Clifton Merchant Magazine - July 2006

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July 2006_COVER


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July 2006_COVER


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Enjoy our first of two editions focused on Clifton History...

Required Summer Reading...


ummertime. It’s a word to say slowly, a word that conjures visions of a glass of iced tea followed by an afternoon nap in the shade. It’s a time when people grow lazy and nostalgic for summers of the past. It’s a season whose soundtrack is the wind blowing through maple trees lining Clifton streets, accompanied by crickets singing under hedges. Its song is often punctuated by a car cruising by with music blaring out open windows—young people headed to the Garden State Parkway to go down the shore on a Friday night. Summertime. It’s the fireworks show in Clifton Schools Stadium around the Fourth of July. It’s the buzz of Main Ave. and the smell of White Castle onions wafting through the air.

On our cover, it’s a look back at the 1 million gallon Clifton Swim Club on Main Ave., still owned today by the Bellin family. Above, a group of unidentified lifeguards at the pool and at left, William White, James Garner and Woodrow Garner as they took a break in 1940 from serving up White Castle burgers, which as you may note by the sign, were then just a nickel. Photo at left courtesy of Walter N. Pruiksma.

Clifton Merchant Magazine is published monthly at 1288 Main Ave., Downtown Clifton • 973-253-4400’s the crowd outside Joeys’ on Allwood Rd., hoping for a night of magic as they walk inside. After a year of politics, debates over where to build a school, protests, hearings, speeches, elections, victories and defeats, Clifton Merchant Magazine wants to kick back with its loyal readers, breathe in that relaxing summer air, and enjoy a great best beach story: Clifton’s amazing history from the 1600s to the brink of World War II. Think we have problems, issues, heroes, and scoundrels today? Clifton had that in the past… and then some. From Revolutionary War stomping ground to bucolic farm land to a town on the rise, the city named for the now disappearing cliffs to the west (or so the legend says) boasts a history that typifies the American Dream. And perhaps nowhere is summertime so special than at the place featured on our cover, the “Clifton Pool” or Bellin’s Swim Club as it is known today. Built in 1932 and covering 2.5 acres, the pool has served Clifton families for generations, first as a public pool and then as a private swim club since 1970.


July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

The entrance to the Clifton Pool, circa 1969, and from the right, Margaret Bellin, and bottom left, her husband, George with George Jr., circa 1980. Below right, a photo of George, Diane and their son Christopher Bellin taken a few years back.

Located near the Passaic border on Main Ave., it was originally named Rentschler’s Pool and would sometimes attract up to 2,000 people on a Saturday. Admission to the pool was a nickel—an oasis in a town where the only other relief from summer’s heat came from air conditioning inside the Clifton Theater.

A view of the Clifton Theater, once at the intersection of Clifton and Main Aves. Photo courtesy of Mark S. Auerbach.

In 1942, the late George Bellin Sr. became the pool’s manager (son George Jr. was born that same year). He purchased the pool in 1965. After converting the pool to a membership-only facility in 1970, Bellin’s Swim Club has enjoyed both prosperous and lean periods. Opening the pool to out-of-towners, Bellin’s drew nearly 800 members in the mid-1980s. But with lean economic times later in the decade and through the early 1990s, membership declined. Today, despite competing against backyard pools and other summer entertainment options, membership is on the upswing. “I estimate we’ll have 500 members this season,” says George Bellin Jr. However, like summer, the family-owned and operated Bellin’s Swim Club will not last forever. Since 1999, there has been talk of the pool being a future site for senior housing or other projects. 16,000 MAGAZINES are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants the first Friday of Every Month. MAILED SUBSCRIPTIONS $15/year in Clifton $25/year out of town CALL 973: 253: 4400 entire contents copyright 2006 © tomahawk promotions

“The sale for the place is in the works, that’s true,” says Bellin. “But we’ll definitely be here this summer until Labor Day. I can’t predict the future and when the sale will happen. There are always obstacles, and when they come up, you get delayed—sometimes six months, sometimes a year.” Bellin has mixed emotions about seeing the pool close. But at age 64, he feels it’s time. “The people have been wonderful,” he says about his many customers. “They come to grill, relax and enjoy themselves—from kids to grandparents. We put out 115 outdoor sets with umbrellas and tables to make them comfortable. But the pool is a dinosaur—they don’t make pools like this anymore. But it’s a good place, one that’s enjoyed… then and now.” When Bellin’s becomes a summer memory, it will join many others packed in this issue (and our August edition) of Clifton Merchant Magazine.

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If you’ve lived in Clifton your entire life, the events and personalities captured in words and pictures will make you smile. If you’re a newcomer, you’re in for a treat. We’ll take you from the 1600s when the Lenni Lenape lived here, to 1776, when General George Washington retreated through Clifton after seeing his rag-tag army bloodied near Fort Lee. Washington would return, as would his wife Martha, another future first lady Abigail Adams, his aide Alexander Hamilton, and General Marquis de Lafayette. In the late 1800s, Scotto Nash grew his prize American Beauty Roses in what is now Nash Park. The Clifton Race Track (built where Clifton Schools Stadium is today—ever wonder why our sports teams are called Mustangs?— would open, close, open again, and die in scandal—much to the chagrin of its 10,000 daily patrons, many brought in by train from New York City. When the ponies were outlawed, they raced bicycles and motorcycles at the track, and Buffalo Bill performed in Wild West shows on the property. The Morris Canal, the superhighway of its day, meandered through Clifton, as did the trolley that brought visitors to Fairyland Amusement Park, a maze of elec-

The late David L. Van Dillen, pictured here, was the author of the 300 year timeline of Clifton History, which begins on the following page. Thanks are also in order to the Clifton Library staff, the authors of ‘A Clifton Sampler’ and historian Mark S. Auerbach.

tric lights, dance pavilions, circus attractions, and rides—all protected by constables, the forerunners of the Clifton Police Department. The great 1913 Silk Strike began in Clifton, then a part of Paterson, at the still magnificent Doherty Silk Mill on Main Ave. To help mend the wounds from the strike, owner Harry Doherty built a “field of

dreams” behind his mill, and a parade of baseball Hall of Famers, including Negro League stars, played in Clifton against his team, the Silk Sox. In one game, the one and only Babe Ruth hit a mammoth home run that caused a riot at the ball park, and the Yankees and the Bambino had to be rescued by a fledgling police force from their adoring fans. The NFL’s New York Giants played an exhibition game in Clifton, the beefsteak dinner was invented here by Hap Nightingale, and the US Animal Quarantine station to inspect exotic animals operated on the grounds of what is now Clifton City Hall. America and Clifton went to war and the hundreds of our city sons who sacrificed their lives for our country are etched in eternal memory on the War Monument in Main Memorial Park, erected after the “war to end all wars.” A generation and another world war later, Clifton began transforming itself from a quiet farming community to a thriving city, thanks in part to the GI Bill, a housing developer named Steve Dudiak, and a football coach named Joe Grecco. But that’s a story for an August summer day. Enjoy Part I of Clifton’s history...

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1678: Hartman Vreeland buys Dundee Island in what is now the Market St. area of Passaic. He establishes a trading post for the exchange of goods with the local Lenni Lenape Indians. March 5, 1680: Two Labadist missionaries explore the Passaic River by rowboat from Belleville to the Great Falls. March 16, 1684: An agreement is reached between 14 Dutch patentees and the East Jersey Proprietors for the purchase of Acquackanonk. Fourteen estates were laid out in tiers between the Passaic River and Wesel Mountain. Dec. 4, 1692: Capt. John Bradbury establishes the first grist mill at present day Delawanna’s Third River. Dec. 4, 1693: The several counties in the East Jersey province are divided into townships. A new township in Essex County is Acquackanonk and New Barbadoes. It extends from the mouth of the Passaic River to the Ramapo River at the New York State border. In 1707, this township is separated into the separate townships of the two names. 1215




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Lenni Lenape In the 1600’s, when the Dutch reached Acquackanonk, the first people they encountered were the Lenni Lenape tribe. Historian William W. Scott, who in 1922 wrote the History of Passaic and Its Environs, calculated that the Lenni Lenape, which means pure or original Indian, arrived in New Jersey around 976 A.D., after they had forced out the Mengwe, a previous tribe. Scott writes that the Lenape were a strong and healthy nation when the Europeans first arrived, and were willing to share Acquackanonk,, which encompassed modern-day Clifton, Passaic and Paterson. However, he stated, as a race, few lived past the age of 60. The Passaic River was bountiful and the area near today’s Dundee Dam—between Garfield and Clifton—was a place for religious services and also a prime fishing location. He also noted that the Lenape regarded the turtle as ‘creator of all things’. They taught the Dutch how to use the so-called Lenape fish dams (called slooterdam by the Dutch) which was V-shaped, pointing downstream with a sluice in the center where a woven basket was set to catch the fish. The Lenapes also made use of the fertile land near the Dundee Dam where they grew maize and other crops. In fact, the Passaic River offered so much to these people that it was home to a permanent settlement, covering most of the land east of Second St., into

illustration by Ray Mauro

present-day Passaic. They often lived in approximately 7x24 foot “longhouses”, which accommodated up to a 12-person family. To the east of Sixth St., where Passaic and Wall Sts. are located today, was where the homes of about 500 Lenape. Other publications mention a trail from the river to the Great Notch and on to present day Rifle Camp Rd. where they had a spot to replenish their arrows. The greatest of all the Lenape meeting places where they gathered after the harvest was the dancing grounds along the Third River in Delawanna. Eventually, the new settlers took their toll on the Lenape. The Dutch introduced alcohol and disease, which sent the population spiraling, and by around 1700, the Lenape migrated west.

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1726: Notch Rd. is laid out across Acquackanonk Township from the Passaic River to Wesel Mountain, now known as Garret Mountain. The illustration on page 6 was rendered in about 1857; the photo below is of the Notch Brook in 1922 when a tavern and gathering place existed and above is the location as it appears today.



April 10, 1693: King’s Highway is laid out along the Passaic River, from Newark north to Belleville, or to the ford of the Second River. 1707: The first road from Newark to the interior of the Province of East Jersey is laid out along the Passaic River as far as the Acquackanonk Landing (Passaic) and then along today’s Lexington Ave. through Wesel to Paterson. 1729: Stephen Bassett’s tannery and distillery is established on today’s East Clifton Ave. near Nash Park, then Wesel. 1736: The Gysbert Vanderhoff house & saw mill is constructed in today’s Weasel Brook Park. The homestead still stands. 1740: A brownstone quarry is in operation in today’s City Hall complex near the Colfax Ave. entrance.

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Washington didn’t sleep here...

Nov. 22, 1776: Gen. George Washington and the Colonial Army retreated from Acquackanonk Landing through what is today’s Delawanna en route to Newark, Elizabethtown, New Brunswick and the Delaware River at Trenton. Essayist Thomas Paine may have accompanied the troops. 1176

1745: An 18 by 22 foot schoolhouse is built at today’s corner of Lexington and Clifton Ave’s. It serves as a meeting place for the Committee On Correspondence during the American Revolution. Nov. 17, 1755: Bloomfield Ave. is laid out though today’s Allwood from Acquackanonk Landing to Stonehouse Plains. 1774: The Hoffmeier (Cornelius Sip) house is built on 44 acres, from Pershing Rd. to Grove St. 1774: Abraham Godwin operates a stagecoach twice a week between Paulus Hook (Jersey City) and the Great Falls (Paterson) via Weasel Rd. in Acquackanonk Township. Nov. 27, 1776: Speertown (now Allwood) is pillaged by Redcoats. July 10, 1778: Gen. George Washington and aides, including Alexander Hamilton, are visitors at the Great Falls. They pass through Acquackanonk en route to Preakness quarters.

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Oct./Nov. 1780: The Colonial Army camped at Totowa and George Washington had his headquarters at the Dey Mansion. AWOL soldiers were rounded up in Acquackanonk. Oct. 23, 1780: Marquis de Lafayette leads a Pennsylvania Line of the Colonial Army through the Notch and to Stone House Plains Road (Allwood Road) on a sally toward Staten Island. The thrust falls and the troops return to Totowa. Aug. 21, 1781: The Colonial Army passes through Acquackanonk Township on Wesel Rd. (now Lexington Ave.) for the last time en route from the Hudson Highlands to Yorktown, Va. Sept. 10, 1786: Kingsland Rd. is laid out, starting from the Kingsland Paper Mill on Yantacaw Pond to Bloomfield. 1796: Acquackanonk Township School 1 is erected on Franklin Ave. (now Main Ave.), near Stone House Plains Rd. (Allwood Rd.) May 13, 1796: Bloomfield Rd. (now Broad St. in Richfield) is laid out from Paterson to Notch Rd. (now Van Houten Ave.) to a point 100 feet west of the log schoolhouse on the south side of Notch Rd. (near today’s Richfield Farms). May 13, 1796: Hazel Rd. laid out. Aug. 3, 1801: Essex County Road Orders vacate, alter and relocate Notch Rd. and present-day Van Houten Ave. Paterson Plank Rd. (now Main Ave.) is also laid out. 1810: Melville Curtis starts a paper mill beside Yantacaw Pond in today’s Delawanna section. May 1, 1813: James Shepherd builds the first cotton bleachery in New Jersey, at a pond along Garritse Lane (now Clifton and Main Ave.). It is sold in 1830.

Industrious & Crafty...

Dutch Settlers After the purchase of the area known as Acquackanonk from the Lenni Lenape Indians in 1684 for a parcel of blankets, kettles, powder and other various goods, the 14 Dutch proprietors from Bergen (now Jersey City) who had bought the land each laid out their own homes and farms along the Passaic River. These houses were at the current location of Rutt’s Hutt to the bridge that crossed the river to Wallington. These first settlers were attracted to this region for the same reason the Lenni Lenape were: the natural resources. With a majority of the first settlers coming over being farmers, it only made sense to start a community on the fertile land in between the Passaic River and Wesel (Garret) Mountain, which formed the natural boundaries of the Acquackanonk territory. The woods around the settlement provided fuel for fire and were perfect for building the oneroom homes where the Dutch lived, if field stones were not present. The Passaic River was also important to their lives, offering fish, another staple of the early Dutch settlers, as well as providing the fastest means of transportation to neighboring areas. That is, when the Dutch weren’t tending to their land, which often was a sunrise to sunset job.

The one-room homes featured a large fireplace, which was used for warmth, as well as cooking. Early diets included a lot of saltpork, beef, potatoes, cornmeal and cabbage, as well as deer, turkey and fish, which was mostly cooked in large iron kettles over the fire. Fruits and vegetables were also common in warm months, as were springhouses, where goods that may spoil in heat were kept cool in the ground. For the winter, the smokehouse was often used, where meat could be preserved for a later time. Items and food that were to be stored were either kept in the barn, which also housed all the livestock, or in the home’s cellar. Life for early Acquackanonk settlers was certainly not easy.

...the timeline continues on page 18 July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Our Valley Rd. local history museum was built in 1817...

The Hamilton House Museum Story by Joe Torelli


hen the yellow school bus pulled into the parking lot of the Hamilton-Van Wagoner House museum on a recent spring morning, the 27 third-graders onboard, all from Clifton’s School 12, had come to experience more than 200 years of local history on a tour of the 18th century gambrel-roofed homestead located at 971 Valley Rd. And experience it they did, thanks to generations of volunteers and Norma Smith, the curator of the museum whose passion for sharing local history with her visitors is absolutely contagious. For the next three hours she held the third-graders and their chaperones spellbound, delighting them with tales of the home’s former occupants, showing them dozens of authentic artifacts from its past, and engaging some of them in hands-on demonstrations of that era’s everyday life while dressed in costumes.

The students were visiting under a program sponsored by the Clifton Board of Education that sends all third-grade classes to the museum each year as part of its curriculum on civics and local history. Students get to experience firsthand what it was like to live here in the 18th and 19th centuries, rather than just reading about it in books. The Hamilton Van-Wagoner house

was scheduled to be razed 34 years ago when Harry Hamilton passed away at age 92. Up to that time, three generations of Hamiltons had called it home for more than 100 years. But Harry had stipulated in his will that the house was to be torn down, or moved, before the property on which it stood could be sold to anyone outside the family.

March 4, 1980: The Van Wagoner-Hamilton House was relocated by truck from the Notch on Valley Rd. and moved a few hundred feet up the street to its present location at Surgent Park. These days, the Hamilton House is Clifton’s living history museum. Curator Norma Smith and volunteers keep the Hamilton House vibrant and relevant by offering tours to school kids, sponsoring events and other activities. For info on the activities there, call 973-744-5707. 12

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Built in 1817 by Anna and John Vreeland, in the Notch, west of today’s Valley Rd., the Hamilton House was purchased in 1856 by Henry Hamilton and remained in that family until 1972, upon the death of their son, Harry, shown below. Pictured at right are Harry’s sisters, Laura (18821955), Emma (1873-1955), Clara (1877-1967), and Addie (18751957, who also owned and resided in the Hamilton House from 1928 until their deaths, prior to Harry.

From most accounts, Harry was a strong-willed, fiercely independent man. His only offspring, daughter Caroline, herself admitted that he was “impulsive,” and “a character from his early days on” who loved the land and its history, especially around Clifton’s Notch area where the house stood. So, it surprised few people that his will called for the demolition of the homestead. Family friend and lifelong Clifton resident, Walter Van Leeuwen recalled how many people considered Harry an oddball—a strange man from a strange family that had a reputation for keeping to itself.

According to the 88 year-old Van Leeuwen, Harry had inherited the house from his spinster sister, Clara, who had owned it along with three other unmarried sisters. They, in turn, had inherited it from their spinster aunt, Susan, who had lived there with her two unmarried sisters, Bridget and Margaret. “Most people thought the Hamiltons were peculiar and unfriendly because the women never seemed to marry and none of them socialized much,” said Van Leeuwen. “And they were constantly saying how Harry always seemed irritable and didn’t trust anybody.” But Van Leeuwen knew differently.

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His parents, who were immigrants from Holland, settled in Clifton in 1921. They leased four acres of property from the Hamiltons on land adjacent to their house. Today, that property is a parking lot for Alexus Restaurant. “Aunt Susie was always real nice to us,” said Van Leeuwen, referring to owner, Susan Hamilton. He told of how she performed one particularly extraordinary act of kindness shortly after his father, Seiman Van Leeuwen, was killed in a tragic automobile fire in 1925. “My mother was suddenly a widow with five small children and no one to help her pay the lease. So Aunt Susie deeded all four acres to her for a single dollar. Imagine that,” said Van Leeuwen, in a voice still awed over 80 years later. “After my father died, Harry became a second father to me and my four sisters,” he continued, insisting that stories of Hamilton’s quarrelsome nature and his mistrust of others are greatly exaggerated. To emphasize his point, Van Leeuwen told of how Harry and

Walter Van Leeuwen, an 88-year old Clifton resident who recalled Harry Hamilton as a second father.

Blanche (Harry’s wife) ran a farm stand on Valley Road that they left unattended much of the time. “Customers would just come up, take what they wanted, and leave the money in a box on the table,”

he said. “Harry never questioned their honesty. Now, why would he do that if he didn’t trust people?” Van Leeuwen, who remained a friend and confidante to Hamilton until the day Harry died, said that he wasn’t surprised by the will’s stipulation. “Harry loved farming and he was attached to that property,” he said. “I guess when the land finally left the family, he wanted the house to go with it.” When word of Harry’s death reached the fledgling Clifton Historical Commission, they approached the City Council seeking help to save the house so it could be turned into a museum. Becker and Becker Associates, the local business which purchased the property and its buildings from the Hamilton estate, presented the farmhouse to the Commission. One year later, the HamiltonVan Wagoner House was lifted from its foundation on the Hamilton property and transported several hundred yards across Valley Rd. to its present location in cityowned Surgent Park. Harry’s will was honored, and Clifton saved an irreplaceable treasure. Today, the house is maintained jointly by the Hamilton VanWagoner House Restoration Association, which cares for the buildings and furnishings, and the city, which maintains the grounds. And it has grown into more than just a museum where visitors come to view relics from the past. Thanks to Smith and her predecessors, curators Elvira Hessler, Jule Olczak and Gen Generalli, along with the museum’s board of directors and volunteers, the museum now offers a wide array of programs, events, and opportunities The Hamilton House Museum today.


