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Ridgewood Library | HC Ridgewood History

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Topics in Ridgewood History
Explore some of Ridgewood's History Online

Birth of Ridgewood

In celebration of Ridgewood’s 125th anniversary, local historians Peggy Norris and Joe Suplicki provided a slide lecture on the critical years between 1865 and 1876. Using documents, maps, and historic panoramic photos, Norris and Suplicki illustrate Ridgewood’s transformation from farm to suburb.  We welcome you to watch this video of their presentation.  If you have any questions, please feel fee to contact Local History Librarian Sarah Kiefer at 201-670-5600 x135 or skiefer@ridgewoodlibrary.org

On November 8, 1931, Ridgewood observed Armistice Day by dedicating trees to the Ridgewood men who lost their lives in World War I, planted George Washington memorial trees, and named Graydon Park.

In the last 20 years Ridgewood has survived three major storms:  Hurrican Floyd, Hurricane Irene, and Superstorm Sandy. 



Ridgewood is home to two cemeteries--the Churchyard Burying Ground next to the Old Paramus Reformed Church and Valleau Cemetery across the street.  The monuments reflect an incredible variety of styles.

Excerpts from transcriptions of oral histories with Ridgewood residents.

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Ridgewood COVID-19 Stories

The Bolger Heritage Center collected materials which documented the response of our community to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  Read, watch and view how the Village reacted to this pandemic, and came together as a community.  If you would like to contribute your story, please click here.

Ridgewood has many neighborhoods reflecting its long history.




Varian Fry (1907-1967) grew up in Ridgewood.  He went to Marseilles, France in 1940 and was responsible for establishing a network that rescued over 2,000 Jews, dissidents, and artists trapped in France.

July 4, 1919 Ridgewood Independence Day committee planned the Victory Bazaar to raise money for the War effort.  The event included booths, games, a French Village and entertainers.

Clarence Tourse, Sr. received an honorary medal from the people of the Village of Ridgewood for his service in the Army during the Great War (World War I).  In 2014 the medal was found in the sands of New Mexico.

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Ridgewood's history stretches back to 1698 when this area was a wilderness.  Follow the transformation from wilderness to agriculture to commuter suburb.


A Walking Tour of Ridgewood's Historic Downtown

In 2009, The Ridgewood New Jersey Historic Preservation Commission created a "walking tour" of Ridgewood's downtown.  This tour included a booklet which included historical descriptions of each spot on the walk.  Information on the origins of the building, the architectural style along with the builders/owners can be found within the booklet.  Click here for the booklet.  Soon to come, the video which captures the walking component to the tour.

Ridgewood's Opera House started as a municipal building and became an entertainment venue and a meeting place, as well as the YMCA.


Ridgewood's Shade Tree Commission was formed in 1909 to plant trees in the rapidly growing Village.  We've had a love-hate affair with trees ever since.

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