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The History of the Village of Ridgewood

schoolhouse museum

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, In celebration of Ridgewood’s 125th Anniversary, local historians Peggy Norris and Joe Suplicki will provide a lecture on the critical years between 1865 and 1876. Using maps, documents, and historic panoramic photos, Norris and Suplicki illustrate Ridgewood’s transformation from farm to suburb.

Continue reading The History of the Village of Ridgewood
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RIDGEWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY presents “A Tour of the Hidden Archives”

photo courtesy of the Ridgewood Public Library

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

RIDGEWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY presents “A Tour of the Hidden Archives”
Tuesday, Feb. 5, 11am Registration Required at Ridgewood Public Library website or call 201-670-5600. Take a backstage tour of the Ridgewood Public Library’s hidden gems with Local History Librarian Sarah Kiefer. In this rare opportunity you’ll get a glimpse at what the Bolger Heritage Center has to offer. Learn how to research your home, find information on your ancestors, and gain insight on the history of Ridgewood. In addition, you’ll get a guided tour of their most recently added 1869 and 2018 panoramas which they now have on display on the 2nd floor of the library, thanks to the generous donation of Glenn and Beth Jorgensen.

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Author Visit with Dean Cardasis at the Rose Center in Ridgewood

the Rose Center

October 1,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Hosted by Bolger Heritage Center, Ridgewood Public Library , an Author Visit with Dean Cardasis who will do a talk at  the Rose Center.

Ridgewood resident, James Rose, has been described as the James Dean of landscape architecture. Expelled from Harvard for refusing to design in the prescribed Beaux Arts style of his day, Rose foresaw residential design in the American suburb as a fusion of flexible indoor and outdoor modern space. Conceived of while stationed in Okinawa during World War 2, the home Rose designed and built in Ridgewood for himself, his mother and sister is an excellent example of important design ideas that challenged the status quo, ideas which are both relevant and revelatory.

Based on his recent book, James Rose: A Voice Offstage, Professor Cardasis’s talk will put Rose’s ideas in the context of his times and present some of Rose’s important alternatives to conventional suburban residential design, with a special focus on Rose’s own home in Ridgewood.

All welcome, no registration required.

A tour of the James Rose Center will immediately follow the lecture.

Monday at 7 PM – 8:30 PM
Next Week · 50–73°Sunny

Bolger Heritage Center, Ridgewood Public Library
125 N Maple Ave, Ridgewood, New Jersey 07450

(201) 670-5600

Ticket Information

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Turn Holiday Gatherings Into A Family-History Research Project

Bolger Heritage Center, Ridgewood Public Library

December 7,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The holiday season represents the perfect opportunity for anyone who’s been thinking of taking a deep dive into their family history.

All those grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins gathering to feast on turkey or exchange gifts possess a treasure trove of genealogical information and family stories.

All you need to do is ask – and perhaps turn on a recording device – and soon you may be learning about great-great grandfather’s treacherous journey across the Atlantic or Uncle Phil’s courageous actions during World War II.

“Interviewing family members is one of the best places to start when you want to learn about or write about your family’s story,” says Ceil Lucas, a sociolinguist, amateur genealogist and author of How I Got Here: A Memoir.

“Older relatives especially may have wonderful tales from decades ago involving people you never heard about. If you’re lucky, you may even learn that they have stashed away somewhere letters, diaries or photographs that belonged to those long dead ancestors.”

But be warned, Lucas says. While people dream about learning they descended from royalty or happen to be distantly related to Benjamin Franklin, genealogical research is just as likely to turn up horse thieves, drifters and scandals of every sort.

“You’re going to find stuff you might not want to know,” Lucas says. “But who knows, those might be your most fascinating finds.”

Lucas began working on her family history three decades ago, about the same time she began making notes on what would become a memoir of her childhood in Guatemala City and Rome, Italy. This upbringing left her with a sense of “I’m not from here” – “here” being the U.S., where she was born.

But her genealogical research, which revealed her first ancestors coming to the U.S. from Scotland in 1654 and England in 1679, showed her just how “from here” she is. Lucas realized that the stories of her ancestors needed to be included in her memoir and the result was a genealogical memoir.

“The thing is, once the genealogical story is learned, it simply can’t be unlearned,” she says.

