"Quick jump" to year:
Little Ferry History –
Rev dtd 03/27/07
Glaciers – Nebraskan, Kansan,
Illionian, and Wisconsin (all but Nebraskan reached NJ). The
Wisconsin formed Meadowlands region. Estimated 2500-3500 feet in
depth carved bowl like depressions creating NJ’s largest water bodies.
During the Ice Age, New
Jersey underwent at least three glaciations. The last glaciation is
known as the late Wisconsinan Glaciation
Glacial Lake Hackensack formed
during Wisconsin glacier withdrawal. .Lake lasted span of 2,550
We live within what was the Glacial
Lake Hackensack (10,000 – 11,000 b.c.e.) situated 2 miles west of
Palisades, bout 15 miles wide, stretching from northern Perth Amboy 50
miles to NY/NJ
Glacial Lake Hackensack border
breached between 8,000 & 10,000 years ago…draining seaward, leaving rich
clays and complex ecosystem (Jersey meadows.
(cousins to present day elephants) and Paleo-Indians (Lenape descedants)
lived off the land.
derived believed derived from Siberia 20,000-40,000 years ago…crossing
Siberian land bridge into North America (Alaska) 13,000-15,000 years
Became the Land of
Lenni Lenape Nation Indians. Three divisions of native
people Middle Atlantic region – The Munsees, the Unalachtigo, and the
Unami, known today as the Delaware or the Lenape Indians.
The Hackensack Meadowlands was the heart of the Lenapehoking or Land of
European contact with Lenape, or Unami lower NY Bay of Florentine
Italian navigator Giovanni da Verrazano
aboad French caravel Dauphine
1st known to see Manhatten Island. He was sailing for
Henry Hudson, English navigator
(Dutch East India Company) entered Lower New York Bay..exploring as far
north as Albany NY and eastward to Newark Bay Munsee bands of
Indians Canarnees, Esopus, Hackensacks, Kitchtawanks, Navasinks,
Raritans, Tappans, Warranawankongs, and Wiechquaeskecks.
Dutch arrival in the area
Pieter Minuit, then governor of New Netherlands, purchased Manhattan
from the Metoac tribe
Indian trail map
Trading Post and home established by Hollander named
Mydertse Van der Heer
Nedderhorst First Building in this area (destroyed by fire 5
am Jan. 15, 1914 during snow storm) stood where Sinclair Oil plant was..
settlement wiped out. Feb 25, massacre of 80 Hackingsack Indians at
Pavonia by Dutch
of an Indian by a white man, caused Trading Post to be entirely wiped
out in a widespread retaliation
massacre by the Indians.
Wappinger War (Governor Kieft's War)
news of the massacre spread, the Hackensack and Tappan joined with the
other Wappinger tribes in attacks against the outlying Dutch farms,
British fleet captures New Amsterdam
(Manhattan) ending Dutch rule.
Rope drawn ferry over the
Nov 20, 1776 ferry used in
removal of Lenape to Brotherton (1st American Indian
reservation) in South Jersey.
Bergen Turnpike first built from Fairview, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park,
Little Ferry, and onto Hackensack. Used the little ferry until
bridge was built.
Tom Pickens, grandfather of 1st mayor James Pickens, fought
British in War of 1812 and never returned.
built RP to LF (replaced by steel one in 1900) and replaced the
prior LF sparsely settled
Civil War (1861-1865) 6 men from LF served
Elizabeth Sutliff Dufler (freed black slave) bought 10 acres along
Hackensack river and sold clay to potteries in Newark and Jersey City.
Civil War, Six men from LF return, 5 are known; Hubert derider, August
Dickman, Carl Blazer, Tom Gill, and William Beigler
LF first industry Blasting Oil Company First High Explosives
Factory built by Alfred Nobel (Father of Explosives). First
U.S. plant to make nitroglycerine, Little Ferry, NJ.
1870 High Explosives Factory self-destructed.
Clay Bank was opened by Depeyster and Stagg. (2 houses associated with
these names on Riverside Ave).
