Michael Pauw, burgomaster of Amsterdam was granted acres upon acres of land in the
new world by order of the King. Being of old age, Pauw passed this opportunity to
settle this new land himself to a small group of men, trusted settlers.
As the group of new settlers approached the foreign land of America they were greeting
by vast expanses of hills, or what Indian tribes of the area referred to as "Weehawkon"
which meant rocks that look like trees. Excited to finally reach America, the new
settlers exclaimed “Berg! Bergen!”
The settlers had hoped to settle a successful and prosperous territory. But trouble
among the new land settlers and the already established Lenni-Lenape Indian tribe
(who already occupied the land) arose. In the hope of reaching peace the New Netherlands
Government from Manhattan Island intervened.
Urging settlers to turn land over to individual owners, this new community was established
as the Village of Bergen on September 5, 1661. The Village of Bergen was the first
municipality in the territory which is now known as New Jersey.
Before long, after losing its trading posts, the Village of Bergen grew. Now there
were many families living and prospering in the village and the nearby lands. After
being established as the Village of Bergen, the people of the land turned to Governor
Phillip Carteret of New Jersey for incorporation under the name of “The Town and
Corporation of North Bergen.” This was the very first time the word “North” was
incorporated into the Village’s name.
In 1693, just thirty-two years of the Village of Bergen’s settlement, Hudson County
was formed, and the township of North Bergen was one of its first successful municipalities.
The Town and Corporation of North Bergen was booming. Many new settlers built homes
in both the hills and the lowlands. Many reaped the benefits of such rich soil,
providing fruit and vegetables, not only for their families, but many others in
the area. By 1700 the first waterway transportation system was developed, providing
regular ferry service to and from the island of New York.
But as time marched on, so did newly developed armies. In 1775 armies of men marched
down from New England and through North Bergen in order to join the Continental
Army of George Washington. Many North Bergen residents were then prompted, through
this army march, to join the ranks of the rebels.
Many young officers were welcomed and rejoiced. One of which was Marquis de Lafayette,
whom North Bergen officially received. His arrival was celebrated throughout all
of North Bergen.
Changes marked the growth and the time of North Bergen. New Durham was now the most
prosperous community within the area now known as North Bergen. But in 1848, fear
of unnatural forces lead to entire families and groups of people moving outside
the Five Corners of New Durham. In 1849 Hoboken seceded from North Bergen, followed
by Weehawken in 1859. Secession was now fashionable. In 1861 towns known as West
Hoboken and the Township of Union (which included West New York and Guttenberg)
also seceded from North Bergen. As is trend, Secaucus too, in 1989, became independent
of the Town and Corporation of North Bergen.
By this time North Bergen had its own government in place. In 1852 the town of North
Bergen was governed by a Board of Five Selected Men. One of these men was William
H. Danielson who lived at 1611 Bergen Turnpike.
As more and more families settled into daily life in North Bergen, the local government
recognized a need for schools. Following the Civil War, the Granton School was built,
a one story structure with only one teacher: Miss Mary A. Carmody. This one story
building was in use until 1871 when a new two-story building was erected. The four
room, brick structure was constructed on the old Secaucus Road in the homestead
section of North Bergen. Now, this school is known as the Franklin School.
Besides the development of school, places of worship were also developed and constructed
as early as 1845 within the township of North Bergen. Up until this point in time
the people of North Bergen found their livelihood resided in farming. But as times
changed, so did their source of income. A clue factory popped up and many men were
famous wheelwrights – men who, not only repaired, but also built custom wooden wheels.
Two such men were Peter Jackson and Tom Eckerson, who lived at 1116 Hackensack Plank
North Bergen also welcomed a new, unconventional means of mail delivery. Women
of the town made it a habit to call upon neighbors, asking for any letters or parcels
to go to the post office. Not only was business booming in North Bergen, but transportation
was too. In 1892 the very first trolley car was put into operation, opening the
gates for people to easily commute from North Bergen to New York City and vice versa.
By 1920s the population had significantly increased - from a few early settlers
to forty-six thousand residents. This tomahawk shaped city is five point five seven
(5.57) square miles long. As of 2010 North Bergen is home to a total of sixty thousand,
seven hundred and seventy-three (60,773) residents.