Citizens semi-centennial association, Ridgewood.

Ridgewood, Bergan County, New Jersey, past and present online

. (page 7 of 19)
Online LibraryCitizens semi-centennial association, RidgewoodRidgewood, Bergan County, New Jersey, past and present → online text (page 7 of 19)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

awarded on July 12, 1897, to George E. Ferg^uson. Its cost was
twelve hundred and forty-six dollars. This building, when completed,
served as the home of the company until the erection of the present
Municipal Building, when quarters were provided for the company on
the ground floor.

During the following August, the first fire fighting apparatus was
received. It consisted of a hand-drawn hook and ladder truck equipped
with ladders, buckets, and small tools. The water supply throughout
the Village at that time was obtained from private wells. "When a fire
occurred, water was obtained from the nearby wells or streams.

The first fire to whicli the department responded was in a barn in
Glen Rock, owned by J. W. Edw^ards. The first fire attended by the
department within the Village was in a house on Irving Street occupied
by a Mr. Lawrence. Despite the efforts of the firemen, the house was

A second piece of apparatus, a hand-drawn Chemical Engine, was
placed in commission by the Village on March 11, 1899. It is now
held in j'eserve at the headquarters in case the present automobile ap-
paratus is out of commission or a fire occurs which requires additional

A hand-pull fire alarm bell was purchased in the early part of 1898
and installed in the Fire House on Hudson Street. It remained in



use there until superseded by the present Gamewell Alarm System.
It was then moved to the quarters of Hose Company No. 1, and placed
on a tower in the yard of C. A. Swarn, Kenilworth Place. Later the
bell was moved to the Circle Avenue home of Hose Company No. 1, and
afterwards equipped with an electric striker. The Gamewell bell was
at first mounted in the tower of the Opera House (Town Hall) but was
transferred to the roof of the Municipal Building when the latter was

Eagle Hose Company No. 1, was organized in January, 1900, as the
result of agitation on the part of residents east of the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook.
The first apparatus of this Company consisted of a carpenter's wagon
filled with ladders, buckets and other fire-fighting tools. This company
later dropped the word "Eagle" from its name and has since been
known as Hose Company No. 1.

The apparatus of both companies in the early days was drawn to fires
by hand or by teams that happened to be in the neighborhood of the
fire stations when an alarm was sounded.

Arrangements were made on March 20, 1900, with E. B. Van Horn
to furnish a team on alarm for the use of Hook and Ladder Company
No. 1. This arrangement continued until the Village purchased its own
team to be used both by the Fire Department and by the Department
of Streets. Hose Company No. 1 continued to use such teams as might
be available for some time thereafter. Finally the Village furnished
them with a team wliich was also used by the Department of Streets.

The installation of the Gamewell Fire Alarm System in July, 1900
(the first alarm during its test being sent from Box 14), and the con-
struction throughout the Village of a modern water-supply system
(which W71S officially tested by the Fire Department for fire protection
purposes on December 29, 1900) placed the Fire Department for the
first time in a position where it could effectively combat the dangers
of a serious conflagration. The department has since this time been
able to confine all fires to the buildings in which they started.

The officials of the department and of the Village have endeavored
to keep the department equipped with modern apparatus. In 1908 the
present Hook and Ladder Truck of Company No. 1 was purchased and
put into commission, and the original truck was sold. The present
Automo))ile Combination Chemical and Hose Car was purchased in 1912.

The department, consisting entirely of volunteers, has always been
known throughout the community for its efficiency and the high char-
acter of its membership.

Succeeding the first Cliicf of the Department, Dr. AValter Van Em-
burgh, and in the order of their tenure of office, the Chiefs of the depart-
ment have been: J. Calvin Bogert, Edwin Nickerson, D. J. O'Neill, Dr.
J. B. Hopper, George W. Courter, and the present incumbent, H. A.
Tice, who was appointed on March 2, 1915.


The department now consists of a Chief, H. A. Tice, two assistants,
Wm. Van Dien and Jesse Van Wagenen, a Superintendent of Fire



Alarm Telegraph, two Captains, tAvo Lieutenants, and twenty-four men.

The department headquarters and Hook and Ladder Company No.
1, are located on Hudson Street in the Municipal Building; while Hose
Company No. 1 is located on Circle Avenue.

