miss Lotta on a cruise around Lake Hopatcong at sunset

Miss Lotta is a Lake Hopatcong and Northern New Jersey favorite. But what’s the real history behind the beloved 57-foot SkipperLiner? Where did it get its name and how did it come to be?

Miss Lotta / Photo Credit: Lake Hopatcong Cruises

Miss Lotta, The Person

Lotta Crabtree was born in 1847 in New York City to British immigrants Mary Ann Livesey Crabtree and John Ashworth Crabtree. Lotta started to dance and sing when she was just six years old. 

Lotta would move around a lot throughout her life, performing for large audiences while her mother worked as her manager. She acted in plays and later became one of the most famous American stage actresses. By the 1880s, she was the highest-paid actress in America.

In 1885, her mother purchased property on Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey, where she had a summer cottage built as a gift to Lotta. This cottage wasn’t like the type of cottage you’re thinking of. It included eighteen magnificent rooms, a wine cellar, a music room and much more. Lotta would visit the cottage for relaxation in the summers. You can see this cottage on our Fantastic Homes cruise or the Historical Excursion.

In 1889, Lotta suffered a fall and sustained injuries. After she recovered, she sought a comeback but ended up retiring permanently in 1892 at 45. Lotta and Mary Ann decided to live at their cottage on Lake Hopatcong, where Lotta was the most famous resident of the time.

After Mary Ann died in 1905, Lotta sold the cottage but remained friendly with the community of Lake Hopatcong. She would then move to Boston and regularly travel in the following years. On September 25, 1924, Lotta passed away at 76.

Miss Lotta, The Boat

Miss Lotta, the boat, was originally known as Southern Belle and was located on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. Lake Hopatcong Cruises renamed Southern Belle to Miss Lotta to honor the beloved local Vaudevillian actress. In the summer of 2013, Miss Lotta was transported to Lake Hopatcong on a wide-load transport flatbed and was carefully lifted into the lake by two large cranes and now resides on Nolan’s Point.

After her arrival, Miss Lotta was completely restored, renovated, and expanded. This beautiful state-of-the-art boat now includes a fully enclosed dining room, upper deck, full-service bar and audiovisual system and can accommodate up to 49 guests. Miss Lotta cruises around Lake Hopatcong, showcasing the alluring and gorgeous sights of the lake and even passing Lotta Crabtree’s summer cottage on Van Every Cove, part of the nationally registered Mount Arlington Historic District.

Cruise Aboard Miss Lotta

Miss Lotta is open six days a week from May to October. Whether rain or shine, the spectacular views on this crowd-favorite and history-enriched cruise will leave you with an exceptional experience that you won’t forget.

Miss Lotta / Photo Credit: Lake Hopatcong Cruises



We will see you next year for Miss Lotta's 10 Year Anniversary

Check back soon for more updates.