Tag: Exploring Historic Bergen County NJ

Bergenfield Museum Society                                                    100 Cooper Street                                                       Bergenfield, NJ 07621

Bergenfield Museum Society 100 Cooper Street Bergenfield, NJ 07621

Bergenfield Museum Society

100 Cooper Street

Bergenfield, NJ 07621

(201)

https://www.facebook.com/bergenfieldmuseum/

https://bergenfield.com/boards/museum-society

https://sites.google.com/site/bergenfieldmuseumsocietypage/

Open: Sunday (Last day of the month)/Monday Closed/Tuesday 1:00pm-3:00pm/Wednesday-Friday Closed/Saturday 1:00pm-3:00pm

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46301-d24838399-Reviews-Bergenfield_Museum-Bergenfield_New_Jersey.html

I visited the Bergenfield Museum recently, a museum that I have to admit I never knew existed and I know almost all the museum in Bergen County and was surprised what an informative museum it was not just showcasing the history of Bergenfield but of Bergen County. Room by room the museum is filled with displays on the history of the town, and it has progressed through the last two hundred years.

The Bergenfield Museum at 100 Cooper Street

The museum is located in the back of Cooper Park towards the back of the pond. The museum is part of a complex of barns that were once small manufacturing companies owned by the families that owned the house. The grounds have the three barns that are not in use now and the home that overlooks the pond. This beautiful park was created during the Great Depression and is a wonderful place to just walk around in and relax from everyday life.

The view of Coopers Park and Pond from the museum front porch

The history of the house and grounds of the Bergenfield Museum

Please note getting to the museum can be confusing as Google Maps and the museum diagram to get there are wrong. You will need to go down Ralph Road and then park before entering the complex. It is hard with the turnaround in the site to drive out with your car.

The entrance to the Bergenfield Museum at 100 Cooper Street

The entrance to the museum off Ralph Street. Please follow the signs.

I was met with a very enthusiastic group of volunteers who are so proud of the house and the way it is presented to the public. When you enter the house, you are met in the foyer of the home which is filled with pictures and small displays and then led to what was the parlor room where the family would have all their entertainment and socializing. Inside the room there is a very interesting portrait of a mysterious woman, who even the museum docents do not who she is, located above the fireplace.

The room is decorated in period furnishings and even has one of the original phonographs. My docent, David, showed me how it worked and how you were able to get the volume up on the record player by opening one of the small doors in the cabinet.

The ‘starter’ organ in the Living Room

The home was once a working farm/business

The room towards the back has an extensive collection of toys from the last one hundred years. There were several toys such a china dolls and metal ovens that were popular in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to modern Fisher Price toys of the 1970’s that I remember growing up with as a kid. The site had once been a toy factory before the turn of the last century and these displays honor that history.

The Toy Room at the Bergenfield Museum is quite extensive

You have everything from stuffed animals to Fisher Price toys in the Toy Room

The museum is very much dedicated to the history of the Borough of Bergenfield, NJ. There are nice displays of the town’s school district and its history. The old school system pictures feature items from elementary school to high school and items that students would have used at the school. The elementary school featured in many of the pictures is still used by the town today according to my tour guide, David that afternoon. He told me he had attended the school growing up.

There was a small display of both the Bergenfield Fire and Police Departments and their progression through the years in the town. It is funny how much has changed cosmetically about the look of the job but the job itself is still the same. Helping people and keeping the town safe.

The Fire and Police Department display at the Bergenfield Museum

When you enter what was once the dining room, is the Chair Collection of Tunis Richard Cooper, whose factory was one of the barns on the property.

The Chair Factory rules

Some of the samples of the chairs manufactured at the barn factory

There were all sorts of makes and kinds of chairs throughout the room as well as many decorative pieces. The museum has an extensive collection of all the decorative furnishings that were made on the property including what the factory looked like and the rules and conduct of the employees working there.

The working mill building on the property

The next room is the working kitchen of the original house with all sorts of kitchen equipment through the ages including a collection of toasters. There is also a working heart where the volunteers do some cooking.

Everything to keep a kitchen running

The hearth of the kitchen is where all the action was in the kitchen

The back room of the house has a large military display that includes local heroes of the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI and the Vietnam War. There are all sorts of memorabilia from the soldiers and their families.

The Military display describes Bergenfield’s contribution to military battle from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam

The Military Room showcases our contributions on freedom

The patriotic duties of the town of Bergenfield, NJ

The museum has a 9/11 Memorial to the town and its contributions to that horrible day

Take time to walk the grounds and admire the park. This beautiful green space was built by the WPA during the Depression and the landscaped park includes Cooper’s pond, extensive gardens and paths of green lawn.

The grounds of the museum were once a farm and a working factory environment

The factory/barn on the Bergenfield Museum property

The grounds of the Bergenfield Museum in Cooper’s Pond Park

Cooper’s Pond Park is a quiet and very green oasis from the distractions of today. It is a nice patch of nature to just walk around in and relax and enjoy the beautiful sunny weather.

