36 more homes to be torn down in Hoffman grove

Part of federal buyout plan

IN A MATTER of weeks, 36 homes in Wayne will no longer exist, and, uncharacteristically for New Jersey, nothing will be built in their place. These are houses whose home is a flood plain — first to fill with water from the Pompton River, last to dry. For years, residents in the Hoffman Grove neighborhood have endured the river’s swell, their homes overtaken by the flow, then left damp and moldy in the ebb.

More than inconvenient, the area is seen as dangerous to residents and first responders, and expensive to insure. And so begins part two of the biggest home buyout in the state, in which Wayne pays market rate for 105 houses located well within the Passaic River basin. “If we save one life, we are making a truly significant impact,” Sgt. 1st Class Robert Little of the state Office of Emergency Management told The Record.

And that makes it worth every penny. Wayne has spent $500,000 of its own money so far, and $10.5 million in federal and state funds. The first phase of the buyout last year resulted in 34 houses being razed. There are about 105 houses in all. Flooding is also expensive. Wayne takes second place in the state for property lost in flooding, Staff Writer Andrea Alexander wrote Friday. Atlantic City is first. In 2007, the year of the terrible April nor’easter, the National Flood Insurance Program paid $152.6 million for more than 7,000 claims made by New Jersey residents. Returning Hoffman Grove to its natural state is the only answer.

13 responses to this post.

  1. […] and the desire to stay was string. After several floods in 2008, the state took action and in 2009, 36 homes were slated to be bought out.. There were several bad floods in early 2011, but Hurricane irene in August of 2011 was the final […]


  2. Posted by Anthony on May 25, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    I drove through Hoffman Grove today, it looks like some people still live there? Does anyone know if the entire Hoffman Grove bought out or if some people are staying?


  3. Posted by Linda Collier on March 18, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    Susan Hanley and Karen –

    We used to own the house at 77 River Road in the 1960’s and 70’s. When we bought the house there was no drywall in some of the rooms. My mom and dad put up the insulation and drywall and put windows and a floor in the basement. My mom installed the tile in the bathroom – a pink color and we had fixtures that matched. After my father passed away, my mom lived there for about 10 years and sold in the late 1970’s. I too have fond memories of “high dock” and “low dock” and riding in a canoe or row boat down the river. It was a great place to go to escape a hot apartment in Queens.

    Susan, I hope you have resolved the problem with your daughter’s education and that you received a decent buyout of the property.

    Karen, it sounds like you and I were there around the same time. Any of these names sound familiar to you — Bollmann, Bartels, Dyzamba, Detko, Blauth, Quinn?

    I remember dances at the club house and the ice cream man coming through the grove in his truck. I also remember field days at the end of the summer.



    • Posted by Rosemarie Bollmann on June 2, 2012 at 4:10 PM

      Hi, Linda from Bob. There is a facebook site called Friends of Hoffman’s Grove. Sign up for comments and loads of pictures.


      • Posted by Linda Blauth Collier on June 3, 2012 at 12:02 AM

        Hi Bob and Rosemarie –

        I am a member of Facebook and Friends of Hoffman Grove — I haven’t checked the Friends site recently, so will again soon. Hope you guys are well; regards to Margaret and Gerard.



    • Posted by joan campbell on September 5, 2013 at 12:12 PM

      Hi Linda,

      Do you remember the O’Hara family? I have such fond memories of hi dock and low dock. And also “Button Road” … at least that’s what my brother and I called it when we were young. We also participated in the end of the season field days and my brother is still embarrassed when I remind him he was dressed as a chicken pulling my queen wagon 🙂 . My dad was a NYC policeman and we lived in Brooklyn. It took us 45 minutes by car to get to our summer home and we all loved it. It was right on the river and we had a “sun dock” and a “floating dock” to spend hours playing and fishing. I do remember having to leave many nights because of flooding. All the neighbors dogs would be out barking warning the families where our police dog, Sarge, was under the bed scared 🙂 . We owned the house in the ’50s and ’60s and I am so sad to read what’s happened to the community. My younger sister and I have been searching our memories to try to remember more about the house (can’t even remember our address), but I do remember only the fonest memories of summers growing up there; even with our “out house” and walking each morning to fill up water jugs. Would love to hear from you. My name is Joan “O’Hara” Campbell and this is a long memory walk for me 🙂


