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Ridgewood, NJ is celebrating its 125th anniversary!

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, This year Ridgewood, NJ is celebrating its 125th anniversary! To commemorate the occasion, the Village of Ridgewood is holding a series of events to highlight various moments from the past, and to look forward to our future. On this page we will be posting your favorite memories and experiences. Watch this space for announcements, trivia, and stories about the village’s past, present, and future.

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The Birth of Ridgewood


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood Nj, Co-sponsored with the Ridgewood Historical Society
In celebration of Ridgewood’s 125th anniversary, local historians Peggy Norris and Joe Suplicki provide a slide lecture on the critical years between 1865 and 1876. Using documents, maps, and historic panoramic photos, Norris and Suplicki illustrate Ridgewood’s transformation from farm to suburb. All welcome, no registration required. Light refreshments will be served.

April 29th, 7 PM – 8:30 PM

Ridgewood Public Library
125 N Maple Ave, Ridgewood, New Jersey 07450

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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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Historic Vanderbeck-Walton House Headed for Demolition

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Vanderbeck-Walton House, sits at the corner of Maple Avenue and Prospect Street, and is on the state and national historic registers, it is surrounded by a beautiful but overgrown garden and is an attractive and architecturally interesting home. The current owner has targeted the home for demolition , which the Village approved in 2017 . The house is one of 13 sites in Ridgewood listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to the Ridewood Historic Preservation Commission the Vanderbeck-Walton House may have been built by the same person as the Naugle House in Fair Lawn, dating back to 1790. The Naugle House was purchased by Fair Lawn and is being renovated with grants.

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Ridgewood Schoolhouse Museum Fall Events

September 3,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, In keeping with the theme of the Schoolhouse Museum’s current “Farm and Home” exhibit, the Ridgewood Historical Society, in conjunction with Demarest Farms in Hillsdale, has a number of events planned for the fall months. These events are a great opportunity to learn about, buy, and in some cases, taste, locally grown produce and fruits, and to support not only the Museum, but also Demarest Farms – a local area farm since 1886!

On September 17th we will be setting up a ‘mini-exhibit’ at Demarest Farms. This mini-exhibit, staffed by board members of the Society, will show some of the museum’s farming artifacts, and will display and discuss a variety of items that are currently available and in season. This will range from red, to plum, to heirloom tomatoes; white peaches and yellow peaches; and, of course, apples. Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Macintosh to name a few. Demarest Farms also has available a “Pick your own” peaches, apples or pumpkins hay ride. This should be a fun filled day.

On October 15, at the Schoolhouse Museum, we will have samples of baked dishes, with produce supplied by Demarest Farms. Details are still being worked out, but save this date, since there will be a limited number of tickets for sale.

On November 19 at Demarest Farms…and just in time for Thanksgiving, we will be offering a discount coupon to our membership. This coupon gives you the opportunity to save money as you begin your Thanksgiving fruit and produce shopping. And Demarest Farms will donate 10% of the proceeds to the Ridgewood Historical Society.

These events not only support the Museum, but also Demarest Farms – a local producer of produce and fruits, with 130 years of history in our area.

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YWCA celebrates its Ridgewood roots



Editor’s Note – This historical background, timeline and pictures were provided by Marie DeNoia Aronsohn, YWCA director of Development and Communications

Ninety-five years ago the world, the nation, and Ridgewood were very different places. In 1920 Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States Congress approved The Eighteenth Amendment which prohibited alcohol (as one historian notes, “Not only did the Amendment fail to be heeded; it often failed to be acknowledged with a straight face.”) and finally, after a crusade that began as far back as 1638, the states ratified the Nineteenth Amendment legalizing a woman’s right to vote. Ridgewood had a lot going in on in 1920 as well. One resident, in particular, was inspired to make an addition to her community – one that stands as a valuable resource to this day. Her name was Nell Doremus.

Born in 1891 to Ridgewood parents, Doremus was a local girl with an abiding commitment to serving her community and more specifically was an avid advocate for safe affordable housing, better working conditions, and improved wages for young women in industry. In 1920, as a leader of a group called the “Girls Patriotic League,” Doremus applied to the national YWCA and received a charter to form the YWCA chapter which is now the YWCA Bergen County. This year the YWCA Bergen County is celebrating its Ridgewood roots, reflecting on its legacy, while also embracing a new call to action: recommitting to the YWCA’s mighty mission: eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, dignity, and freedom for all.

This month, as part of its Giving Tuesday appeal, the YWCA Bergen County is sharing specific stories about the power and promise of its mission-driven programs: from girls’ leadership seminars to sexual violence intervention, to special needs and therapeutic swim classes, the YWCA Giving Tuesday site will be featuring true stories that illustrate what we mean by “living our mission” to promote the self-empowerment and social justice of the families and individuals throughout Bergen County.

