Edgewater graveyard

The area around Edgewater was among the first areas settled by the Dutch in the 1600’s. It is rumored that one of the graves here belongs to a Lenape Indian princess.

cemeterycondos

brokenwindows

The abandoned building is the Alcoa alumininum plant, where my grandfather worked when he was a young man.

//rant

You’ll notice the condos behind the cemetery. I can’t help but comment on the overdevelopment and the poorly placed development that is going on in Edgewater. My mother grew up In Edgewater, and if she saw what has happened to her sleepy little town, she be sick over it. The problem is that the town has no character now. The small houses of fisherman and chemical plant workers have given way to the traders & brokers of the city and their overpriced monstrosities. It truly is a shame.

Everything south of Route 5 where it comes down off the top of the cliffs, seem to either be developed or is about to be. River Rd is literally miles of nothing but townhouses & developments, broken up by the occasional mall or obligatory dry cleaner, Starbucks or Boston Market. It get worse & worse as you get closer to the Lincoln Tunnel & the ferries. It’s as if Edgewater doesn’t exist, merely mini-town after mini-town of townhouses. New Yorkers seeking escape from the high priced rents of the city came over here & brought their high priced (to us) rents with them. $500,000+ townhouses, $2500 rents. It’s insane.

It’s not that I’m anti-development, I just don’t want to see Sussex County developed with 500 townhouses on properties like the Horse Stables. I have nothing against the people of Edgewater or the New Yorkers who have moved here, but I feel as if the heritage of Bergen County and the things that make it great are disappearing just so we can out up giant houses and that is wrong. Paving over history is the American way I guess. The first place settled in NJ was right here along the shores of Hudson & Bergen County. Looks like this time the settlers are from Manhattan Island and not Europe.

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24 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Joe Manzo on October 23, 2017 at 2:30 PM

    1) About 35 years ago I corresponded with a Gertrude Hanusek from Edgewater who may have been the designated caretaker of the Vreeland Cemetery. She mailed me a hand crafted sketch of the grave locations of my grand-uncle and his family, but indicated there was not a marker present. However, when I presently search various sources online I do not see his name listed. Does anyone know if a complete map/listing of the cemetery exists? BTW- my grand-uncle’s name was David Clearwater Pelsang and he died in 1912.

    2) This same grand-uncle was listed in the U.S. 1900 Census as living in ‘Ridgefield Township – Undercliff Borough’. Anyone know where ‘Undercliff Borough’ was located?

    Thank you for any assistance you may provide.
    Joe Manzo

    Reply

    • Posted by lostinjersey on October 23, 2017 at 2:54 PM

      AFAIK the undercliff area is a section of edgewater marked by undercliff ave. Ive never heard that reference in Ridgefield Park. Source: my mom lived on undercliff Ave and I lived in RP.

      Reply

      • Posted by Joe Manzo on October 23, 2017 at 4:25 PM

        Thanks for making that distinction for me. It wouldn’t be the first time a census taker wrote down erroneous information.

        Reply

  2. Posted by Linda Bartch on June 25, 2017 at 3:03 PM

    I moved to Edgewater about 2 years ago and am extremely interested in knowing all of its history! I find it so fascinating to be living in such a historical place full of vivid memories and interesting facts that unfortunately nowadays no one knows anymore or don’t remember. I have been doing some research on my own and found out about the first one-room schoolhouse that was built in 1868, about the edgewater cemetery where an Indian princess died and I had no idea that were were chemical plants near where I live! So scary.

    Reply

  3. My story is quite special. I was adopted at birth back in 1952. My bio mom and dad (not married) were having an affair for several years when I came along. Needlless to say I never had the chance to meet my dad. My mom and I found each other yrs. ago but she just recently passed away. I know that my dad has too passed but would still like to meet my half brother . He will not accept this easily as that was many yrs. ago. If anyone should know the Janiszewski family from Ridgefield park NJ. I would love to get in touch with them. The sons name is John, My father was Sigmund and his wifes name is Jean. They lived on Union St. Ridgefield pk. at that time. Thank you

    Reply

  4. Posted by John Malave on December 26, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    I totally agree on how Edgewater and the entire River Road has changed in a way where it has lost it’s heritage and quaint appearance. I find myself looking at the movie Copland to see how Edgewater looked before the changes.

