Welcome to the Official Website of the Borough of Wood-Ridge, New Jersey - Tel: 201-939-0202

History of Wood-Ridge, New Jersey

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Recognition:  This abbreviated history of Wood-Ridge is quoted by permission from the book "Images of America Wood-Ridge", Copyright (c) 2004 by Patricia Helbig Sloan and Catherine Cassidy for the Wood-Ridge Historical Society.  Link: Wood-Ridge Historical Society

"In 1669, lord proprietors Sir George Carteret and Lord John Berkeley awarded a land grant to Capt. John Berry. The territory extended approximately from Hackensack to Newark between the Hackensack, Passaic, and Saddle Rivers. At the time, the Lenni Lenape Indians inhabited the area. The tract was gradually divided into farms, and by the early 1700s, the area that is now Wood-Ridge began to appear in county records. An old Indian trail extending from the northern part of Bergen County to points south was laid out by Berry as a roadway c. 1707. Named Polifly Road, it is now known in Wood-Ridge as Hackensack Street."

"The land became part of the township of New Barbadoes. In 1825, when Lodi Township was formed, it split off from New Barbadoes. Wood-Ridge and its surrounding areas became a part of Lodi Township. Wood-Ridge was an area used as a hunting ground by the Indians. Artifacts found in the vicinity lead historians to believe that the Indians inhabited land closer to the surrounding rivers."

"The eastern section of the land consisted of marshes and swamps, but upland from these were dense woods. Chestnut, hickory, maple, and ash were among the variety of trees found. When the land was cleared, the soil was found to be rich for farming."

"By the early 19th century, farms began to appear, with some of the earliest names found in borough records being Schoonmaker, Van Bussum, Brinkerhoff, Anderson, Berry, Engel, Terhune, and Vreeland."

"At first the farms were established to sustain the inhabitants and the surplus was either bartered or sold. By the time of the American Revolution, farms had begun to take produce to markets in Newark and New York City, transporting the crops by horse-drawn wagons and by boats in nearby creeks that sailed down the Hackensack and Hudson Rivers."

"Besides farming, inn keeping became one of the oldest types of businesses. The first known tavern in Wood-Ridge was the Windisch Hotel, located on old Polifly Road. John Adelung built a hotel in the southeast corner of the town after the railroad came to Wood-Ridge c. 1870. His hotel sat across from the depot, along with a few stores and the Lobravico Cigar Factory."

"By 1890, shops began to appear up the hill. A bakery was established on the southeast end of Hackensack and Center Streets, followed by a butcher shop, and a small grocery store. Industry began in Wood-Ridge as early as 1880, when the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey built a large pumping station on the west side of town where the Curtiss-Wright Company would later stand. Standard Oil had established a pipeline extending from the oil fields of Pennsylvania to the refineries in New Jersey, providing pumping stations about every 20 miles and ending in Bayonne. The Wood-Ridge plant was the last on its line."

"In 1889, Anton Molinari built a house and factory for the manufacture of surgical instruments on the site where Assumption School now stands. Other industries followed, but Wood-Ridge remained predominantly a residential town, as it still is today. Around this time the people began to consider forming a separate town, and in 1894, the borough of Wood-Ridge was incorporated."