Cole and Showers opened first
brickyard. Brick industry expanded rapidly when Mehrhof
brothers took over.
approx. year Flower Pot
Washington Avenue with 10 houses, Liberty Street with 3 houses south
of Main Street, Main Street with six houses, Pickens Street with 3
Wilson School opened (Lodi Ave. now Main St.) closed in 1981…demolished
Map shows Little Ferry as Freiburg (due to large German population)
Mehrhof’s brickyards 2nd
largest > 2mil per bricks per year
Felter brickyard opened
(now Willow Lake).
1st Czech’s moved in.
Wilson school addition
Czech’s began coming to LF Czech’s opened small button shops
on their property. (prospered over next 50 years.)
1890 – 1930
210 names of
voters on the canvassers books. The Mehrhofs continue to
manufacture brick, all the other yards have been closed.
Little Ferry Incorporated First
Mayor James Pickens. Proclaiming independence from Lodi..Jame
Pickens 1st Mayor. Population approx. 600
Pickens, Republican on Citizen’s Ticket (1894 – 1896) also 1st
village postmaster, opened first LF area country store both where
Tracy’s now located. Elnore Merhof, Boro Clerk
Democratic Club organized.
William Zabransky Jr. and Son, Inc. plumbing business.
T.J. Sokol (1st Czech school) built…destroyed in March
2nd Mayor Irving
Felter, Democrat (1896 – 1898) part owner of Felter Brick. Did not
want to succeed himself as
Fehrs, Sr. Boro Clerk
Little Ferry organized.
1st parade dedicating
Spanish American War; three men fought from LF- John Kaufman, Arthur
Hunniken, and Dr. Albert Mehrbof
Mayor John Adam Eckel,
Democrat (1899-1903) a butcher (River Road). Saw that roads came
and mud roads disappeared. Daughter was our school principal.
William Kingsley, Boro Clerk
Little Ferry Census – 416 Adults, 657 Children, 15 Grandparents/other
relations, 155 Borders, total 1243. 179 Houses, 44 Farms,
Immigrants from Bohemia, Germany, Austria, Holland, Ireland, Italy,
Russia/Poland, and Scotland
built between LF and RP closed in 1934. Trolley ran between
Hackensack and Weehawken thru LF.
Sokol Fife & Drum Corps organized
GE plant built
Hackensack River dammed upstream, increasing the salt water content in
4th Mayor Oswald
Mehrhof, Republican (1903-1905) Youngest mayor. Hard worker, married in
office.. William Kingsley, Boro Clerk.
Working Men’s Benefit Organization held 1st labor day parade.
LF had 8 brickyards…declined
5th Mayor William
Kour, Democrat (1906-1908) 1st
Czech born Mayor, was a builder. He and council made agreement
with Hackensack Water Company to extend water mains through Washington
Ave & Main Street. William Kingsley, Boro Clerk.
Addition to Wilson school built
LF Hose Company organized
(building 1908)(Land donated by Becker)
6th Mayor August
Heckel, Republican (1908-1910) A farmer kept roads in good condition.
Admin bought 1st fire apparatus (horse drawn) and fire alarm
system. William Kingsley, Boro Clerk
1st Firemen’s Day parade held in August many visiting Fire
Nicholas J. Schopp, Republican (1910-1912). Helped organize
Little Ferry Building & Loan Assoc. Left our boro debt free.
Geo. Zimmerman, Boro Clerk
First Sokol Hall
(Czech school) destroyed, and present one built
8th Mayor Carl
Schulz, Democrat (Jan. 1st – Feb. 17th) Pet
project Washington Avenue drain. Killed by train night he was to
dedicate T. J. Sokol hall. William Kingsley, Boro Clerk.
St Margaret of Cortona R. C. Church
9th Mayor Carl
Schulz, Democrat (1913-1914) Oldest son of Carl Schulz, selected
to complete father’s unexpired term. Credited fro widening
Washington Avenue, same year Borough asking for $30,000 in school bonds.
Geo. Zimmerman, Boro Clerk.
Referendum to build School No 2 (Washington School) approved. Two
floors & Eight classrooms.
10th Mayor Frank
E. Herma, Republican (1914-1916) Council voted Shade Tree Commission,
100s trees bought but never planted. First Police department
started…1st policeman Frank Trinka Geo.
Zimmerman, Boro Clerk
Washington School Built
Bergen Pike toll eliminated
10th Mayor Oswald
Mehrhof (again..), Republican (1916-1920) World War I broke out.