The History of the Bergenfield Museum:

Two Hundred years after the founding of the United States, local historian, Betty Schmelz began collecting artifacts that were essential for telling Bergenfield’s story. By 1988, her small collection had blossomed into full museum displays comprised of a century’s worth of wedding dresses, Camp Merritt and WWI memorabilia and testaments to the Bergenfield Music Department.

The Bergenfield Music Department display

From 2002 to 2014, the museum closed, and the collection was moved to storage until negotiations were settled with the Borough of Bergenfield. In July of 2013, volunteers reassembled the items for public viewing and began rehabilitation efforts.

The Museum House Timeline:

(From the museum’s pamphlet)

The tools to create those wonderful and decorative chairs

The Tunis R. Cooper property was originally owned by French Huguenot immigrants, the Demarest family. After years of changed ownership and purpose, the legacy of the property is now protected by the Bergenfield Museum Society:

The timeline of the town and its development

*1677-1693: The Demarest family negotiates a deed for the Cooper Property with local Native Americans and settles throughout Schraalenburgh (now known as Bergen County).

*1840: Richard Tunis Cooper purchases the property and begins hiring local farmers to manufacture chairs.

*1849-1890’s: Richard’s son, Tunis Richard Cooper, purchases the property and establishes a successful chair factory. A major warehouse is opened in New York City.

*1897-1997: Ownership of the estate changes several more times:

-1897: Toymaker Oskar Martin, purchased the property.

-1908: Amos Bergman holds ownership until his death.

-1949: Bergman housekeeper, Daisy Coringrato, sells the property to wool importers, Alec and Catherine Marchbank.

*1997: Marchbank family initiates efforts to preserve the remaining Cooper Chair Factory and surrounding land.

*2004: The Borough of Bergenfield purchases the property with the four remaining buildings and solidifies preservation efforts.

*2013: The Bergenfield Museum successfully opens with a collection of authentic Bergen County artifacts.

Day One Hundred and Sixty-Five: Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. presents “From Revolution to Renewal-Exploring Historic Bergen County, NJ”          Essentials of Marketing Class Project-Bergen Community College                                           April 27th, 2020

Day One Hundred and Sixty-Five: Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. presents “From Revolution to Renewal-Exploring Historic Bergen County, NJ” Essentials of Marketing Class Project-Bergen Community College April 27th, 2020

To all your history buffs, please visit Bergen County, NJ for interesting experience of visiting our historical sites and restaurants. Check out our Team Project from Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. “From Revolution to Renewal-A Historical Tour of Bergen County”.

Professor Justin Watrel, CEO & Co-Founder Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc.

mywalkinmanhattan

I had the most interesting semester for Spring Term at the college where I work. Everything started off fine. We had classes in the the afternoon, good discussions on Marketing and had a very successful Team Project marketing the Lyndhurst Snack Shop, the new Bulldog Cafe, for business (See Day One Hundred and Fifty-Nine in MywalkinManhattan.com):

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/12969

BCC Bulldogs

The Bulldog Cafe on the Third Floor of the Bergen Community College Campus

https://www.facebook.com/gdsbulldogcafe/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46586-d20210133-Reviews-Bulldog_Cafe-Lyndhurst_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The Project I gave the students:

BCC-Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. Snack Shop Project 2020

I had just handed out the next Team Project, “From Revolution to Renewal: Exploring the  Historic Bergen County”, a major tourism project I wanted to the students to work on for the remainder of the semester the week before the break. I had the students to break up into groups and get to know one another and get their game plans…

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Waldwick Signal Tower                                             1 Bohnert Place                                         Waldwick, NJ 07463

Waldwick Signal Tower 1 Bohnert Place Waldwick, NJ 07463

Waldwick Signal Tower

1 Bohnert Place

Waldwick, NJ  07463

http://www.wctower@optimum.net

http://www.allaboardwaldwick.org/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erie-Railroad-Signal-Tower-Waldwick-Yard/135792839782599

Open: Please note the website for when the two buildings, the tower and the railroad station museum are open.

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46892-d10366154-Reviews-Erie_Railroad_Signal_Tower-Waldwick_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

This was the second time I visited the Waldwick Signal Tower, one of the last surviving of its kind on the railroad line. The architectural Queen Anne Style depot was built in 1886. The depot was called ‘Waldwick’ meaning “Light in the Woods”. The railroad signal tower was erected in 1890 in a similar style as the depot (Waldwick Historical Society).

Waldwick Signal Tower II

The History of the Signal Tower

The tower is a two story museum right next to the tracks in a rather obscure location in the back which you have to reach coming off Hopper Road to 1 Bohnert Place and the parking lot is off to the side.

Waldwick Signal Tower IV

There is some walking here and not ADA accessible as the building was built so long ago but you can see it from a car from the parking lot and get a feel for its look and purpose at an earlier time in history. The main room downstairs had an interesting exhibition of railroad deeds from the various railroads that used to be part of the system of Bergen County whereas the upstairs which can be reached from the outside.

Upstairs you get a better view of the tracks and the surrounding area. There was a train video going the first time I was there and there are members of the Waldwick Historical Society on hand to answer any questions.