July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

From left, curators of the Hamilton House: Elvira Hessler, Jule Olczak, Gen Generalli and Norma Smith.

for anyone who has an appreciation for Clifton history and art. In addition to being part of the Clifton’s third-grade school curriculum, the museum has active Boy and Girl Scout programs and helps boys reach Eagle Scout status by completing projects to benefit the house and earning badges. Throughout the year it plays host to dozens of craft fairs, art exhibits,

poetry recitals, and workshops of all kinds, including classes on spinning, quilting, calligraphy, embroidery, candle making, and gingerbread house construction. And it is also the site of several Clifton holiday traditions, among them an annual Easter egg hunt, ta candlelight tour featuring the CHS Madrigal Singers, and an annual visit from St. Nicholas.

Funding for the Hamilton House museum and its programs is provided mainly through modest membership dues, sales from its gift shop, public donations and grants. Membership to the Hamilton House Museum begins at just $5 and checks can be made payable to ‘Hamilton House’ and mailed to 941 Valley Rd, Clifton, NJ 07013. For more info, call 973-744-5707.

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At Clifton Savings, it’s more than a slogan – it’s a commitment. Always has been, always will be. Our founders made that commitment more than 75 years ago when they opened the doors of our first branch. They were there to serve their community’s banking needs. They knew and cared about the financial and social well being of the people who lived around them – their neighbors. What was true then is just as true today, and this commitment has been the key to our enduring success as a financial institution. How do we achieve this enviable standard of service? By knowing the people we serve. People who want to work with a bank that understands their needs and knows how to help them achieve their dreams. People like you. Clifton Savings. A bank that lives by the commitment that experience pays.

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A Proud History 1928 Botany Building & Loan Association chartered on April 9 by the State of New Jersey. The principal office is located at 215 Dayton Avenue, Clifton, NJ. 1930 The name of the association is changed to East Clifton Building & Loan Association. 1933 The association becomes a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank. The office is moved to 226 Dayton Avenue, Clifton. 1940 Insurance of accounts up to $5,000 by the Federal Savings & Loan Insurance Corporation is granted. [The association was one of the first to be approved by FSLIC, and one of the first to be given full insurance coverage.] The office is relocated to 260 Parker Avenue, Clifton, and is opened for business on a full time basis. 1941 The association merges with the American Building & Loan Association of Garfield, New Jersey. 1942 The association merges with the American Hungarian Building & Loan Association. 1954 The name of the association is changed to Clifton Savings & Loan Association. 1956 A branch office is opened at 1055 Clifton Avenue, Clifton. 1968 A branch office is opened at 595 Van Houten Avenue, Clifton (relocated in 1981 to 646 Van Houten Avenue). 1970 A branch office is opened at 325 Lakeview Avenue, Clifton (relocated in 1976 to 319 Lakeview Avenue). 1971 A branch office is opened at 246 Edison Street, Clifton (relocated in 1991 to 387 Valley Road). 1975 The first branch office outside of Clifton is opened at 255 Palisade Avenue, Garfield, NJ. 1977 A second branch office in Garfield is opened at 359 Lanza Avenue (relocated in 2000 to 369 Lanza Avenue). 1981 Another Clifton branch office is opened at 1433 Van Houten Avenue (this office becomes the association’s main office in 1998). 1989 The name of the association is changed to Clifton Savings Bank, S.L.A. 1998 The first drive-up automated teller machine is installed, at the main office. The bank’s web site comes on-line. 2001 The second drive-up automated teller machine is installed at the Lanza Ave. branch. 2002 The Richfield office located at 1055 Clifton Ave is remodeled. 2003 The Botany Village office is remodeled. A branch office is opened in Wallington, at Maple Avenue & Union Boulevard. A branch office is opened in Wayne, at 1158 Hamburg Turnpike. The first walk-up automated teller machine is installed at the Wayne branch. 2004 Clifton Savings Bank, S.L.A. reorganized from a New Jersey chartered mutual savings and loan association to a New Jersey chartered stock savings and loan association in the federal mutual holding company format. In connection with the Plan of Reorganization and Stock Issuance, Clifton Savings Bank formed a new federal mid-tier stock holding company, Clifton Savings Bancorp, Inc., and sold a minority of the common shares to the public in a subscription and community offering. A majority of the mid-tier stock holding company’s common stock was issued to a federal mutual holding company, Clifton MHC. On March 4, 2004 Clifton Savings Bancorp, Inc. began trading on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol “CSBK.” A drive-up window and automated teller machine were installed in the brand new office located on Palisades Avenue in Garfield. A drive-up window and walk up automated teller machine were installed in the brand new office located in Wallington. 2005 The Lakeview Office branch is remodeled and a walk-up automated teller machine is installed. July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


1831: Long before automobiles & airplanes, there was the Morris Canal... 1818: The Van Riper general store established on present: day Broad St. near Hepburn Rd. and Bloomfield border. 1820: The Isaac Sip (Doremus) house is built on Broad St. An original wing may have been erected as early as 1740. Dec. 17, 1824: Speertown (Allwood) and part of Bloomfield are united in a special school district. Children from both municipalities attended school in Bloomfield. 1824: The Morris Canal is extended into Acquackanonk Township along Broad St. and put into early use as constructed. 1826: A Centerville real estate development called Canalville is laid out near Broad & Grove St.’s in Richfield. 1828: Wesel School is moved from Lexington to Lakeview Ave’s. Aug. 16, 1831: The 102-mile Morris Canal is finally completed.

May 28, 1832: The Paterson & Hudson River Railroad is put into service between Paterson and Passaic. During this time, it was considered a luxury to ride a train. The fare fluctuated in the early days, ranging from 15 to 25 cents each way, with children under 12 riding half off. The train’s coaches often jumped track, but since they were so light, it was not of concern. Passengers would get out to lend a hand and put it back on. Trains ran from 7 am to 7 pm, beginning in Paterson. In 1834, the first steam engine appeared on the roads and from there, everything expanded. The line then extended to Jersey City and Suffern as a part of the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad. Nov. 6, 1833: The Postville School opens in South Paterson, then part of Acquackanonk, not Paterson. Feb. 7, 1837: New Jersey Legislature establishes Passaic County,by removing it from Essex County. 1837: William P. Ackerman establishes New Jersey’s earliest cotton tannery on a pond near Clifton and Main Aves. A new chemical process is used in the tanning.

Oct. 6, 1837: Henry F. Piaget acquires and begins to operate the 18th century tavern at Notch, first licensed in 1797. It is named: “The Union Hotel at Great Notch.” 1840: The first Sunday School is opened in present-day Clifton is opened in Van Winkle’s barn at Broad St. & Van Houten Ave. 1847: A great pearl “rush” for pearls from fresh water mussels occurs along Pearl Brook below the Notch. Some quality pearls are found but the largest is destroyed by cooking (see page 23). Dec. 23, 1847: B’nai Jeshurun congregation acquires from Dr. Joseph W. Ashman two small lots in Centerville for use as a Jewish cemetery, perhaps the earliest in North Jersey. 1849: A Methodist chapel, used primarily by circuit riders, is opened on Van Houten Ave., west of Grove St. (near the present Clifton Masonic Temple site). The earlier Van Wrinkle barn Sunday School moves here. Services cease circa 1855. April 20, 1859: The cornerstone of the Dundee Dam across the Passaic River is set in place by Gov. William Newell. Joseph Scott, father of author/historian William Scott, is chief engineer for the project, which includes the Dundee Canal, a water power source for Passaic’s mills.

An undated photo of the Morris Canal. The section above is located where Route 19 today runs into Paterson. 18

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

1861: The Minette Varnish Co. at 132 Delawanna Ave. is opened. The building and ovens are razed circa 1955. March 28, 1865: The 90-acre Cedar Lawn cemetery is formally opened. Burials and reinterring of Sandy Hill removals happen as early as September 1857. 1865: George V. DeMott builds the Clifton Grove Hotel at the corner of Main and Madison’s Ave’s. He also opens a real estate office on the corner of Madison and Getty Ave’s. Oct. 1867: The Clifton Landing & Building Association commences the development of the Clifton section of Acquackanonk Township, west of Main Ave. from Weasel Brook to Union Ave. 1868: The Lotz Brothers’ Dairy is established on Piaget Ave. March 31, 1868: Litte Falls is removed from Acquackanonk Township at the steep rocks facing Wesel Mountain on the east. 1868: A branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad System is constructed from Newark through Highland (Allwood) and Athenia to Paterson. This branch railroad fails in 1871. June 8, 1869: The Ninth Ward (South Paterson) is separated from Acquackanonk Township to become part of Paterson. 1870: Acquackanonk Township’s weekly newspaper, The Item, is published. 1870: The Clifton Union Sunday School (interdenominational) is organized above the variety store at 99 Florence (Getty) Ave. July 3, 1870: Wesel School relocates to 99 Florence Ave. 1870: The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western’s Boonton branch begins operations through Delawanna, Passaic and Athenia.

March 21, 1871: The village of Passaic splits from Acquackanonk Township. Passaic becomes a separate city in 1973. July 19, 1871: Delawanna residents vote down annexation by Passaic. Sept. 30, 1871: A railroad depot is opened in Arlington Ave. The Clifton depot on Madison Ave. was already opened in 1870.

1871: The Morris Canal is sold to the Lehigh Valley railroad. 1871: George Hughes, a linen manufacturer, and his brother, John, land developers from Cranford, purchase land in Athenia, lay out streets and build 14 homes with a characteristic mansard roof. Six are still in use. Oct. 21, 1871: Engine Co. #1 opens in a barn at Main & Madison Ave’s. ...the timeline continues on page 24

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A noted historian explained the origins of Clifton’s districts...

Early Neighborhood Names Story by William W. Scott, as published in 1922


hen ‘oldtimers’ discuss Clifton’s neighborhoods, genealogy or landmarks of historical significance, the name William W. Scott often comes up. That is because he is the authority on the history of the region, most specifically the area known as Acquackanonk, which incorporates Clifton, long before it became a city on April 26, 1917. Scott was the author of the History of Passaic and Its Environs, a thick and tedious three-part series which was published in 1922. The encyclopedic books detail the history of the region, and offers his thoughts and observations on a variety of topics. On the following pages are accounts of how various sections received their monikers. It was Scott’s opinion that the old names of these localities were far more significant than “the present meaningless designations.” He points out, for example, that Weasel, “a corruption of Wesel”, a town in Holland, refers to the old World home of the first settlers and “means infinitely more than the present name, Lakeview.” Scott holds that Claverack, meaning clover fields, is “superior to the utterly meaningless, Athenia.” What follows are the words of the author, which some of today’s readers may not find politically correct. But reading the copy will help further identify Clifton’s neighborhoods, which are mentioned by several different names in our extensive timeline. 20

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Weasel, taking the Weasel Brook locality, was settle by Hollanders in the early part of the eighteenth century. The first prominent settler was Gerrit Gerritse. The land originally was used for farming; many of the old farm lanes are now streets, such as Crooks Ave. A grist mill once was located along the Weasel Brook on the old Post Farm, later taken over by the Van Winkles. The Vreelands also exercised considerable influence in this locality. The brook also boasted on its banks at various times a distillery, a bleachery and a factor in which hoop skirts were made. A portion of the Weasel locality now lies covered by the waters of the Dundee Lake, under which lies the remains of old houses. The lake was created by Edward T. Christianson, a New York tea merchant, who surrounded the artificial lake with trees, shrubs, flowers and palms. Water fowl then disported on the surface of the lake, while at night, the surrounded gardens were illuminated by Japanese lanterns. The old race track, on which property (Christopher Columbus Middle School) stands, was originally a part of a Weasel farm tract. Negro slaves were used to do the rough work on these farms; one farm alone, owned by Elias Vreeland, who lived at Lexington and Hamilton Aves, maintained twenty-five negroes. A physically fit male negro slave cost him about $400; a wench, a little less that $300. It sometimes happened that the slaves were

William W. Scott, author of ‘History of Passaic and Its Environs’ which was published in 1922.

whipped on the bare back fro such offenses as pilfering, but as a rule, the Dutch masters were generally kind to their slaves. At Christmas time, they were given a week’s vacation and allowed to go visiting in the neighborhood. Albion Place, a part of the Notch, was formerly known as Postville, owned for the most part by the Post family. In 1833, it boasted a schoolhouse located on Hazel St. (The Driftway). Beantown and Bricktown were also names formerly applied to the northern section of this region. The descendants of John R. Gould, an Englishman and owner of much property here, named the development Albion Place in honor of their native land, Albion (England).

Most of the names of the streets in this section are of English origin, such as Gillies St., in honor of John Gillies, Scotch historian; Lambert St., in honor of John Lambert, English General; and Warren St., for Samuel Warren, London lawyer. The Notch should not be confused with Great Notch in Little Falls; it is rather the land this side of the mountains along Valley Rd. A great deal of farming was always done here, as well a trap rock quarrying. The Pearl Brook is named because of the fact that a pearl was once found in a mussel shell in the brook. A history of the Notch would be incomplete without the mention of the Old Notch Tavern. The tavern was built in 1783 by Cornelius A. Vreeland, for the convenience of team-drivers and travelers and often as a court house. During the Revolutionary War, the homes of all residents were looted by the British. A look-out station was maintained at the south-

ern end of the mountain and huge stones were collected at the top to roll down on the British should they attempt to pass through. First called Speertown because of the predominance of the Speer name among its inhabitants, then Highland, then Peru, then Somerset, this locality received its present name, Allwood, in 1882. A mineral spring in this locality once gave rise to the establishment of a sanitarium known throughout the east. The first road through this section was Bloomfield Ave., laid down in 1755, which was then changed somewhat in 1803. Kingsland Rd. was laid out in 1786 and Stone House Plains Rd. in 1795. The Newark Branch of the Erie was put through in 1868. The development of this locality is due in no small measure to the work of William L. Lyall, under whom the Brighton Mills were build, houses erected, streets laid out and a model community begun.

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As Claverack, Athenia was a region of clover fields from the early 18th century to the time of the Civil War, when the Sip family changed the name to Centerville because the nucleus of the settlement was in the center of their farms. The Hughes family secured much property here and had the Erie Railroad Station erected, as well as the station on the D. L and W. Houses were erected on Clifton and Colfax Aves. (which was named in honor of the Democratic nominee for the Vice-Presidency). The property changed hands in the panic of 1874, and a new resident, a Mr. Hugh Cheyne, treasurer of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, suggested that the name Centerville be changed so that a post office might be established. Previous applications for a post office had been refused because there were already too many Centervilles in the State. Mr. Cheyne suggested the name Athenia in honor of the Greek goddess, Athene, which was accepted in 1882.

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Oct. 16, 1867: “There are the cliffs and the name shall be Clifton.” There was once a very popular tavern located on the banks of the canal, a stopping place for boats. Hereabouts a settlement sprang up from the time that the Morris Canal and Banking Company put through the waterway in 1831. much joviality and some carousing marked the days of the old tavern, which is no more. A whipping post was located here in the slavery days, with instances of cruel punishments being recorded in the local annals.

Richfield’s name is appropriate, for this region was reputed to be the richest truck farm land in New Jersey. The protection of the high cliffs on the northwest and the southern exposure permitted year-round gardening. Vegetables were raised here by farmers and then transported for Newark and New York City markets. These vegetable gardens were started by German settlers around the late 1800’s. Foremost among the early gardeners was George Plog.

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The Indian name Kantacaw, also spelled Yantacaw, meaning a dancing pace, was applied to this locality hundreds of years before whites came. The present name was applied by the Delaware, Lackawanna and West Railroad in 1868, the new name a combination of Delaware and Lackawanna; 14 farms made up the original white settlement. The Yanticaw River provided power for grist and paper mills. The Whiting Paper Company and other paper manufacturers, including Melvin Curtis, whose descendants owned the Saturday Evening Post, made paper at the old mill, which was destroyed by fire in 1861 and was never rebuilt. The reef neighborhood of Delawanna, on the river bank between the Rutherford Bridge and the Lackawanna Railroad, was the scene of much activity during the Revolution, because of the facilities on the old river and the fording place. Tradition tells of one settler who was hung from a sycamore tree for assisting the British across.


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Clifton proper received its name from a development project which was named in an open air meeting held under a tree on property now occupied by St. Paul’s School. The meeting was held on Oct. 16, 1867. After considering then disposing of the suggested names of Acquackononk, Claverack and Weasel, Clifton was finally adopted on a suggestion made by Mrs. Charles D. Spencer. When asked where the cliffs were, Mrs. Spencer came out from under the boughs of the apple tree and with a branch in her hand pointed to Weasel Mountain (Garret Mountain), saying: “There are the cliffs and the name shall be Clifton.”

The Pearl Rush in the Notch...

A Tale of the $25,000 Mussel I

n 1847, a Paterson shoemaker named David Howell, a collector of wildlife from neighborhood streams, gathered some fresh water mussels from Notch Brook. He carried home his shellfish and deep-fried them. One of the mussels contained a pearl that weighed nearly 400 grains (about one ounce). Unfortunately, the luster and the value was completely destroyed by the heat and the grease of deep-frying. Had the pearl been found in time, its value might have been about $25,000. Following this experience, David Howell and others who heard of his story, began extensive mussel collecting. People arrived at Notch Brook from all parts of northeastern New Jersey. The Pearl Rush in the Notch resembled in a small way the gold rush to California taking place at the same time. The pearl rush lasted some 10 years, and then the pearls were gone.

During 1857, pearls from North Jersey streams were sold for a total of $15,000. Most were small and of average quality. Only one was found that weighed as much as 93 grains. This was purchased by Tiffany & Company of New York for $1,500. Later, this pearl from Clifton was sold to a French dealer and eventually passed into the possession of

Empress Eugenie of France, a consort of Napoleon III. Because of its remarkable luster, it became known in the industry as the Queen Pearl. Notch Brook now flows through a pipe under Route 46 in the Notch and emerges into Montclair Heights in Clifton. It then flows into Essex County at Grove St. as Pearl Brook, a name the stream earned in the middle of the 19th century.

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1880: Second Census of Acquackanonk counts 1,732 people. Feb. 24, 1872: Lakeview Ave. links the Erie Railroad depot near Clifton Ave. to Market St., Paterson. June 20, 1872: The Paterson, Newark and New York Railroad reorganize through Allwood and Athenia as Newark Branch of the Erie Railroad. Sept. 21, 1872: Residents of Clifton form a village band. Aug. 3, 1872: Orrin Vander Hoven starts the Passaic Herald, a county temperance weekly newspaper. 1872: A two-room school is built in Richfield, west of Broad St. It replaces a one story frame building located close to where the New 1949 Self L is located. 1872: Acquackanonk School #1 on Franklin Ave. is rebuilt on Allwood Rd. It later becomes part of St. Clares’s R.C. Church. 1872: The Fritzsche Co., manufacturer of aromatic oils, is established on Weasel Brook near Third St. 1872: Albion Place is named by John R. Gourley, a resident of a prestigious home (Dollymount) on Valley Rd. 1873: The Hughes Brothers erect railroad depots around Athenia for both the Erie Newark Branch and Lackawanna railroads. May 10, 1873: Henry A. Hudson’s hotel in Delawanna opens. 1873/74: The 1740 brownstone quarry on today’s City Hall site on Colfax Ave. is leased to Abbott Marble Co. of Passaic. 1874: Clifton’s third (William S. Davidson) and fourth (George V. DeMott) postmasters serve in offices in the Variety Store at 99 Florence (Getty) Ave. May 9, 1874: Allwood is named Peru by Erie Railroad. 24

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Located where Clifton Schools Stadium and Main Memorial Park are today, the Clifton Race Track commences its first spring horse racing season on May 1, 1875.

1874: Acquackanonk’s School #3 is built at First St. & Clifton Ave. Aug. 1, 1874: Clifton Driving Park is in the planning stage at the “toll” Road and Kip’s Lane (Piaget Ave.). A half-mile track for horse racing is to be constructed on 25 acres. Nov. 21, 1874: Getty Ave. is opened from Clifton Ave. to Crooks Ave. Main Ave. ceases to be a toll road. Too many cross streets hinders toll collection. Dec. 25, 1875: A stereopticon art lecture series by Prof. William H. Goodyear of Copper Union College is moved from Clifton Seminary to Passaic due to the poor condition of roads in Acquackanonk Township. 1875: The first ‘Clifton’ census. Acquackanonk Township population following removal of Little Falls in 1868 and Passaic in 1871: 1,631. 1876: Capt. Joseph’s wife and a Selling child are buried in B’nai Jeshurun Cemetery in Centerville. 1877: The Birch Lumber Co. opens at 38 Oak St., Delawanna.