The equipment of the department consists of one Locomobile, single
tank combination chemical and hose automobile ; one double tank horse-
di'aAvn chemical engine ; one horse-drawn hook and ladder truck ; two
hose wagons and four horses ; and the necessary working equipment.

The fire alarm system is under the supervision of Frank A. Harrison,
Superintendent of Fire Alarm Telegraph, and consists of twenty-eight
fire alarm street boxes, five special boxes located in schools, twenty-two
miles of hard-drawn copper wire, one two-thousand pound bell in the
Municipal Building, and one one-thousand pound bell in the Circle
Avenue house, with automatic strike attachments, indicators, and
tappers where required.

There are one hundred and thirty-six public hydrants and five private
hydrants in use for fire purposes.


The Board of Health is charged with the responsibility of protecting
the health of the citizens, and is empowered to make rules and regula-
tions, such as do not conflict with tliose of the State Board of Health,
to prevent the spread of contagious diseases, and to take such other
steps as may be deemed necessary to protect and conserve the health
of the community.

The records show that a Board of Health was established by the
Village Trustees on Jul}'' 15, 1895, though its members were not at
once appointed. As a matter of fact, safeguarding the health of our
Village was considered within the province of duties of the Board of
Trustees, who thus coiistituted themselves a Board of Health. The
history of the Board of Health, therefore, is the history of the Village
Ti'ustees until February 1, 1906, when the first recorded meeting of
a separate body was held for the purpose of organization.

During this time, however. The Village Improvement Association,
through its Sanitary Committee, investigated complaints regarding the
sanitary conditions of the Village and became active in related duties.
This committee was notably successful in ending the practice of dump-
ing garbage, ashes, and other refuse indiscriminately, and, in 1897,
it established a regular service for the collection of garbage and ashes,
the supervision of which was assumed by the Village officials in 1903.

Through the efforts of The Village Improvement Association, in
1897, an unsanitary open ditch, which ran between Kidgewood and
Franklin Avenues from a ])()int near Broad Street to the Ho-Ho-Kus
Brook, was filled in.

In 1900 it established the practice of placing signs upon all homes
which held cases of infectious disease.

The first Board of Health consisted of the following members :
President, Frederick W. Gardner ; Secretarv, Dr. John T. Hanks ; Dv.
H. A. Willard, Dr. John B. Hopper, and Win. H. Moore. Dr. C. A.
DeMund was appointed Health Officer, Wm. II. Moore, Plumbing In-



spcctor, and J. Blauvelt Hopper, Registrar of Vital Statistics. These
officials met once a month in the old Fire House until the following
flune, when the Board began holding two, and sometimes more, meet-
ings a month. By-laws wei'c adopted Februaiy (i, 1906, wlien J. Blau-
velt lIoi)per was appointed Clerk. On ^larch (itli of the same year,
Judge David D. Zabriskie was made Counsel to the Board; in August,
C!eo]'ge 11. Soult took the oHice of Phunbing Inspector, in place of
Mr. Moore; and in October, Dr. II. H. Pettit became Health Officer,
superseding Dr. DeMund. John B. Zabriskie was appointed Counsel
in January, 1907, succeeding Judge David D. Zabriskie. On May 7,
1907, owing to the death of Mr. Gardner, Edward T. White was
appointed a member of the Board, and Dr. Hopper was elected Presi-
dent. On January 5, 1910, Mr. White became President.

The first garbage and ash collector was J. I. Van Blarcom, who
was appointed in February, 1906. Dr. Hopper superseded him in
June, 1907, and upon his retirement in November of the same year,
tlie Faber brothers, who operated the Ridgewood Disposal Works,
were granted a license to carry on the garbage and ash collection work.

The Board moved into the old Wilsey Building in November, 1908.
In Fel)ruary, 1909, Mr. Soult became Registrar of Vital Statistics,
succeeding Mr. Hopper. On March 16, 1910, Doctors W. L. V^room
and C. A. DeMund were appointed members of the Board, taking the
places of Doctors Hopper and AVillard, while Clarence A. Demarest
was appointed Clerk.