Waldwick Signal Tower History:

Waldwick’s Train Signal Tower is both historically and architecturally significant. It is a rare historical treasure for its residents and railroad enthusiasts from far and wide. Before the turn of the 20th Century, the Waldwick rail yard was an active repair depot and turn station for the Erie Main Line from Jersey City, NJ to Port Jervis, NY and was a major employer in Waldwick thus  contributing  to the borough’s residential and commercial growth.

The ornate Queen Anne style building was built in 1890 and housed the mechanism connecting switches and signals allowing trains to safely move from one track to another. The tower men who operated the switches by hand had great power indeed in their time.

By the mid-1980’s, upgrades in computerized signal equipment warranted the elimination of the tower. The tower was slated for demolition in June 1987. The Waldwick Historical Society members led by Kay Williams campaigned to place the tower on The National Registry of Historical Places. This accomplishment allowed the tower to at least stay dormant till the next wave of enthusiasts came along in 1999.

Waldwick Signal Tower III

The tower before the renovation

Michael Brunkhorst and Glenn Corbet banded together a group of citizens to form the All Aboard committee of Waldwick’s Historical Society. Curtis Springfield of Wanaque, who is the great-grandson of the renowned locomotive engineer, Harvey Springfield, got wind of the tower’s trials. He stepped up to the plate and purchased the tower for $6,000 then gave the Tower to the Borough of Waldwick as a gift to preserve for future generations in honor of the trainman’s family name.

The small All Aboard group set out to create awareness of the tower’s existence and it’s plight. Before long, fund drives were organized grant applications were filed. The response of a number of supporters including Mr. Robert Keeble, have given this project a solid start.

Meticulous measures are currently being made and can now be witnessed at the track end of Bohnert Place, to maintain the tower’s historical authenticity. Attention is being given to the placement of exact shaped decorative shingles and the repair and replacement of the original slate roof are among the initial stages of it’s restoration.

Waldwick Signal Tower

The Mission Statement:

The All Aboard continues seeking membership and financial support to complete the tower with the vision of becoming “The Harvey Springfield Memorial Tower at Waldwick” for generations of Waldwick citizens and for rail enthusiasts everywhere. If funding continues the tower is sure to be the pride of Waldwick with time and care.

This information comes from the Waldwick Historical Society’s pamphlet.

All Aboard Waldwick

Bless this tower, standing tall,

With Memories we share with all;

Bless the levers standing there,

Their work now finished,

with a prayer;

Bless this time in history now,

Remembering its always, this we vow;

Bless the ones who share this song,

And keep us all in health and strong.

Words by Helen Taylor.

A Brief History of the Borough of Waldwick

Pre-1700: Lenni-Lepane 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.

Disclaimer: This information is taken directly from the Waldwick Historical Society pamphlet and I give them full credit for the information. Try to take time to see both  the tower and the museum by the train station. The Whistle Stop Restaurant is around the corner and has a reputation for excellent sandwiches and ice cream.

Hackensack Water Works Van Buskirk          County Park Elm Street                                 Oradell, New Jersey 07649

Hackensack Water Works Van Buskirk County Park Elm Street Oradell, New Jersey 07649

Hackensack Water Works

Van Buskirk County Park

Elm Street

Oradell, NJ  07649

A Bergen County Historic Site

https://www.hwwc.org/

 

When I visited the day I went to see the Hackensack Water Works Building all you could see is the signs outside the building.

On an oxbow in the northern reaches of the Hackensack River is Oradell’s Van Buskirk Island, a man made island that did not exist until 1802. Created by the dams built for the local mills, this stretch of the Hackensack River was the highest point of navigable water on the river where schooners regularly carried goods to and from New York.

Hackensack Water Works II

The Hackensack Water Works Building

Now a part of the Bergen County Parks system, this almost 14 acre site contains the historic Romanesque brick buildings of the Hackensack Water Works. This is the oldest surviving representative of a water purification and delivery system from the late 19th and early 20th century period, crucial to the development of a modern, safe water supply that was critical to turn of the century metropolitan and suburban growth.

The Hackensack Water Works, in continuous operation from 1882 to 1990 is a rare example of later 19th and early 20th century water works architecture and engineering. The historic buildings include the 1882 Pumping Station, expanding five times from 1886-1911 and innovative 1905 Filtration House, expanded in 1912 and 1955. The Pumping Station contains a unique collection of steam pumping equipment representing over four decades of development of steam technology in the early 20th century, including a 1911 Allis Chalmers Vertical Triple Expansion Pump and a 1915 Allis Chalmers Centrifugal Pump. The plant also contains the 1905 coagulation basin and gatehouse and the 1911 intake and waste gates.

Hackensack Water Works III

The inside of the Hackensack Water Works

This Bergen County Historic Site with its open space and park like setting is a living 100 year old timeline of technology from steam to electricity as well as a river site that represents the evolution of Bergen County from its pre-Revolutionary War saw and grist mills to the creation of pioneering water filtration technology so vital to the 20th Century development of towns and cities all over America. Not open to the public at this time.

http://www.co.bergen.nj.us

The Bergen County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs

The Bergen County Division of Cultural & Historic Affairs received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the Bergen County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs handout. Please call the above number or email them for more information.