Tag: Exploring Historic Bergen County NJ

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.


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):


BCC Bulldogs

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


My review on TripAdvisor:


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




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

TripAdvisor Review:


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



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.


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.

The Fritz Behnke Historical Museum of Paramus                330 Paramus Road                                      Paramus, NJ 07652

The Fritz Behnke Historical Museum of Paramus 330 Paramus Road Paramus, NJ 07652

The Fritz Behnke Historical Museum of Paramus

330 Paramus Road

Paramus, NJ  07652

(201) 445-1804


Open: Sunday-1:00pm-5:00pm

Fee-Free with donations

TripAdvisor Review:



Driving Directions:

From Highway 17 & 4 proceed west on Route 4 approximately 1 mile to Paramus Road. Exit toward Ridgewood. Continue north through the traffic light. Pass a cemetery and a golf course. The museum is next on the right.

I visited The Fritz Behnke Historical Museum of Paramus, NJ the other day after passing it for many years and found a smaller museum that told the history of Paramus, NJ. It has interesting displays on the agricultural past of the County of Bergen. Fred Behnke, the founder’s son, took me on the tour of his father’s masterpiece and I found the displays to be interesting and engaging. He showed me equipment that had been in his family for generations and some of the Indian artifacts that his family had found on the property which gave more depth to the history of the property as it had been farmed by local Native American tribes.

Fritz Behnke Museum III

The museum is open once a week and is very interesting dealing with local history

Take the time to visit the basement and watch their history video. It is very interesting short on the history of the museum and the borough of Paramus. If you are from Bergen County and grew up here in the 70’s and 80’s, you will recognize a lot of the changes that have happened over the last forty years. It is a real reflection on the changes of Bergen County, NJ over the last 100 years. The museum is only open on Sunday’s so plan accordingly.

The Fritz Behnke Historical Museum contains 2 floors of artifacts dating back to the early 1900’s when there were many farms in the Bergen County area.

The main floor had an exhibit of Police and Fire Department memorabilia, an being the exhibit displaying  the history of Bergen Pines County Hospital and a display of an old school room. There is an area showing household cleaning and laundry items, including one of the first electric washing machines, a duplicate of which is at the Smithsonian Museum. The kitchen area displays many old devices, used in cooking and includes an old ice box and a wood-burning stove as well as a early gas stove. The Kids Room contains many old toys such as strap-on ice and roller skates, dolls, doll houses and cast metal farm tractors. In the parlor area there are old wind up phonographs and a church organ. In the corridors there are many photographs showing the Paramus of yesteryear.

Fritz Behnke Museum II

The history of Paramus, NJ is explained at the museum

On the lower lever is an interesting 12-minute video presentations on the history of Paramus. There are also displays of woodworking, blacksmithing and farming. The farm display depicts the two distinct differences in Paramus farming that of the celery farms in the muck soil on the west side of town and vegetable farms in the brown soil on the east side of town. There are many different farming items displayed including an egg sorting machine and a shovel hand carved from one piece of wood.

Special Notes in History provided by the museum:

The History of Sprout Brook: Long before Route 17 was built through the center of Paramus, Sprout Brook also ran north to south through meadows and woodland, which abounded with wildlife. Beginning in the northwest, it rambled through the rich black soil or ‘muck’ that had once been a lake bottom. As farmers discovered the rich soil, they dug ditches off the brook to irrigate their celery farms. At that time, Paramus was nationally known for its celery farm production. As the water flowed southeast, it bordered on higher ground called ‘upland’, which was also fertile soil conducive to growing a variety of vegetables like corn, tomatoes and cabbage.

In the early Spring, the farmers planted their seed in greenhouses and waited until the last frost passed. The plants were then transported outside to the filed where they were cultivated and watered until they became mature enough to harvest. Produce was taken by horse and wagon and later by truck crossing the Hudson river via ferry board to the markets in New York City. After all the produce was sold, they returned home late in the evening only to rise early the next morning to begin preparing the vegetables to take to market that night. It was a ‘family affair’ and farmers often helped each other with their harvests when extra hands were needed.

During the 1940’s and 1950’s, roadside stand selling produce for extra income was common. Families driving through Paramus from New York City often frequented these produce stands along Route 4, Ridgewood Avenue, Paramus Road and Farview Avenue.

Sprout Brook is an integral part of the history of Paramus. It divided the Borough’s two school districts; the children living east of the Sprout Brook attended Farview School and Hackensack High School and those west of Sprout Brook attended Midland School and Ridgewood High School. In later years, two middle schools were built and appropriately named “Eastbrook” and “Westbrook”. In 1957, Paramus High School was built bringing the town together in one school. Voting districts were also determined by residents living east and west of Sprout Brook.

History of the Lenape Indians: The Indians of Bergen County, the Lenni Lenape Indians settled in the area for many reasons. The climate was ideal all year so they could survive during the winter months. Also the Ramapo Mountains made an ideal place to live. The shale rock overhangs were like caves that provided protection from the weather. There was abundant water in the area from the Hackensack and Saddle Rivers, Sprout Brook and many ponds that provided good fishing and navigation.

The wild animals in the area came to drink at these waterways thus providing great opportunities fro hunting. The land was also fertile, which made for good farming such as corn (or Maize) and other root crops. These crops attracted many birds such as quail, pheasant and of course, the wild turkey which hare still in the area today.

Our early settlers traded with the Indians. Mrs. Lawrence, the one room school teacher was of Indian descent. As the early farmers in the area plowed their fields, they found arrowheads, tomahawks and grinding stones. The Lenni Lenape called this area “Perapepus”, which meant rich or fertile land. Through the years, the name changed several times until it became Paramus.

The museum also has the history of the Paramus Fire and Police Departments as well as the early Bergen Pines Hospital.

*This little gem of a museum is only open one day a week but can be opened to accommodate groups so please call the museum for details. The museum is free to the public but please leave a donation to help with the costs of the museum. It is well worth the trip if you like the history early farming communities or want the know the history of Bergen County.