Tlie first ordinance passed by this Board June 27, 1906, was that
relating to nuisances, privy vaults, and cesspools ; scavengers, conta-
gious diseases, burials, etc. This ordinance is still in force, with an
added amendment regarding scavengers, made effective in 1908. Before
this, however, in March, 1904, the Village Trustees enacted Ordinance
No. 54. This dealt with rules and regulations relating to plumbing,
water supply, and ventilation of buildings. It was superseded in June
of last year, however, by the present Plumbing Code. In 1907, the
Board passed an ordinance dealing with proper sewer connections of
houses and other buildings ; and in 1908, an ordinance was passed
I'cgulating the handling and sale of milk. This was supplemented in
1910 by a provision for the licensing of persons, corporations, or asso-
ciations of persons to deal in milk. In 1909, the Board enacted an
ordinance directing the elimination of breeding-places of mosquitoes ;
and in 1911 one regulating proper care and cleaning of stables and
the disposition of manure.

In 1909, with the financial help of a few public-spirited citizens,
tlic services of a visiting nurse were secured for a short period, in
a laudable effort to foster, by instruction in improved methods of house
care, better living conditions in certain of our homes. The formation
of the Ridgewood Relief Society was a direct result of this effort.

In the Spring of 1910, a plan for the regular inspection of dairy
])remises was adopted with the set purpose of inculcating and enforc-
ing among the dairymen modern and efficient dairy methods in the
production of high-grade milk. From time to time, samples of milk
from the local dealers have been procured by the Board for analyses.



This requirement has had a salutary effect, and consequently high
standards have been ensured and maintained. It is satisfactory to
report that in a recent statement issued by the Division of Creameries
and Dairies of the State Board, the condition of the Ridgewood dairies
was declared as the best in the State. In addition to the supervisions
of the local Board, a plan was arranged in 1913 with the State Board
to have its inspectors make occasional visits to Ridgewood.

The Board has always kept in close touch with the Village water
conditions. One of its accomplishments has been the installation of
a regular system of tests.

The work of exterminating the mosquito has been carried on in
a vigorous manner for several years. Oil has been spread on all
stagnant water and in the lowlands, while many breeding places have
been drained and filled. During the past year the work has been
supplemented by the Bergen County Mosquito Extermination Com-
mission, the representatives of which, in addition to much valuable
work, have inspected and charted every foot of ground in the Village.

In May, 1910, the Board moved into the Trust Company Building,
but later, in June, 1911, was installed in its present office in the
Municipal Building. On August 9, 1911, George B. Richardson was
appointed Sanitary Inspector in the place of Mr. Soult. Mr. Moore,
however, temporarily acted in this capacity for a short season.

With the change in Village Government, in December, 1911, the
entire Board automatically went out of office, and the Commissioners
appointed a new Board naming Edward T. White as President, Dr.
W. L. Vroom as Secretary-Treasurer, the other members being Edward
S. Brower, John Harmon, and Robert W. Muns. These, with Health
Officer Pettit, Inspector Murphy, Clerk Demarest, and Registrar Morris,
constitute the present Village Health organization. Until the appoint-
ment of John J. Murphy, Frank Stevens acted as Registrar of Vital
Statistics. When Wilbur Morris was appointed Village Clerk in Feb-
ruary, 1912, he also assumed the title and duties of Registrar. Mr.
Richardson, owing to the provisions of the Walsh Act, could not legally
serve as Inspector and was made Deputy Health Officer, his duties
combining that of Inspector. Subsequently, Inspector Robert B.
Murphy, the present incumbent, was appointed and took office Jan-
uary 2, 1912.

In 1912, Joseph Houlihan was appointed Deputy Inspector for
several weeks to examine conditions in the Village pertaining to out-
houses, stables, sewer connections, breeding-places for mosquitoes, etc.
He reported 72 outside privies and 73 violations of the manure

Consideration of the control of contagious diseases in the schools
and churches was jointly taken up by the School Board and the Ridge-
wood Medical Society in 1912, and, after numerous conferences, rules
and regulations were formulated which greatly improved the quarantine

During 1913, the Board instituted inspections of all local ice-cream
factories and noted the sanitary conditions of the Village stores.
Licensed vendors were also placed under inspection.



111 1914, the new State Law restrictions required an examination
for glanders of all horses removing into New York State. To comply
with this regulation, over 200 horses were examined, but no trace of
the disease was found.

