Recollections of the Past

This unattributed article was first published in the “Old Station Timetable” in February 1981.

The late Frank Scherer told Gordon Miesse during an interview in 1974 he remembered coming to Mahwah as a young man back in 1900. He referred to this area as “Vacation Country.”

Hiking seemed to be a favorite past time for the younger generation. Mr. H. O. Havemeyer, Sr., also invited the young people to his home on Route 202 three times each summer for an evening of dancing.

He recalled Franklin Turnpike was paved in 1915 -the year he moved here permanently.

Mr. Scherer reminisced about Charles Bacon and Charles Ellis who were among the first officers of the American Legion Post: Frank Rothhaupt who was the first fire chief, and Raymond Dator who served as the first police chief.
He was a senior director of the Mahwah Savings & Loan Association, and spoke about Albert J. Winter who was president and David Hopper who served for more than 50 years as Sec.

Farming in the Fardale Section of Mahwah

This article, by Charles Anderson, was first published in “The Old Station Timetable” in Fall 1987.

Originally, as in all parts of Mahwah, the Fardale area was made up of subsistence farms. Animals and crops were raised to feed and clothe families, and supplemental activities carried out to secure cash to buy the things that could not be produced at home, like coffee, utensils and dishes. This type of farming predominated well into the 1800’s. Large tracts of land were held by the Bartholf, Bogert, Winter, Van Gelder, Ackerman and Young families.

With the extension of the railroads, improvement of roads and growth of nearby markets in Paterson, Newark and New York City, the amount of land devoted to cash crops increased. By the 1900’s, a commercial pattern of farming was fully established. Strawberries’ and other fruit in season were delivered to the freight depot at Ramsey, or were delivered by the wagon load to nearby local markets.

The Bartholfs, on the south side of Fardale Avenue, cut oak trees for dock pilings on the Hudson River, as well as chestnut, hickory, ash and walnut trees for other uses. The extensive swamp lands on the north side of the road were owned by Hyland, who picked enough high bush blueberries each year to pay his annual taxes.

Three commercial poultry products operations were carried on by Myers on Campgaw Road, Van Brookhoven on Fardale Avenue and Dobrat on Bartholf Lane.

Truck farms (devoted to the production of vegetables for market) were the most common. The Bogert farm extended along both sides of Chapel Road and partway along Pulis Avenue. The old Bogert homestead was located on the eastern corner of Chapel Road and Pulis Avenue, but it has since burned. A neighborhood schoolhouse was located further west on Pulis Avenue towards Campgaw Road. When Spurglon Bogert died (1930), he divided his land among his three sons, William, Ike and Jim. They mismanaged their farms and were bailed out by an uncle, Luther Bogert during the depression (1939). Part of the Bogert land (about 40 acres) was eventually sold to Peter Bartholf, who raised pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables. The Bartholf farm continued in operation until about 1965. The house and barn were torn down and the land is now occupied by the Chapel Greens condominium project.

The Myers family farmed on Campgaw Road, the Carloughs on land purchased from Ward (who acquired it at a sale of confiscated Tory land after the Revolutionary War–now the defunct “Campgaw Farms”) and the Young family on land north of Youngs Road. The DeBauns had orchards and raised poultry on a subdivided section of the Young farm in the latter half of the 1800’s; the farm, products and stock line of which were carried on into the mid-1960’s by Morris and Helen Plevan on their “Fardale Farm”. North of the Plevan farm. The MacDonald’s’ had an extensive chicken-raising operating in the 1940s, the last coops surviving until the development of Glenmere Park in 1965.

The north end of Chapel Road was known as St. Moritz Avenue because of the San Moritz farm that extended from the Fardale Community Chapel to Youngs Road.

An example of how these formerly large farms were broken up time after time can be found in a typical deed to property on Fardale Avenue, which lists parts of land formerly held by Bartholf, Bogert, Holdrum and Hopper.

The era of agriculture in the Fardale area effectively ended in the mid-1970s with the death of George Orthman who operated his farm on Campgaw Road and rented land on Chapel Road.


Mahwah Farms – A Landmark of Yesteryear

This unattributed article was first published in “The Old Station Timetable” in December 1979.

Mahwah Farms, once the largest cattle breeding and distribution dairy farm in Bergen County from the mid-twenties to 1944, was located along the southbound lane of Route 17 (now the site of Robbie’s Music Barn).

The late Albert J. (Allie) Winter built the first barn back in 1909. He expanded the dairy farm over a span of many years and won first prizes with his registered cattle at the Trenton State Fair.

Milk was delivered from the Oakland line to Route 202 up to Hillburn, N.Y. and Sloatsburg, N.Y., (including Suffern), throughout Mahwah and Airmont, Ramsey, Allendale and Saddle River. Mahwah Dairy was known in the area for its high quality of raw and pasteurized milk.

The late Charles Suffern, who worked for “Allie”, was the father of the late William Suffern who worked for the Mahwah Road Department. Charlie and his family came off the ridge (area beyond the high school on Ridge Rd. in 1909). Others who worked on the farm included Harold Ackerson and the late Dorrie DeGroat and Ralph Osborne.

In the early days, there were two entrances to the dairy. One was over a dirt lane from Island Rd. that came directly to the northwest end of the barns, and the other was through Moffatt Rd. off Island Rd.

Mr. Winter had three teams of horses that he housed in the barns located on North Railroad Ave. (now the site of the Department of Public Works). He planted his own corn and reaped his own hay from fields located north of the barns and the east side of Island Rd.

After Mr. Winter’s death on March 26, 1944, the dairy was operated for about six months under the supervision of his wife, Annie Winter, who sold it to Mr. Fremont Lovett, president of Orange & Rockland Utilities. Mr. Lovett was killed in an airplane accident, and his sons operated the dairy for a short time.

On July 22, 1946, everything, including the purebred cattle and equipment, was sold at auction. The dairy route was sold to Rockland Milk and Cream and the property to Mr. Fred Wehran, owner of Sun Valley Farm in Mahwah.

For several years after that, the late Martin Cook rented the barns and kept his herd of milk cows in the main barn. They grazed in his fields off Island Rd., now the industrial park area. Mr. Cook and his family lived in the house (once a stage coach stop) now the site of Burger King on Route 17.