The History of this Place Before It Became A Borough (1894)

The History of this Place Before It Became A Borough (1894)

Journeys into Maywood

In it shortest form, Maywood's histories have it that this place was formed by two events: the coming of the railroad and its becoming a borough.

In fact, there is a history before those events as well.

The area that became northern New Jersey, including Maywood, was occupied for thousands of years by prehistoric indigenous peoples. At the time of European encounter, it was settled by the Lenape Native Americans.

A comprehensive backgrounder was done by the late historian Kevin Wright of the Bergen County Historical Society. It can be accessed here.

Settlement by the Dutch West India Company in New Netherland on west banks of the North River (Hudson River) across from New Amsterdam (present-day lower Manhattan) began in the 1630s at Pavonia, eventually leading to the establishment of Bergen (at today's Bergen Square in Jersey City) in 1660.

After some less than positive interactions with the unscrupulous newcomers, the traditionally peaceful nature of the area tribes began to change. By the mid-1600’s uprisings and massacres started to become commonplace.

It was during that period that the local histories say that this area was first settled by Euopeans - specifically Dutch settlers began building homes and farms in what would become later become New Jersey Midland Railway Bergen County.

In those early pre-borough days this area was first known as West Hackensack until becoming part of New Barbados Township and, in 1871, it joined Midland Township.

During the rapid expansion of the railroad in the 19th century, the New Jersey Midland Railway completed construction of a station in 1872 along Maywood Avenue as part of a broader plan to connect the Great Lakes with New York Harbor. The railroad planned to call the station “West Hackensack,” but people living nearby convinced the company to name it “Maywood,” as the area had become informally known. Later that year on September 25, 700 lots surrounding the rail lines and depots were sold at auction, spurring Maywood’s early growth. The station also served as the U.S. Post Office for Maywood until about 1920. Passenger service continued until 1966.

In 1894, residents voted to incorporate the area to give birth to the Borough of Maywood.

Background Info: Kevin Wright - Bergen County Historical Society and History of Maywood form the Maywood Public Library.

Photo: Bergen County Historical Society