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Miss Louise Jordan
(Interview taped 9/16/1975)
My family lived in Teaneck from 1865 when my grandfather, Conrad N. Jordan, bought a farm on West Englewood Avenue which extended from Teaneck Road across the railroad tracks to where Whittier School is now. He and some other men built the West Shore Railroad which only went from Jersey City to Tappan. He wanted to build housing for employees of the railroad. My grandfather and his associates built the Weehawken Tunnel.
My father grew up in Teaneck. I guess my grandfather farmed his property as my father as a child rode to the New York market with the farmers, going down the hill to the Dyckman Street ferry and then to New York.
My grandfather was treasurer of the United States. He lived here quite a while. He later went back to New York. Frank Chapman was another one who lived here. His mother had been Mrs. Emor. She had divorced Mr. Emor after chasing him down the hill with a gun. Mrs. Melfi, a music teacher who presented concerts, lived nearby. I remember Mrs. Gaylord, she drove an electric car which sat way up high. It didn't make a sound. She used to pick up her husband at the train.
The 78 bus was called the Flying Eagle. It went up River Road, then over West Englewood Avenue to Englewood. Verlini owned it and the Weiss brothers drove for him.
Jack O'Brien lived on Elm Terrace across from our house on West Englewood Avenue, across from the Hazeltons. We couldn't cross the street because of the heavy traffic. On the north side of West Englewood Ave. was Cutler's Pharmacy, The Greenlaws, the Larkins. On the south side were the Hazeltons and the McCrackens. There was Mr. Etten's store and Mr. Zitelli, the shoemaker.
My mother came here in 1912 as a bride from the Princeton area. My grandfather served two terms as treasurer of the United States in Washington and then was made assistant treasurer of the U.S. and worked in the old treasury building in New York. Among those who were here when he lived in Teaneck was Walter Hines Page, founder of Doubleday, Page Publishing House and former ambassador to Great Britain. Then there was Thomas Van Buren who lived where Volk's is now. His daughter was a fiery person. Phelpses lived in the Griggs place after the house, where the Municipal Building is, burned down.
My mother founded the library. Her husband's brother has left some books at her house when he moved out west. She circulated the books at first from her home. Later she and some ladies got the old slave house on Teaneck Road where the gas station is. They painted it and fixed it up. Miss Matte Scott's artist friend painted the windows because the women couldn't afford curtains. Those women sold the building at a $17,000 profit and gave the money to the town to build a library. They had a hard time making the town accept the gift. They finally agreed to accept it.
I remember Frank DeRonde, a large blustery man, made the dedication. It went on and on. Mrs. Caddy had been one of the workers and he called out for her saying, "Mrs. Caddy, we call but you do not answer." We used to skate on DeRonde's pond near Bryant School.
When the town got the 13 acres for the high school. Mrs. Campbell offered to buy the property behind the high school down to Teaneck Road and give it to the town, but the town refused. She was a Democrat and the town fathers were Republican. Mother tried to persuade the board that it would be better to build one senior high school and a junior high in each end of town. She was far sighted.
I met Dickey Hawkey in San Francisco in about 1958-59. He was with Aramco and had been in Saudi Arabia for many years.
We moved to this house on Larch Ave. in 1922, I went to kindergarten at Emerson School. I remember Mrs. West, a teacher at School 1. I'm sure she went down in history. Kitty Keener and Miss Tepper were great disciplinarians. I remember Mr. Lee at School 2. School board meetings were something. Lots of fighting. I've heard they had to check their pistols at the door.
Jess Witham, the cop. He used to go barefoot. Soke group from New York organized a Purity League and wanted to start up in Teaneck. He draw a line with his toe and dared them to come into town.
Nelson Ayers became a real estate developer. He wanted to put a cemetery between West Englewood and Forest Avenues extending to Sussex Road. It was Fred Andreas that wanted to close West Englewood Avenue at the railroad crossing . He thought by putting a bridge over the tracks, that area would grow.
