The “Riverside” on Our “Founding” Papers
Journeys into River Edge
In a posting Iast week, we wrote of the “Birthplace of River Edge” (Bogert Hall). A couple of discerning readers noticed that one of the supporting pictures made reference to the Borough of Riverside when this community voted to incorporate itself as a borough.
This week’s journey explains what that is all about.
According to the background provided in the forward of one of our two primary local history books, Musket, Anchor and Plow – The Story of River Edge, Naomi Howitt & George Howitt, 1976, Arno Press), Riverside was the name of the present Borough of River Edge from the time it became independent of Midland Township in 1894, until December 1, 1930 when the name was changed to River Edge. The Borough of Riverside, when it was founded on Jul 18, 1894, included the villages of Cherry Hill (later called North Hackensack), and River Edge. The presence of another Riverside in Hunterdon County created much confusion (Actually, there is an additional one – Riverside Township - in Burlington County not too far from Philadelphia). Mail was frequently misdirected. The Post Office required mail for our citizens to specify River Edge if they wanted prompt delivery (No zip codes back then). It was decided that, to reduce the confusion, the entire borough should relinquish the name Riverside and henceforth be known as River Edge.
An interesting side note about the Riverside era, as per the Howitt book forward: “the residents of North Hackensack, fearful of losing their community’s identity, were loath to give up that designation. Use of the term North Hackensack continued for many years after the whole town became River Edge”.
So, it seems that having shed light on the name Riverside, a new exploration harkens – specifically, the name changes in the south end of town over the years. But that topic remains for another time.
Note: The research and text for the Bergen County Historical Society Blue Marker at Borough Hall was written by historian Kevin Wright.