The now international YWCA, formed in its earliest incarnation in 1858, is the oldest and largest multicultural women’s organization in the world. Throughout our history, YWCA has been in the forefront of most major movements in the United States as a pioneer in race relations, labor union representation, and the empowerment of women. The YWCA Bergen County’s history is also richly reflective of the international organization’s spirit and traces Ridgewood’s own community history.

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Will excavator soon be demolishing Historic Schedler House?

house demo sm_full

August 6,2015

ths staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, With the expected Village Council “majority” approval of a resolution endorsing an Open Space Committee plan to build a 90 foot baseball field, including a concession stand, on the Schedler property, and demolish the existing historic house to facilitate same, this taxpayer predicts that Village Engineer Christopher Rutishauser will soon be ordering a demolition excavator to accomplish the dirty task.
I wonder if the police department will be ordered to completely close off West Saddle River Road so no one can get photos or videos of the destruction in progress?  What time of day do you think they’ll start the engines?  Under the cover of darkness maybe?
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Schedler House shenanigans, as expected

gwenn hauck

August 6,2015
Boyd A. Loving

Ridgewood NJ,  During what could only be described as one of the most bizarre Village Council meetings I’ve attended in quite some time, Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck publicly accused the “Friends of the Schedler House” organization of turning down a $45k donation from an unnamed individual.

However, according to an officer of “Friends of the Schedler House,” no $45k donation was ever offered by the “unnamed individual.”  What did happen was during a recent meeting between members of the organization and selected Village officials, Councilwoman Hauck merely suggested that a particular individual might be willing to donate the sum.

As you might expect, even though she was publicly corrected, Councilwoman Hauck offered no public apology for her erroneous accusation.

UPDATE: Village Council predicted to vote 3-2 on 8/12 to demolish Schedler House to facilitate construction of a 90 foot baseball field with concession stand.

Despite voting in support of spending up to $500k in “preliminary costs” for the design of a parking garage with a currently unknown shape, size, and final cost,  Aronsohn and Hauck object to spending $45k to save the Schedler House. Pucciarelli is on his honeymoon, so he wasn’t there to make a fool of himself too.

So there you have it folks. The Three Stooges will have one of the most historic buildings in Northwest Bergen County demolished just to secure the Sports Council votes next year.

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Historians put Ridgewood’s past in the spotlight

(new) Old Paramus Church

Historians put Ridgewood’s past in the spotlight


Green open spaces, cows in the pasture, tiny wood fences, barns, mills, dirt roads, oat fields…

This scene might not necessarily scream “Ridgewood.”

Yet, it was Ridgewood in the mid-1800s.

Antique photographs, newspaper excerpts, agricultural output, internal squabbles – and even drunken tavern debauchery – were all featured in “The Birth of Ridgewood, 1865-1876: From Post Office to Township,” a presentation that has now been given twice at the Ridgewood Public Library by local historians (and married couple) Joe Suplicki and Peggy Norris.

Suplicki grew up in Ridgewood, and Norris is a 21-year reference librarian at Ridgewood Library.

The presentation – given for the second time during an afternoon last month to about 30 people – was a product of about 17 years of work, according to Norris. The first presentation in February attracted 150 attendees.

To put the presentation together, Elmwood Park residents Norris and Suplicki dated old photographs (that may have been taken by farmer Alfred Demarest Terhune) back to the 1865-1876 time period by finding the landmarks present, and not present, in each photo.

– See more at:

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The Name-Dropper: Van Neste Square


The Name-Dropper: Van Neste Square


Who was Lee of Fort Lee, Votee of Votee Park and Merritt of Camp Merritt? The Name-Dropper gives you the lowdown on some of the people whose names you see on public statues, memorial plaques, park signs, highways and even some local streets around North Jersey. Have suggestions? Email them to features@northjersey. com and put Name-Dropper in the subject field.

In the legendary first intercollegiate football game, when Rutgers beat Princeton, 6-4, John Alfred Van Neste of the Rutgers team may have kicked the ball, may have helped score a point, may have blocked a Princeton player.

Then again, maybe not.

Accounts of that game played in New Brunswick in 1869 report the score, but provide little about how individual players performed.

It seems easy, 145 years later, to assume Van Neste got a chance to play since the rules of that time dictated large lineups, 25 players per side.

But in one respect, how Van Neste played doesn’t matter since it was not his exploits on the gridiron that caused the Village of Ridgewood to name a sweet little downtown park in his memory. Rather it was for the remembrance of Van Neste as an adored minister in mid-19th to early-20th-century Ridgewood. He was the Reformed Church pastor who helped people of other denominations establish and build their own places of worship, and in the meantime allowed them to use his church.

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