In April, 1915, what might have proved a severe epidemic of scarlet
fever was checked by the prompt action of the Board in closing certain
of the public schools, Sunday-schools, and other places Avhere children

In May of the same year the Board, with the aid of the Women's
Club and the Boy Scouts, inaugurated a vigorous anti-fly campaign.
Mr. J. E. Coyle, of the Boy Scouts, was appointed a temporary Special
Inspector, with the boys as his active assistants.

Early in the present year an epidemic of measles broke out which
became a cause of considerable concern on the part of the Board. A
rigid enforcement of the quarantine, however, proved effective in
holding it within bounds. Owing to the inconveniences and possible
distress imposed on families of patients by long periods of quarantine,
and to accord with the custom adopted in other representative muni-
cipalities, the exclusion period from school was reduced to fourteen

On July 8, 1916, a special meeting was held to devise methods
to prevent the spread to Ridgewood of the infantile-paralysis epidemic
then raging in New York. As a means to this end the Sunday-schools,
the Y. M. C. A., and Play House were closed to children under sixteen,
and numerous other measures were taken, which proved effective. Since
then a joint meeting has been held in Ridgewood of the Boards of
Health of Ridgewood, Glen Rock, Ho-ho-kus, and Midland Park, to
discuss ways and means of preventing a spread of the disease. As
a result all visiting children were detained, while those from infected
districts were quarantined for observation for a period of two weeks.
A discussion of the County Isolation Hospital followed, and a joint
resolution was submitted to the Freeholders urging its early comple-
tion. It is hoped that the hospital, as well as the proposed co-oper-
ative laboratory, will become acquisitions of the very near future.


The first shade trees that were planted along the highways in
Ridgewood are located on Maple Avenue and extend north about one-
half mile from Ridgewood Avenue. They were set out during the
early sixties along their properties on both sides of the street by
Captain Samuel Dayton, Samuel Graydon, B. F. Robinson, A. J.
Cameron, A. J. Zabriskie and Richard Van Dien,

A large number of trees were given to the Village in 1880 by
I. W. England and were set out under the direction of J. W. Ed-
wards and B. F. Robinson.

The first organized effort for the improvement of the public grounds
was made in 1897, when The Village Improvement Association caused
the grounds surrounding the Opera House to be plowed, grass-seed
sowed, and a number of bushes planted. The association continued
to care for the grounds for a number of years. Through their efforts



the Erie Railroad officials in 1901 gave flowers for beds and placed
benches near the station. It was due to their efforts also that in 1897
all signs and advertisements were removed from trees and rocks in
conspicuous places throughout the Village.

As the resvTlt of further efforts of The Village Improvement
Association, individual pro})ei'ty owners in 1!)01 furnislicd approxi-
mately two hundred trees and set out the present silver maple trees
on Godwin Avenue as far as IMelrose Place, on Franklin Avenue from
Monroe Street to the railroad tracks, and along Ridgewood Avenue
from the railroad tracks to North Pleasant Avenue.

Until the establishment of the first Shade Tree Commission no
further organized effort was made by the citizens, although numerous
trees were set out from time to time by individual property owners.


New Jersey, as well as Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and other
States has, by statute, made In-oad provisions for the care and plant-
ing of shade trees on the liighways. Under tliese laws, in January,
1909, Ridgewood 's fii-st Shade Tree Commission was apjioiiited. Its
members were 1. E. llutton, Chairman, Maurice Eornachon and T. .).
Foster. F. R. Meier was made Secretary. Soon after its organization,
Mr. Fornachon removed from the Village and was succeeded l)y George
H. Stevens.

The present Commission consists of W. H. Maier, Chairman, Louis
Chable, Secretary, and A. C. Brooks. Samuel D. Graydon is Super-
intendent. Mr. Graydon has also served as a member of the Com-
mission, having been appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the
resignation of the former Commissioner J. H. Birch.

The Commission has followed a systematic plan of planting trees
along all our streets; of caring properly for the thousands of street
and park trees that beautify the Village; and of removing dead and
undesirable trees.


To the jurisdiction of the Shade Tree Commission is committed
by statute the planting, setting out, maintenance, protection, and care
of the shade ti-ees in the public highways of the Village; and also
the management, maintenance, improvement, repair, and control of
tlie ])u])lic parks ])cloiiging to the Village.