Interviewing relatives between sips of eggnog is just the beginning. Lucas has other suggestions for those who want to explore their family histories:

• Check census records. Every 10 years since 1790 the census has taken a snapshot of who’s living in the United States. Valuable information can be found in census records, and you might even discover relatives you never heard about.
• Sign up for a genealogy class. Many community colleges offer non-credit courses in genealogy that will help you understand how to research your family and interpret what you find.
• Consider DNA testing. People often think they know their ethnic lineage, but discover surprises when they have a DNA test.  Lucas’ DNA test revealed that she is descended not only from people who hailed from England and Scotland, but also the Iberian Peninsula.

In Ridgewood we have a unique option you can visit the Bolger Heritage Center, Ridgewood Public Library.
They offer genealogy help for moments like this. Stop by the Heritage Center during our genealogy consultation hours to get assistance with your research:
12/6 from 11-2pm
12/7 from 7-9pm
12/14 from 10-2pm
12/16 from 1-3pm
12/28 from 10-12pm
Questions? Contact Sarah Kiefer at 201-670-5600×135 or — at Ridgewood Public Library.

“It also probably doesn’t hurt if you are a nerd about these things like me,” Lucas says. “I found an ancestor who was involved in the Oklahoma Land Rush, so I researched that and found newspaper articles about the land rush. I think it’s important to put your family story in the historical context, especially if you plan to write a memoir.”

About Ceil Lucas

Ceil Lucas, author of How I Got Here: A Memoir, is a sociolinguist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French and Art History, a master’s degree in French and Italian, and a doctorate in Linguistics.  She spent 40 years as a university professor and researcher. She began teaching Italian in 1973 and continues to do so.  She is the editor and co-author of 22 books.

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Bolger Heritage Center, Ridgewood Public Library Presents Who Was John Jacob Zabriskie?

John Jacob Zabriskie


November 12,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Who Was John Jacob Zabriskie? The Zabriskie family is one of the original settlers in Bergen County dating from the 1600s. John Jacob Zabriskie of “Hohokus” is one of many in a long line of descendants who had a decided impact on the way of life in Bergen County. This presentation will correct some historical and biographical misinformation to see who he was & what accomplishments, professions, lifestyle & other details are known about John Jacob Zabriskie. All welcome, Belcher Auditorium. Speaker Stanley Kober

Monday at 7 PM – 8:30 PM

Bolger Heritage Center, Ridgewood Public Library
125 N Maple Ave, Ridgewood, New Jersey 07450

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Back in the Day Harding Pharmacy and Liquors!



Harding Pharmacy and Liquors! : Bolger Heritage Center, Ridgewood Public Library

Check out this awesome picture recently donated by Myron Lesh of Harding Pharmacy and Liquors! Ridgewood Commercial Company, selling carriages, farming implements, etc. was established ca. 1904. The building has changed little over the years and is now the site of Harding Pharmacy and Liquors.

Our collection grows by donations, enabling us to share more of Ridgewood’s history.

We’re open whenever the library is – set up an appointment and stop by and say hi!

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Ridgewood resident brings family’s history to life


Bolger Heritage Center, Ridgewood Public Library. Do you have an Arrow Yearbook looking for a new home? Is it from 1912, 1915, 1944, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1993, 1997, or 2011?


Ridgewood resident brings family’s history to life

AUGUST 25, 2014    LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, AUGUST 25, 2014, 3:22 PM

In 2012, John Dabney was newly retired and looking for a project to fill his time.

He began researching his family’s history with the goal of learning more about his past, but the personal exploration quickly grew to an “extended family investigation” that took him all over the country interviewing relatives.

Not long after his research began, he connected with a third cousin and award-winning author Joseph Dabney, who had also been collecting family history, and the two decided over a lunch in Georgia to combine their efforts into a book.

Called, “The Dabneys of South Carolina, A Family History in Stories and Pictures,” the book traces the family to 1795 with the birth of Alexander Dabney, who emigrated from Ireland to South Carolina.

From that start, John and Joseph Dabney were able to track down 2,500 Dabneys in 1,700 families and conducted more than 250 interviews with relatives in almost every state.

“I figured I would travel with my wife and do as much research as needed and ended up doing seven to 10 hours of work a day,” John Dabney said.

However, a lot of the research, as he discovered, could be done right in Ridgewood.

– See more at:

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History of the Village of Ridgewood


History of the Village of Ridgewood

Bolger Heritage Center, Ridgewood Public Library

The Bolger Heritage Center remains open all the hours that the library is open (see, but for the summer, reference hours are by appointment (email and during the following hours: Tuesdays, 10 am – 2 pm, Wednesdays, 9 am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 5 pm, Thursdays, 10 am – 2pm. Call the Reference Desk to verify hours (201-670-5600, x 130). Happy researching!