    Reply

  5. Posted by McDuff on January 21, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Alcoa. I’m 65. My father worked at Alcoa until they reached a point wherein they wanted us to move to Kentucky. So the last two years he worked double shifts so that he could retire (and take another job).

    I remember being very small (well, my Dad was 6’2 and back then that was very tall, so I felt like a peanut), and going to ‘family night’. It was not all that long after WWII ended, and the sheet mill that he ran was considered ‘secret’. Only two men ran it, one at a time. When we went for family night, his machine was covered over with black tarpaulins, and we weren’t allowed to see it. That is my clearest memory of Alcoa. Did live in Cliffside Park for a very long time, and drove through Edgewater to get to my job in Hoboken, every day.

    Reply

    • Posted by Joe Dembski on September 3, 2012 at 3:01 PM

      My mother would pick up my dad as I played in the school yard across the street, we had to move Lebanon, PA. I am 60

      Reply

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    Reply

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    Reply

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    Reply

  9. Posted by LG on May 3, 2011 at 8:08 AM

    I’ve been in Edgewater a relatively short time and am already seeing change to the complexion of the town which is rather disappointing. But why am I surprised?? No where is immune to this kind of change. Even our beloved New York City (where i grew up) is fast becoming antiseptic. It’s character is quickly disappearing. It’s being lost to upscaling and mass consumerism. Everywhere has fast become homogenous in appearance and what it has to offer. We seem to define “progress” by affluence and poorly planned over development — the wonderful stone dividing or retaining walls and stone structures made from local stone being toppled one-by-one to make way for yet another ugly, over-designed house or commercial building that is over-sized and shoehorned into the space of the previous home or building. With few exceptions, there seems to be very little architectural care or sensitivity. Apparently this is all “the American way”!

    Reply

  10. dry cleaners come in handy specially if you need your precious clothes to get cleaned very fast ,~’

    Reply

  11. Posted by Augustus Wright on April 3, 2009 at 10:51 PM

    The indian princess was Go Won Go, a Mohawk. The rest of your comments are spot on.

    http://www.thedailystar.com/archivesearch/local_story_251094447.html

    Reply

  12. Posted by Barry on April 3, 2009 at 7:49 AM

    Like yourself, I have far-past ties to Edgewater. I was raised there since I was a pup. I am forty-one years old now, but remember the “olden days” of Edgewater. My grandmother also worked at the ALCOA building (Aluminum Company of America) back in the 30’s. My grandfather, Alexander Hayden, is buried in the cemetary, but bears no headstone since my family was relatively poor. I know a LOT about Edgewater and the surrounding communities, including Palisades Amusement Park (I used to sneak in there all the time when I was a kid) and the famous (but hidden) Horseshoe Curve that the trolleys used to go up the cliffs.

    I would really like to take you on a tour of all the hidden relics and ruins in the area sometime. I am very interested in the history of the area and really do have a wealth of information to spread around. Your website, by the way, is a wonderful way for people to find out more about New Jersey. I love it. Great job! I am currently working on a documentary film about the ruins on the Palisades Cliffs. If you have any questions about anything in that area, I’ll be happy to shed some light on the subject if I know about it. As a side note, I have been extremely interested in finding out about a ruin that exists halfway up the River Road/Hudson Terrace lane, between the GW Bridge and the Colony in Edgewater. This ruin was once a sprawling mansion with grounds, gardens, statuary, alcoves and wonderful architecture. About 1971 or 1972, the manor was demolished and in its place rose the skeleton of steel girders for a highrise apartment building. A few months later, construction was halted and it has been that way ever since, frozen in time.