In the discharge of their duties the Shade Tree Commissioners may
tentatively decide to plant trees along certain streets or parts of
streets. The statute requires that notice of such intention to plant
be advertised once in a village newspaper at least twenty days before
a public hearing at which the final decision is made; or at least ten
days before the hearing such notice may be served personally upon
any owner of real estate in front of whose property it is proposed
to plant or remove a tree. This advertisement or notice announces
the intention to plant, and gives the date and hour of the meeting


at which final decision is to be made. At this meeting a careful hear-
ing is given to all suggestions and objections, and such changes as
then seem advisable are made in the proposed plan,


During tJie past four years there wei'c set out by and under the
autliority of the Commission the folhiwing trees, along about eight
miles of streets : вАФ

Adrway iii;i|ilcs 802

lied Oi'iks 153

(hiontal planes 140

Pin oaks 92

Scarlet oaks 41

Crimean linden 35

Tnlip 35

European linden 18

Li(|uida]nl)ar 12

Ailantlnis 7

L()!nbai'(ly poplars 3

iSugar maples 2

1 ,430

Of these about 30 trees were replacements. The number of new trees
planted by the Shade Tree Conmiission within these four years is
therefore about 1400.

The thoughtful citizen will realize and appreciate what an increas-
ingly valuable asset these trees will become to the Village and how
great a part they will play in making our "Ridgewood Beautiful".

The cost of statutory planting (that is, planting done under the
authority of the statute creating Shade Tree Commissions) is assessed
against the properties benefited and is entered upon the tax bill. Once
paid, such an assessment does not recur, as the cost of any replace-
ments of these plantings is borne by the Commission. Tree planting
done by request is charged for at the time of the planting.


The proper care of the trees is a matter of labor and of expense
tliat is proportionately increased with each year's planting of addi-
tional trees.

The soil about the trees must be kept by cultivation or mulching
in such condition as to conserve the moisture, to protect the roots and
l)ase from winter's harmful effects, and to add plant food to the soil.
In times of drought the trees must be watered. At regular intervals
the trees must be sprayed.

Defective or irregular branches must be pruned, cavities must be
cleansed, and branches that grow so low as to interfere with pedes-
trians on sidewalks or with vehicles on tlie streets must be removed.
In zealously performing its duties, the Commission finds its reward
in adding to the comfort of the public and in increasing the beauty
of the Village.




The Commission has recently set out a number of trees in Linwood
Park, established in 1910. It has also the care of the trees on the
land acquired by the Village for a Parkway along the Ho-Ho-Kus
Brook. This Parkway was begun as the result of an investigation in
1908 by the civic improvement expert, Mr. Charles Mulford Rob-
inson. When completed, it will be one of the most beautiful and
attractive features of the Village.


The Commission has recently been responsible, under an arrange-
ment with the contractors, for the laying out and planting of the trees
and shrubbery in the new station improvements.


In order to safeguard the citizens against imperfect and unsafe
building structures and to reduce to a minimum the fire hazards of
the Village, the Board of Commissioners adopted, on the 25th of Feb-
ruary, 1913, a building code which regulates and controls the con-
struction, alteration, and repair of all buildings in the Village, and
which provides for a Building Committee of not less than three, a
Superintendent of Buildings, and an Inspector of Buildings, who are
charged with the duty of seeing that the ordinances are strictly en-

The Building Committee consists of the three Village Commis-
sioners. Mr. F. W. Simonds, the Village Engineer, is Superinten-
dent and Inspector of Buildings.


As its name implies, this department has to do with the entire
handling of the receipts and expenditures of the municipality that
has adopted the commission form of government. The laws of the
State, however, particularly except the finances of the Board of Edu-
cation from this control. Money for education is raised by taxation,
like all the rest of the Village moneys, but it is paid over to the Board
of Education for expenditure under their own control and accounting.

In January of each year the Board of Commissioners prepare a
budget of the money which in their judgment is required to run the
Village. This budget is adopted finally in July. The Assessor is then
given the amount required and it is then his business to raise by tax-
ation the money asked for. The appropriations for the Board of
Education in Ridgewood are voted by the taxpayers at a special elec-
tion called for this purpose. The budget prepared by the Board of
Commissioners is not submitted to the voters for their approval.

The money required to run a municipality is spent before it is

1 2 3 4 5 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Online LibraryCitizens semi-centennial association, RidgewoodRidgewood, Bergan County, New Jersey, past and present → online text (page 7 of 19)