May 11, 1877: Joe Goss, champion pugilist, fights all-comers at the Passaic County Fair Grounds held at the Race Track in Clifton. May 11, 1877: A part of Centerville takes the name Richfield to get its own Post Office located at Kesse’s Hotel. The Athenia part of Centerville didn’t get its own Post Office until 1883. 1880: Tyldsley’s Tavern opens on Elm St. at the Lackawanna Railroad tracks in Athenia. A grade crossing which extended Fornelius (Central Ave.) toward Passaic existed there. Ca 1922, an underpass was constructed to complete Clifton Blvd. between Clifton Ave. and the Passaic border. 1880: Peter & Israel Bennigan’s Broadsilk and Ribbon Mill opens on Hazel Rd. at today’s Garden State Parkway ramp. Winter 1881: The Clifton Methodist Chapel and the Clifton Union Sunday School building at Clifton Ave. and First St. burns to the ground. No church building was open in Clifton.

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


1883: The current Allwood section is renamed Somerset in place of Peru... Aug. 13, 1882: The new chapel at Centerville in Athenia opens for worship services. It is decided on Oct. 5 as the Reformed Church of Centerville. (Now Athenia was Reformed.) 1883: Names change: The land between the Lackawanna Railroad and the Newark Branch of the Erie Railroad along Claverack Road (now Clifton Ave.) takes the name Athenia in order to secure a Post Office. 1883/84: Isaac Van Dillen opens a general store in Athenia. 1884: Clifton Hard Rubber Co. replaces a lace mill on Clifton Blvd. on Post property opposite the Lackawanna depot. ca. 1883: Ferdinand Grossenbacher lives in a large home on Clifton Ave., which later became Clifton Elk’s first home, operated a silk mill on Post property opposite the depot of Lackawanna Railroad at Athenia. In 1887, that mill was destroyed by fire.

A photo at School 5, Valley Rd., circa 1904. (Photo courtesy Ralph Eodice).

1886: George, William and John Engemann, with approval of the Acquackanonk Township Council, expand their Race Track, complete with a hotel, betting ring and glass

enclosed grandstands to seat 10,000 fans. An Erie Main Line railroad runs directly up to the entrance to the racetrack, bringing in thousands of horse racing fans.

In 1892, Silk baron Catholina Lambert builds his castle on Valley Rd. The view here is of the Italian Garden. See page 76. 26

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

1890: E. Keller’s Grocery Store opens. It is the first food store established on Main Ave. in what was Clifton Center. Jan. 9, 1891: The Clifton Race Track is closed by Court Order for permitting illegal gambling. Track president George Engemann is found guilty of running a gambling establishment, is fined and sentenced to a year in prison. Despite currying favors with politicians, the track’s ownership came under attack from an unlikely trio: a local newspaper, the efforts of local Protestant and Catholic churches an New York City ‘pool halls’ where gamblers went to place bets, not play billiards. ca. 1891: Thomas Van Houten’s baseball field on Main Ave. and West Third St. is closed to permit the construction of Fairyland Amusement Park and Theater. Oct. 19, 1891: A Christian Endeavor Society is organized at the Clifton Union Sunday School Chapel on Clifton Ave.

June 1893: The Union Presbyterian Sunday School becomes Albion Place Presbyterian Township School 5 on Gould St. Oct. 28, 1893: Manhattan Rubber Company is incorporated. It began the manufacture of rubber products on Jan. 1, 1894. Manhattan Rubber Company closes locally in 1942. 1894: White Line Trolleys begins to operate from Paterson to the Hudson River via Crooks, Lakeview and Central Ave’s. ...the timeline continues on page 32

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1886: The Morris Canal reduces the number of canal boats on waterway. Service ends in Acquackanonk ca. 1900. 1888: Thomas A. R. Goodlatte establishes an oil cloth factory on Central Ave. (Clifton Blvd.) & Highland Ave. By 1899, 1,800 yards of oil cloth are produced daily. In 1902, Goodlatte merges with Standard Oil Cloth, which takes over daily operations of the growing business. 1889: Acquackanonk Township School #5 is built on Gould St. 1889: The Botany Worsted Mills are established in Passaic. It originated in Leipzig, Germany and employed many immigrant workers. The Botany Mills became operational on Jan. 1, 1890. 1890: Acquackanonk Township School #6 opens in Athenia. 1890: The first trolleys operate through Clifton, starting with the Red Line, which ran along Main Ave. between Paterson and Newark.

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Imagine life along the Passaic River, back in the 1890’s...

Tropical Wonders of Scotto Nash Story by E.A. Smyk, Passaic County Historian


n Saturday, Aug. 25, 1894, Passaic City Herald readers couldn’t fail to notice an enticing news item featured on the front page. The “Tropical Wonders of Mr. Nash’s Aquatic Gardens at Clifton” were outlined and the public received an open invitation to see “...night flowers bursting out in all their glory.” Nowadays, Nash Park occupies the Lexington Ave. site where a century ago Scotto Clark Nash grew the deep pink, 50-petal longstemmed roses that earned Acquackanonk Township the sobriquet “Home of the American Beauty Rose.” Nash was born in Pittsfield, Mass., on Nov. 5, 1841, moved to Brooklyn, New York and 28 years later settled with his wife, Alice and son, George, in the farm community of Acquackanonk, now Clifton. At the time, Nash and his brother, Duane, operated a business in New York manufacturing farm machinery. They expanded and opened a branch in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Nash and his family lived in the Keystone State for a time. The business was dissolved in 1887 and he returned to Clifton, investing in real estate. In a masterful biography published in 1976, Clifton historian William J. Wurst traced Nash’s astonishing career. He noted that the future rose grower was a devoted naturalist and voracious reader as 28

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

well. Nash collected rare books: his library reflected eclectic tastes and, as Wurst indicated, the shelves contained “books running the gamut from art history to science.” Nash had capital available from previous business ventures, so he decided to turn his fascination with flowering plants into a profitable business. Eventually, the Nash holdings in Clifton near the Passaic River comprised more than 17 acres. A 12-room mansion completed the picture. Directly behind the house, Nash built 10 hothouses, each 100-feet long. In 1894, the glass-enclosed structures held 14,000 of Nash’s prized American Beauty roses. On a portion of the property, a disagreeable swamp offended Nash’s sensibilities. Gradually, he reclaimed the mosquito-infested area at the cost of several thousand dollars and created a sunken garden for tropical plants. Nash installed steam pipes that traversed the garden and connected to a boiler so the proper temperatures could be maintained. Although “Nash’s Pond” was operating by spring, 1892, the water garden was still a hobby. But the successful rose connoisseur had a good sense of what would turn a profit. In 1894, Nash and William Tricker (an Englishman who came to the U.S. nine years earlier) formed a partnership to raise and market aquatic plants. “Tricker and Co.” transformed the Clifton

1894: Scotto Nash opens an aquatic and tropical garden at Dundee Lake and Lexington Ave., approximately across from today’s Hot Grill.

pond into the celebrated and soon nationally known aquatic garden. Tricker skillfully hybridized different varieties of water lilies and the results were amazing. But it was the huge water lily called “Victoria Regia” that captivated the public and caused newspapers such as the Herald to enthuse over the plant’s exotic beauty. Native to the Amazon, the Regia had handsome, pad-like leaves that were a brilliant, deep green. The underside was a vivid crimson. When opened, the flowers of Victoria Regia measured nearly 12 inches and the petals of pure white graduated to shades of rose and red. The leaves were huge—six feet in diameter—floating on the pond’s surface, they resembled large green rafts.





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Native to the Amazon, the Victoria Regia flourished here in Clifton...

It appears the Victoria Regia supports Emma Porter Nash but one would have to look closely to see a board beneath her feet.

Local residents often gathered at the pond’s edge at sunset during the summer months to see the day flowers closing and the night ones opening. Nash reveled in the publicity his plants brought, and when people visited the gardens he was often available to answer questions. When Mrs. G.D. Rogert of Garfield

heard about the huge plants she hurried over to the gardens on Aug. 28, 1894, and according to the next day’s Herald “...went wild on what she saw at the Clifton gardens.” Her husband “really had to drag her away…” When Nash announced he would photograph his children standing on the giant water lily, the event made page one of Aug.


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July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


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27th’s Herald. The plant probably could have supported the weight of a child unaided, but not an adult. When Emma Porter Nash, the rosegrower’s daughter, was photographed in 1894, it appears a board was placed beneath her feet. Nash’s biographer believes the aquatic gardens were irreparably damaged by the area floods of 1902 and 1903, and the delicate tropical plants probably did not survive. Scotto Nash continued to cultivate roses until 1909 when he retired and spent his declining years managing real estate. A quiet, genial man with a long flowing beard, Nash died of pneumonia on April 22, 1920. His name is immortalized by Nash Park. It was dedicated by Clifton Mayor Fred C. deVido on Sept. 14, 1950.

Federal Mortgage Offers Senior Citizens A Reverse Mortgage


or some 33 years now, Anthony A. Accavallo, shown here, has been helping make the American Dream become a reality, right here in Clifton. As President of Federal Mortgage & Investment Corp. at 1111 Clifton Ave., Clifton, he and his firm have written millions of dollars worth of mortgages which have allowed people to purchase homes. And while that work has been fulfilling, Accavallo said he is getting his greatest satisfaction these days by helping senior citizens with reverse mortgages. A reverse mortgage is a special kind of mortgage loan for seniors. “It is a safe, easy way to turn your home equity into tax-free cash,” he continued. “Unlike a home equity loan, you do not

have to make monthly payments. Instead, a reverse mortgage pays you. More importantly, you do not have to repay the loan for as long as you live in the house. It’s a great way to keep your home and get money from it at the same time.” The name “reverse mortgage” describes exactly what the mortgage is — it is the exact opposite of a conventional mortgage. That is, with a conventional mortgage the borrower pays the lender but with a reverse mortgage, the lender pays the borrower. In the past, a senior citizen in need of money would have to take out a loan against their house and immediately start making monthly payments again or sell their home. But a reverse mortgage allows seniors to borrow against the equity they

How do I qualify for a Reverse Mortgage? It’s simple. You and your co-borrower must be at least 62 years old. You must own your home free and clear or have just a small balance on your existing mortgage. Best of all, there are no income or credit requirements to satisfy. How can I receive my money? You can receive it in several ways: •Equal monthly payments as long as you live in your home •Equal monthly payments for a certain period of time •As a line of credit you can draw upon as needed, for whatever reasons •As a lump sum draw at closing •A combination of the above, to meet your requirements. When must I repay the loan? You must repay the loan if you no longer live in your home. In the event of your death, your heirs can choose to repay the loan and keep the house or sell the house and repay the loan, What are interest rate charges & fees? •An adjustable rate of interest is charged on reverse mortgages •Closing costs are typical for any mortgage closing and all may be financed •No out-of-pocket expenses at closing Are Reverse Mortgages safe? •Yes, FHA and FannieMae guarantee the payments you receive •FHA and FannieMae also guarantee you will never owe more than your house is worth — no debt left on estate

already have in their home... and they never have to make a monthly payment. Each reverse mortgage candidate is required to attend a free counseling session with a local independent housing agency approved by FHA (Federal Housing Administration). Candidates are encouraged to bring other family members with them to help in the decision-making process. “This process ensures that the borrower understands the program fully and aides them in determining whether or not a reverse mortgage is for them,” said Accavallo.

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In 1897, Acquackanonk Township School 7 was opened on Parker Ave. 1894: Belle Vista Methodist Church, pictured right, opens on Valley Rd. in Albion Place. It is named for Belle Lambert, a financial supporter and wife of the Paterson silk baron, Catholina Lambert, who constructed nearby Lambert Castle. 1894: The Township Committee of Acquackanonk expands to five voting members. 1895: New Jersey Flour Mills opens at Chester St. and Getty Ave. Today it remains as the only miller of western wheat in New Jersey. 1895: William B. Lyall establishes a mill community in Allwood for Brighton Cotton Mills workers with a school and fire company. Aug. 15, 1895: St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic is established. Jan. 8, 1895: A meeting is held to consider the forming a Delawanna Union Protestant Church. 1896: Waldrich Bleachery opens near Yantacaw Pond, Delawanna.

In 1897, Acquackanonk Township School 7 was built on Parker Ave. While the school served Botany children for decades, the photo above is of the demolition of the building, circa 1960. The area today is a small park. In the background is Sacred Heart Church, also constructed in 1897. Photo was provided by Jim Marrocco. 32

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Nov. 18, 1896: St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is organized in the same upstairs hall over the Variety Store on Getty Ave., which Clifton Reformed Church and School 3 were started. On April 23, 1899, ground is broken for a new building. 1896: Pitkin and Holdsworth Worsted Mill is established on Weasel Brook near Main and Highland Ave’s. 1897: Acquackanonk Township School 7 is built on Parker Ave. 1897: The Richardson Scale Co. was established in Athenia. 1897: Sacred Heart of Jesus, Roman Catholic Church, opens in Botany. It mainly serves Italianspeaking parishioners. Today it remains a cornerstone of Botany. 1897: Sisco Dairy Co. founded at Mt. Prospect & Colfax Ave’s.

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1901: The US Government purchases 52 acres of farmland in Athenia. 1898: Acquackanonk Township School 2 in Richfield is rebuilt with additional rooms. The old 1872 building is moved and converted into a grocery store. It remains in use today. 1899: Acquackanonk Township School 1 closes and the building is incorporated into the first St. Clare’s building. 1899: Fire destroys the grandstand of the Clifton Race Track. Sept. 17, 1899: St. Peter’s Episcopal Church begins worship services in a sanctuary on Clifton Ave. 1899: Peter Vander Hay operates a dairy on Hadley Ave. 1900: Sam and Rosa Epstein open a department store for the sale of farm clothing on Van Houten Ave. in Richfield. 1900: Jacob Fishbach opens and operates a blacksmith shop on Broad St. in Richfield. The business operates 40 more years. April 1900: Alexander Purcell is appointed superintendent of the Passaic Alms House on Mt. Prospect Ave., Athenia. 1900: Clifton Fire Brigade No. 1 builds a firehouse on Passaic (Harding) Ave. near Second St. It later serves a Masonic Club, American Legion Hall and as a residence.

Circa 1900: St. Joseph’s Hospital from a turn of the century postcard. 1901: The US Government purchases 52 acres of farmland in Athenia for a Quarantine Station for imported hoofed animals. Eighteen buildings are, barns, workshop, garage and bungalow. August 1901: The Albion Place Chemical Fire Co. is organized. 1902: John Donkersloot & Son establish a truck moving company for dirt and rock on Second St. near Highland Ave. 1903: St. Clare’s Roman Catholic Church opens on Allwood Rd. 1903: William J. Vernay & Sons, Moving & Storage, is established. 1903: The Postville School in South Paterson is closed. Albion

Place children are transferred to School 5 on Gould St. 1903: Roy J. Schleich, Sr. opens a plumbing office in Clifton. 1903: Forstmann Woolen Mills opens on Randolph Ave. in the Botany. 1903: Clifton Fire Company's No. 2 and No. 4 open in Botany and West Clifton, respectively. 1904: Gilbert Bird opens a fruit and vegetable wholesale business on Peach Orchard Rd. (Paulison Ave.) in Dutch Hill. 1904: International Veiling Co., which manufactures stockings and finishing of lace, opens in Bannigan’s Mill. (Hazel St.) ...the timeline continues on page 44 1040

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The first graduating class had just five students (pictured below!)

The Evolution of Clifton High ––– Story by David Van Dillon –––


he Acquackanonk Township Board of Education announced a referendum in 1905 to purchase 16 lots on Clifton Ave. and First St. On this property, a two-story building would be constructed, with the elementary grades housed on the first floor and high school grades on the second. The referendum passed and construction of School No. 10 commenced. On June 22, 1909, CHS graduated its first class—Nellie Brown, Grace Burroughs, Mabel Libbey, Bessie Velders and Agnes Weller. (The school was named for the section of the township in which the school was located, not for the City of Clifton, which would not exist for another eight years.) During those early years, before a third floor and wings were added, gym classes took place in Thorburn’s Hall, just a short walk up Clifton Ave. The latter building

still stands, at Clifton and Main Aves., and now houses a nail salon. School No. 10 was razed in 1964 in favor of municipal parking.

Clifton High School, circa 1912, located at the corner of Clifton Ave and First St. 36

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

In 1920, former Clifton Race Track property at Piaget and Main Aves. was sold to the city for school purposes and the construction of a ‘new Clifton High School’ subsequently began. On April 14, 1926, the formal dedication and opening of the building took place. Soon thereafter, on Oct. 4, 1927, the Clifton Board of Education donated to the City of Clifton a portion of the former race track property to be used as a park. Over the next few years, Main Memorial Park became a reality. As Clifton grew, so did the space needs for Clifton’s students. A north wing, including a new gymnasium, was added, circa 1945. And under the coaching of the legendary Joe Grecco, the CHS Fighting Mustangs became a


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The second CHS, now Christopher Columbus Middle School, was opened in 1926 and used as a high school until 1962.

football powerhouse—but the team did not have a homefield to play on. Thus, on Oct. 14, 1950, with much fanfare, Clifton Schools Stadium was dedicated. Seeing the need for an even greater expansion of school facilities, during the 1950s, the City began acquiring land for the construction of the present high school on Colfax Ave. In 1956, the city purchased 15.5 acres of United States Quarantine land and an additional eight acres was acquired by Clifton in 1959 to increase the property to 23.5 acres, a realistic acreage for a modern high school campus. On Feb. 4, 1960, the Clifton City Council voted to authorize the issuance of $5.6 million in school bonds to finance the construction of a new 3,000 pupil high school on Colfax Ave. Voters approved the high school bond referendum on May 23, 1960. The current Clifton High School was formally dedicated on April 29, 1962.

The southeastern, or the highest portion of the high school property, marks the top of an 18th century sandstone quarry from which brownstone for home building and other purposes was secured. Little evidence of this quarry exists today, but early writers documented it. One poem mentions a visit to the site a century ago, at which time the quarry walls were in evidence. This same location was used during World War II by local residents for victory gardens. A variety of vegetables was grown to conserve food in an effort to help with the war effort. A stairway was constructed over the Quarantine fence and small plots were laid out. In the early part of the 20th Century, there was no quarantine as this part of the property was not used. A grazing cow or two and some abandoned farm wagons dotted the landscape back then. And this writer remembers how neighborhood kids played cowboys and Indians on the rocky hillside.

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July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Opening day on Saturday, May 27, 1905

Fairyland Amusement Park

––– Story by William J. Wurst from A Clifton Sampler • Postcards courtesy Mark S. Auerbach –––


id you know that just over 100 years ago, Clifton (then Acquackanonk) was home to one of the nation’s first amusement parks? Fairyland Amusement Park, which was located where the Garden State Parkway crosses Main Ave., opened its doors for the first time on May 27, 1905. This turn-of-the-century marvel was one of the first of its kind anywhere. Even more amazing was that it was not in New York or some other large city, but in Acquackanonk, which, with its 7,187 person population, was nothing more than a small farming town. Visitors came by the thousands on the Red-Line trolley that ran along Main Ave. to the state-of-the-art attraction. Upon arrival, guests would run into the blue and gold Fairyland Girls, who sold tickets for 10 cents. Inside, Fairyland offered just about the best deal that you could get for a dime in 1905. One of the main attractions was the theater, a 1000-seat monstrosity that easily dwarfed other similar structures at the time and still had standing room for hundreds more. It even featured electric fans, something unheard of at the time.

Performers were also treated well, with each receiving a very high wage and having their choice of 15 dressing rooms. On the forefront of technology at the time, Fairyland executives also purchased a projector and showed highly popular silent feature movies, which were changed three times a week. For the youngsters, there were plenty of rides, including very early versions of the Ferris wheel, roller coaster, circle swings and a merry-go-round. Children and their parents could ride on the Fairyland railroad, a three-quarters of a mile track, which featured canopies on the cars. There was also other things for children, such as the various circus acts, donkey rides, a penny arcade and a skating rink. Nighttime brought about some awesome visual sights. Once the last rays of sunlight descended beyond Garret Mountain around 9:45 pm, Professor Rubino’s firework show began. For a full 45 minutes, roman candles, bottle rockets and larger and more flashy fireworks filled the sky, much to the delight of the crowd.