Mr. Andreas, Mrs. Sample, Mrs. Hawkey and mother were all interested in the town. They had some hot board meeting. Mrs. Sample. Mrs. Hawkey and mother wrote a column for The Record. It was signed Hiram Sez. They were sharp cookies. Mr. Andreas' glasses would shake when he got excited. My mother was definitely a woman's Libber. She was a doer. She could see no reason why you couldn't do anything.
I remember when Alice Hazelton accidentally set a fire in back of Ackerman's farm. Set the whole field on fire. I remember Mr. Ackerman's guinea hens. He had sheep too. Washington Hazelton was an organizer. There was a tulip tree on West Englewood Avenue, It had a hornet's nest in it. He organized the neighbors to get ride of the hornets.
My father was a sugar broker in New York, also a lawyer. He helped the VFW get the old town hall. He went to school in Englewood. The land in West Englewood was my grandfather's farm. We used to go to New York once a year on the West Shore.
I went to Teaneck High--graduated in 1934, the first class to go all the way through Jr. and Sr. high. Conrad, my brother, was a year ahead of me. You got a very good education at Teaneck High.
Mother was first president of the Library board. This was all farm when we came to Larch Avenue. There was a store on each corner of Garrison Avenue. You went to Hackensack or Englewood to buy things or went to Bogota and took the trolley. The Arnold Johnsons lived on Kipp Street. The Grahams lived on our street. He was shot by a man in West Englewood. He had been calling on this man's wife. That was quite a scandal, Teaneck's first murder. It was a big trial. He got off on the Unwritten Law. (The man was Harry Elbers of Pinewood Place who made chocolate candy, according to George Ahrens. It happened Nov. 19, 1930 or 1931). Graham was a plumber.
My brother Conrad has seen Teaneck people in California. He lives in Pasadena. He has seen Keith Monroe, the writer, and the McCracken sisters. Milton Anderson is now head of United Press. Hildegarde Grosser Bulwinkle got them together for the 40th class reunion.
It was all forest between Cedar Lane and West Englewood Avenue. Garrison Avenue scarcely existed. There was a farm near School 4, around Maitland Avenue where the tennis club was. Larch Avenue was dead end at North Street. There was a farm there, I think the house was on Linden Avenue. They raised lots of cabbages.
The race track across from where the Casa Mana used to be was abandoned. We learned to drive cars there. We learned at 9 or 10. Mrs. Sample, was the first lady to drive a car in Teaneck. My mother drove fast, but she would lecture us. She drove a Packard Twin 6. Jackie O'Brien remembers. He'd rip up Teanack Road and get it up to 100 mph. They had great cars then.
The Butterfields were artists. I remember them pulling a wagon with their paints and easels in it. She painted a picture of me. Mother didn't like it. I remember Miss Kennedy the music teacher who came to class with her harmonica. She got married in Christ Church. The reception was somewhere else, so we all lined up on West Englewood Avenue to watch them get into their limousines. She was tall and good looking. She and her husband, Mr. Madison, had a successful restaurant. First it was on Palisade Avenue across from the railroad station in West Englewood. Then it was on Cedar Lane where the New England Shoppe is and later on Route 4, The Hans Christian Andersen Restaurant.
The Hart family had a big home on River Road. Archibald Hart was a prominent man. I think that house later became a restaurant. I met Captain Phelps as a child. He lived in Red Towers on River Road. The Weiss brothers were great. I had a bracelet they gave me as a child. They used to drive my father. Lavonne Muller who lived on Elm Avenue flies for George Brewster.
Frederick Warner was a fine man. He designed the first library without charge, a man of vision. The apartments on Cedar Lane near River Road were really condominiums. His son, Beverly Warner, became treasurer of an international corporation. I met Walter with Allen Dulles brother.
I knew Miss Agnes Norton. She and Miss Alice Rust were our two librarians. I came across a letter of thanks from Miss Norton to my mother expressing appreciation for the job. She was a magnificent organizer. Miss Rust was a people person. They did a great deal for the library.
Afterthoughts by Miss Jordan-- Mrs. Ferry had a boa constrictor. Mrs. Whipple had a crow, Benny Lippman was a bootlegger.
Teaneck Public Library
840 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666
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