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The first and most recognizable house in the Brookside neighborhood is the Hank- Boyd-Mastin House, beloved by several generations of children as site of the sledding hill. The house was built in 1889 by Dr. E. F. Hanks, a dentist. It was purchased by the Boyd family in 1900 and was occupied by the Boyds and Mastins until 1998 when the property was subdivided. The house is a Shingle style design. Distinctive features include the cylindrical turret with conical roof, the octagonal turret with a tent roof, an eyebrow window, the porch and port-cochere and uniform courses of cedar shingles that cover the house and roof. Subsequent houses built on Brookside were built in the Colonial Revival style, which became dominant around the turn of the century.
Image: Collections of the Schoolhouse Museum, Ridgewood Historical Society.
Floral Park is a small development east of South Van Dien around Lotus and Laurel Roads. Before the plot was developed it was the farm of Gilliam J. G. Zabriskie. The entrances to the neighborhood are marked by grand, graceful native stone entryways which are visible on South Van Dien. The neighborhood has several notable examples of American Four Square, Craftsman, and Prairie-style homes that date from the 1910’s when the neighborhood was first developed.
Gateway Estates was developed between Glen and Linwood Avenues, east of Route 17. By 1940 18 houses had been completed and 14 more were in development. This development has gates at Gateway Road and Linwood Avenue that reflect the more modern times of the late 1930’s when compared to the gates erected for Floral Park in 1912. The houses reflect the transition from the classical elements (such as columns and porticos) used in American architecture in the 1930’s to a more modern, streamlined sensibility that emerged in the 1940’s.
In 1938, Glen Acres was developed on the 14 acres at the corner of E. Glen and Bogert Avenue. Eighty moderately-priced houses in variations of the one and ½ story Cape Cod style were built over the next decade. The use of similar sizes and styles of homes and common elements, like the small pedimented dormers, gives the neighborhood a feeling of unity and harmony. The small landscaped circle at the junction of Bogert and Cambridge originally boasted a fountain.
The Heights, located on the west side of the Village between W. Ridgewood and W. Glen Avenues, was mostly developed between 1892 and 1930. During that time Ridgewood’s population quadrupled. There is a remarkable homogeneity of size and scale to many of the houses throughout the district and, without being repetitive, the homes share common architectural elements and materials (shingle, stucco, stone, and brick), creating a high standard of visual harmony. The houses were designed by builder-architects, rather than by individual architects, and are in a wide variety of styles. Tudor and Colonial Revival account for about half of the homes and the rest are Arts and Crafts, Swiss Chalet, Dutch Colonial, Spanish Eclectic, Mediterranean Revival, French Renaissance, Gothic Revival and Queen Anne. The earliest development was along West Ridgewood Avenue, where pillars once marked the entrance to Heights Road.
In 1950, two model homes opened on Grove Street in what was then one of the largest developments in Bergen County. Before the land could be developed a “squatter” growing strawberries had to be evicted. The land became available because the Village residents, in a vote with 85% turnout, denied the zoning change that would have allowed an airpark on the property. The 90-acre Lawns development boasted 429 homes that sold for about $10,000 and were marketed as having insulation, oak stairways, copper radiators, and dishwashers. The homes were Cape Cod style, which was very popular in the 1950’s. The Lawns is an early example of the housing developments that would be popularized by the Levitt Brothers later in the decade.
The area of Ridgewood west of Lincoln and south of Godwin is often called the “Old Country Club.” In actual fact, only a small part of this area was the site, from 1912-1929, of the Ridgewood Country Club. Having been developed over the course of 50 years, the “Country Club” area has a large variety of house styles, including Grand Tudor, Colonial and Spanish Revival, Queen Anne, and Craftsman.
The entire Ridgewood area had been known as Paramus since colonial times. The center of this neighborhood was Paramus Point, the area on both sides of the Saddle River surrounding the Paramus Church at E. Glen and Franklin Ave. An 1840 map shows the church, a mill, and about 20 homes. Also at various times there were a school, a blacksmith shop, and a store. Today, we have little appreciation for the continuity of this community since what was once joined by a bridge is now divided by Route 17 and the Saddle River. Surviving buildings are the Schoolhouse Museum, the Old Paramus Reformed Church and its parsonage, the Zabriskie-Schedler house, the David Ackerman house, and the Maple Homestead. This neighborhood reminds us of Ridgewood’s origins as a rural hamlet, dominated by a handful of Jersey Dutch families, who arrived here in the early 18th century, before the railroad created a new identity for Ridgewood as a commuter suburb.