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Unfortunately, the year 1909 also marked Lakeview Park’s demise...

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Once the pyrotechnic display was over, the Prismatic cascades would awe the crowds once again. This man-made waterfall was one of the most scenic sights in the eye-opening park. According to the Paterson Daily Guardian, “it was made picturesque by thousands of vari-colored lights thrown upon it from various points.” Behind the aquatic light show were female entertainers who sang and danced. Guests always enjoyed their time at Fairyland and eagerly anticipated summer, when the park was open daily until Labor Day, after which it was only open on Saturday and Sunday. Fairyland’s attendance record was set on July 4, 1907, when people began lining up more than an hour before opening to get into the famous park. By 9 pm, some 11,764 people had entered the park—doubling Acquackanonk’s population for the evening—seemingly foreshadow-

ing years of good fortune for the amusement park down the road. However, it was not to be. In 1909, there was new ownership and a new name—Lakeview Park. For reasons unknown, attendance dropped, revenues were minimal and the new management couldn’t

meet expenses. On July 6, the park’s gates were closed and it did not open for the rest of the season. It was reported several months later that legal action had been taken against the owners for overdue bills, effectively ending the short life of Fairyland Amusement Park.

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant



July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


A period of rapid growth in Acquackanonk (1910 population is 11,869)... 1905: Henry Mohlenhoff purchases a farm at Broad St. and Colfax Ave. He sold his produce in markets in Paterson and Newark daily. 1905: Edward Jewett purchases Westervelt’s grist mill located on Weasel Brook near Fourth St. in today’s Weasel Brook Park. 1906: Acquackanonk Township School 8 opens as a wooden school on Oak St. in Delawanna. 1907: Public Service Railway Co. is established as a subsidiary pf Public Service Electric and Gas Co. It operates a fleet of busses and trolleys. 1907: Thomas A. R. Goodlatte opens a new oil cloth factory in Delawanna, having sold his factory in Athenia. 1907: James G. Sanders & Sons Coal Co. opens in Allwood. Public School 11 is built on Merselis Ave. (Lakeview). Jan. 1907: Plans are made by Swedish residents of Athenia to open a rolling mill for flat steel. It

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1905: Shareholders purchase land for the establishment of the East and West Ridgelawn Cemeteries (the current photo above by Bev Cholweczynski is of the cemetery entrance on Main and Delawanna Aves.) becomes Athenia Steel Co. and a large industry with 350 employees. Jan. 1908: The Acquackanonk Township Council appointed William J. Coughlan Chief of Police. While the chief has no officers, he has the authority to hire policemen per diem ($2 per day) in the event of strikes, riots or emergencies. The Council also acquires two jail cells. Police Headquarters was in a shed behind the Clifton Hotel on Main and Madison Ave’s. March 25, 1908: Berger’s Drug Store at Main and Clifton Ave’s. is sold to Mr. John McHenry who runs it for over 40 years. 1908: Montclair Normal School (now Montclair State University) opens on Valley Rd. Land is deeded by Acquackanonk Township to

the school to a Montclair address, so that Montclair’s city services can be used. Jan. 4, 1909: Acquackanonk Township Fire Company 3 is established on Mahar Ave. near Lexington Ave. 1909: Doherty Silk Mill is built on Main Ave. at the corner of West 4th St. It is the largest textile weaving mill in the US. Some 1,000 skilled textile workers are employed. Fall 1909: An airplane makes a landing at Lambert’s Castle, near Valley Rd., on the PatersonAcquackanonk Township border. 1909: Clifton Building & Loan is established in Clifton Center. 1909: School 4 is constructed near West Third St.

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Circa 1908: After the court-ordered closing of the Clifton Race Track, the 25-acre property was converted into a velodrome for bicycle and motorcycle races. The six laps-per-mile Clifton Velodrome burned down in 1914. By the 1920’s, the deteriorating facility—where Main Memorial Park and the Clifton Library stand today—was purchased, razed and used to build the ‘old’ Clifton High School (now Christopher Columbus Middle School). 1909: Clarence Finkle establishes Finkle’s Express for moving and storage. It later becomes Passaic Terminal & Transportation Co. Nov. 27, 1909: The Italian American Family Cooperative Association is incorporated in Botany. It is a combination of two purchasers of commodities, the Italian Pleasure Club and the Holy Name Society of Sacred Heart’s Clifton Corp. 1910: The Grieder Brothers of Albion Place, both butchers, build and fly their own homemade airplane. 1910: Acquackanonk Township population is 11,869. May 9, 1911: The Association of Exempt Firemen of Acquackanonk is organized and incorporated.

1911: The Acquackanonk Township Council grants permits for the showing of movies and the staging of Wild West shows. March 14, 1912: The Acquackanonk Township Police Headquarters relocates from a barn behind the Clifton Hotel to a rented store at 695 Main Ave. 1912: The Olympic Park Rangers Soccer Team win the Clan McDonald cup before 12,000 fans at the Olympic Park Oval on Main Ave. 1912: Alexander Smith announces he is a practicing mortician in Acquackanonk. 1912: Acquackanonk Fire Companies merged into a consolidated fire department.

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Even at an early age Coldwell Banker Realtors like Associate Bill Brady (pictured below at the Clifton Boys Club back in the day) were trained to be on the cutting edge of providing great service and savings! While the classic photo below is a hoot, Bill Brady has a specific business philosophy he practices daily: To market properties utilizing sound planning, professional ethics, persuasive skills, and a strong company support system. A Licensed Realtor since 1985, this life-long Clifton resident is a consistent multi-million dollar producer and is a full time professional. With two decades of service in the Passaic, Bergen and Essex market, Bill is knowledgeable in all aspects of real estate—residential, commercial and investment properties.

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At the civic and political crossroads of a growing community... The Village of Clifton Proper, centered around the intersection of Clifton and Main Aves., witnessed rapid real estate development following the Civil War. Streets were laid out, a train station was built at Getty and Clifton Aves., and in 1869 a hotel was constructed at the intersection of Main and Madison (where the new Clifton Post Office exists today). The Clifton Grove Hotel was popular with patrons of the nearby Clifton Race Track, and, with its picnic grove at Madison and DeMott Aves., it also served as a gathering place for locals as well. While fire destroyed the original structure on Jan. 25, 1895, proprietor Henry Hohenstein rebuilt and renamed the structure the ‘Clifton Hotel’ soon after. “Although smaller than the original structure,” reported historian William J. Wurst in A Clifton Sampler, “a stately and fashionable inn had emerged from the ashes.

wood paneling, brass finishes and other accents, the Clifton Hotel was indeed the place to meet, greet and do business for those conducting commerce with the nearby Botany Mills, or Forstmann Woolen Mills. “The reading room was a favorite gathering place at the hotel,” Wurst continued. “There were strong feeling against alcoholic beverages (but) it was not uncommon for the younger men of prominent local families to spend a few hours in the reading room playing some euchre or whist while sipping a glass of birch beer or sarsaparilla. “Until Acquackanonk Township’s first municipal building was completed around 1917, meetings of the Township committee 1914: Construction begins for Acquackanonk Township Hall at the corner of Passaic were often conducted in the meeting room as well.” (now Harding) and Main Ave’s. In April, 1917, this becomes Clifton’s first City Hall. 48

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Three stories high and gabled and trimmed in the ornamental fashion characteristic of the latter part of the 19th century, the building contained a bar room, reading room, dining room, two parlors and private bedrooms.” With its hardwood floors,

1913: The Robin Hood Inn opens on Valley Rd. and is operated by the Burns family until 1997. The property is now the location for the Alexus Steakhouse. May 1913: A Delawanna referendum rejects annexation by Passaic. 1913: The Robin Hood Inn opens. June 8, 1913: The first Mass celebrated in St. Paul’s parish is conducted by Rev. Father Flanagan for 250 parishioners in the firehouse of Acquackanonk Fire Co. No. 1 on Passaic Ave. (Harding Ave.) Services move to Fire Co. No. 4. 1913: Clifton Reliable Moving and Storage opens on Loretta St. July 20, 1913: A Lakeview Ave. chapel is established as a mission of North Reformed Church of Passaic. This mission church becomes the Lakeview Heights Reformed Church. 1913: Clifton Sheet Metal Works opens for business. Oct. 22, 1913: Saints Cyril & Methodius Roman Catholic Church organized for Slovak worshippers in the Acquackanonk Fire Co. No. 2 building on Arthur Ave. and later at the Holden building. 1914: The Hope Reformed Church organized in Dutch Hill homes. 1914: The Clifton Journal, a weekly newspaper of the Clifton Publishing Company, is founded.

1915: Dr. Jokichi Takamine, a successful entrepreneur and developer of Adrenaline, opens the Takamine Laboratory of Clifton on Arlington Ave., on the Erie Railroad, having recognized Clifton as being at the forefront of industrial growth. Takamine, born on Nov. 3, 1854 in Takaoka City, Japan, had an extensive background in technology and fertilizer manufacturing, studying in schools in Japan and Scotland. A good entrepreneur in Japan, his success in the States was due to reversing the usual cultural flow of technology and adapting a Japanese idea to a western industry.

In 1890, Takamine, pictured here, arrived at Illinois and demonstrated a more efficient way to distill liquor using mold as opposed to barley. Although his method was superior, he faced racism and the factory he worked at was burnt to the ground. However, through his method, he extracted the Aspergllus enzyme and bought a patent and licensed it to Parke, Davis & Company, which marketed it as Taka-diastase, a digestive aid for starch. Takamine was made a consultant and moved to New York, where he established an independent laboratory and learned how to extract Adrenaline in 1900. Adrenaline earned him enough money to found the Sankyo Pharmaceutical Company of Tokyo, the International Takamine Ferment Company of New York and the Takamine Laboratory of Clifton, which primarily dealt with the manufacturing of Salvarsan, the first true chemotherapeutic agent. Takamine died on July 22, 1922 after a life-long battle with a liver ailment. His Clifton property changed ownership several times before 1978, when the site was purchased by the Bayer Corporation, which eventually razed the lot and sold it for a sprawling suburban housing development.

Proud to represent Clifton... Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin State of New Jersey 1333 Broad St., Clifton, NJ 07013 Call my Clifton office: 973-779-3125 July 2006 • Clifton Merchant



Part Of The Downtown Clifton Image...

The Deluxe Building has been a part of Downtown Clifton’s image for seven decades.


erhaps in 1930, Joseph DeLora Sr. did give a second thought to the fact that the country was in the heart of the Depression. And yes, maybe, it was a crazy time to start a dry cleaning business. But that was a fleeting moment and a detraction which would not allow him to stray from his vision of starting, what to many, has become Clifton’s premier dry cleaning firm. Over 76 years later, DeLuxe Cleaners and Formal Wear, still in its Art Deco landmark building at 1280 Main Ave., is now in its third generation of ownership and has grown to employ over 40 employees. Since the founding of the firm, the DeLora family has added a number of innovations to establish DeLuxe as a leader in the industry. Some were just slightly a head of its time, such as the refrigerated fur vault back in the early 1940’s. Other additions were also ahead of the curve, such as the 1955 opening 50

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

of DeLuxe Formal Wear. And other ideas were as simple as keeping it a family business. That’s what happened in the 1950’s, when Joseph’s eldest son Patrick Sr. returned home from the Korean War and took over the daily operations of DeLuxe. By the 1960’s, Pat Sr. opened the Drapery Cleaning Department and DeLuxe Cleaners became specialists in the taking down and rehanging of draperies and top treatments. The company’s Adjust-A-Drape process guarantees a perfectly finished drapery every time. Thanks to wash ‘n wear, the 1970’s were a difficult time for the drycleaning industry. Yet, DeLuxe survived these times and Pat Sr. learned lessons that he would pass on to his own five children, two of whom, Patrick Jr. and Linda, who are now in the family business. It was in 1990 that they would introduce V.I.P. Pick-Up & Delivery, a convenient service which allows

Joseph DeLora Sr.

customers to use DeLuxe without ever leaving their home. Today, the V.I.P. Service routes through three counties and has become an invaluable service to its customers. In January 1996, DeLuxe’s founder, Joseph DeLora Sr., passed away at the age of 94. In memory of their grandfather the third generation owners have committed themselves to their family tradition of quality service established over 76 years ago. Readers with any questions about the care of clothing or household fabrics, can visit DeLuxe at 1280 Main Ave., call 973-546-1105 or visit to get expert answers and advice.

April 24, 1917: Acquackanonk Township residents vote to incorporate as a city. 1915: Delancy’s Men’s Clothing Store opens in Botany with entrances on both Parker and Dayton Ave’s. 1915: “Bub” Tramontin opens a bicycle and motorcycle shop on Lexington Ave., near today’s Nash Park. 1915: First Boy Scout meetings are held in homes near Clifton center. By 1917, 200 boys are scouts. In that year, Troop 1 schedules summer camping trips. Dec. 2, 1915: Clifton Lodge 203, Free and Accepted Masons, organized at Thorburn’s Hall, at Main and Clifton Ave’s. 1915: Clifton Bank & Trust Co. opens at Main and Clifton Ave’s. 1915: Over the course of April and May, William A. “Billy” Sunday’s Religious Crusade attracts 651,000 witnesses to Broadway Tabernacle in Paterson. 1916: David Sussman opens a furniture business in Paterson then relocates to Lexington Ave. in Clifton. 1916: Wittman’s Flower & Gift Shop opens on Van Houten Ave. between Grove St. and Valley Rd. 1916: James. H. Hilton is active in real estate, first in Lakeview and later at Main and Barclay Ave’s. 1916: The North Jersey District Water Supply is created by the State Legislature. It calls for the construction of Wanaque Reservoir. In 1923, it becomes Passaic Valley Water Commission. 1916: William B. Lyall, President of Brighton Mills, builds an English-style mansion on the PassaicAllwood border. He names it Rosemawr, a name still in use for the part of Clifton in which it is located, off Bloomfield Ave. Oct. 15, 1916: A Slovak Catholic Sokol is instituted at on Holden St. and Ackerman Ave. Founded at and sponsored by St.’s Cyril & Methodius Church, it is an early Clifton fraternal organization. March 20, 1917: Delawanna voters approve annexation by Passaic. April 24, 1917: Clarence Finkle is Clifton’s first mayor. June 30, 1917: Andrew Borneman and David Van Dillen sell their plumbing business to Louis Weigele & Jacob Van Houten.


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1917: A Home Branch of the American Red Cross opens on Main Ave. 1917: The New Apostolic Church opens on Clifton Ave. near Randolph Ave. 1917: Nelson P. Nelson founds Nelson Iron Works Inc. in Allwood. 1917: Wittie Electric Co., Inc. is established on ...the timeline continues on page 54 Lakeview Ave.

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Bibbs Raymond was a standout player for the Doherty Silk Sox from 1915-1927. He hit the first home run at the Oval and was signed by the Yankees but quit because he was homesick for the fans of Clifton.

On May 20, 1917 the New York Giants beat the Silk Sox, 7-3, before 6,500 people. The photo above shows owner Henry Doherty jr. and brother Ray addressing the fans at the Doherty Oval before that game. The Doherty Oval is Clifton’s lost “Field of Dreams.” Once located behind the former silk mill at 1550 Main Ave., across from the Passaic Valley Water Commission, the Doherty Oval was probably the finest diamond in the nation until Yankee Stadium was built in 1923. Major leaguers who played there said it was superior to any big league ballpark field. Harry Fabian, head groundskeeper of the Polo Grounds, designed the field in 1915, and it was maintained and improved upon under Doherty’s watchful eye throughout the 1920s. By the mid-1920s, it held about 8,500 fans with standing room for more. A game in 1923 against Babe Ruth and the Yankees drew about 15,000 and ended after the Babe’s homer in the late innings caused a near riot. The Doherty Oval was a field built for the people. All gate receipts from Sunday games pitting the Silk Sox against all comers were given to the Red Cross. Every worker in Doherty’s mill was given a season’s pass to all games. Clifton High was also allowed to use the field free-of-charge for their football and baseball games, as did other schools and organizations. Doherty operated the Oval until 1928 when his business turned sour and he was forced to sell the Silk Sox. While the Doherty Mill building can still be seen on Main Ave., Getty Ave. soon cut through the center and right field portions of the Doherty Oval and a factory exists where most of the remaining diamond was located.


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A 1975 reunion held at the former Gene Boyle’s on Passaic Ave. brought out members of the CHS 1924 undefeated baseball squad. They are looking at an old picture of the team held by manager John Mikulik. In the front: Ray Smith, Ernest De Lorenzo, Emil Bednarcik, and Emil Bondinell. In the back: Ernie Tomai, Bill Dobbelaar, and Lou Cross. Dobbelaar (with glasses) might have been the best baseball player Clifton High ever produced. He batted .620 during the 1924 season as the team’s shortstop and ace pitcher. After high school, Dobbelaar had tryouts with the New York Giants and Yankees, gaining a handshake agreement with the Bronx Bombers to join them after finishing college. However, a sore arm ruined Dobbelaar’s career and he never made it to the major leagues. What’s ironic about Dobbelaar’s playing career is that he was never a Clifton resident–he was from Lodi but played for the Mustangs because his hometown did not have a high school. He also played four games with Clifton’s Doherty Silk Sox as a senior. Dobbelaar later became head baseball coach at CHS.

From left: Coach Harry Collester, Emil Bodinell, Emil Bednarcik, Ernest De Lorenzo, Nick Perzel, George Young, Joseph Puzio, Louis Cross, Ernest Tomai, Bill Dobbelaar, Phil De Lorenzo, Alfred Moro, George Barna and John Mikulik, Mgr.

Clifton Boys of Summer, 1924... and in the Fall, 1975....

1919: Barnstorming pilots aflight over Delawanna & Dutch Hill! 1918: Jeremiah P. Quinlan opens the Quinlan Funeral Home, Inc. July 16, 1918: The Mayor and City Council establish a paid fire department in Clifton. Adam Ritter is named Fire Chief. 1918: The Clifton Laundry Company is established at 11 Second St. Nov. 11, 1918: Peace Chapter 98, Order of Eastern Star, is founded on the day World War One ends. It meets in Thorburn’s Hall at Clifton and Main Ave’s. Clifton High School also uses the same hall for gym classes.

Dec. 18, 1918: Clifton Lodge 65 Royal Order of Moose, is organized. James N. Marsh is named first ‘Dictator’. 1918: The Clifton Chamber of Commerce is established. 1918: Henry Hohenstein gives up management of Clifton Hotel. Nov. 11, 1919: Quentin Roosevelt Post 8, American Legion, is chartered following organization in Aug. 1919. 1920: The Ernest Scheidemann Real Estate Agency opens an office at Main and Barclay Ave’s. It had been James Hilton St. Agency.

Located near the intersection of Market St. and Brighton Rd., Allwood Hose Co. No. 2 was organized in 1918, although this photo was taken circa 1932. In the early 1970’s, the building was restored by Bill Hansen and today remains an office. 54

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

After World War I, the public became fascinated by flying feats. A barnstorming pilot visited Clifton and offered rides, using a single landing strip at Highland Ave. and Clifton Blvd. Any plane that landed had to be turned around (probably twice) before it could take off, since planes take-off and land into the wind. Local lads were readily available to execute this maneuver. Modest air shows were also part of the barnstormer’s routine. The air shows ceased when the popular pilot crashed at a location away from Clifton. 1920: The former Clifton Racetrack property at Main and Piaget Ave’s. is sold to the City of Clifton for school purposes. May 1920: August De Tone opens a Travel Bureau at 260 Parker Ave. May 18, 1920: The Clifton City Council passes an ordinance establishing a free public library. 1920: A.G.L. Welding Supply opens. 1920: Stephen Gaal opens a paint store on Parker Ave. 1920: The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad depot in Athenia is destroyed by a derailed freight train. The depot is relocated to Clifton Terrace; an underpass is built. 1921: First National Bank of Clifton opens on Parker Ave. May 7, 1921: John Parian opens a jewelry store on Dayton Ave. Send your historical tidbits along with your name and number to

People moving machines! Above, John Zegal’s Red Star bus line, circa 1920, on Clifton Ave near Sixth St. Below, the Red Line trolley rolling along on Main Ave. circa 1935, in Delawanna.

