Lutheran Van Buskirk Church Cemetery, 1716

River Road and Maitland Avenue

Two stone markers in a prominent bend along River Road are all that is left to mark one of Bergen County's most significant historic sites. One of them reads- "The Site of the Protestant Lutheran Church and Cemetery of Hackensack Township, N.J. Records 1704-1776 Grant of the Site by Lourence Van Boskeark 1716." Although the stones which once graced this hallowed ground are no longer visible, there is a strong and unmistakable presence to the place even now. Here stood the first Lutheran Church in New Jersey, the first barn erected in Teaneck, and the graves of many of its early citizens.

The first Lutheran services in New Jersey were probably held near the site in 1704. Twelve years later, Laurence Van Buskirk, second son of the original Dutch owner of the tract in the seventeenth century, inscribed a deed granting land to the church on the condition that there should be built within four years a House for Devine Worship for the use of the Protestant Lutheran Congregation in and about Hackinsack." The building he erected stood on the site for a period of 100 years or so, burning in the second decade of the 19th century. After the stone church was left in ruins, a vault was erected in which remains of Dutch Lutheran families were interred. The cemetery continued to be used until 1833, and headstones bore many names from the Van Horn and Van Buskirk families, as well as other prominent Bergen county names such as Ackerman and Westervelt. The site has been maintained as municipal open space for many years despite the deterioration and eventual disappearance of the original gravestones.