Joseph F. (Joseph Fulford) Folsom.

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are 12 teachers and 80 children in the Sunday-school.

The officers of the church are: Wardens, Arthur B.
Albertis and J. R. Wilde ; Vestrymen, S. A. Andrew,
S. P. Blceckcr, Henry C. De Witt, A. W. Graham,
L. A. Kimball, S. P. Morton, Calvin Peck, A. H. White-
field and F. L. H. Wood.

There is a Colored Baptist Church on Bloomfield
Avenue, near the Centre. The members of the Hebrew


Congregation meet in a building recently purchased on
Bloomfield Avenue, Glen Ridge. No statistics of these
are furnished.

The German Theological School of Newark
occupies the old academy building, which is situated in
Bloomfield, on Franklin and Liberty streets, near the
south end of the Green. The main recitation building
was formerly the home of the Bloomfield Academy.
This institution, now in its forty-third year, is under
the care of the Presbyterian Church in the United States
of America, and trains students for its ministry among
our foreign-born population. Originally started for
German students, its scope has been enlarged to include
Italians, Hungarians, Ruthenians and a growing poly-
glot work among all nationalities in our country.
Sixty students were enrolled last year. Rev. Charles
E. Knox, D.D., resigned the pastorate of the First
Presbyterian Church of Bloomfield in 1873, in order to
accept the presidency of the institution, then in its in-
fancy, and served it for twenty-seven years. It is in-
tended to erect a fine new building, to be known as
*'Knox Hall," for recitation and chapel purposes in the
near future. Rev. David R. Frazer, D.D., is president
of the Board of Directors.

The Faculty is composed of Rev. Henry J. Weber,
Ph.D., D.D., Professor of Theology and Church His-
tory; Rev. Carl T. Hock, Ph.D., D.D., Professor of
Classics and Hebrew ; Rev. Arnold W. Fismer, Ph.D.,
D.D., Professor of New Testament Exegesis and
Ethics ; Rev. Frederick W. Jackson, Ph.B., C.E., Pro-
fessor of English Language and Literature ; Rev. John
Dikovics, Instructor in Hungarian ; Rev. William A.
Berger, M.A., Instructor in Mathematics.


By William P. Sutphen

The early settlers of Bloomfield who came from
Newark were of English stock, while those who came
from Bergen and settled in the northerly section were
of Dutch descent. The tides met at Speertown, now
Upper Montclair, and at Stone House Plains. From
these came the founders of the old families of Bloom-
field whose names are still familiar. Among the Eng-
lish were the Wards, the Davises, the Morrises, the
Dodds and the Baldwins ; and among the Dutch, the
Cadmuses, the Cockefairs, the Siglers and the Van
Giesens, not to mention others. These families developed
large tracts of land, known as plantations. With the
clearing of the land the fertile soil made the section a
prosperous farming community ; and with the increase
in population there came the demand for industry.

The first mill of which we have any record is the old
saw mill built on the Morris plantation, which bore on
its corner stone the date "1702." The site of this mill
was the corner of Bay Avenue and Morris Place. It
served the people of the northern section for many gen-
erations, and its ruins remained until the year 1890,
when they were torn down and removed. This old mill
received its water from the Third River, which after
furnishing power to saw the logs of the surrounding
country, passed on just below the mill into Morris Pond,
whose waters were drained many years ago. With the
clearing of the forests more ponds were provided along
the various streams to furnish power for the saw and



grist mills, while bark obtained in the woods was used
in the tanneries. To utilize the straw raised on the
farms, paper miUs were established; while other inter-
ests, taking advantage of the splendid water facilities,
located in the same section. The Second and Third
rivers, which pass through the town on their way to
the Passaic River, furnished water power for the mills
which gradually grew up upon their banks. The
chief business center, however, developed upon the
Passaic River, in that territory of Bloomfield Town-
ship known as Second River. With the transporta-
tion facilities afforded by a navigable stream it was
natural that this site, later called Belleville, should de-
velop as a business center.