Dec. 20, 1923: The first meeting of Clifton Kiwanis is held in Brook’s Auditorium. It is chartered on April 2, 1924. Circuit Judge John C. Barbour is first president. Jan. 1924: Brighton Mills moves from Allwood to Athens, GA. 1924: Consolidated Bus Line established by Dennis J. Gallagher is to serve Allwood from Passaic. Feb. 5, 1924: Public Service Electric Railroad agrees to eliminate the “S” curve of the White Line Trolley, between Lakeview, East Madison and Central Ave’s., as it was a traffic hazard. ...the timeline continues on page 64

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1921: The Ashley Homestead for the Aged founded on Paterson’s River St. by Nathan Barnert in memory of his wife, Miriam. This facility later becomes Daughters of Miriam Home, on Clifton’s Hazel St.. Jan. 3, 1922: A plan for sanitary sewers for Clifton is presented to the Clifton City Council. Bids for sewer construction are received by the council on May 4, 1922. May 16, 1922: Quentin Roosevelt Post 8, American Legion, and its auxiliary are granted permission to conduct a poppy sale. 1922: Alfred C. Sinn Insurance Co. is established on Main Ave. 1922: Eastern Corrugated Container Corp. opens on Clifton Blvd. 1922: De Mattia, O’Brien Real Estate & Ins. Co. opens. Feb. 7, 1923: The City of Clifton purchases the Scotto Nash estate on the Lexington Ave. at Passaic River for $24,000. The land is now known as Nash Park. 1923: School 13 on Van Houten Ave. and School 15 on Gregory Ave. are built from similar plans.


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July 16, 1918: A professional fire company is stationed at Main & Harding Aves.

Chief Adam Ritter Aug. 21, 1918 Aug. 11, 1930

Chief Romolo Zangrando April 1, 1960 June 18, 1965

Chief Joseph Colca Nov. 12, 1980 May 1, 1985

The history of the Fire Department can be traced back to volunteer service as early as March 23, 1897, when 26 men met in a classroom at the old School 3, then on Clifton Ave., and formed the first volunteer company. They attacked fires with a two wheeled-hand drawn cart housed with a two and a half inch hose. Since there were no hydrants, they carried connectors which coupled the hose to house faucets. The first firehouse was completed in 1901 on Harding Ave. between First and Second Sts. The structure stored the apparatus and also served as a community social hall. To call volunteers to duty, a large iron ring. located in Clifton Center, was pounded with a hammer. In later years this was replaced with bells, sirens, radios and plectrons. Around 1900, a fire alarm headquarters was established at the William C. Berger pharmacy at the corner of Main and Clifton Aves. Berger was named Honorary Chief and would transmit any alarms received to the engineer at the Pikin and Holdsworth factory located at Main and Highland Aves. The Clifton Fire Department came into existence July 16, 1918 with a paid company at City Hall on Main and Harding Aves. Adam A. Ritter was appointed Chief of both the paid and volunteer fire companies and served until his death in 1930. The photos and dates of service of all of Clifton Fire Chiefs are shown here.

Chief Walter DeGroot Feb. 11, 1985 Jan. 1, 1997

Chief John Zanet Dec. 30, 1930 March 16, 1960

Chief Stephen J. Lendl June 20, 1965 Jan. 1, 1981

Chief John E. Dubravsky Jan. 1, 1997 Current July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


friendly banking Valley National Bank founded as Passaic Park Trust Co.

Samuel L. Riskin named President

1927 1946 1951 Bank of Passaic’s first drive-in window opened

The name Valley National Bank was chosen ( $250 million in assets )

1956 1976

Bank of Allwood purchased and name changed to Bank of Passaic & Clifton

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant 58 1771_CLIFTON_MERCHANT_AD.indd 1


1982 Valley National Bancorp Founded

…for over 79 years First ATM machine installed

1983 1984 First National Bank & Trust Co. of Kearny acquired

163 branch offices throughout New Jersey & Manhattan ($12.3 billion in assets )

Gerald H. Lipkin named Chairman & CEO

1989 26 branch offices in 5 counties

1993 Present Valley stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange(VLY)

Gerald H. Lipkin President, Chairman & CEO Clifton High School Graduate Class of 1958

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July 2006 • Clifton 6/26/06 Merchant 11:20:1759 AM

1921: A Chevrolet police car is purchased but soon traded in for a Studebaker. The Clifton Police Department can, to some degree, trace its origins to the 1905 opening of Fairyland Park, which was located near the current day Corrado’s. One of three amusement parks in the state, this attraction created the dilemma of providing protection to homeowners and the pleasure seekers. Security was handled by hiring constables, one of whom was a Bill Coughlan. On Jan. 1, 1908 William J. Coughlan was named the first Clifton Police Chief. But it was not until 1917, the same year Aquackanonk became incorporated as Clifton, that the first automobile, a Ford, was purchased for Chief William J. Coughlan police work. Much has changed since then but to Jan. 1, 1908 provide some history, we present the dates of servDec. 13, 1931 ices and photos of all who have served as Clifton Police Chief since our city’s incorporation.

Chief Tunis Holster Dec. 16, 1931 April 13, 1934

Chief James N. Marsh Aug. 8, 1934 June 1, 1955

Chief Paul Dittrich Aug. 2, 1955 Oct. 31. 1957

Chief Joseph A. Nee Jan. 1, 1959 Sept. 23, 1977

Chief Edward J. Kredatus May 24, 1979 March 1, 1990

Chief Frank J. Lo Gioco March 1, 1990 May 31, 2002

Chief Robert Ferreri June 1, 2002 Current


July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

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Mayors of the City of Clifton

George R. Connors 1921–1924

Here is a complete list of all the Clifton Mayors who served our community. Of the list, two of them did not complete full terms. In 1945, William Dewey, Sr. was elected Passaic County Sheriff and resigned his office in order to fill that county seat. Councilman Michael Shershin served out the term. Anna M. Latteri, the first woman to be chosen by her peers as Mayor of Clifton, died in 1973, while still in office. Councilman Israel Friend was selected to complete her term. Under the existing system of government, adopted in 1934, the City Council consists of seven members who are elected every four years on an at-large basis, in non-partisan elections. The Mayor is one of those seven and is not directly elected by the citizens. Council members, at their first organizational meeting (one was just held on July 1), then select a Mayor from within their own ranks. The Mayor has no separate policy-making power but presides over meetings and makes appointments to the Planning Board and various commissions.

S. Grant Thorburn 1925–1927

William P. Jordan 1927–1931

Crine Kievit 1932–1934

Wilson S. Brower 1934–1938

Godfrey M. Meyer 1938–1942

William Dewey, Sr. 1942–1945

Michael Shershin 1945–1946

Clarence Finkle, Sr. 1917–1918


July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

George J. Schmidt 1918–1920

The Mayor is not directly elected by the voters but by his or her Council peers.

Walter F. Nutt 1946–1950

Fred G. Devito 1950–1954

John W. Surgent 1954–1958

Stanley Zwier 1958–1962

Ira Schoem 1962–1966

Joseph J. Vanacek 1966–1970

Anna M. Latteri 1970–1973

Israel Friend 1973–1974

Frank Sylvester 1974–1978

Gerald Zecker 1978–1982

Gloria Kolodziej 1982–1990

James Anzaldi Current July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


1926: The Clifton Leader is published by Gus LaCorte. 1925: The Capitol Diner opens on Main Ave. near Memorial Park. 1925: N.P. Nelson Iron Works moves from Brooklyn, NY to Bloomfield Ave. in Allwood. Aug. 3, 1925: Reformed Church of Centerville, established 1882, is incorporated as Athenia Reformed Church and purchases church house. Dec. 14, 1925: Manhattan Bus Co. requests that the Clifton City Council allows four pick-up and discharge stops in Clifton. Jan. 5, 1926: A diagonal street 60feet wide is laid out from Clifton and Lakeview Ave’s. to East. Madison and Central Ave’s. Jan. 25, 1926: Five hundred workers strike Botany Mills and five other textile mills, the first of 15,000 total strikers. April 14, 1926: The formal opening and dedication of new Clifton High School on Piaget Ave. takes place. CHS had been relocated from from School 10. 1926: The Clifton Democratic Club is established. 1926: Henry L. Peto opens a Real Estate office in Passaic. In 1934, he relocates his office to Lakeview Ave., Clifton.

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1926: Beth Israel Hospital starts in Passaic on Madison St. in what has been a single-floor old age home. Jan. 15, 1927: Clifton Chapter of the Order of DeMolay organizes. Jan. 30, 1927: Daughters of Miriam Home on Hazel Rd. is relocated from Paterson. Feb. 24, 1927: Clifton Chamber of Commerce is incorporated. April 17, 1927: First Evangelical Lutheran Church is dedicated. June 11, 1927: Clifton Assembly 16, Rainbow for Girls, is organized. 1927: Hird Park at Clifton and Lexington Ave’s. is donated by Samuel Hird, textile magnate.

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1924: Thomas Coal Co., founded in Paterson in 1903, moves to Colfax Ave. near the Newark Branch of the Erie Railroad. 1924: The Clifton Volunteer Firehouse on Harding Ave. is sold to Clifton Masons for use as a Masonic Club. 1924: Givaudan Corp. opens an aromatic chemical plant on Delawanna Ave. Hexachlorophene and some medications are made. October 16, 1924: A new Clifton Fire Headquarters is opened on Mahar Ave., near the corner of Clifton & Lexington Ave’s. April 1, 1925: Main Auto Electric Co. opens at 397 Clifton Ave. April 25, 1925: Clifton National Bank opens on Main Ave. near Clifton Ave. It is moved to Main & Union Ave’s. in 1928. 1925: Bus Service from Clifton to New York City begins. Riders can reach both intercity (via Main Ave.) or Manhattan (via Lakeview/ Lexington Ave’s.) 1925: Clifton Engine Co. No. 4 is established on Delawanna Ave. 1925: New York Sash & Door Co. opens on Caroline Ave., bordering the Erie Railroad.



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1928: Rutt’s Hut opens for hot dogs on River Rd. in Delawanna. 1927: Plog’s Garage opens on Piaget Ave. and Seventh St. Oct. 4, 1927: Clifton’s Board of Education transfers part of its land around Clifton High School to the city to build a park. 1928: Mahony-Troast Contracting Co. is established by Paul L. Troast and Arthur C. Mahony on Bloomfield Ave., in Allwood.

1928: Tobin Paper Co., makers of twine, bags and containers for grocers, opens on Lakeview Ave. June 19, 1928: Post 8 installs three electric lamps at Central and Delawanna Ave’s. 1928: Botany Bldg. & Loan, later Clifton Savings & Loan, opens. 1928: The Diamond Real Estate Agency opens.

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Oct. 30, 1928: The Athenia Switching Station of Public Service and Transmission lines is erected on Mt. Prospect Ave., in Athenia. Dec. 1, 1928: Falstrom & Tornqvist move from Passaic to Crooks Ave., Clifton and continue metal fabricating. Dec. 15, 1928: The Clifton Post Office at Union Ave. becomes an independent Post Office and is no longer a branch of Passaic. Jan. 1929: The Clifton Public Library relocated to 68 Union Ave. Jan. 29, 1929: Clifton Lodge 1569, Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks, organizes with 64 members at Brook’s Hall. A lodge is purchased at Clifton and Colfax Ave’s. Jan. 1929: Charles FreshmanFreed Eismann operates a merged Radio Co. in the old Brighton Mills buildings in Allwood. Over a thousand radios per day are made by 2,500 employees. Feb. 12, 1929: The Claverack Chapter of the Daughters of the Americans Revolution is organized April 1929: Hoffman LaRoche Pharmaceutical Co. is set to open. 1929: Conveyor Engineering Co. is established on Hobart Place. Oct. 1929: Charles FreshmanFreed Eismann Radio Co. goes into receivership due to 100 percent drop in radio prices. 1929: The Allwood Community Church is organized on the James P. Speer homestead, built in 1838, at the corners of Bloomfield Ave. and Brighton Rd. The church was constructed in 1932. The Speer house would eventually become the White House Coffee Shoppe before being razed by American Colortype in 1950.

1930: Avato’s Department Store opens in Albion Place. “Avato’s was just about at the center of everything,” wrote Floyd B. and Rae Hill Vollinger, formerly of Beantown and residents of Spring Hill, Florida, who asked us to publish a note about the Aug. 31, 2004 closing of this unique store. Here it is... Marion D’Ettorre of Avato’s (at left) has seen Albion prosper for over seven decades; she grew up in the apartment above the store her parents founded and then she and her husband raised their four girls there as well. Over 74 years of service, Avato’s sold top quality men’s and women’s fashions as well as children’s clothes, shoes and an array of accessories. It was, she recalled, the place to shop for every season. In the late 50s and early 60s, Avato’s stayed connected with Clifton by sponsoring fashion shows and Clifton Midget League baseball and bowling teams. During the early 50s, the store became an official US Post Office station. “The men came back from WWII and the town was growing,” recalled D’Ettorre. “We needed a post office in Albion.” And being it increased the foot traffic through the store. Reflecting on the growth of mega-stores and big box retailers, D’Ettorre said: “I couldn’t compete with the malls, discount stores and outlets. But when people come here, they knew they were getting good merchandise. Over the years, I’ve had to cut a lot of my lines.” Even though in the final years, Avato’s did not carry as many items as it once did, D’Ettorre saw to it that care was taken to provide high quality merchandise at fair prices. At the time of the closing, Avato’s joined a list of other classic Clifton merchants moving on. They include Jerry Posner of Starr Tire on Getty Ave. (which became a Commerce Bank) and the Cloverdale Restaurant, across from city hall, which was transformed into a Dunkin’ Donuts.

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Nov. 11, 1929: The Clifton War Memorial on Main Ave. is dedicated in honor of the Cliftonites killedin-action in World War I. 1930: Peter Zarcone opens a shoe store in a garage in Lakeview. 1930: Rentschler’s Swimming Pool opens on Main Ave. between Hadley and Highland Ave’s. It is adjoined by a large hall. 1930: Construction begins for School 1 on Park Slope. It opens in 1931. July 1930: Newspaper articles report recreational activities for the public such as miniature golf, endurance contests for bicycles and roller skates, tree perching, flagpole sitting and block dances. March 20, 1930: Wanaque Reservoir is dedicated and gates are opened to provide portable water. Nov. 23, 1930: Trinity Methodist Church, organized in Passaic in 1909, relocates to De Mott Ave. and Second St. in Clifton. Dec. 3, 1930: John Zanet is appointed Clifton’s second paid Fire Chief.

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1930: US Census counts 46,875 residents in Clifton. 1931/32: Doherty Oval, the former home of the Doherty Silk Sox, is used for athletics by CHS. March 1931: Two chapters of the Order of Eastern Star, Acquackanonk Chapter 267 and Clifton Chapter 269, are organized.

April 1931: Irving Kanter, formally of Kanter’s Chevrolet in Passaic, opens Lexington Chevrolet, Clifton. 1931: Charles H. Reis begins construction of a large suburban development of 400 Allwood homes on the former Brighton Mills property.

John J. Majka Fuel Co. opens a coal yard at Svea and Colfax Aves in 1932. A photo of one of their first coal delivery trucks is shown above. Special

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In August 1930, teams of youths organized to ride night and day around selected blocks in Clifton. One such group, the Clifton Corps of Endurance Bicycle Riders, was composed of Peter Kuczuda, Mike Boyko, John Milalko and Mike Yuhas. The Corps kept on riding after passing 938 continuous hours on the saddle, thus becoming local champs. A block dance was organized to raise funds in support of the endurance effort. The Clifton Corps peddled on Van Riper Avenue and, despite the 100 degree heat of those summer days, the boys kept going... April 10, 1932: The Clifford Lodge at Broad St. and Van Houten Ave. is gutted by fire, with eight being injured in the blaze. It is not rebuilt. 1932: Wilson’s Liquor Store opens at 117 Lakeview Ave.

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Clifton Police Motorcycle Squad, 1932: From left: Lt. Marino De Mattia, Ptl. R. Havenstrite, Ptl. John De Greet, Ptl. Benjamin Keller and Ptl. Joseph Diani on their Harleys.

April 13, 1932: Improvements on Weasel Brook Park by the Passaic County Park Commission begin, starting at Lexington Ave. and extending to Paulison Ave. A half-dozen stages are completed over several years. 1932: Wessington Stadium on Main Ave., opposite Doherty Silk Mill, is completed and used for football and special events. It is now the site of the Passaic Valley Water Commission building. 1932: The Allwood Woman’s Club is founded with 50 members. The book exchange program eventually leads to an Allwood Library. Sept. 10, 1932: Post 142, Veterans of Foreign Wars, is formerly instituted. 1932: The Lexington Ave. Floral Shoppe opens. 1932: Sadewitz Auto Electric Service opens at 315 Clifton Ave. Dec. 24, 1932: The Richfield Firehouse is opened at the intersection of Broad St. and Van Houten Ave. It becomes headquarters on Nov. 3, 1950. 1933: Bashlow Brothers coal dealers opened a yard at Central and East Madison Ave’s. ...the timeline continues on page 76

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Four Generations of Care & Comfort he new Marrocco Memorial Chapel & Powell-Marrocco Funeral Home was re-established in September of 2000, when James J. Marrocco had the foresight to completely renovate an expansive building at 470 Colfax Avenue.


This welcoming and dignified facility—shown below—greets visitors with stately columns, a portico to protect passengers in case of inclement weather and a large adjacent lot. Once inside, guests can’t help but notice the stately fireplace in the gracious foyer. From there, visitors continue into one of the four viewing chapels, three of which can be transformed into one large room, depending upon individual needs. Other thoughtful features include a handicapped accessible entrance and restroom, a library resource center and family conference rooms. Marrocco Memorial Chapel recently launched a new Tribute Program, which allows the families to view a DVD video tribute to their loved one during the visiting time. Within the next year, these videos will also be available on the Marrocco website for family members or visitors who could not make the viewing.


July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

And finally, to celebrate four generations of service, Jim Marrocco has added representations from each generation to his Home. Guests will see an oil painting of The Last Supper, created in 1951, by his great-grandfather Peter A. Marrocco, Sr. A painting of San Vito de Cadore, Italy was painted by his grandfather Henry F. Marrocco, Sr and hangs in the the Lincoln viewing room. And finally, the third generation is marked by several statues brought back from Florence, Italy by his father Henry F. Marrocco, Jr. As a result, Jim Marrocco has created a warm, welcoming Home that will make you feel comfortable and invited at a time when you need it most. In January 2004, Jim’s daughter-in-law Carole Lazzaro joined the family business. Not only does she handle the day-to-day business affairs as office manager, she also creates the increasingly popular Video Tributes. Carole is currently enrolled at the American Academy McAllister Institute, and is now a registered Intern with Marrocco Memorial Chapel. Whether your requirements include pre-planning so that your wishes are recorded and executed as you desire, or at need services, the staff would be happy to discuss all your options.

107 years

MARROCCO HISTORY Peter A. Marrocco Sr. started the Marrocco family in the Funeral Business on Mill Street, Paterson in 1899. For 107 years the Marrocco name has become synonymous with superior funeral service in the Northern New Jersey area. Peter A. Marrocco, Sr. began with a storefront and stable. His sons Henry F. Marrocco Sr. Peter A. Marrocco, 1874-1962 and Peter A. Marrocco, Jr. began the second generation. At the turn of the century, the Marrocco family established storefront locations on Harrison Avenue in Lodi, State Street in Passaic and Dayton Avenue in Clifton. In the 1920's Henry F. Marrocco Sr. managed the Passaic and Clifton locations. He relocated the Clifton location to a Parker Avenue store front and the Passaic location to a store front on Passaic Street. As the trend toward funerals in the funeral home increased and less often in family residences, the locations were once again relocated to 326 Parker Avenue in Clifton and Howe Avenue in Passaic. The third generation of service to our area began with Henry F. Marrocco Jr. who was instrumental in the continued growth of the family business. He served as manager until his death in early 2000. Manager James J. Marrocco

At left, Henry F. Marrocco Sr, 1900-1971, and Henry Jr., 1926-2000. In the 1970’s his son James J. Marrocco began the fourth generation of the Marrocco Family in funeral service. In 1986, the Marrocco family acquired the Powell Funeral Home at 257 Broadway in Passaic to form the Powell-Marrocco Funeral Home. Its founder, Mr. Vincent H. Powell maintained an active involvement with the firm until his death in 2001. The two funeral homes are under the direction of James J. Marrocco and are operated at the new facility, 470 Colfax Avenue, at the corner of Broad St.