    You can still see the alcoves and the front property wall, as well as some remnants of stairs and lion’s heads carvings. The stone of the walls, like so many of the Palisades buildings, was native to the cliffs and was probably quarried from the Carpenter Brothers quarry in the early 1900’s. If you look directly across the street from the entrance to the Hudson River Drive that goes down to the Ross Landing park, you’ll see the skeleton and the chain link fence in front of the marvelous old walls.

    Reply

    • Posted by lostinjersey on April 3, 2009 at 7:51 AM

      Sounds like you have a real affinity for the town. I’d love to take you up on that offer to show me around

      Reply

      • Posted by Barry on April 3, 2009 at 7:52 AM

        Actually, I have read your entire write-up on the palisades . . . and by the way, it was awesome. The entire reason I found your website in the first place was actually searching for info on George Zabriskie’s Cliff Dale Estate and your geocaching site came up. So, yeah, I have read everything you’ve written. I have read different articles regarding the “devil worshippers” in the forests of the Palisades, but have not seen any “hard” evidence first-hand. When I was a kid, I was fishing in the Hudson River opposite the corner of Dempsey Avenue and River Road. There used to be a wide-open field of rock and earth there that was completely open to the public. A small liquor store was there on the corner and an auto junkyard, along with a transfer center for the U.S. Postal Service. All those things are gone now, plowed under for the condos and such (sigh). Anyway, when I was just a kid, there used to be the trolley tracks there, still visible, from the trolley that ran up the cliffs, directly to Palisades Amusement Park.

        While I was fishing there, a plastic bag washed up on the shore and, being a kid, I opened it up and found chicken parts and feathers in it. There were also some stones and funny looking glass beads. My uncle (who knew everything) told me that it looked like some Haitian voodoo (Santaria) sacrifice materials. So, I’m sure that there are some so-called devil worshippers in that area, but again, I haven’t seen anything concrete myself. Also, in that mansion on the hill that I mentioned, the one across from the entrance to Henry Hudson Drive, there was, I think in 1968 or ’69, an upside down crucifix on the wall and there were some hippies hanging out there. Other than that, I don’t know much about that stuff. I found a website that mentioned an altar of some sort in John Ringling’s Grey Crag Estate, but that’s one of the few ruins that I have actually not visited yet. Anyways, good stuff. I have great respect for all the digging you did to present that in-depth historical write-up of the Palisades. Great job! In fact, before we started this correspondence, I was using a lot of the information you presented as a foundation for my documentary. I will definitely have to talk with you more on these and varied other subjects.

        Reply

        • Posted by lostinjersey on April 3, 2009 at 7:53 AM

          I’m kind of a nerd and when I find something interesting, I want to know as much as I can about it. Thanks for the kind words.

          Reply

          • Posted by Barry on April 3, 2009 at 7:53 AM

            Anyway, about that old ruin I told you about . . . I did look up some further articles on your website and, lo and behold, there in front of me are the ruins I wrote you about. It’s exactly what you suggested, too . . . the remnants of that wall on River Road/Hudson Terrace across from the entrance to Henry Hudson Drive. Since I’ll be down that way within a few weeks to start siting some of the shoot for “Ruins of the Palisades”, I’ll be able to get to quite a few places to try and find out exactly what mansion used to stand back on that hill. What a shame about the construction! I mean, this manor was gorgeous. I used to love to go there when I was a kid. Anyway, thanks for all the help with this project. One of the ruins I’ll be featuring in this documentary film will be that wall and information regarding its past. Don’t worry, you’ll be getting a copy of the film once I’m finished. Perhaps we can even sit down one day and plan an excursion to find some of the other places I’ve mentioned. I’ve got so many places to explore . . . and so little time.

