by Schuyler Warmflash, Chairman
Teaneck Historic Preservation Commission
(first paragraph modified for web use)
This section of the web site includes most of the historic sites and districts in the Township of Teaneck which have been identified for their architectural and historical significance. The guidebook upon which this area was modeled is a project of Teaneck's Historic Preservation Commission and has been prepared during 1995 to commemorate the Township's Centennial Celebration.
The primary informational source for the guidebook has been the authoritative and comprehensive Historic Sites Survey of Teaneck conducted by Bergen County during 1980-1981. This has been supplemented with research conducted by the Teaneck Historic Preservation Commission and Robert Griffin, the Township Historian. Mildred Taylor's The History of Teaneck (1977) has also been a serviceable resource. In addition, architectural historian Mark Alan Hewitt, in preparing the text, has contributed his special insights and understanding of Teaneck's growth and architecture within the context of American urbanism and architectural history.
A growing awareness has been developing in America communities of historic preservation as an important environmental and quality of life issue. This has created a need for the identification of historic sites and for reliable and accessible sources of information concerning them. Since such information has been unavailable to residents of Teaneck they are, for the most part, unaware of the identity and significance o the Township's historic sites. This guidebook has been prepared specifically to meet this informational need.
A limited set of criteria has been acknowledged as national standard for defining the significance of historic sites. These are used to identify potential sites and to determine those which are to be selected for preservation. These criteria are generally related to aspects of history, architectural aesthetics, and age. In addition, criteria may consider geographical scope in terms of significance at the local, state, regional and national levels.
We readily accept as "historic" 18th and 19th century residential and public buildings, transportation facilities, structures and objects of statewide or national significance. Association with an event or person of similar significance further facilitates such acceptance. However, in considering the term "historic" it is important to understand that it encompasses 20th century history as well, and that it also includes local history along with state and national history. Local history is Teaneck history and it is the history of 20th century suburban development as shaped by the many forces that influenced it and gave it expression in the forms of our sub-divisions and the architecture of our dwellings, town halls, schools and houses of worship.
A number of the buildings in the guidebook have been formally designated Teaneck Historic Sites by the Historic Preservation Commission. This has assured their preservation for future generations of Township residents. However, most of the buildings included here have not yet been formally designated by the Commission, although it is planned that this will be accomplished at a future time. Some of the buildings shown here have been altered in a manner which has reduced their architectural integrity. They have nevertheless been included since they are of historic significance and since most of the alterations are reversible.
In granting the power of historic site and district designation, the Township declared that the ongoing presence of historic landmarks was and would continue to be an essential element of municipal character and identity, an important factor in the economy of the municipality, the property values therein and the education and civic mindedness of Teaneck's young people. It also stated that the character, life-style and very quality of life in Teaneck depend in great measure on Teaneck's protection of its architectural heritage.
The Commission encourages Teaneck's residents and others to visit the historic sites and districts in this guidebook and to see them for the first time with new eyes and with a broadened understanding of the Township's history spanning a period of almost 300 years from the earliest days of European settlement to the present time.