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Visit our website at: July 2006 • Clifton Merchant



What were 34 of these rare animals doing in Clifton in September, 1930?

Being Saved from Extinction! T

his mighty looking beast is a muskoxen. This shaggy, curly-horned creature can weigh anywhere from 440 to 900 pounds and is ideally suited to live in the brutal and unforgiving conditions of the Alaskan wilderness. So why were 34 of these rare animals in Clifton during the fall of 1930? In 1900, the muskox was thought to be extinct in our nation’s most northern state. Realizing the impact that this could have on the ecosystem there, the U.S. Congress decided in May 1930 that it needed to repopulate Alaska with muskoxen by taking some from Greenland. The U.S Biological Survey was awarded with $40,000 to acquire a heard of muskoxen from Greenland, one of the few places that these rare animals still existed. The team captured 19 female and 15 male muskoxen by August, 1930 and the animals were taken by boat for the start of an incredible journey. After a month’s voyage, the oxen passed under the Statue of Liberty on Sept. 15, 1930.

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The next stop? The Clifton US Animal Quarantine Station. Established in 1884, the site on which City Hall now rests was once home to the nation’s largest US Animal Quarantine Station. Every foreign animal that entered the United States had to first visit Clifton, where the creature would stay until inspected and certified. The station’s function was to prevent any disease outbreak by properly inspecting and quarantining all animals. All 34 muskoxen were housed in the brick and wooden barns and would be exercised on the sprawling grounds of the quarantine station, at Clifton and Van Houten Aves. Reports from scientific journals stated that the fall heat was unbearable for these prehistoric beasts, which panted constantly and drank a massive amount of water. The oxen were also given salt licks to rehydrate.

These illustrations by Jack Tulling may remind readers that thousands of animal of various species and sizes ‘visited’ Clifton before being shipped to various destinations across the nation. The US Quarantine Station officially closed in 1980.

All the oxen ultimately survived the 33-day Clifton visit and were next on a train to Seattle, where they then took a seven day voyage on a steamship to Seward, Alaska. From Seward, the Alaska Railroad transported the animals to Fairbanks, arriving at the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines (now the University of Alaska) on Nov. 5, 1930, after four days in a railcar.

The muskoxen remained at the college in a fenced complex for a few years as workers there tried to get the animals to reproduce. Eventually, the oxen were again introduced into the wild on the island of Nunivak, where the animals flourished. Today, the original herd on the island has grown to about 620 oxen strong. From that herd, several others were started at other locations, with 23 located at the mainland east of Nunivak Island, 64 at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 72 at the Seward Peninsula and 70 in northwest Alaska. It is an incredible story of how humanity realized the error of its ways and set out to thwart the extinction of a magnificent animal. It was history in the making and Clifton played a significant role in this chapter. July 2006 • Clifton Merchant






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Sept. 1933: The old Public School 3 at Clifton Ave. and First St. is closed and becomes the Clifton Board of Health. A new Public School 3 is opened at Washington Ave. and Seventh St. Feb. 14, 1934: A record low temperature of -14 degrees is recorded. Frostbite is common among children walking to schools. 1934: Sisco Dairy Co. renovates its milk processing plant at Colfax and Mt. Prospect Ave.’s. Those who passed by could watch the cows as they grazed here. Lambert Castle was built in 1893 as the home of Catholina Lambert—the self-made owner of a Paterson silk mill. After his death in 1923, his family sold the building to the City of Paterson, which in turn sold it to the County of Passaic a few years later. Below is the Observatory Tower, today, it is in a sad state of disrepair.


July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

1934: Weston Biscuit Co. of Passaic (near Manhattan Rubber Co.) opens a new manufacturing plant at 2 Brighton Rd. 1934: The Passaic County Park Commission purchases Lambert Castle on Valley Rd. along the Clifton-Passaic border.

1934: Joseph Mazzarino opens a jewelry store on Lakeview Ave. 1935: The Delawanna Post Office on lower Main Ave. is designated an independent post office. June 19, 1935: Patrolman Joseph Sastic is honored for serving as head of Clifton Jr. Safety Patrol.

1934: A record 34 candidates run for City Council. Clifton became New Jersey’s 12th city when the citizens of Acquackanonk Township voted to incorporate in 1917. They chose a Mayor-Council form of government, dividing the city into five wards with two Council members representing each ward. Executive power was centered in a Mayor and terms of office for both the Mayor and the new City Council were set at two years each. Elections were conducted on a partisan (political party) basis and were staggered, with five Council seats up for election each year. After twice failing to change this system of government during the 1920s, Clifton residents in 1934 vote to adopt a Council-City Manager form of government, a system that is still in place today. Executive administrative duties were transferred from the mayor to an appointed City Manager, and a

new non-partisan seven-member Council (elected from among 34 candidates), who will serve consecutive four-year terms. Clifton has had nine full-time City Managers since that time. But here is a little background on William A. Miller, who was appointed Clifton’s first City Manager on July 3, 1934 and served in that position until 1951. Miller was Clifton’s City Clerk in 1934 when the electorate voted to adopt the Council-Manager form of government. Though a Clifton native who was highly respected during his 15 years in the clerk’s office, his appointment was not without controversy. The newly formed City Council approved his selection by a 4-2 vote with one member abstaining. Citing their disillusionment with the city’s political environment, Miller’s opponents had sought an

William A. Miller was appointed Clifton’s first City Manager on July 3, 1934 and served until 1951.

impartial candidate from outside the city to fill the post. The Council allowed Miller to continue in his position as City Clerk while he served as City Manager. He collected a dual salary, with the clerk’s job paying nearly 60 percent more than the City Manager position, which is actually the city’s top job.

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Directions: Route 3 to Bloomfield Ave Exit. Make right at Bloomfield Ave. Go halfway around Allwood Circle and continue on Bloomfield Ave. We are located just past the Home Depot.

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July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


1935: The Clifton’s Woman’s Club is founded. Sept. 1935: A rodeo is held at Clifton’s Wessington Stadium. Sept. 1935: The pilot of a light plane that ran out of gas makes an emergency landing and subsequent take-off at Nash Park. 1936: De Luxe Cleaners is founded by Joseph De Lora on Main Ave. 1936: S. Ainsworth Hird opens the Samuel A. Hird textile mill in the Pennsylvania Textile Mill on Clifton Ave.

Next to today’s Garden Palace Lanes, on Lakeview Ave., was the Hygrade Sylvania Corp, shown during the era of fluorescent lamp development, which was 1935-1938. The company manufactured lamps under the Hygrade name and radio tubes under the Sylvania name. Note trolley tracks on the road.

Dec. 10, 1936: Over 800 guests attended a testimonial dinner for freeholder Ernest Scheidemann at Rentschler Hall. He is pictured above in 1981 with his wife Florence. Scheidemann began his political career as a Passaic County Freeholder in 1932 and won reelection in 1937. He also served on the Clifton City Council from 1950 to 1954. In addition to being a politician and active in real estate, Scheidemann has the unique distinction of being the first and most likely the only Clifton Poet Laureate, earning that title in 1967. 78

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Feb. 8, 1936: President of the NJ Senate, Clifton’s John C. Barbour, is sworn in as Governor of New Jersey during surgery for Governor Harold G. Hoffman. Barbour was a lawyer who served in the U.S. Army during World War I. He served as a member of NJ Assembly, 1929-1932 and as a NJ State senator from 1933-1936. March 18, 1936: Cretona Print and Dye Works is liquidated and assets are sold to satisfy tax and other liens. A federal R.F.C. loan of $450,000 had been converted by officers to their own use. April 25, 1936: The 16th annual Clifton Fireman’s Mutual Benefit Association dance and reception is held at Rentschler’s Hall. May 8, 1936: The Kasper quadruplets are born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic, America’s first healthy set of quads. The babies were delivered by Dr. Frank Jani, Dr. John D. Calabrese and Sister Francis Aloysius.

May 8, 1936: Clifton pugilist Johnny Rohrig, a former NJ Diamond Gloves champion, makes his professional boxing debut versus Joey Ray of Trenton. May 16, 1936: The Main Clifton Post Office building is dedicated at Main and Washington Ave’s. June 16, 1936: Quentin Roosevelt Post 8 of the American Legion walkathon begin at Wessington Stadium and continues until Aug. 20. June 3, 1936: Reigns of city government are assumed by youth counterparts as part of Boy’s Week. June 27, 1936: Eddie Mayo Day is celebrated at New York’s Polo Grounds with members of the New York Giants team. July 15, 1936: The 8th annual union Sunday School excursion is sailed to Kingston, NY via Jersey City and Poughkeepsie. July 16, 1936: Clifton’s Silver Grill Diner opens at Main and Madison Ave’s. on the site of the former Capitol Diner.

April 6, 1937: The City Council is to consider building an airport in Delawanna. July 26, 1936: The cornerstone of St. John Kanty’s Church is laid. Aug. 12, 1936: John P. Hamil’s Silk Throwing Mill at 512 Valley Rd. is completely destroyed by a suspicious explosion and fire. Oct. 10, 1936: City Post 142, Veterans of Foreign Wars, dedicates headquarters on Piaget Ave., near Main Ave. Oct. 17, 1936: Abe Sperber’s Grill & Night Club at 67 Center St. holds a new grand opening of redecorated facilities. It originally opened in 1918 and seats over 500 patrons. Nov. 12, 1936: Foodland supermarket formally opens at the corner of Clifton and Lakeview Ave’s. Dec. 2, 1936: Passaic offers its Alms House on Mt. Prospect Ave. in Clifton to Passaic County and then to the Y.M.C.A. for use as a summer camp. Local residents object to both arrangements.

Dec. 12, 1936: Clifton City Post 142, Veterans of Foreign Wars, holds a beef stew supper using mess kits at its headquarters. Dec. 24, 1936: St. John Kanty Polish Catholic Church, which is located at the corners of Wesley St. and Speer Ave., conducts a Midnight Mass and a simple blessing of its new building. It is formally dedicated April 25, 1937. Jan. 1, 1937: New Jersey begins 1817

semi-annual auto inspections. March 1937: The old School 3 is converted into a City Hall annex. March 19, 1937: The last White Line trolley makes the run from Paterson to East Rutherford via Crooks and Lakeview Ave’s. March 1937: Plans are approved by the Federal Works Progress Administration for the construction of a Clifton Municipal Garage on Wabash Ave.

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March 25, 1937: Joseph & Oscar Conrad Hosiery Co. at 958 Main Ave. announces plans to enlarge its plant to house more equipment. 1937: The City of Clifton acquires its first ambulance. 1937: The Clifton Republican Club opens its new headquarters at the corner of Piaget Ave. (then Route 6) and Seventh St. May 9, 1937: St. Paul’s R.C. Church breaks ground for a new building at the site of its old church, which is to be razed.

April 16, 1937: Excavation begins for the $250,000 Clifton Theater near Main and Clifton Avenues. May 5, 1937: The Clifton Board of Education approves plans whereby all grade 9 pupils would attend School 10, a High School annex. May 18, 1937: Mayor Wilson Brower schedules Youth Week. June 12, 1937: The renown Barnum and Bailey Circus pitches tent in Main Memorial Park.. 1937: Peter R. Barna Real Estate & Insurance Co. is established.

Imagine a place where hamburgers cost a nickel, while John’s Delicious Clam Chowder and Helen’s Famous Rice Pudding were always fresh. For over 30 years, Queen’s Diner, on Van Houten Ave. in Athenia, was once such a place. Owned and operated by John ‘Mack’ Macaluso, his wife, Helen and their family, the diner offered many a good bite to eat and a place to catch up on the neighborhood news. Their son, Joseph ‘Smoky’ worked in the kitchen with Neil Sabitini, while Helen and her daughters were waitresses. 80

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

July 4, 1937: A fireworks ban for individuals is put into effect. July 15, 1937: The 9th annual excursion of Sunday School of Clifton, Garfield and Passaic visits Rye Beach, New York. July 22, 1937: The 250-foot high chimney of the abandoned American Colortype plant is dynamited by city officials. Summer 1937: Clifton youths are accepted as candidates in the Citizens’ Military Training Corps. program of the US.

The business relied on the employees from Manhattan Rubber, Veleray, Weston Biscuit, Reynold Springs and other factories. But many families also patronized the diner. During the war it was a place for a G.I. to catch up on old times over a steaming cup of joe. After WWII, the diner stayed open 24 hours a day and Smoky then worked nights with short order cook Steve ‘Chic’ Danchak. After 30 years, in 1968, John and Helen sold the business and retired. Both have since passed away. Now, in its former location stands a Dunkin’ Donuts.

June 22, 1937: The NJ Excavation Commission denies Delawanna an airport. Readers & Advertisers: Now that we got your interest, we need your help. We’ll continue this historic timeline of Cliftoncentric events in our August edition. We’ll publish photos and stories on a wide range of topics. So if you’d like to share photos or memorabilia as it relates to Clifton from the 1940s through the present time, please send it immediately. And advertisers... we need your support so that we can expand our August edition and make it our largest publication ever. Please advertise with us... Tom Hawrylko, Editor/Publisher Clifton Merchant Magazine Tomahawk Promotions 1288 Main Ave., Clifton, NJ 07011 Call us at 973-253-4400

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A no left turn restriction is put into effect on Oct. 28, 1937 for the intersection of Main and Clifton Ave’s. Meanwhile work continues on the new $250,000 Clifton Theater with an expected opening of Dec. 30, 1937. Photo by Mike Corradino.

Mario’s Restaurant

710 Van Houten Ave. Clifton • 777-1559


Greetings from all of us at Mario’s... First row from left, Mario Barilari III, Dino Bellini, Aulo Barilari & Brett Barilari. Second row: Gianni Bellini, Sandro Bellini, Kenneth Barilari, Aurora Bellini, Kim Barilari & Alba Bellini. July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


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The Strength Behind the Majka Name Jos. A. Majka & Sons has been keeping Clifton families comfortable for generations. Our licensed experts can install and service every area of comfort in your home, from hot water heaters to Central Air Conditioning.

Heil’s QuietComfort TM 10 Series Air Conditioner Heil’s QuietComfortTM 10 Series Air Conditioner could save up to 40% on your summer cooling costs, especially when matched to the proper indoor coil. Call Jos. A. Majka & Sons for all the details.

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July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

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Automatic Fuel Emergency? We’ll Call 973-777-8484 Delivery System Be Right Over... For the Details... Think winter for one moment. Have you ever woken up to a cold home? Protect you and your family from that with our Automatic Fuel Delivery System. With our program, we’ll know when you need fuel so you’ll never have to worry about running low—or waking up to a cold home again. And ask about budget payment plan.

When you have a problem, you want a solution. Jos. A Majka & Sons is family owned operated and we have been perfecting our prompt and friendly “We’ll be right over” service since 1932. Our technicians are Certified Heating Specialists who know how to get your system up and running at peak performance.

Jos. A Majka & Sons has a variety of programs to meet your family’s heating needs. We have Annual Service Plans that eliminate costly repair bills, tank-protection programs and cost-effective budget programs to help defray winter heating bills. Call and we’ll visit your home to offer a free system evaluation.

$600 Savings Every Year! Did you know that new fuel saving equipment is one of the best ways to save money? Installing a new WeilMcLain boiler is the best way we know to save fuel. Even if you use only 900 gallons per year (our typical customer) and save 25%, that’s an extra $600 in your pocket each year, tax free. Call for details ... We offer automatic fuel delivery & budget payment plans.

Oil Tank Specialists July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


CHS Class of 1976 Reunion Thomas Lyons

Gerald Wanio

Rickie Johnson


hirty years have passed since the CHS Class of 1976 left the high school, going forth to make their mark on the world. On these pages are photos of some of the grads who are still living or working in town, and, indeed involved in our community. In that year—the nation’s bi-centennial— there was three wings on the high school and three Vice Principals: Senior VP Terry Hanner, Junior VP Severin Palydowycz and Sophomore VP John Murphy. Aaron Halpern was the Principal, and one young anthropology teacher, Bill Cannici— who just this year retired as CHS principal— was in the early years of his career. The Fighting Mustangs, proved again they were a force to be reckoned with on the gridiron, going 8-2 under legendary coach Bill Vander Closter. The CHS wrestling squad was also successful, going 8-6, with Joe Viola finishing as the runner up at 101lbs in the States.

James Hill

Raymond Mauro

Joseph McKenna

John George

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Anthony Orlando

Donna Rugel The CHS Barbershop Quartet, from left Brian Grace, Vic Salvaterra and Charlie Potters. Laying across them all is Allen Soroka. On the facing page, from top: Lisa Nash and Cheryl Angello.

Home grown garage bands were plentiful and two—Impact and God-Speed— were already gaining a reputation, before refining their sound and becoming today’s highly successful Flying Mueller Brothers. The Student Council President that year was Ed Kosis and the Senior

Yasin Abu Roumi

Class President was John George, the same fellow who is the chair of the CHS Class of ‘76 30 year reunion, which will be held over the Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 24 and 25. For more info , call 732617-1000 or request details by writing to

Joann Scarpulla

Gary Giardina

Ernest Generalli

Susan McDonald

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July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


On July 1, the members of the new City Council were inaugurated at a ceremony at Clifton High School, sworn in by family and friends.Starting from top left is Municipal Judge Scott Bennion swearing in Mayor Jim Anzaldi, flanked by his siblings Sal, Ross and Mary Jo. At left is Councilman Joe Cupoli, who was sworn in by his sister Lori Palmieri and his dad, Joe Cupoli Sr. Also pictured is Cupoli’s in-laws, Tony and Ann DePasque and their granddaughter Jacklyn Miller.


July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Bottom page left is Councilwoman Gloria Kolodziej, who was sworn into office by New Jersey Assemblyman Thomas Giblin and her grandchildren, including Ryan and Joseph Lauritano and Nicole and Tyler Coan. Bottom facing page right is Councilman Steve Hatala with his wife Eileen and their son, Steven Jr., who read his dad’s oath of office. At top left of this page is Passaic County Freeholder Terry Duffy, pictured with Councilman Frank Fusco, his wife, Nadine and their daughters, Sarah and Kaitlin. Also at top right of page is Councilman Peter Eagler, with his parents David and Olga, and his sister, Virginia. At right is Councilman Tony Latona, who is pictured with the Clifton Fire Department Color Guard, and his niece Marissa Ciccotti. He was sworn in by former CHS Principal William Cannici and Maureen Powers. The seven members of the council will serve in office until June 30, 2010. July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


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July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

The Girls Scouts of Troop 46, affiliated with First Presbyterian Church on Maplewood Ave., and led by Cheryl Dick-Mauro, remind residents to think twice before dumping motor oil and paints down the sewer. As part of a stormwater quality education program run through Clifton’s Clean Communities Program, the scouts have been stenciling catch basins in various neighborhoods. The strategy is to create awareness and address stormwater pollution where it often starts—in our street’s stormwater collection system. “By teaching our community about stormwater pollution, and by labeling the catch basins with these stencils, the girls provide a message of the eventual destination of the waste—the Passaic River and the Atlantic Ocean,” said Al DuBois, Clean Communities Program Coordinator. “One of the most common causes of urban stormwater pollution is the disposal of materials such as used motor oil, paints, antifreeze and pesticides. We need to remind residents that dumping hazardous materials into storm drains is harmful to our environment.” For more on this program, call DuBois at 973-470-2239.


Girl Scouts of Troop 46 remind readers: don’t let it swim with the fishes!’ From left: Beril Ozden, Taylour Mauro, Carly Hawryko, Jacqueline Grant and Leah O’Beirne.

Lots to do this summer... as usual, the Clifton Recreation Department has lined up a summer full of activities, great for kids of all ages. Some programs are run directly by the city, others are done in partnership with nearby organizations. Here is a run down of events... The Girl Scouts’ Art to Wear camp is Aug. 14-18 at the Rec Center in Downtown Clifton Campers will create puppets, masks, sets and act out their own plays. For girls in grades 1-5. Registration is $49. Call the Rec Department for info: 973-470-5956.

Day camp for girls: Your daughter does not have to be a Girl Scout to attend Lake Rickabear Girl Scout Day Camp. Located in Kinnelon, Lake Rickabear offers a variety of activities on a 40-acre spring-fed lake surrounded by 292 acres of recreation area and woodland. Girls at day camp explore the outdoors through crafts, nature programs, hiking and games. Each session has its own theme, and activities relate to that theme. Transportation is included in the camp fee but pricing varies, so call for info: 973-248-8200.

