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Colonial Paramus’ rich history — however you spell it — is really Ridgewood’s history to celebrate

ridgewood paramus

March 11,2018

by John Paquin‎
Originally posted Vintage Ridgewood New Jersey

Ridgewood NJ, How do you spell “Paramus”? “R-I-D-G-E-W-O-O-D”! Colonial Paramus’ rich history — however you spell it — is really Ridgewood’s history to celebrate, and the Zabriskie-Schedler House is a visible, physical tie to that past that Ridgewood taxpayers own, and owe to future generations.

But how do you really spell it? Let’s count some of the ways.

First, the name is Lenape or more properly Munsee, the local branch of the Lenape indian nation that occupied the land along the “Sadle River” when the first Dutch settlers arrived circa 1675. It’s most commonly thought to mean “land of turkeys” (which, as Jackie Hone correctly pointed out — is true once again!).

The indians of course did not “spell” it, but they did convey the name to the “original owner” Albert Zabriskie (yes that family — more on that later).

Here’s some of the many spellings:

Parames: 1708 English deed
Perampsepus: 1709 Indian grant
Peremis: 1731 call for minister for the church
Pyramus: 1780 George Washington correspondence
Perhamus: 1780 directions to the church from Albert Zabriskie — another one — a Tory! — to the British for their attack.
Paramus: Col. McPherson in his report of that attack
Paramus: auditing report for the building of the “new” church” in 1803

So the modern spelling seems to have firmly taken hold by the turn of the 19th C.

2 thoughts on “Colonial Paramus’ rich history — however you spell it — is really Ridgewood’s history to celebrate

  1. Mall town: current day

  2. John, shouldn’t’ that part of Ridgewood be redefined as a Historic District? We are updating our Master Plan and sounds like an opportunity to update

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