Industrial development began shortly after the close
of the War of 1812, and so rapid was its progress that
by 1830 Bloomfield was known as a manufacturing vil-
lage. At that time it contained six grist mills, two
cotton manufactories, five saw mills, four copper roll-
ing mills, three paper mills, one paint mill, two calico
print works, three woolen manufactories, and several
shoe factories, besides seventeen merchants. WTiile the
business development had been mainly along the bank
of the Passaic River, there had also been considerable
growth near the mountains along the smaller streams.
Convenient means of travel were afforded early in the
last century by the building of turnpikes, conducted as
toll roads, reaching to Newark and as far west as
Pompton, while added impetus was given to industrial
development in 1831 when the Morris Canal was built
through the township. This offered another means of
transit for passengers as well as for freight, and was
of particular benefit to the industries in the transporta-


tion of crude material, and of the finished product^
fon\^arded to the Newark and New York markets. On
this waterway a packet boat, launched in 1832, ran for
several years between Newark and Paterson, stopping
at Bloomfield. This new means of transportation added
greatly to the advantages of the central section of the
town for the development of manufactories.

In 1839 the Second River section of the township,
bordering on the Passaic River, which had long since be-
come known as Belleville, was set off as a separate mu-
nicipality. This partition not only reduced the im-
portance of Bloomfield as a commercial center, but also
reduced the population about one-half. According to
the census of 1840, the year after the separation, the
population of Belleville was 2,466, while that of Bloom-
field was 2,528. Notwithstanding this loss, Bloomfield
contained in that year three paper, one cotton and two
woolen factories, one dyeing and printing establish-
ment, one fulling mill, one copper rolling mill, two
grist mills, two saw mills, and one button factory.
These plants, however, were small compared with those
in the Belleville section, for it was but natural that
those planning large manufacturing establishments
should locate upon tide water, where every facility for
water transportation could be secured. At this time tlxe
capital employed in manufacturing in Belleville was
$479,000, while that invested in the industries remain-
ing in Bloomfield was only $111,000.

In 1856, through the efforts of enterprising Bloom-
fielders, the Newark and Bloomfield Railroad was com-
pleted. This road, which was operated as a branch of
the Morris and Essex, added greatly to the development
of the town ; for while it enabled the local manufacturer


to transport his finished product to the metropolitan
market, it also afforded an opportunity for the business
man of the city to make his home in the country, where
his family could enjoy the delights of field and wood,
avoiding the noise and dust of the city. With these
added facilities there began the growth of the commut-
ing element, which has become such a large proportion
of the present population. The delightful location of
Bloomfield, with its wide streets, magnificent elms, and
comfortable old homesteads, proved attractive to busi-
ness men seeking a country home, near enough to the
city for them to attend business each day without spend-
ing too much time in travel.

The construction of the New York and Greenwood
Lake Railroad in 1872 opened up another section of
the town, and afforded increased facilities for trans-
portation and travel.

Shortly after the close of the Civil War there began
increased activity in Bloomfield real estate ; several ven-
tures were undertaken in this line, one of the largest by
Robert Peele, who developed a large section in the
western part of the township. With increased demand
for building lots, there naturally developed a desire for
street improvements, for up to this time the streets were
simply graded, no pavements being laid either on the
sidewalks or the roadways. With the increased demand
the improvements gradually came. First, the stone
sidewalk, followed by gas street lamps, and then a
few of the streets were macadamized. The people of
Bloomfield, however, were rather conservative about
running into debt for improvements, as they had been
in 1868, when on the question of bonding for the Green-
wood Lake Railway, those in the northern end of the


township, known as Montclair, wishing the improvement,
withdrew and set up a government of their own. While
this spirit of conservatism has to some extent held back
needed improvements, it has prevented any rash step
through all the years of the town's history.

In early years industrial development came as a result
of abundant water power, while in recent years trans-
portation facilities have been mainly responsible for
such growth. In addition to the two railways men-
tioned, a branch of the Greenwood Lake Railroad,
running to Orange, traverses the southern section of the
town. With three railroad lines and the Morris Canal,
the facilities for bringing fuel and raw products within
easy reach, and even to the doors of the manufactories,
have been of tremendous advantage to enterprising
business men, with the result that while capital invested
in manufacturing establishments in the year 184*0, just
after Belleville separated from the township, was
$111,000, it is now approximately $8,000,000.