Pomander Walk is a small street on the former Huttemeyer farm displaying 18 semi-detached houses, “built in the style of ultra-modern English studio houses,” that today we would call Tudor revival. On Godwin nearby was the Huttemeyer house, which became the Pomander Inn and eventually the home of the Red Cross, and has been replaced by the present building. Pomander Walk is lined with linden trees (as are many other Ridgewood streets) and in June the lovely scent of the flowers wafts through the neighborhood. Mac Hugh’s had an annual advertisement in the newspaper, not extolling the men’s clothing they sold, but describing a pleasant stroll on Pomander Walk when the lindens were in bloom. “As we walked, breathing deeply, we wondered as to the number of Ridgewood residents who knew of the brief and lasting pleasure they afford the passerby who stops the world and gets off once in a while.” (New York Times, June 28, 1981)
The streets in this neighborhood boast some of the oldest and biggest houses in what was Ridgewood’s first Heights neighborhood. When the first houses on Prospect were being constructed, Ridgewood was a fast-developing suburb with 4 churches, one apothecary, 3 country stores, 2 blacksmiths , and more. Among the outstanding homes was Ivy Lodge, built in 1876 by Joseph W. Edwards and later owned by Judge Cornelius Doremus, on the northwest corner of Maple and Prospect. This was juxtaposed by the Vanderbeck house, a stone house of one of the early Dutch families. The Watlington House (ca. 1867) and the Henry Hudson Holly house (ca. 1878) designed for Wheeler W. Phillips are two of the early mansions that survive.
In 1951, the large property of R. H. Burnside on North Maple Avenue east of the Hohokus Brook, was sold for development. Initially it was to be called Pine Brook Hills and then was Rambling Brook Estates. Ninety four 2- and 3-bedroom homes were built on the old estate, which formerly had one large mansion. By 1958 the houses had been built and occupied.
However, in 1958, Rambling Brook Estates was the name of another development across Route 17 on West Saddle River Road and Kenwood. These homes featured “fully equipped Caloric kitchens,” tiled baths, and 2-car garages. Both developments featured homes built in the then-popular split-level style.
Salem Ridge is the large area between Van Emburgh Avenue and East Saddle River Road that was developed with 120 ranch houses in 1950 by the Lovel Building Company. There were 3 basic models designed by architect Frederick W. Harsen and color expert, Beatrice West. Outdoor colors included brilliant coral for doors and trim and gray-green shakes for the sides and back. The designs stress outdoor living with large windows and stone terraces. In 1956 the residents of the area formed the Salem Ridge Association to fight against a tall water tower being built on Van Emburgh Avenue. The organization still exists today to bring the neighbors together for social activities.
Scrabbletown is an area between E. Glen and Franklin Turnpike, including Northern Parkway, Sterling, George, and Van Buren Streets. Edgar Cromwell, a farmer, living on what is now Northern Parkway, coined this name before 1915, in reference to the struggling lives of the early inhabitants. In the 1970’s, William Pearston of 464 Van Buren Street appointed himself “Mayor of Scrabbletown” and posted a sign, now in the collections of the Schoolhouse Museum. William served in the Army during WWII and worked for 36 years in the Ridgewood Parks and Recreation Department. Scrabbletown developed over a long period of time and architectural styles include vernacular Victorian homes, bungalows, capes, and split level houses.
Image: Collections of the Schoolhouse Museum, Ridgewood Historical Society.
Spring Avenue was begun by 1873 and not completed until after 1905. The first section was laid between Maple Avenue (the Paterson Road) and Van Dien Avenue before 1876. This view from 1905 shows a dirt street with curbs and sidewalks. Of the houses currently between Maple and Van Dien, more than half were built before 1910, with most of the development taking place between 1890 and 1910.
Upper Ridgewood is the name given to the neighborhood that developed in Ridgewood on the hill to the west of the Ho-Ho-Kus train station. The neighborhood encompasses a series of tree-lined streets that extend west from Upper Boulevard (once just “The Boulevard, Upper Ridgewood” ). The name Upper Ridgewood endures in the Upper Ridgewood Tennis Club and the Upper Ridgewood Community Church. Willard School was once known as the Upper Ridgewood School. Summit Street and Hillcrest have a handful of Victorian cottages from the late 19th century. Between World Wars I and II the majority of the rest of the area was developed with homes influenced by the fashion for Colonial and Tudor Revival styles.
Wastena Park was created by the Ridgewood Development and Construction Company, which was also responsible for developments in other parts of town. Unlike their earlier projects, the 90 lots of Wastena Park were developed as a community, with a park and a central gathering place called Wastena Lodge (now 352 Wastena Terrace). The Lodge offered meals for residents and housing for servants. Wastena Park was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, which emphasized harmony with nature, communal living, and village life. To this day, residents celebrate Christmas with the lighting of a community tree and July 4th with a neighborhood block party. The earliest houses reflect the influences of the Arts and Crafts movement (simple, functional forms and materials like stone and stucco) and the later ones the Dutch Colonial, Tudor, and Spanish Revival styles.