Uniquely River Edge: “The Birthplace of River Edge"
Journeys into River Edge
There is a building nestled between the N.J. Transit train tracks and the Hackensack River along River Edge Road. It is pretty stark and non-descript. But it is a place with history. It is where River Edge was as we know it today was born.
The year was 1894. The community, like many in the area, was caught up in a phenomenon described as "Boroughitis". Some 26 boroughs were formed in the county in that year alone. At the time, township populations were not spread out evenly over geographic areas and were, instead, clustered in hamlets. As a result residents throughout the state were looking for a government that would be more responsive to their individual and local needs.
Locally, we originally incorporated as the borough of Riverside by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on June 30, 1894, from portions of Midland Township, based on the results of a referendum held the previous day.
The first meeting of the new Council on July 24, 1984 was held in Bogert’s Hall. It’s where the election in June had been held, there on the second floor of that building on River Edge Road between the railroad and the bridge. The building was owned by the Bogerts who succeeded the Demarests as the preeminent merchants of the area. Over the years it was occupied by the River Edge Industries Co., and more recently by Greg Tanzer Sprinklers.
Bogert’s Hall had itself been an addition to the old store established by Peter van Buskirk at Old Demarest Landing. Though part of a private business and not a governmental building, it was the only space at that time capable of accommodating the numbers that the important events of 1894 brought out as the community charted its future.
So, as Philadelphia has Independence Hall, and New York its Federal Hall, we too have our version in Bogert Hall – even as it is mostly overlooked and forgotten today as the birthplace of River Edge.