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Mrs. William Ward
(Interview taped 3/24/1976)
I have lived in Teaneck over 50 years. We came from West New York in 1917 or 1918. My husband's father had settled here--on Linden Ave. It was all country and it was lovely.
There was just one store on Cedar Lane. We shopped in Bogota where there was a National Grocery Store on Main Street. We walked to Hackensack to the butcher store. Our nearest neighbor was just two houses away, but there were many vacant lots. There was no high school when we came, but my daughter was in the first graduating class at Teaneck High.
My son and daughter went to Emerson School. I was interested in the P.T.A. and became president. I was active in school and church. I was a charter member of the Community Church. We used to meet in the Kenwood Fire House. In the beginning we went to Bogart Memorial Church. Our church was first called the William N. Smith Community Church. He started it or gave money toward it. Now there are not more than five charter members left--Richard Graham passed away not long ago. Max Hasse's mother was a charter member. They lived on Chestnut Street near the railroad. Frederick Shields was our first minister.
There was a big farm on Linden Avenue. The farmers used to come with a wagon of fresh vegetables. We had an ice man who used to bring us a piece of ice--that was before electric refrigerators. Our ice man was Mr. Thomas.
There were no side walks. We walked, but most families had some sort of a family bus. There was no Route 4 in those days. There were trees all along Cedar Lane. There was a small grocery store there. Where J &J drug store is now there was a house. I remember Archie Hart's house on River Road and Cedar Lane--where Fairleigh Dickinson buildings are now. There was a lovely tea room there at one time. It was so nice living here in those days. You knew every one, there have beer big changes. I don't remember who was mayor. I know Mr. Lewis was in politics.
My husband was a painter. He and his brother teamed up. They painted the Bogota Municipal Building. To go to Now York we took the trolley on Main Street and then the ferry to 34th street.
I started working at the library in 1927 or 28, before Miss Norton came. We had started a little library at Emerson School and I took charge of it, helping children select books and all. Mrs. Jordan had asked me to see about it. When they wanted some one to help Miss Askew at the Teaneck Library, Mrs. Jordan asked me. I was there 30 years. I missed it so when I left--that was 10 or 11 years ago. But you find other activities.
A year or two after I was in the library, Agnes Norton came. I was there the day she was interviewed. Mrs. Jordan was on the library board. People in those days were willing to give their time. I hear Conrad Jordan is in California. I didn't know where Louise was. Mrs. Shulenberger was also on the library board. She worked hard to get Hawthorne Schoo1. They started a little church in Glenwood Park.
I remember the Depression well. The library was a blessing then. Mr. Romaine was very active in helping people--giving them food, a box of cereal or some flour.
Mrs. Lippman was a prominent woman. I was with a group invited to her lovely home. I think it was a school group. We had a delicious luncheon. I remember when they chopped down the trees for the athletic field! Mrs. Lippman and some of the women from the town furnished refreshments.
We grow to like Teaneck very much. We were able to buy this lot and build our home. I was out this morning raking leaves. I was 91 last October. I don't feel that old. I think it's activity that keeps me going; Today I went to the Reformed Church in Hackensack, a group from Luther Bible College sang. It was delightful. I went with Anne Wood -- Her husband, E. Warren Wood, took so many pictures of Teaneck. He was great loss.
I walked quite a lot -- over to Route 4 or to Hackensack, but my daughter takes me to the shopping centers. I do remember the Terhune house on River Road. They tore it down. I feel sorry when I hear of an old building being torn down.
There were a lot of farms here in the old days. I remember the beautiful lilac bushes in back of the Phelps ruins where the Municipal building is. I guess they cut them down to make room for cars. The town takes good care of its tress. It is a nice little town and I admire Mayor Kieliszek. She is doing a fine job.
When I go walking I feel I'm lost. I don't meet a soul. They go swishing by in their cars, I don't tire in walking. We've had some wonderful people here who did a lot. Miss Matte Scott, she lived in a lovely house on Teaneck Road that is gone now. You could sit on the window sills. I remember the Hans Christian Anderson tea house on Cedar Lane near Frances Street.
When I went to work there the library was just the first part as you enter. There was a small room at the back. Miss Norton fixed up as an office. Then Alice Rust came. There were just three of us. I did most of the shelving. We had a balcony and that was where the big tomes were kept. I carried them up there. We had no aides as they do now. We know every one who came in. Children read more story books then. Now there are so many outside activities they don't have time to read--trips, sport, TV.
The trolley fare was 5 cents. postage was 2cents. We had a mail box on the street. Now they use jeeps to make the rounds. There was a house on the corner when we came here--then 3 or 4 vacant lots. There used to be a man who rode horses between Elm Ave. and Linden. There were German people at the corner. There was a big wheel and a hammer on Linden Avenue used to announce a fire. Sheffield Farms was here. There was a big open field where I used to gather dandelions and make wine. Milkmen delivered with horse drawn wagons. Little farmers sold vegetables and there were carts from which people sold peaches reasonably. Bergen county was full of farms in those days.
Things have changed, but I have enjoyed living in Teaneck. It is a nice town.
Teaneck Public Library
840 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666
Tel.: (201) 837-4171, Fax: (201) 837-0410