            Anyways, I’ll be writing soon and I’ll give you a heads-up on when I’ll be down there in that area. By the way, where are you from? Anywhere near Edgewater? My whole family lives in Ridgefield Park, Fort Lee and Edgewater. And, if you don’t mind, e-mail me your phone number just in case. I can phone you before I come down that way. If you’re interested, you can come along on the hike into the Palisades where I’m going to be working on sites for the film. Let me know. Cheers! P.P.S. You’ll be interested to know that I’ve started preliminary work on a website myself. I have sort of been inspired by your site and Weird NJ and some others. I’ve decided to begin digging into the creepiness of Connecticut. The website will tentatively be called, in fact, “Creepy Connecticut”. Anyway, if you have any computer and website tips to throw my way, feel free. I’m all ears since I’ve never done this sort of thing before. I mentioned, in passing, to a few people I know up here, and I’ve already been inundated with weird stories and local legends. Can’t wait to start. See ya!

            Reply

          • Posted by Barry on April 3, 2009 at 7:54 AM

            Anyway, about that old ruin I told you about . . . I did look up some further articles on your website and, lo and behold, there in front of me are the ruins I wrote you about. It’s exactly what you suggested, too . . . the remnants of that wall on River Road/Hudson Terrace across from the entrance to Henry Hudson Drive. Since I’ll be down that way within a few weeks to start siting some of the shoot for “Ruins of the Palisades”, I’ll be able to get to quite a few places to try and find out exactly what mansion used to stand back on that hill. What a shame about the construction! I mean, this manor was gorgeous. I used to love to go there when I was a kid. Anyway, thanks for all the help with this project. One of the ruins I’ll be featuring in this documentary film will be that wall and information regarding its past. Don’t worry, you’ll be getting a copy of the film once I’m finished. Perhaps we can even sit down one day and plan an excursion to find some of the other places I’ve mentioned. I’ve got so many places to explore . . . and so little time.

            Anyways, I’ll be writing soon and I’ll give you a heads-up on when I’ll be down there in that area. By the way, where are you from? Anywhere near Edgewater? My whole family lives in Ridgefield Park, Fort Lee and Edgewater. And, if you don’t mind, e-mail me your phone number just in case. I can phone you before I come down that way. If you’re interested, you can come along on the hike into the Palisades where I’m going to be working on sites for the film. Let me know. Cheers! P.P.S. You’ll be interested to know that I’ve started preliminary work on a website myself. I have sort of been inspired by your site and Weird NJ and some others. I’ve decided to begin digging into the creepiness of Connecticut. The website will tentatively be called, in fact, “Creepy Connecticut”. Anyway, if you have any computer and website tips to throw my way, feel free. I’m all ears since I’ve never done this sort of thing before. I mentioned, in passing, to a few people I know up here, and I’ve already been inundated with weird stories and local legends. Can’t wait to start.

            Reply

            • Posted by Rob on April 7, 2009 at 2:48 PM

              During World War II there were German spies that were captured that were living in that mansion.

              About the liquor store and Mail Bag. The liquor sore that is no longer there was in the old Ferry Plaza Building. On the corner of the building that was facing River Road, was originally a Pharmacy. During the 1st World War my grandfather who was about 15 use to be paid by returning vets (it was called the Ferry Plaza because the 125th Street Ferry left and docked there) to go into the Pharmacy and buy them morphene. The Mail Bag was where the US postal service made and mended mail bags. If you went up Dempsey Ave. behind what is now a bank, was the repair area and terminal for the trolley cars. The old trolley tracks that were still visible by the Ferry Plaza building were the only ones left. Most were taken up during World War II for scrap metal. Anything else you’d like to know just let me know.

              Reply

    • You speak of The Castle in Fort Lee on River Road opposite the entrance to the Palisade Interstate Park – I am 4th generation Fort Lee citizen and as kids we would go up to The Castle and see it as it was abandoned then burned down. Contact us at the Fort Lee Museum / Film Commission at ftleefilm.com for more info.

      Tom

      Reply

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