Borough of Woodland Park
  The Borough’s Name Change
   After four attempts in 20 years, supporters of a drive to rename the Borough of West Paterson were successful during the General Election of Nov. 4, 2008.
   A petition campaign in ’08 successfully placed a referendum on the ballot, calling for the Borough’s name to be changed to Woodland Park. Three previous referendums for Woodland Park, West Park and Garret Mountain were all defeated by the voters.
   The Nov. ’08 referendum passed by a slim margin, with 2,136 voters in favor and 2,111 opposed. As a simple majority is all
  that is required for passage, the governing body did as required by state statute and approved Resolution R08-253 on Dec. 17, 2008 making the official name the Borough of Woodland Park, effective Jan. 1, 2009.
   On the same day, after serving three terms as Mayor of West Paterson, Pat Lepore was sworn-in as the first Mayor of Woodland Park.

The Dispute That Started It All
   Taxation without representation and services, a battle cry of the American Colonists in their struggle with Great Britain, was the battle cry of the residents of the West Park section of the Township of Little Falls.   West Park residents felt they were “assessed to the limit” and were receiving “no benefits,” while their township neighbors “received all the cream” and “West Park paid for it.”Added to the fact that they felt they were not receiving the
  improvements they needed, West Park residents were concerned with the fact that practically all the township officials were elected from Little Falls and few, if any, were from West Park.
   Agitation for the creation of a borough started about 1905, with bills being unsuccessfully introduced in the legislature in 1908 and 1909.
   A small group of West Park formed an organization to fight for the creation of a borough. On Jan. 7, 1913 the “Borough of West Paterson”
  was proposed. One of the standard bearers, Anthony Ferrary, later became the first Mayor of West Paterson.
"Morris Canal," National Registered Landmark, flowed through West Paterson from 1824 to 1924  
     The name of the Borough, of course, comes from its location near the City of Paterson, which was named for William Paterson, who had an illustrious record of service for the state and nation during its early years.
   State Senator Peter J. McGinnis, a supporter of a the Borough’s formation introduced legislation, and on March 25, 1914 “An Act to incorporate the Borough of West Paterson” received final approval and was signed by Governor Fielder.
   This act provided for the boundaries of the Borough and called for an election among the voters of West Park, which was the second election district of Little Falls.

The First Elections
   The election was held on May 1, 1914. Newspaper reports of the time predicted a one-sided victory, and it was taken for granted that the Borough would be voted for. When the polls closed at 9 p.m., the voters of the district had voted 194 to 20 to approve the new borough. Fireworks, horns, torches, the Totowa Fife and Drum Corps. and a parade of Borough residents marked the victory at the polls.
   On May 25, 1914, the Borough’s first election was held for Mayor, six Councilmen, an Assessor, a Tax Collector, two Justices of the Peace and two Constables.
Office Elected Votes Rec’d Candidates
Mayor Anthony M. Ferrary 119 3
Councilman Andrew J. Donnelly 159 12
John W. Dowling 180
James J. Tierney 118
Patrick J. McMahon 105
Joseph Niblo 104
Samuel Simpson 131
Assessor David Smith 103 3
Tax Collector Edward G. Roome 129 2
Justice of the Peace William Hoyt 150 6
Frank Reinhart 3
Constable Amos I. Glass 106 4
  Samuel Whitty 87  
     The first meeting of the governing body was held on June 1, 1914 in Little Falls School No. 6 (now the former West Paterson School No. 1). The first ordinance passed was one to change the name of Little Falls Turnpike to McBride Avenue.

The Borough At the Time of Its Formation
   At the time that West Paterson became a new borough, the community was primarily agricultural, producing dairy products and various vegetables and fruit.
   The Passaic River, then a clean, pleasant waterway, served as an attraction for amusement parks, ball fields, hotels and a racetrack.
   A few wealthy silk men from Paterson saw the small suburb as an attractive place to live and located their homes throughout the area.
   Most notably, the farmers of West Paterson played important roles in the history of the Borough. And, their names are still well known throughout the community. Today, the farms are all gone.
   Listed below are some of these farms and stables and the general areas that they covered:
Family Name Location
Bartsch Bartsch Avenue
Bekes Squirrelwood Road
Berpa Browertown Road
Bower Memorial Drive and Memorial School
Brophy Highview homes and Municipal Building
Casson Casson’s Lane
Coons Rifle Camp Road opposite Great Notch Reservoir
Donnelly Missionary Sisters, now Berkeley College
Dowling part of Dowling Estates, Beatrice Gilmore and
Memorial Schools
Fritz Great Notch Gardens
Fulboam Lackawanna Avenue
Geisler Rifle Camp Road
Laufenberg Mt. Pleasant Avenue, became Bartsch farm
Mulrooney part of Dowling Estates
Neeser Neeser’s Lane
Panas Lackawanna Avenue
Perkins Westmount Country Club
Taylor Taylor Lane or Garret Estates
Vander May Lackawanna Avenue, became part of Kearfoot complex
Weimer Weaseldrift Road at Garret Drive
Whittaker Mereline Avenue and Whittaker Avenue
Zurcher Rifle Camp Road
     Idlewild Park (now the Kearfoot Co.) was one of the leading amusement parks in the area. Trolleys brought visitors up McBride Avenue to spend their time dancing, boating, riding swings or the merry-go-round, and picnicking.
   The area opposite Beatrice Gilmore Elementary School was once the home of Thomas Ryle, a Paterson silk manufacturer. Later, a harness racetrack was built, followed by a ball field. The Hudson River League brought many of baseball’s greats to play on the Ryle Park field.
   Another amusement park was situated on the mountain where Garret Mountain Reservation is today. The amusement park was part of a 450-acre purchase made by the Passaic County Park Commission in the 1920s.
   A Borough swimming pool (near the Hillery Street Bridge), a bowling alley, hotels and rest stops sprung up along the river for the public who came out to enjoy the “country.”

The Population Rose as the Borough Grew
   In 1920 the population of the Borough was 1,858. This climbed slowly, but steadily to 3,101 in 1930; 3,306 in 1940; and 3,931 in 1950.
   During the decade from 1950 to 1960, the population almost doubled, jumping from 3,931 to 7,602. The increase was due primarily to the new housing developments that sprang up on former farmlands.
   The continually increasing population necessitated increased municipal services. But, many of these services were made possible because residents volunteered to carry them out. This is particularly true with the fire department, first aid squad, civil defense and the membership of the various municipal boards.
   The 1980s and 1990s saw the construction of several townhouse and condominium complexes with luxury housing units. And, with the availability of undeveloped land rapidly disappearing, developers looked to the Borough’s two quarries for buildable space.
^^ Back To Top ^^  
Home  |   Mayor's Message  |  Borough Directory  |  Recycling  |  Contact Us  |  History  |  Facts & Stats  |  Directions
Mayor & Council  |  Boards  |  Departments  |  Public Safety  |  Court  |  Calendar  |  About W.P.  |  FAQs  |  Sports Programs