      • Posted by Linda Blauth Collier on September 5, 2013 at 8:45 PM

        Hi Joan –

        Nice to hear from another former resident of Hoffman Grove. We purchased our summer place around 1961 and eventually my mom converted it to a year-round home until she sold it to someone else (possibly the Sue Hanley mentioned above). I don’t remember your name but you should check out the Friends of Hoffman Grove Facebook page. Many of the residents from the 50’s and 60’s have posted pictures and you may recognize some of those names. I used to hang out with the Detkos, the Bartels, the Dazambas, the Burkes and the Bollmanns. The Bollmanns were our neighbors in Queens (where we lived the rest of the year) and they originally told my mom & dad about Hoffman Grove. Mr. Bartels was also a New York City policeman and Mr. Bollmann was a New York City fireman. Other family names I remember are Quinn, Callahan and Lott. Recently, the three Bollmann siblings visited Hoffman Grove and took some pictures which are also on the Facebook page I mentioned above. There are still some people living there and the place looks quite nice. I only remember having to evacuate because of a flood one summer, but my mom had many flood experiences while she was living there. We had indoor plumbing for bathing, etc., but I do remember going to get drinking water at the wells. We also used to walk the railroad tracks into town or go through Sleepy Hollow on our bikes. Hopefully some of the pictures on Facebook will help you remember the name of your street (River, North, West, Main and a few others). Did you ever go to any of the dances at the clubhouse. I remember doing the Hokey-Pokey and to my favorite record at the time, Wipeout. Nice to hear from you and do check out the Friends of Hoffman Grove Facebook page


    • Posted by Linda on November 17, 2013 at 1:13 AM

      Hi I am Marion Detko’s. daughter Linda. Is this sue who live next door tgey were 79 riverrd


  4. Posted by John Mokos on March 7, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    I live in Lincoln Park, NJ. My House is Flooding as I write! After 30 years I’ve had enough! How do I apply for a buy out?…John


  5. Posted by Sue on August 27, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    We have heard nothing from the town as to the recent buyout. Several weeks ago I read and saw on the news that the funding was approved for 26 homes on the list for hoffman grove flood buy out. I am in a terrible dilema, my daughter will be attending william paterson univ. which is not cheap. I cannot afford for her to live on campus, and I plan on moving out of NJ because I cannot afford a home nor the taxes here. I do not know what to tell my daughter, because she is very upset about the situation. I can not go through another flood, I had to gut my house two times in the last three years. I have be through hell in the last two floods and although I have flood insurance tne flooding was extremely stressful, and I am still not back to normal after the last flood. I have lived in hoffman grove for 24 years, and since they have been messing around wtih the water flow in has been an utter nightmare!!!! We deserve to know whats going on, for some of us this will be a life changing experience.
    Susan Hanley
    77River Road
    Wayne, NJ


    • Posted by Karen on December 18, 2010 at 3:20 PM

      Susan Hanley – Growing up in Jersey City, we had a bungalow in Hoffman Grove. WOW – we LOVED being there every summer. I think my parents bought 2 North Road from my great uncle around 1939. They sold it in 1970. We would have flooding all the time back then, too. Around 1955, my father had the house raised 8′. Right after that, there was a flood so high that it lapped the floor, which was now 8′ off the ground. Back then, there were probably only 2 or 3 families who lived there all year round. Then as housing became more expensive, the bungalows sure were cheap for year round living. However most didn’t have wells or septic systems back in the 50’s & 60’s. Can you imagine the pollution from the outhouses and bad septic tanks during the floods???? And we had 3 community wells where we got our water from. My sister and I have such great memories. We now live down south but still hate to hear that it will be torn down. Is it all gone now??? OHHH – we did have a “clubhouse” where we had square dances, etc. We swam at “High Dock” and “Low Dock” in the River and I would end up with Impetigo from the dirty water! It sure was great to leave the city in the summer and live in Hoffman Grove.


    • Posted by Linda on November 17, 2013 at 1:19 AM

      Sue i’s Linda Bills step daughter. FIND ME ON FACEBOOK. Lida Scheuering Macko


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