One of the old establishments, which is still in opera-
tion, is the woolen mill started by David Oakes in the
year 1830. This great plant has been kept in the
family, and the business is now conducted under the
firm name of Thomas Oakes and Company. These
mills are well known throughout the country through
the established reputation of their product. They now
employ about 450 people.

The modern industrial growth has occurred during
the last twenty years. In 1890 the Consolidated Safety
Pin Company moved to Bloomfield, establishing its large
industry along Tony's Brook, near the Lackawanna
Railroad. While manufacturing establishments may be
found in various parts of the town, the principal in-


dustrial section has developed near the junction of the
Orana-e Branch of the Greenwood Lake Railroad, and
the Newark and Bloomfield Branch of the Lackawanna
Railroad. During the last two decades the following
large establishments have located in Bloomfield: The
Sprague Electric Elevator Company, now a branch of
the General Electric Company, the Diamond Mills
Paper Company, the H. B. Wiggins Sons Company,
manufacturers of wall coverings, the Empire Cream
Separator Company, the Combination Rubber Manu-
facturing Company, Scott and Bowne, manufacturers
of Scott's Emulsion, and the Westinghouse Lamp Com-
pany, producing incandescent lamps. The last men-
tioned industry is the largest in the town, and employs
about 1,500 hands. This industry was removed to
Bloomfield in 1907. There are now nearly fifty manu-
facturing establishments in the community, of a widely
diversified character, which insures permanent employ-
ment to a large proportion of the citizens of the town,
while hundreds of employees in these industries come
from the neighboring municipalities. The labor is
mainly skilled and largely native born.

The increase in population has been steady, and at
certain periods rapid, as the following table of United
States Census figures will show:

1820 3,085 1870 4,580

1830 4,309 1880 5,748

1840 2,528 1890 7,708

1850 3,385 1900 9,668

I860 4,790 1910 15,070

The decrease in population noted in the figures for
1840 and 1870 is due to the separation of Belleville in
1839 and Montclair in 1868.


In 1871 the Bloomiield Savings Institution was
founded, the first president being Warren S. Baldwin.
This oldest of the financial institutions has aided greatly
in the development of the town by promoting thrift
among its inhabitants. Beginning business on May 9,
1871, it has by conservative management steadily grown
until on January 1, 1912, with nearly 4,000 depositors,
its deposits amounted to $1,185,000, and its surplus
was $115,000. The first meeting of the board of man-
agers was held at the residence of the founder, Zophar
B. Dodd, at the northeastern corner of Liberty and
State streets. The business was carried on in the base-
ment of the Dodd house until 1889, when the office was
removed to the Hill Building at Bloomfield Center.
Succeeding Mr. Baldwin, the following gentlemen have
served as presidents of this institution : Israel C. Ward,
1874; Jonathan W. Potter, 1886; William H. White,
1889 ; and Theodore H. Ward since 1904. The interest
paid on deposits has ranged from 7 per cent, from
1871-75, to 3 per cent, from 1885-94. Since 1910
4 per cent, has been paid on all amounts. In 1910
the Savings Institution erected on Broad Street, at
Bloomfield Center, a building to be devoted entirely
to the business of the bank. This building with a
monumental front is a very attractive feature of the

With the growth of the population, and the increase
in business, the need of a banking institution with larger
powers was realized, and to provide this want the
Bloomfield National Bank was organized on May 18,
1889, with the following directors: Thomas Oakes,
G, Lee Stout, Halscy M. Barrett, James C. Beach,
A. G. Darwin, Edward G. Ward, Henry K. Benson,


Willard Richards, Henry P. Dodd, William Colfax,
John P. ScherfF, Edmund H. Davey, Robert S. Rudd,
Polyhemus Lyon, and William A. Baldwin. The bank
opened for business on July 1, 1889, with the following
officers: President, Thomas Oakes; Vice-President,
William A. Baldwin; Cashier, Lewis K. Dodd. These
officials have continued to direct the affairs of the insti-
tution up to the present time. The first office of the
bank was at No. 1 Broad Street. In 1901 the bank
removed to its present building at the corner of Broad
Street and Bloomfield Avenue, where Martin's grocery
store had been located for many years. This handsome
bank building was the first pretentious structure erected
at Bloomfield Center. The original capital of the
National Bank was $50,000, which has recently been
increased to $100,000. The institution which was
founded to provide banking facilities for the community
has proved to be a profitable investment for its found-
ers. The growth in business has been steady, and on
January 1, 1912, its deposits amounted to $1,466,000;
while the surplus and undivided profits were $48,000.

