Given that Ridgewood lies within 20 miles of Lower Manhattan, it would be easy to dismiss this little town as another New York suburb. Settled by Johannes Van Emburgh in 1700, this slice of New Jersey was a pivotal safe haven for the founding fathers, such as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Aaron Burr. In 1894, the State of New Jersey incorporated the area as a village, and what followed were 100 years of business and leisure with places like Woolworth's, the Erie Railroad Company, and First National Bank dominating the landscape. Today, Ridgewood serves as a home for those who wish to evade the city life of the boroughs. With its distinct mix of history and comfort, Ridgewood is unique in comparison to other towns in New Jersey and a fine place to call home.
M. Earl Smith is a graduate historian at the University of Pennsylvania, with a focus on history and literature, while Ridgewood historian Dacey Latham is the president of the Ridgewood Historical Society. Created in 1972, the Ridgewood Historical Society provided both images and background research for this book.