1917 Armistice day – sending off boys to war (ck year). Main
Street storm drain built. Geo. Zimmerman, Boro Clerk.
memorial services May 30th by 7 members of Hose Company No1
marched to NY cemetery in memory of Charles Lang (1st member
to depart from our fire department).
Little Ferry library's
earliest beginning July 11th, 1916, deacon Lewis Pfister offered to
establish free circulation library for members of church and Sunday
World War I (1917 – 1918) 124 from LF served.
Referendum to compensate Mayor & Council. Prior was done for honor
of serving Borough.
Welcome Home Dinner for our boys (end of WWI) at T.J. Sokol Hall
Charles Schulz, Democrat (1920-1926) Hose company building became
boro hall (leased). World War I monument erected (ck year).
Emil Bezdek & George Zimmerman, Boro Clerks.
LF Rail way Station built…(on Ridgefield Park side of Hackensack River)
#107 Degree of Pocahontas established.
Little Ferry V. F. W. organized
Little Ferry Hook & Ladder organized
1st Dark Town parade held every Thanksgiving started by Hose
Company No 1
Rear addition to Wilson school built
Only 4 Brickyards left
(only evidence is 3 lakes Willow, Indian, and Lower End)
LF Hook and Ladder built
Congregational Church built
Original Wilson School structure removed. Wilson School No 1
Little Ferry P.T.A. formed.
Sewer system installed
12th Mayor August
Stocek, Republican (1926-1932) Best streets built Mehrhof Road, Pickens
Str, Kaufman Ave, Columbus Ave, Echel Road, John Street, Hyer Str,
Woodland Ave. 1st War vet to serve as Mayor.
Electric fire alarm system installed. William Stika, Boro
Little Ferry Public library
established by the Women's Club in a store provided by Little Ferry
Little Ferry Free Public Library
Chester F. Schopp, Democrat (1932-1936). Depression years..
No taxes paid, script used to pay bills and salaries not paid to Mayor &
Council. Held Kiddie Days parade and games. Cut ribbon to
open Route 6 (rte 46). First Fire Chief. William Stika,
Old Hackensack span closed…new Route 6 (Rte 46)
Bridge opens $890,000 cost
Little Ferry Post 809 takes over
14th Mayor Joseph
Zabransky, Democrat (1936-1940) Born in Little Ferry. He and
council repaired all streets while still in Depression. New
disposal built built and extension to library.
Little Ferry First
Aid Corps started by six members of the Fire Department. Also
Little Ferry Rotary Club
organized May 1937.
Large Fire costing $45,000(365 Main St.) 2 houses destroyed, 2 damaged
Little Ferry First
Aid Corps first Board of Governors.
15th Mayor Joseph
Shrholez, Democrat (1940 - 1957) Real estate by trade.
World War II (1941-1945) 594 served from LF.
Korean War (1950-1953) LF men served helping United Nations in Korea.
Addition to Washington School
Last Brickyard destroyed by
Valley Fair and Outdoor Drive-in Movie Built
HMDC Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission formed by state.
Includes 14 Bergen & Hudson towns
Memorial School opened Feb 3rd Twelve
classrooms, art & science room. Maryann first class…
Wilson school closed.
Gethsemane Cemetery Afro-American burial yard County Historic Site Sept,
29 1985 dedicated
Older Homes and open land became Condominiums (Drive-in became Waterside
Village) D.A. Sokol Hall (Washington Ave) sold to Sportswear firm;
Replaced the wooden tide gate with a modern, high capacity $2 mil
New expansion added to public
Matthew Fenton – Iraq War
Fields of Sun and
Grass – John R. Quinn 1997
Breakdown of 1900
Census Little Ferry, NJ – Summarized by Little Ferry Library staff
Oct. 24, 2006
1994-100th Anniversary publication 1994
Little Ferry 1964-70th
Anniversary publication 1964
Our Boro and our
Mayors – William Zabransky, Jr Oct. 11th, 1953
Borough of Little
Ferry website - http://www.littleferrynj.org/page2.html
special thank you to all those supporting this ongoing effort including
Steve Royka, Frank Zabransky, Anne Deluca and the Little Ferry Library.