The Bloomfield Trust Company is the most recent
banking institution established in the town, having been
organized in 1902, with a capital of $100,000 and a
surplus of $20,000. The original directors were John
Sherman, Joseph H. Dodd, William R. Broughton,
William H. White, Edwin M. Ward, Edward Oakes^
Robert M. Boyd, Jr., N. Harvey Dodd, John M. Van
Winkle, James N. Jarvie, W. W. Snow, A. R. Brewer,
and Allison Dodd.

Dr. William H. White was elected president, and
Joseph H. Dodd, secretary. The growi:h of the trust
company has been very rapid, the deposits on January


1, 1912, amounting to $1,560,000, while the surplus
and undivided profits amounted to $141,000, the origi-
nal surplus of $20,000 having been returned to the
stockholders. Their new building at the corner of
Bloonifield and Glenwood avenues at Bloomfield Center
is a substantial fire-proof office building of attractive
exterior, containing fully equipped offices both for the
trust company and for the use of tenants. In March,
1912, they moved from their original location at No. 1
Broad Street to their new building across the square.

Few municipalities of the size of Bloomfield have
three bank buildings equal to those at Bloomfield Center,
and the banking facilities afforded the people of the
town by these institutions are all that are needed even
for a community with such varied and extensive inter-
ests as are found in modern Bloomfield.

This town is notably a community of homes. Wliile
there are not many large estates, the number of citizens
who own their own homes is unsually large. This is due
in large measure to the encouragement and support
offered by building and loan associations, which have
played an important part in the development of the
town. The Essex County Building and Loan Associa-
tion is the oldest of these, having been organized Oc-
tober 18, 1885. This association is one of the largest
and most prosperous in the State of New Jersey, and
is recognized as a model institution of its kind. By
its last report it showed assets amounting to $900,000,
while during its history over $5,500,000 of savings
have been disbursed, a large part of which was used to
acquire homes. The Bloomfield Building and Loan
Association, while smaller, is a prosperous organization
of some years standing; while the Merchants and Me-


chanics, and the Prospect-Watsessing Building and
Loan Association have recently been organized. All of
these institutions are managed by local men who have
given freely of their time and thought, the results of
which have proved of great benefit, particularly to the
man of small means who, without the assistance secured
through such resources, would be unable to raise the
necessary funds to build a home for liis family.

In the winter of 1882-3 two disastrous fires occurred
near the center of the town, one destroying Archdea-
cons' Hotel, while the other resulted in the loss of a
large shop and several dwellings, notwithstanding the
determined efforts of volunteers to prevent the spread
of the flames. These heavy losses brought sharply to
the attention of the citizens the absolute necessity for
fire-fighting apparatus to prevent the repetition of such
destructive fires. On June 27, 1883, Essex Hook and
Ladder Company No. 1 was organized, and a truck was
purchased with volunteer subscriptions. This organiza-
tion received the enthusiastic support of the citizens of
the entire community, and the young men heartily vol-
unteered to perform fire duty. Not only did they ren-
der good service in this connection, but the truck house
became a social center where the men might spend their
evenings. On November 2, 1883, Bloomfield Hose Com-
pany No. 1 was organized, and the township provided
it with a jumper and hose. In September, the follow-
ing year, it changed its name to the Phoenix Hose Com-
pany No. 1, and purchased a handsome hose carriage.