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


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Skateboard camp is being held at Clifton’s Skatezone. Anyone ages 6 and up can come to learn how to skate or to refine their skills. The advanced camp is held on Aug. 14 to 18, with a beginner's camp from Aug. 21 to 25. Price is $79. Camp runs from 9 am to noon. Skaters are encouraged to bring their own gear, otherwise rentals are available for an extra fee. Call the Rec Department at 973-470-5956.


Have a sport minded child? Send them to the Clifton and US Sports Institute multi sports camp. Participants will experience over 15 sports, including soccer, pillo polo, bocce, field hockey, lacrosse and much more. The camp will be held from Aug. 21 to 25. Children ages 5 to 14 will attend 9 am to 1 pm for a cost of $115, and kids ages 3 to 5 will go from 2 to 3:30 pm for $65. All activities take place at Sperling Park. For more info, call 973-470-5956. Summer tennis lessons are offered by the Rec Department. The six week program is broken down by skill level and age. Beginner is $45, Intermediate level one $55,

Swimming lessons at Bellin’s Pool will be offered by the Rec Department on Tuesdays from July 11 to Aug. 15. This youth course is designed for ages 6 and up. Groups are broken up by water experience. There are two sessions, from 9 to 9:30 am, or 9:30 to 10 am. Cost is $35. Call 973-470-5956.

Karate lessons are offered by the Martial Arts Training Academy, 35 Harding Ave. For children ages 6-8, classes run from July 12 to Aug. 16 on Wednesdays from 4-5 pm. Classes for ages 9-12 run from July 14 to Aug. 18 on Fridays from 4 - 5 pm. Fee: $35. Clifton SkateZone is near Weasel Call 973-470-5956. Brook Park, in Dutch Hill.

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A r ts From Suzuki violin courses to a first-of-its-kind Field Music program, the teachers at Menconi Music Studio on Lakeview Ave. can help train or sharpen the skills of a budding young musician. For instance, students ages 8-14 will learn fife & drum music of Revolutionary and Civil War periods in the new Field Music program. Other courses offered include Broadway Jr., Clifton Idol, guitar groups, flute fest, orchestra prep, drums and trombones. Prices and hours vary. Group and individual lessons. For more info, call 973-253-7500. Kids and teens enrolled in the Action Theatre Conservatory’s Summer Workshops and NYC Showcase (pictured above) will perform scenes, songs and dances at the Producers Club (Ninth Ave.

between 43rd & 44th). Evening performances are for kids on July 24 and 25 and the teens on July 26 and 27. Family and friends are invited to the showcases, as are NYC agents, managers and casting directors. Following the final performance, the entire cast will

Art Camp for children in grades 2-5 is Aug. 14-18, from 9 am to noon or 2 to 5 pm at the Clifton Arts Center. Campers will be introduced to various mediums. Cost: $79. Call 973-470-5956. Crafty Kids Day on Aug. 5, from 10 am to 2 pm at the Rec Center, 1232 Main Ave. Come make a variety of crafts, including beads, painting, wood projects, clay and more. Tokens, which sell for $.25 each, will be used to pay for each project. Children are able to choose which projects they like. Call 973-470-5956. The Space, Science and Rocketry Camp will be held on Aug 21 - 25 from 9 am to noon. Campers will make model rockets and learn what it is like living and working in space. Registration is $125. Call 973-470-5956. Summer Fun With Science Camp for kids in grades 1-3 is Aug. 14-18 from 9 am to noon. Engineering, chemistry, machines, cameras and coded communication are just some of the topics covered in a fun and practical way. Registration is $99. Call 973-470-5956. 92

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

party at one of the theatre district’s restaurants, giving the kids and teens time to re-live the excitement of their successes. ATC is based in Downtown Clifton. Call 973-772-6998 for upcoming classes or tickets to the NYC showcase or go to:

Radical Robot Camp runs from Aug. 14-18 from 1 to 4 pm and is open to children in grades 4 and up. Kids will build robots and then have the opportunity to run them in Robot Races. Fee $125. Call 973-470-5956. Is your kid a clown? Check out Clowning Around Camp, which explores the world of professional clowning. Learn the history of the profession, skills such as plate spinning and how to apply make up. Chips the Clown of the Zerbini Circus will teach the course, which is held at the Rec Center, 1232 Main Ave. Ages 8 to 12. The camp runs from Aug. 21 to 25 from 9 am to noon. Cost is $79. Call 973-470-5956.

CHS Cheerleading car wash: The girls of the CHS cheerleading squad will be holding car washes on July 15, 22 and Aug 26 in the Christopher Columbus Middle School parking lot. They will be there from 10 am to 4 pm and will wash cars for $5. Bring out your wheels and support the girls!

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July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Join your neighbors around the campfire to toast marshmallows, perhaps play fiddlesticks and have some family fun at the sixth annual Family Camp Out. This ingenious Rec Dept. sponsored activity lets us city dwellers set up tents and commune with nature and our neighbors in this Beantown park. Beginning at 6 pm on Aug. 25, families can help build a real big campfire and then share tall tales, or take part in one or more of the many organized activities going on that evening. The next morning, Aug. 26, share a breakfast and then take part in more camp stations, from knot tying to to compass reading. Activity fee is $8 for a family of four or $3 per person. This award winning event is sponsored by the Clifton Special Police, the Clifton Fire Department and the Clifton Recreation Department. Register in the Rec Dept at city hall.

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• Before and After-School Care • Spanish • Comprehensive and Rigorous Learning/Academic Program • Small Classes/Individualized Attention • Certified Teachers • Computer Technology Classes • Music Classes • Physical Education Classes • Religion Education • Morning Care (Pre-K ~ 8) • Extra Curricular Activities • Science Lab Grades 3 ~ 8 • Hot Lunches Available Every Day • More Affordable Than Day Care

CHS Track & Field Camp: Coaches Andrew Piotrowski and John Pontes hold camp on July 3, 5, 6 and 7, July 10-14, July 17-21 and July 24-28. For ages 7-13, emphasis is on fundamentals of running, introduction of track and field and developing speed and stamina. For ages 14-18, camp is 4 to 7 pm. There will be pole vault, sprints, hurdles, distances, throws and jumps. Camp is 9 am to noon. Price is $120 for ages 7-13, or $400 for all four sessions. For ages 14-18 the camp is $140 or $500 for all four sessions. For more details call 973-473-5060. Introduction to ice hockey is offered in a four week program geared towards youths age 4 to 10. The program teaches fundamentals such as skating, stick-handling and shooting. Dates for the classes are as follows: July 3 to 24, July 5 to 26, July 31to Aug. 21 or Aug. 2 to 23, on Mondays or Wednesdays. The entire program is $64. For more info, call 973-470-5956.

Garden Palace Lanes on Lakeview Ave. has a number of deals and programs this summer. From July 11 through Aug. 29, there is a youth bowling camp for ages 8 and up. The eight-week program includes two games of bowling and instruction, pizza and soda every week and each person will receive their own custom-drilled target zone ball. The camp offers group and individual instruction and is $10.50 a day per person. Garden Palace Lanes is also a party place with packages that costs $10 per child. The price includes bowling by the hour, free shoe rental, a choice of hot dog, hamburger or a slice of pizza, soda or juice and free party invitations with mailing envelopes. The birthday child also receives a t-shirt. For more info, call 973-478-5750. The Clifton/Nutley Junior Ice Hockey Program has begun its latest session but other programs and camps are scheduled for the near future. Geared towards kids ages 8 to 14, the instructional programs are for all levels. For info, call Dennis Fitzpatrick at 973-773-0019. Hockey Camp at Floyd Hall Arena for kids aged 5-12 runs from Aug. 21-25, 8:30 am until noon and is $105. Kids can bring their own equipment or use the rental services. Call 973-470-5956.

Former CHS B-Ball Coach Pete Vasil’s MVP Basketball Camp for boys and girls ages 7 to 15 will run for two weeks, Aug. 21 to 25 and Aug. 28 through Sept. 1. Held in the air conditioned St. John Kanty Church auditorium, the camp will work the basics and run two games a day. Campers must bring their own lunch. Cost for one week is $135, two weeks is $225. Vasil is now head coach at Plainfield High. Ask for family or group packages. Call 973-569-0407.

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Optimist Club Awards 2006

Debbie Oliver, John Biegel, Keith Oakley and the CHS Jr. ROTC were honored on June 11 at the Clifton Optimist Club Awards Dinner. Above is Cadet Major Michael Pagani of the ROTC, pictured with the family members of the late Judge Joseph J Salerno, who the Respect for Law Award is named for. To the left is John Biegel and Keith Oakley, pictured with Optimist Club President Bill Bate. They were honored with the Stanley Zwier Community Service Award. Below is Debbie Oliver, recipient of the 2006 Clifton Optimist Friend of Youth Award, and her family.


July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

The Clifton Optimist Night with the Jackals is on Aug. 8 at 7 pm at Yogi Berra Stadium. Tickets are $4.50 per person and includes a free raffle ticket and Jackals souvenirs. In addition, this year there will be a baseball buddy contest. To be eligible, submit a poster collage with the theme “Baseball: the Great American Past-time.” Submit entries to Rec Dept. by Aug. 1. Nine winners will have their art displayed during the game. Call 973-470-5956 for info. Ever been to a drive-in movie? If not, now’s your chance. The Rec Dept. and CASA—Clifton Against Substance Abuse, host a drive-in movie night on July 20 at Main Memorial Park, with a rain date of July 27. The feature presentation will be Chicken Little, which will begin 30 minutes after dusk. A $1 donation is requested. Drinks and snacks will be available for purchase. For more info, call 973-470-5956. Youth Weight and Fitness Camp: Campers will learn nutrition, exercise sciences, skills and how to prepare meals and snacks to stay healthy. The instructor is a professional nutritionist and campers will receive a balanced diet and will get a minimum of 60 minutes of physical exercise. Camp runs from Aug. 14 to 18 at St. John Kanty School, 37 Speer Ave. Ages 8 to 12 will attend from 9 am to noon and ages 13 to 17 will go from 1 pm to 5 pm. Cost is $90. Call 973-470-5956. The New York Red Bulls Soccer Camp is Aug. 14-18 in Clifton at Robin Hood Park. For ages 10-14, camp is from 9 am to noon and costs $106. This age group is a competitive program, while the others are not. Ages 6 to 9 is also 9 am to noon and costs $106, while the 5 and 6 year old camp runs from 9 am to 0:30 am and costs $66. Fee includes a Red Bulls ball and t-shirt, evaluation and a ticket to a Red Bulls game. For details, call the Rec Center 973-470-5956. Day at Camelbeach Waterpark: For $22.95 per person, Cliftonites will receive admission to the park and bus transportation in the supervised trip on July 22.. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Pre-register is required by July 17. Bus leaves City Hall at 8:30 am and returns at 7:30 pm. Permission slips required. For more info, call 973-470-5956. Volunteers are always needed at the Clifton Rec Department, especially during the busy summer months. If you’re looking to get involved in your hometown, this is the way to help make a difference. To help out, call 973-470-5956.

This column was originally started by our founder, the late Murray Blumenfeld. In his spirit, we continue its publication. uly kicks off with fireworks to commemorate our Independence Day. We here at Morre Lyons are creating sparks of our own - as we commence our buying in preparation for the 2006 holiday season.


We know it can be difficult to picture Christmas with the blistering summer heat still in full force, but Swarovski’s 2006 Christmas Ornaments are already here! Make an early dent in that long holiday shopping list - they make wonderful gifts and help your holiday decorations really sparkle. A round of exciting jewelry shows will preview the coming fall and holiday season merchandise. We have already begun making purchases and eagerly anticipate their arrival. We always enjoy seeing what each coming season has in store and so far we’ve seen some definite winners. Highlights include round link necklaces, pearls in every color of the rainbow and large diamond hoop earrings. Stainless steel will also make its way into the Men’s department. This is just a small preview of what’s coming soon to Morre Lyons. The New York Jewelry Show will take place at the end of July. We look forward to viewing all the new and exciting designs available this year. It will be our job to select a variety of styles sure to please every taste. These beautiful collections will be here in plenty of time for early holiday shopping. July’s birthstone is ruby. The ideal ruby’s color is a perfect red and variations may show some shades of pink or brown. It has long been believed that to own a ruby insures one a healthy, safe, peaceful and content life. Have a Joyous July and we’ll talk to you next month.

JEWELERS RICHFIELD SHOPPING CENTER 1354 CLIFTON AVE • CLIFTON • 973.777.4329 July 2006 • Clifton Merchant



Safety Town is an annual program for children entering kindergarten which teaches little ones the basics on how to keep safe and healthy on the street, as well as at home and at school. A miniature town, complete with streets, buildings and traffic signs, is created behind School 2. The program, a Clifton institution in existence for nearly 30 years, is conducted over two weeks, from 8:45-11:30 am, Monday through Friday, and this year will be held from July 17 through July 28. Safety Town is run at School 2 at 1270 Van Houten Ave., and, thanks to community support and volunteerism, the fee for Safety Town is still only $20. To register, call 973-470-5853. Safety Town is is open to kids entering kindergarten this fall or those children going into first who have not yet gone through the program.


July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

t y e f Tow n a S

The National Night Out Against Crime, which is held by the Clifton Police Department’s Community Policing Division in Main Memorial Park, seeks sponsors to defray costs for the event, which will be held on Aug. 1. The evening will consist of an antique car show, a free 50’s concert, children’s games and prizes. For info, call 973-340-5151. The Athenia Business Association continues its advocacy for about 100 merchants on and around Van Houten Ave. The group’s next big event is the Athenia Street Fair on Sept. 17. This is the fourth year of the Street Fair and it has become a new Clifton tradition. President Matt Grabowski said vendors and sponsors are welcomed. Call him at 973-473- 0986.

The Phenomenal Grandmothers Club of Clifton held a dual celebration on June 11 for President Colleen H. Murray and National Federal Grandmothers Clubs of America President Sharon Mineo, both who will be leaving office this October. The event was held at the

Senior Center on the City Hall campus, complete with a hot buffet. The club, which has only been in existence since 2004, is one which regularly donates holiday baskets, gifts and sometimes a check to help needy children and their families. Call 973-253-9579.

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Have an old American flag? The Lakeview Civic Association has refurbished a mailbox to collect old torn or worn flags so they may be properly retired by the American Legion. The box is located at the recycling center, behind city hall. Call 973-478-1185 for info.

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Grammy Award winner Jimmy Sturr and his orchestra will perform a free concert in Third Ward Park, Passaic, on July 19 at 7:30 pm. Called America’s polka king, Sturr, at left, will perform at the band shell at the corner of Van Houten and Passaic Aves., across from the train station. It is a fun night so come out to polka. Free. Call 973-473-5111. Before motion pictures and television, America was entertained by live theater in the form of stage plays, operas, vaudeville and the circus. Costumes played a major role in creating the desired illusion or effect for these theatrical performers. The wearing of masquerade costumes allows people to step outside of themselves and become something unusual or otherworldly. That’s why Dressed in Character: Masquerade & Theatrical Costumes with Photographs is such an interesting exhibit, now on display at the Lambert Castle Museum, through Aug. 27. Costumes on display include those from stage plays, operas, vaudeville from the 1920s to more recent Easter parade-goers with their flamboyant hats. There is also Victorian-era novelty ‘artistic’ photography in which models were adorned in costume for the camera, like the one shown here. Admission to Lambert Castle, on Valley Rd. at the Clifton-Paterson border is $5 for adults; $4 for senior citizens; and $3 for kids Parking is free. Call 973-247-0085 ext. 200. 100 July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Bob Obser—Clifton’s Music Matador—and the impresario behind many of our city’s concerts—has published the 15th annual directory of free summer concerts happening in northern New Jersey. To receive a copy of the guide, send a donation of $3 or more to Bob Obser, 6 Grant Ave., Clifton, NJ 07011. Call 973-772-5291.

The Clifton Association of Artists held its 43rd annual show, Sunday in the Park with Art, on June 4 at Jubilee Park, at Allwood Rd. and Clifton Ave. There were 42 artists who came to display their work, which was then judged and top artists in each category received an award. Winners are as follows: Oil/Acrylic: First place, Josef Konopka, Airport; Second, Cathleen McBrady, Still Life-Oil; Third, Nicholas Pellicani, Still Life; Honorable Mention, Lou Pounds, Snow in the Mountains. Water Color: First place, Helen Hauser, Irises; Second, Michael Gabriele, Mix and the Men; Third, Theresa The Passaic County Cultural & Heritage Council (PCCHC) at Passaic County Community College will collaborate with the Clifton Arts Center, 900 Clifton Ave., to host an ADA Workshop on Aug. 22, from 10 am to noon entitled Providing Arts Access For All. The workshop, conducted by John McEwen, Founder and Chair of the New Jersey Arts Access Task Force, will focus on the importance of integrating persons with disabilities and older adults into all aspects of cultural organizations and programming. A panel, to include Linda Cronin, PCCHC Advisory Board member and poet, and Marilyn A. Gelman, writer, poet and advocate for persons with brain injuries, will discuss the challenges that persons with disabilities face in attending arts and cultural events and offer suggestions for making these experiences more enjoyable for all. Addtionally, participants will learn how to effectively serve persons with disabilities in the areas of communication, accessible programs and services and marketing. To register for the Aug. 22nd ADA Workshop, contact Amy Birnbaum, Local Arts Outreach Coordinator at PCCHC at 973-684-6507 or write to by Aug. 15.

Ruffo, Spring Flowers; Honorable Mention, Zigmunt Cichy, Spider. Mixed Media: First place, Eugenia Gore, Shining City (collage); Second, Villo Varga, Ghost (mixed media); Third, Charlene Cheng, Birds & Flower (colored inks on silk); Honorable Mention, James Janey-Trenton, Christmas (pen and ink). The Clifton Association of Artists is comprised of both amateur and professional artists and meets the first Monday of every month, Oct. through May in the Senior Citizens Center on the City Hall campus. For more info, call 973-472-8858.

A Nice Neighborhood Tavern & Family Restaurant

SPORTS PUB 7 Days a Week till 3 am • Entertainment Wed-Sat

Monday: Fall-Off-The-Bone BBQ Ribs $9.95 Tuesday: Succulent Prime Rib $9.95 Wednesday: Pasta Night $7.95-$8.95 Thursday: Unbelievable!!! Surf & Turf $12.95 We’ll Host Your Private Banquets & Parties Full Menu till 3 am • Steaks • Burgers • Pasta Wings • Ribs • Seafood • Salads & More! Ask About Our Unbelievable Specials! 1103


973.523.4613 July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


The Clifton Arts Center is located behind City Hall, at the corner of Clifton and Van Houten Aves. (Photo by Suzanne Duke Bujara.) When at the Clifton Arts Center, take the time to tour the Sculpture Park and see works such as ‘Resettlement’ by Judith Peck, shown below, which depicts the terror of a family on its way to the gas chamber of a Nazi concentration camp.

The Clifton Arts Center, located on the City Hall grounds, presents Paper & Ink, an exhibit and sale of artwork relating to the use of paper and different mediums in ink. The exhibit will run until July 22. Gallery hours are 1 to 4 pm., Wednesday through Saturday. The July 21 Healthy Art Series at the CAC focuses on aging gracefully. Upcoming dates include a headache workshop on Sept. 29 and on Oct. 20, the focus will be keeping your spine fit in the workplace. Lecture presentations begin at noon and include a catered reception. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors or students. Sun & fun summer crafts workshop is on July 17 from 1 to 3 pm at the Clifton Arts Center. Those enrolled will create summer-themed projects, including sun visors, beach bags, fans, sunglasses and more. The $15 fee includes craft supplies, snacks and a craft goody bag. Call 973-472-5499 for info on any of these events. 102 July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

The Clifton Community Band, an all volunteer group under the baton of Bob Morgan, will perform on July 15 at 6 pm the third annual free outdoor concert on the sloping hills near the Clifton Arts Center. Bring your lawn chair or blanket.

