History of West Hoboken N.J./Chapter 2
First Owners of West Hoboken.
|History of West Hoboken N.J. (1903) by
West Hoboken In Its Early History.
Streets and Improvements.→
West Hoboken In Its Early History.
Our town was, as may be supposed, in its infancy, composed mostly of farms, and what part of it was not farms was thick woods, mostly of cedar trees. Some of the owners of these old farms, and their descendants, still live here to-day, among whom may be mentioned the Kerrigan's, De Mott's, Van Vorst's, Syms's, Ludlows, Maskers, Rosemons, Traphagens, Dubois, Bonns, and my own ancestors, the Dreschers. All of the above owned large tracts of land in the early 60's, and some of these places were only recently cut up into building lots.
At the time the town was incorporated it was a small village of 1,500 inhabitants, the only part which, in any way, resembled a village, was in the lower end in the vicinity of Paterson avenue. In the northern end of the town in the vicinity of the car depot, there were also a few houses grouped together, but the center of population was in the neighborhood of Paterson and Clinton avenues, people living in other parts of the township wishing to acquaint others of the fact that they were going in that direction, would inform them that they were going to "the village."
One of the first houses built in the vicinity of the car stables still stands there to-day, and is occupied by Baker Lanugel. This house was erected by a man named Morris, who, on account of being minus the sight of one eye, was nick-named "one eyed Morris." One day as he was doing some work in his garden, he suddenly turned his head around, and in doing so thrust a branch of a tree in his good eye and thereby became blind.
Another old land mark in this part of the town is the house which stands on the south side of Angelique street, and is the first building east of Summit avenue. It was built by my grandfather in 1843, and previously stood where Leuly's house now stands, having been moved to its present site, when the Leuly's purchased the Florist business from Mr Drescher. Although this old building is sixty years old, it is still in good condition and serves as a comparison as to the methods employed in those days in house building and those in vogue to-day.
HOSE CARRIAGE, NEPTUNE ENGINE CO. 1.
STEAMER, NEPTUNE ENGINE CO. 1.
stable and store house by Grocer Thomas Hopkins. This old building once stood on the corner of Paterson avenue and Clinton avenue, and was used as a school, church and tavern at different times. It was moved to its present site when Mr. Hopkins erected the present building.
Another old establishment is Cox's feed store on Hackensack Plankroad, near the Boulevard. The present building is 32 years old, but previous to the erection of this building, Cox kept a store on the corner, which was a starting place for all the travelers hereabouts, when a native of this town, living within a half-mile of Cox's corner, would give the direction of reaching his home to strangers, would invariably say:— "I live fifteen minutes north or south, east or west of Cox's corner." There were only two roads leading from this corner, one, the old Weavertown road (now Boulevard), running north and south, and the other the Hackensack Plankroad, running east and west, consequently the direction as above given, would suffice. The store spoken of above was kept by Mr. Geo. Cox (the present owner's father), who purchased the building from Mr. A. Ross, and started his grocery store in the year 1837, 66 years ago, and I do not think there is another place in North Hudson where the same business has been carried on by one family for so many years.
I have an old business card of my grandfather's, printed about 1855, and besides giving his name and that he conducted a florist business, it states his place is fifteen minutes south of Cox's corner.
As to places of amusement they were few and far between. There is one old house which still stands on the northwest corner of Hackensack Plankroad and Palisade avenue (Union Hill side), which, if it could but speak, would tell some jolly tales of the many happy hours spent beneath its hospitable roof by the beaux and belles of those days.
This place was kept by a man named Buck, and was known as "Buck's corner."
It was here that most of the balls and parties were held, and many a cock fight, one of the prevailing sports of those days, was held in this place, and it was also a stopping place or station for the stages that ran to Hoboken at that time. There are some old citizens still living here to-day in whose ears still ring the blast of the stage bugle as it came winding its way upthe old high road.
COLUMBIA H. & L. CO. 1.
HOSE CARRIAGE, EMPIRE ENGINE CO. 1.
made in it, and its surroundings.
The land in the vicinity of the car stables was wet and swampy. There were no streets here previous to 1860, and a board walk was built which ran from a point about where the present Ann street intersects Spring street to Buck's corner, and served as a short cut for people wishing to visit the old tavern.
In the middle of the township there was a beautiful piece of woodland, known by the name of Syms woods. This tract was bounded on the east by the present line of Spring street, on the south about 100 feet south of Syms street, on the west about 100 feet east of Central avenue, and on the north by John street. A fine spring was situated in this wood, which supplied most of the inhabitants of the neighborhood with the finest of drinking water.
In this old wood most all the picnics of those days were held. Even the people of Hoboken would journey up the hill side to this wood to hold their picnics. We find in the minutes of the town council of June, 1871, a motion to "allow the trustees privilege to maintain a bar for the sale of malt liquors said bar to be in the woods." This was Syms woods and the picnic was in aid of the Widows' and Orphans' fund of the fire department. The gate leading to this wood was situated exactly on the present site of Dusaneks saloon on Spring street.
HOSE CARRIAGE, EAGLE ENGINE CO. 3.
AMERICUS H. & L. CO. 2.