All interviews were taped and documented.They are available through the Reference
Department of the Teaneck Public Library. The Library is not responsible for the accuracy
of the statements nor does it necessarily endorse the opinions expressed.
Audio recording of the interview with Thomas Bublitz
Thomas Bublitz, Superintendent of Maintenance,
Teaneck Dept. of Public Works
(Interview taped June 17, 1976 by Edna Spath & Mildred Taylor)
I was born in Teaneck 57 years ago--1918. My parents came here from Jersey City. My father Gilef Bublitz was a lieutenant in the police department. He was the second cop hired in Teaneck, Edward Murphy was then chief of police.
We lived on Congress Avenue--a big 4-family house where I was born. We rented the house. Our neighbors were the Linobardis -- they have a big tavern in Bergenfield-- the Easterbrooks, the Nelsons and the Ahrens.
I went to Washington Irving School. There were about 21 kids in my class. We used to play in what is now Mackel Field--it was then Borden's Field--nothing fancy. We used old bed springs for the back stop. That was around Genessee Street. There was another Borden's field on the other side of Teaneck Road where they used to pasture the cows.
My father has been gone about 10 years. I remember when he used to come home for lunch on the motorcycle with the side car and sometimes he'd take us for a ride. There were eight children in our family. Just one, my sister Katherine Knight, still lives in Teaneck, besides me. She still lives in my mother's house on Arlington Avenue.
I have been with the town since 1946, I've already put in my 30 years. I got my job through Sgt. Henry Costy of the police department. It was part of the traffic department in those days. I have been in charge of maintenance for 22 years. We start at 7 a.m. and work until 4 p.m. We take care of the police cars first, in case of a storm. We look after the foot bridges and bus stops. Part of our job is looking after street signs and traffic signs. We have a carpenter shop. We make and repair park benches and picnic tables. Our headquarters are in Clausen's old barn. We've used that since the town took it over about 5 years ago. We used to work out of the DPW garage on River Road. There is a mason to do cement patch work.
Vandalism is something. Kids tear the doors out of the bathrooms, break windows and do a lot of damage. Sagamore Park is the worst. They put a $400 fountain in Herrick Park and it was broken in three days. I guess all in all it's not too bad considering we have 20 or 21 parks. Not all of them are play areas--like Constitution Park and Tokaloka Park which are natural woods.
Down where Brett Park is there used to be a lot of boating and trapping. I used to go down there. My brother used to trap muskrats in Glenwood Park.
Twisting street signs is a nuisance. Now we have some new four-way signs that are metal. Kids climb the poles and swing on them and it's hard to fix them.
I left school at the 9th grade and did roofing and had other jobs before I went to work for the town. I married Ora Matthews 32 ago. She was 14 when I met her and we started going together then. She has worked for the Township for 25 years in the clerk's office.
I remember the Redwood Murder. Norman Redwood lived on West Laurelton Pkwy. He was with the Sandhogs union. They never solved the murder. Someone was hiding in the bushes and shot him when he came home. That was 1939.His wife still lives here.
I remember when the Army plane crashed on Queen Anne Road and Cherry Lane. There were two army planes. Both of the pilots sailed out, but the house and trees were damaged. Some of the glass landed on my mother's place over on Arlington Ave. A year or so later there was a private plane crashed in the same place.
Teaneck has changed of course. When I was a boy there were around 15,000 people here. I don't care too much about high rises and such. I'll be retiring soon and I've got a 27-foot trailer in Jackson, near the site of Great Adventure,
Warren Ridley is now the superintendent of Public works. The Ridleys came to Teaneck after we did. They lived down on Arlington and Forest Ave. Some of them still do.
Brarman had a tavern on Forest Avenue and Loraine. They used to have a miniature golf course there. some of the windmills and things are still there. Sitzman had an ice cream and candy store. He had a truck and used to take it to Teaneck High School and sell candy, ice cream and cigarettes when there was a ball game. Harold Sitzman is a plumber for the school board.
There was a tavern on Forest Avenue called the Manhattan Inn. I remember three places where the West Englewood post office was - Murphy's candy store on West Englewood Avenue, then on Queen Anne opposite the bank and now in the new building on the plaza. I remember when they threw the mail off the train and the station master handled it, I remember Adams was a letter carrier. We had RFD service. The mail was delivered by car. I remember Mr. Jahnes who went to the fire department later. I remember when they changed from a volunteer to a paid fire department, Mr. Kaltenback was the volunteer fire department chief. Mr. Kaltenback was quite a man, When we had the volunteer fire department the big boys from School 2 used to pull the hose cart.
For entertainment, there were dances, minstrel shows and things like that at School 2.There was a dance floor on the second floor of Glenwood Park Fire Dept.--Volunteer Dept. #4.
Cedar Lane as I remember was mostly used car lots. Shea Chevrolet started on Teaneck Road where Marcia's shop is now. He had new cars there and used cars on Cedar Lane. The Sheas lived around Alicia and Pinewood Pl.
I went to St. Anastasia Church. I remember the ribbon cutting when they opened Holy Name Hospital, I was 7. My mother took me to the dedication of the Municipal Building. I remember when a plane landed was some celebration and they called the plane Miss Teaneck. Every one used to turn out for town affairs. Now on Memorial Day there are not a handful of people around the monument.
My father, one of the town's four policemen who rode bikes, used to ride a bike from the Armory to Fort Lee Road. The other officers were Jesson Witham. Fred Davis and Jahnes. Mr. Gloeckler was mayor when my father joined the force. Frederic Andreas was police commissioner. I got some things when they demolished the Andreas home on River Road.
My mother used to work for the township too. She cleaned the court room on the second floor for the old town hall.
I remember when they adopted the Council-Manager plan and the excitement in Town Hall. The opposition brought in a squawking chicken to the Council room. Mrs. Whipple always attended the meetings.