In case of rain, the concert will be held in the CHS Auditorium. To support the Clifton Community Band, or for more info on membership, call Alan Paris at 973-7771781 or write to him at

The Hawthorne Caballeros return to Clifton Schools Stadium on Piaget Ave. for the 42nd annual Drum Corps Grand Prix on July 15 at 7 pm. A total of eight drum and bugle corps will perform. Reserved seats are $18. Call 973-423-9702 for group discounts or go to The 3rd Annual Passaic County Fair is July 19-23 at Garret Mountain Reservation. The goal is to showcase the cultural diversity of the county’s 16 municipalities. In addition to amusements and rides, there will also be musical entertainment, multi-cultural performances and a 4-H exhibit. Artists and performers interested in participating may call 973-225-5382 or go to The event is presented by the Passaic County Freeholders and Passaic County Vision 2020. The 15th Annual Labor Day Parade, co-sponsored by the American Labor Museum/Botto House National Landmark, Borough of Haledon and City of Paterson, will celebrate the labor movement and organized workers. The parade, on Sept. 3, will step-off at the American Labor Museum/Botto House National Landmark in Haledon at 1:30 pm and finish at the Great Falls in Paterson, where a festival with food, fun and entertainment will be taking place. Grand Marshal Lois A. Cuccinello, Assistant Commissioner for Disability Services in New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development, will lead this year’s salute to working people. Community organizations, unions, businesses, cultural groups, and individuals interested in joining this historic march can contact the museum at 973-595-7953 or by e-mail at Parade sponsors who donate $100 can have their names recorded on a Commemorative Mug. Contributions of $200 will enable a donor to have a listing on the parade T-shirt. The deadline to register to participate in the parade and/or to become a sponsor is Aug. 11th. Applications for the 2007 PCCHC arts grants program are due Aug. 3 New applicants and regrantees for Local Arts Program Grants must be Passaic County based, tax-exempt, non-profit organizations or educational, social service or municipal organizations that have an arts project (dance, music, theatre, media arts, visual arts, etc.) planned to take place in 2007. Applicants must match every dollar of the grant with one dollar of their own. For info, call 973-684-6507.

Introducing our New State of the Art

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Clifton Chiropractic now uses advanced digital technology to evaluate patient’s postural health. The AssociateTM is an electronic scanner developed by the nation’s leading orthotics producer, Foot Levelers, Inc., which helps locate foot imbalances that effect overall body function. With this new technology, Dr. Suzi and Dr. Jeff now have the ability to view weight bearing images to detect abnormalities that may lead to gait dysfunction, which can lead to distortion of the spine. Common noticeable postural faults is an unlevel pelvis or shoulder and height discrepancies. However, if detected early, it is easily treatable with chiropractic adjustment and rehabilitation.

Complimentary 1st Day Services


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10% Off of Orthotics during July* for all current patients!

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Clifton Chiropractic & Physical Therapy 248 Edison St., corner of Valley Rd., Bobbink Center

973-742-3400 We care for your health,


Siblings Dr. Suzi Schulman & Dr. Jeffrey Schulman July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


The James L. Dean Big Band opens the 10th year of Sunday night concerts in Main Memorial Park on July 9 at 7:30 pm.

The Clifton Summer Concert Series now enters its 10th year, during which they will celebrate their 100th concert. The free concerts are presented on eight consecutive Sundays, starting on July 9 and ending on Aug. 27 at Main Memorial Park at 7:30 pm. The series kicks off with the James L. Dean Big Band with ‘singing angel’ Keaton Douglas. On July 16, Nick James and the Amarillo Country Band perform and on July 23, there’s

a tribute to Frankie Valli/Four Seasons. On July 30 the Blue Smoke Band and Tony Liguori host an Elvis night. It’s polka time with The Ablemen on Aug. 6. On Aug. 13, The Andy Ray Party Band liven things up while on Aug. 20, it’s Total Soul, R&B and Motown. The season concludes with the Boisterous Banjos on Aug. 27. Parking is available at CCMS or school one. No rain dates. For more info, call Bob Obser at 973-772-5291.


Have Clifton Merchant Magazine mailed to your home. $15/YEAR WITHIN CLIFTON • $25 FOR 2 YEARS $25/YEAR OUT OF TOWN • $40 FOR 2 YEARS

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The Downtown Clifton Salsa Night is on July 14, from 7 to 11 pm in the Municipal Parking Lot 8, off Main Avenue on the corner of Clifton Ave. and First St. It’s free and the rain date for the event is July 15. The headliner will be the seven-piece Larry Umana Band. The female salsa-singing trio Fatima will also perform and Jersey City disc jockey Ray Colon will get the party

started. Early in the evening, free salsa dance lessons will be offered by Continental Dance Studio, which will also run a dance contest starting at 9:45 pm. While some Downtown Clifton shops and services will be open, there will be vendors around the main stage selling food and other goods. For more on the Salsa Night and other events, call Angela Montague at 973-253-1455.




The Famous Midtown Grill in Downtown Clifton hosts a weekly outdoor summer dj and barbeque event every Wednesday in July and August, from 4 to 8 pm. Proceeds from beverage sales and all additional sponsorship funds will be donated to the Rec Dept to support their summer youth programs.

973-787-3081 July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


t, and ianco, righ b o p a C n e B of an, below, ri je a T n h Jo s stom Cycle Xcalibur Cu rylko by Joe Haw

ost people in Clifton, bikers and non-riders alike, have seen in person or on tv the eyecatching, large customized bikes made by famous builders such as Jesse James and West Coast Choppers, Orange County Choppers, Exile Choppers and Indian Larry. However, did you know that here in Clifton, we have two of our own notorious bike customizers? For the past two years, Ben Capobianco and John Tajerian have been producing what they call rolling art at Xcalibur Customs, on Piaget Ave. Dealing only with Harley Davidsons, their shop is the place to check out


106 July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

some of the hottest custom-made bikes in New Jersey. “We don’t have metric tools, so we can’t do imports,” said Tajerian, a Hog enthusiast who previously worked at a Harley dealership, where he met Capobianco. “We don’t want to learn either.” Their love for the American-made bikes is what brought together their business. A welder by trade, Capobianco got into repairing motorcycles when his friends that rode needed stuff welded onto their bikes. “I played with motorcycles my whole life,” he said of how he got involved in Harley repairs and customization. “One thing just led to another.” With Capobianco’s expertise in welding, plus his years of riding, and Tajerian’s street and textbook knowledge of Harley’s, the two found that their skills

overlapped and learned from each other to the point that now either one can handle any job in the shop. Xcalibur Customs can fix just about anything related to Harley’s, including both mechanical and body repairs, maintenance and performance. However, their reputation is built on the incredible custom bikes that they roll out. “We take your ideas from mind to metal,” said Capobianco. Basically, if you can dream it, they can build it. Xcalibur can modify an existing bike—adding chrome, giving it more horsepower and pushing the limits of street legal. They’ll also custom build a bike from the ground up, which can take up two four months. At Xcalibur Customs, Capobianco said the only limitation is your mind (and maybe your budget).

We design & print school yearbooks, ad journals and publications...

Call Tom at 973-253-4400 for samples & info... July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Running on Empty E by Joe Hawrylko ric Krofchak is a sorta-kinda scientist. “I just design stuff,” said the 1988 CHS grad, who now resides in Cedar Grove but has worked at the Clifton Post Office as an electronic technician for years. “I like to make things more efficient.” Krofchak has been fascinated with electronics from a young age. “I was playing with wires when I was about 7 years old and got a shock,” he laughed. “That’s when it probably started.” Since then, much of his spare time would be taken up by his new hobby. Krofchak would spend hours taking apart appliances, machines, toys and anything else he could get his hands on. “My parents hated it at first because I would rip apart everything,” said Krofchak. “But slowly they didn’t mind once I actually learned how to fix things.” Krofchak credits the ‘old school vo-tech’ electronics program at CHS for ‘sparking’ his interest. A stint in the US Navy’s nuclear power technician’s school followed and that gave him much more knowledge. Since becoming a civilian, Krofchak’s interest in electronics flourished which led to experiments with many new ideas. His home uses the sun as a source of

No tailpipe, no gas nozzle, no emissions. The only noise you’ll hear from Eric Krofchak and his electric powered 1987 Chevy S-10 pick (facing page) is the whine of his transmission—and perhaps a chuckle as he never visits a gas station

817 Clifton Ave • 973-773-8061

Since 1957, we’ve serviced all your automotive needs. Our complete auto care includes: • • • • • • •

NJ State Emissions Repair Facility NJ State Inspection 4 Wheel Alignment Brakes Shocks Exhaust Computerized Diagnostics

Jim & Andy 1728

108 July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

energy. He also has a water wheel that is waiting to be set up to bolster the power supply to his house. Krofchak has also devised a way to cut down his heating expenses by diverting waste energy from the top of the water heater and using it so it preheats the water entering the unit. He calls this a basic regenerative heat exchange unit. “It’s actually more of a recapturing system then a regenerative system,” he said. However, there has always been one thing that Krofchak wanted but was not able to create. “As long as I could remember, I always wanted to own an electric car,” said Krofchak. The day finally came a while back when he had the funds and Krofchak hopped on the opportunity to buy one, purchasing a 1987 Chevy S-10 pickup truck with an electric motor conversion. His pet, as Krofchak and his friends refer to it, is much different then a normal pickup truck. Most noticeably, the flatbed is covered with solar panels, which give the truck much of the energy it needs to function. No gas is needed at all to propel this vehicle and maintenance is usually minimal, due to the limited moving parts in the engine. Last year, Krofchak upgraded the batteries to highvoltage types and reduced the weight of his car by 500 pounds. The upgrade added efficiency and the vehicle now has better acceleration.

“It weighed in well over 4,000 pounds before,” noted Krofchak, who said that the extra weight took its toll on performance. “My wife didn’t mind the truck except how slow it accelerated. It’ll go as fast as a normal car it just takes longer to get there.” Krofchak was quick to stress that while some may see him as crazy for wanting such a car, he believes he is a step ahead of the crowd. “Oil energy has just about peaked,” he predicted. “We have taken most of the fields and we have maybe 10 or 20 years until the supply is low. Electric motors will be the future, no way around it.”

A Properly Running Transmission Can Improve Gas Mileage • Add Life to Your Vehicle • Save Your Hard Earned Bucks FREE External Diagnostics includes state-of-the-art computer scanning & road test. World Automotive Transmission II 810 Clifton Avenue • Clifton Automatic • Standard • 4x4’s Clutches • Differentials Foreign • Domestic





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July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Visit us in Downtown Clifton: 1103 Main Ave • 973-473-4999

We Don’t Sell Parts… …We Sell Service David Patrick Doremus will celebrate his 1st birthday on July 22 with parents Lee and Patrick and his big brother Patrick Michael.

Machine Shop On Location No Order Too Large Or Small FREE DELIVERY

Amanda Di Angelo. . . . 7/3 Jackie Alectoridis. . . . . .7/3 Chris Torrao. . . . . . . . . . .7/4 Alex Alectoridis. . . . . . . .7/5 Kayla Ann Ferro. . . . . . . 7/5 Frank Rando. . . . . . . . . .7/5 Kayla Ann Snell. . . . . . . .7/5 Lori Lill. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7/6 Ron Curtiss. . . . . . . . . . . .7/7 Angelo Grippo. . . . . . . . .7/7

Two Stores In Clifton 973-473-1997


802 Van Houten Ave • Clifton Mon-Fri 8-6pm • Sat 8-5pm • Sun 9-1pm

1103 Main Ave • Downtown Clifton Mon-Fri 8-6pm • Sat 8-5pm • Sun Closed

Our Other Locations: 201.843.8040


136 Essex St • Rochelle Park Open Sundays

101 Route 46 West • Saddle Brook Open Sundays



5 Hawthorne Ave • Park Ridge New Location

614 Pompton Ave • Cedar Grove New Location

201. 261.0411 59A E. Ridgewood Ave • Paramus New Location

973.338.9292 1278 Broad St • Bloomfield New Location

973-694-2228 1168 Hamburg Turnpike • Wayne New Location

973-423-1700 93 Goffle Rd • Hawthorne New Location 1036

Visit us in Athenia: 802 Van Houten Ave • 973-473-1997 110 July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

Marie Angello’s red, white & blue birthday is on July 3!

Birthdays & Celebrations! send us your upcoming family birthdays &

Jenna DeLiberto turns 12 on July 8.

Natalie Pych wishes happiness and health to her grandma Stella, who celebrates a birthday in July.

FREE SUNDAE Buy One Ice Cream or Yogurt Sundae, Get Another

FREE With This Coupon Coupons May Not Be Combined.

Sal Latteri turns 83 on July 22.

Edward Sepulveda. . . . .7/7 Carine Ohannessian. . . .7/8 Kristi Schopfer. . . . . . . . 7/10 Anthony Zaccone. . . . 7/13 Alyssa Marie Misyak. . . 7/14 Ann Schamble. . . . . . . 7/15 Michelle Ann Snell. . . . 7/15 Derek Dobol. . . . . . . . . 7/16 Jessica Dobol. . . . . . . .7/16 Joanne Gursky. . . . . . . 7/17 Carrie Szluka. . . . . . . . .7/18 Alexander Razvmov. . .7/19 Ryan Saccoman. . . . . .7/19 Cocoa Saccoman. . . .7/19 Ashley Jacobus. . . . . . 7/19 Megan Suaifan. . . . . . .7/20 Kaitlin Vinciguerra. . . . .7/22 Harry Quagliana. . . . . .7/23 George Shamar. . . . . . 7/23 Eva Gasporowska. . . . .7/25

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Olivia Grace Moore was born to Rob and Pam Moore on June 20! Grandparents are Rob and Sandy Moore and Burt Gomery.

Joseph Lopez. . . . . . . . 7/27 Ornella Ganoza. . . . . . 7/27 Gina Oliva. . . . . . . . . . .7/28 Amanda Fabiano. . . . .7/29 Steven Camp, Sr.. . . . . 7/30 Mary T. Mancin. . . . . . . 7/30 Happy Belated Anniversary! Margaret and Albin Zwiazek celebrated 64 years of marriage on June 21.




Joyce Sunshine turns 67 on July 8.

194 Bloomfield Ave., Caldwell • 973-403-9968 –– 2 Union Ave., Paterson • 973-595-1647

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Cliftonite Christopher Perro was the Paramus Catholic High School Salutatorian. His 9.69 GPA and SAT scores of 1900 earned him $48,000 in scholarships and grants which he will use to attend Manhattan College.

Elizabeth Drozdowski and Christopher Perro, two of the 19 Paramus Catholic HS graduates from Clifton, were among those honored at the school’s recent Senior Awards brunch. Drozdowski received the Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar Award, as did Perro, who was also honored with the National Merit for his SAT scores, in addition to being named Salutatorian. For more info about PC, call 201-445-4466.

The 2006 recipient of the Joseph Grecco Scholarship is CHS senior Marco Cvetic. Joe Grecco was the legendary Fighting Mustang football coach, who stressed athletics and scholarship. The $2,000 scholarship was awarded to Cvetic, one of this year’s Mustang captains. The Dutch Hill Association, a group of 60 families from one of Clifton’s oldest neighborhoods, presented CHS seniors and Dutch Hill residents Kathryn Suffern, Elizabeth Sinski and Roxanne Jensen with scholarships. The Association meets from September to June, the third Thursday of the month. For info on the Dutch Hill Association, call President Joan Sanford: 973-778-8337.

St. Peter’s Haven, 380 Clifton Ave., seeks community support for its annual backpack collection for families who cannot afford to give their children the necessary supplies for school. Backpacks for grammar school students may be filled with new school supplies, such as pens, pencils, crayons, markers and notebooks. For middle and high school students, items should include pens, pencils, loose-leaf binders, calculator, three-subject notebook, a dictionary and a thesaurus. Backpacks should be dropped off in the St. Peter’s Haven office on July 24. If you cannot get out to shop and wish to donate, a $15 or $30 donation is requested. For more info, call The Haven at 973-546-3406.

Scholarship recipients Kathryn Suffern, Elizabeth Sinski, Roxanne Jensen, Dutch Hill Association Scholarship Chair Elaine Hayes and President Joan Sanford.

S ACRED H EART S CHOOL 43 Clifton Ave. Clifton • 973-546-4695 Continuing a Half Century of Quality Catholic Education Pre-School to 8th Grade • Middle States Accredited • Hot Lunch Program • Modern Air Conditioned Facilities • State of the Art Computer Labs

Still Taking Registration for our Summer Camp 112 July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


• State Certified Child Care (all year round, 6:30 am- 6 pm) • Full Day Kindergarten • Full Day Pre Kindergarten – Pre-School

Registration for new students entering Clifton Public Schools this fall is at the Administration building, 745 Clifton Ave. on July 10-13, 17-20, 24-27 and Aug. 14-17 from 9 am to 1 pm, except on July 19 and 26, when it is 1-5 pm. Registration is also at CHS on Aug. 22-24, from 1-7 pm. The following documents are needed to register: • An original birth certificate, passport or other legal document showing the child’s date of birth. A 73-year old family bassinet is still rocking babies in Clifton. It made by Virginia La Corte for her daughters Dorothy La Corte Schotz and Madge La Corte Zellmann, who provided this info. It was used by Zellmann and Schotz to care for their kids, Richard Zellmann and Robert and Debbie Schotz. They in turn used it for their kids, including Denise Zellmann Briguglio who just had Alexis on May 7. In total, 15 decedents of Virginia La Corte have rocked in the family heirloom.

• Immunization records along with proof of a physical examination by a doctor within the past 365 days. • School transfer records, if applicable, transcript or report card, or a state or district transfer card. • Three original proofs of Clifton residency, such as DMV documents, utility bills, proof of home ownership or rental (mortgage statement, tax bill, title, formal lease) or employer’s letter or pay stub). • Questions? Call 973-458-6709.

Troop 3 Scout Kurtis Wiersma is hosting a blood drive and organ donation awareness conference on Aug. 5 at the Clifton Elks Lodge, 775 Clifton Ave., 9 am to 4 pm, as his project to become an Eagle Scout. Wiersma chose this as his project in memory of his friend, George Contreras, at right, who passed away due to kidney failure. Appointments are necessary to give blood. To donate, or to help out, email

Give your child or grandchild the priceless gift of a Catholic School education.

St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic School 223 President St., Passaic, NJ 07055 • 973-779-0249 • email:


See what a difference we can make in your child’s life. We offer a progressive educational experience: • • • • • •

Pre-Kindergarten – 8th Grade Small Class Sizes Dedicated Teachers Religion Classes Science Lab Computer Classes

• High-Speed Internet, Cable TV’s & VCR’s in Every Classroom • Library Program • Music Program & School Choir • Physical Education • After School Program for Working Parents 1625

July 2006 • Clifton Merchant


Twenty-eight CCMS students and faculty members from across the district donated 481 inches of hair to Locks of Love, a notfor-profit organization that provides children that have lost their hair through illness or injury with a hairpiece. The group, organized by sixth grade math teacher Kim Dreher, at left, announced last month that they would hold the drive on June 19. Having set the donation goal at 100 inches of hair—or 10 individuals at the minimum of 10 inches each—Dreher was more than happy to collect about 40 feet of hair for the charity. The staff at Salon Ilona, on Clifton Ave., voluntarily came to CCMS to cut and package the hair and a local Subway franchise donated sandwiches. For more info, visit

Visit Dr. David Moore’s new location... 850 Clifton Ave. • Clifton • 973-253-7005 Let Us Help You Get Back On Track!


Pictured from right to left, Jenan Aburomi, Alison Jonkman, Dr. Moore, Natalie Kasak and Rania Abughanieh

Some of the services we offer at

On Track Rehabilitation • • • • • • •

chiropractic services all new state of the art equipment on-site x-ray facility licensed physical therapist personal training state of the art rehabilitation gym ample parking

114 July 2006 • Clifton Merchant

July 2006_COVER


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East Ridgelawn Cemetery... ...invites you to visit our Mausoleum on Main Avenue to see the inspirational art adorning our new building. Within the Mausoleum, our artist has painted a serene and peaceful view, entitled ‘Eden’, where visitors can pause to celebrate the lives of those who have passed.

At the Mausoleum... Visits are unlimited and unaffected by the weather. Crypts are located in the building and convenient for elderly and handicapped. Mausoleum entombment provides greater Peace of Mind & Security. • non-sectarian • niches

• mausoleum • garden graves

monumental graves • no obligation pre-need counseling financing available one-year at no interest on easy monthly plans

East Ridgelawn Cemetery 255 Main Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07014 for more information with no obligation call:


years of to Our Community vice Ser

Est. 1905

July 2006_COVER


4:25 PM

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