Waldwick Museum of Local History
4 Hewson Avenue
Waldwick, NJ 07463
The Museum is open one Sunday afternoon a month and for special events only.
I visited the Waldwick Museum of Local History during the Northwest Bergen History Coalition 8th Annual History Day for their exhibition, “How Immigration & the Railroad Shaped our Towns”. The Waldwick Museum is in the restored 1887 Railroad Station, which has served the town of Waldwick and the surrounding towns.
The Museum is has been planned for years and the restoration was spearheaded by Doug Cowie, the Vice-President of the Waldwick Community Alliance, who at the ribbon cutting ceremony at the opening on May 22nd, 2016, thanked resident, Kay Williams. Ms. Williams formed the Waldwick Historical Society in 1977.
In a ‘Brief History of the Borough of Waldwick’, the timeline for the town is:
Pre-1700: Lenni-Lenape Indians inhabited the land.
1600’s: European farmers settled the land.
Late 1700’s: Franklin Turnpike is a toll road.
1840’s: The Railroad connecting Jersey City with Suffern is built and ran through Waldwick, then named New Prospect.
1852: Erie Railroad Company takes over the railroad.
1880: New Prospect becomes a depot.
1886: An architectural Queen Anne Style depot is built. The depot is called ‘Waldwick’ meaning “Light in the Woods”. The depot brings more commerce to the area also called Orville Township.
1890: The Railroad Signal Tower is erected in a similar style as the Depot.
1919: The small railroad hamlet is incorporated as the Borough of Waldwick.
When I visited the museum that day, the theme of the day was how immigration had changed the suburbs and how the Town of Waldwick had a increase of Italian immigrants move into the town bringing their traditions with them and how it shaped the town.
They also had an extensive exhibition of the town’s railroad past with maps and pictures of the old railroads. The pictures are accompanied with memorabilia from the railroad era. There is also artifacts from the town in different eras on display.
The museum has limited hours and is run by volunteers. It is open one afternoon a month and for special events.