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Made with ❤ by Ryan Gibbons
You’ve probably passed New Bridge Landing countless times, but do you know its rich history? It’s not just a bridge; it’s the heartbeat of River Edge’s past.
From its revolutionary roots to becoming a vibrant cultural hub, you’ll find it’s more than meets the eye. Dive into an exploration that’ll make you appreciate this iconic landmark like never before.
Ready to uncover its fascinating story? Let’s step back in time together.
Embark on a historical journey through time at New Bridge Landing, a significant site nestled in the heart of River Edge, New Jersey. This borough, covering a total area of 1.88 square miles, is named for its scenic location along the Hackensack River, a silent witness to countless events that shaped not just River Edge, but the nation. The borough’s proximity to New York City, approximately 8 miles west of Upper Manhattan, adds to its unique cultural and historical landscape.
River Edge was originally incorporated as the borough of Riverside on June 30, 1894. The transformation from Riverside to River Edge on December 1, 1930, marked a new chapter in the borough’s history. The Hackensack River has played a crucial role in shaping the borough’s identity, providing both sustenance and a means of transportation for its residents. The earliest European settlement in the area was by Cornelius Matthew around 1683 at the narrows of the Hackensack River, known as Tantaqua’s Plain or Aschatking.
New Bridge Landing holds tales of pivotal moments and brave souls from the American Revolution. On November 20, 1776, General George Washington led his troops in retreat from the advancing British forces. The very ground of New Bridge Landing played a crucial role in the New York and New Jersey campaign of 1776, where history was written, strategies were devised, and hope was kindled. The area was a strategic point during the American Revolution, witnessing numerous events that contributed to shaping the nation’s history.
But River Edge’s history isn’t just about wars and battles. It’s about its people, its growth, and its transformation. From its early days, the community thrived, with the Hackensack River providing both sustenance and a means of transportation. The borough was named for its picturesque location along this river, which has been a lifeline for its residents for centuries. Today, River Edge is a diverse borough, contributing to the rich cultural mosaic of the area. The population has seen gradual growth over the years, with the 2020 census recording a population of 12,049.
As we delve deeper into River Edge’s past, we discover the Demarest House, a testament to the borough’s architectural and cultural heritage. Built in 1794, this two-room sandstone cottage stands as a reminder of the lives and times of its early inhabitants. Today, it’s part of the Bergen County Historical Society’s property at Historic New Bridge Landing, alongside the Campbell-Christie House and the Thomas-Westervelt Barn. These structures, preserved for future generations, offer a tangible connection to the borough’s rich history and cultural heritage.
River Edge has always been a melting pot of cultures and traditions. From the Lenape tribe, the original inhabitants, to the Dutch and Swedish colonists, and later the English settlers, each group has left an indelible mark on the borough’s fabric. Their legacy is evident in the architecture, the street names, and the stories passed down through generations. The diverse groups that have called River Edge home have contributed to the multicultural identity of River Edge today, making it a vibrant and inclusive community.
River Edge is governed under the borough form of New Jersey municipal government, with a mayor and a borough council ensuring the welfare and progress of the community. The current mayor, as of 2023, is Thomas R. Papaleo, a Democrat, whose term of office ends on December 31, 2023. The borough council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis. The political history of River Edge is rich, with a detailed list of mayors who have served the borough, starting from John G. Webb in 1894 to the current mayor, Thomas R. Papaleo.
Today, as we stand at New Bridge Landing, we’re not just at a historical site. We’re at the crossroads of the past and the present. A place where we can reflect on River Edge’s journey, celebrate its rich heritage, and look forward to a future filled with promise. The echoes of history resonate with every step taken on this hallowed ground, reminding us of the brave souls who walked here before us and the vibrant community that continues to thrive.
We encouarge you to visit New Bridge Landing to experience the rich history and cultural heritage of River Edge firsthand. We invite feedback and personal stories related to River Edge’s history to create a living tapestry of the borough’s past, present, and future. For more information about River Edge, visit www.thisisriveredge.com/river-edge-history.
As you stand at the crossroads of New Bridge Landing, you can’t help but feel the heartbeat of River Edge’s history. It’s a rich tapestry of cultures, a testament to a revolutionary past, and a testament to community growth.
Its architectural heritage offers a glimpse into the past, reminding us of the borough’s evolution from Riverside to River Edge.
So, let’s celebrate and preserve this historical gem for future generations to experience and appreciate.