Not until 1883 were water mains laid in the streets of
the town. The first contract, made with the Orange
Water Company, provided for ten miles of mains and
ninety-six fire hydrants. The first chief of the fire de-


partment was Andrew J. Marsh, since then the office has
been held by T. Howell Johnson, William U. Oakes,
Edgar D. Ackerman, B. F. Higgins, and James Y.
Nicoll. In 1885 Active Hose Company No. 2 was or-
ganized in the southern end of the town, and Excelsior
Plose Company was organized and located in Upper
Broad Street, at the corner of James. The need of
protection in the southeastern section caused the forma-
tion, in 1904, of Montgomery Hose Company No. 4<
and Brookdale Hose Company No. 5 was organized in

An electric fire alarm system throughout the town
permits of a quick call in time of need. The fire de-
partment is still volunteer and has a splendid record,
of which the entire town is proud. On July 8, 1908,
the twenty-fifth anniversary of the organization of the
department was celebrated, and was a gala day in the
old town. Hundreds of visiting firemen attended the
ceremonies which appropriately marked the occasion.

The only public municipal buildings owned by the
town are the fire houses, consisting of the double truck
and hose house on Bloomfield Avenue, near the Center,
and the houses occupied by Active, Excelsior and Mont-
gomery hose companies. Early in 1912 the efficiency
of tlie department was increased by the purchase of a
combination chemical wagon.

As has been stated, the water system of the town
was owned by the Orange Water Company. This com-
pany supplied water to the municipality and to the
citizens for many years. In the year 1903 the question
of municipal ownership was agitated. The water com-
pany asked $220,000 for its mains in the streets. This
amount was reduced to $150,000 by the company, but


the proposition was rejected by the voters at an elec-
tion. At a public meeting of the citizens the Council
was asked to offer the water company $90,000 for their
plant. This was done, and the offer was accepted.
Bloomfield thereupon embarked upon the unknown sea
of municipal ownership with many misgivings on the
part of the conservative element of the community.
As the town had no source of supply, it was necessary
to make a contract for its requirements. After a
thorough investigation, in which the Board of Trade
and Civic Union co-operated, a contract was entered
into with the Montclair Water Company, a subsidiary
of the East Jersey Water Company, by which the town
secured a long term contract for filtered water from
the Upper Passaic, at $65 per million gallons. The
result has been that municipal ownership, as carried on
in Bloomfield, has proved of immense advantage to the
town. Not only have the rates to the consumers been
materially reduced since the acquisition of the plant,
but the municipality makes no provision in its tax
budget for water consumed, and the water department
is making a net profit of more than $15,000 per year.
This result has been secured only by the conducting of
the department on a strictly business basis.

A sj-stem of sewers was constructed in the year 1898,
while macadamized road construction on a large scale
was undertaken the following year. These improvements
mark the beginning of a progressive policy in the town
which has been generally supported by the people in
succeeding years.

Many fraternities have established lodges in the town,
some of them reaching back to the first quarter of the
last century. These orders have had a large influence


in shaping the political and social life of the community.
Outside of societies connected with the churches the fol-
lowing are the most important fraternal and patriotic
orders :

Grand Army of the Republic,

Sons of Veterans,

Ancient Order of Hibernians,

Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks,

Daughters of Liberty,

Free and Accepted Masons,

Improved Order of Heptasophs,

Independent Order of Foresters,

Independent Order of Odd Fellows,

Junior Order United American Mechanics,

Knights of Columbus,

Knights of Honor,

Knights of the Maccabees,

Knights of Pythias,

K. U. V. Freundschaft Bund,

Loyal Association,

Modern Woodmen of America,

Royal Arcanum,

Brotherhood of America.

The following are the names of the several Polish
organizations, as furnished by their representatives:
The Saint Valentine Polish Association, The Saint
Rosary Men's Social Society, The Poniotawski Social
Club, The Polish Fife and Drum Corps, The Sobieski
Organization, and the Falkon Club.

Among the earlier associations which have had an
important influence in the development of Bloomfield
was the Eucleian Society of young men, organized in
1865, formed for "the improvement in mental culture
of its members and the cultivation of a literary taste in


our village." The meetings were held in Eucleian Hall,
over Horace Pierson's store, at the northeast corner of
Glenwood and Washington avenues at the Center, and
the society frequently provided lecture courses in which
noted public speakers appeared. Growing out of this so-
ciety there developed the Bloorafield Library Association,
which planned the building of a large public hall, and
the foundation of a public library. The hall was built
in 1874, and was used for many years for public gath-

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Online LibraryJoseph F. (Joseph Fulford) FolsomBloomfield, old and new; an historical symposium → online text (page 10 of 13)