All interviews were taped and documented.They are available through the Reference
Department of the Teaneck Public Library. The Library is not responsible for the accuracy
of the statements nor does it necessarily endorse the opinions expressed.

George Ahrens 

(Interview taped 9/17/1975)

My family came to Teaneck in 1905 when I was almost 5 years old. The William Beaumonts still lived in the house at 116 Robinson St. where I still live. There was Harold, Edna and Phil Beaumont. I don't think Bill was born yet. They moved over to Bogert Street, but Bogert Street wasn't opened until 1909.

There were no houses across the street from us. On our side were the Kaltenbachs--he was a plumber and in 1920 became the first paid fireman. There were the Mantins. William Beaumont lived on Stevenson Lane. Mr. Beaumont Sr. was a veteran of the Spanish American War. During World War I he used to conduct drills for those of us too young to go to war.

I went to School 2--the old one before it was moved to Teaneck Road and Church Street. I started in the old building. Teachers I remember were Miss Bessie Resue from Weehawken, Miss DeBaun who came from Essex Fells, Edith Toconsel who became Mrs. Osnato, Miss Lucy Marsh and LeRoy Jay, the principal.

There was no Forest Avenue West of Teaneck Road. There was no Selvage Avenue. We used to play in Selvage's apple orchard. Mr. Selvage made cement blocks. He built a lot of houses with them in that area. Smith & Marsh had a cement block place in Englewood.

My family came from the Bronx.  My father was an asbestos worker--he covered pipes and boilers with asbestos, felt and cork. Where Packard's store is in Hackensack there was a wallpaper factory. You took the trolley to Paterson. My father always worked away from home. In 1911 he worked on the education building in Albany after they had a fire in the capitol. He'd come home 3 or 4 times a year. I'd meet him at the train with my little express wagon. On a summer I want to Albany with him and stayed two weeks. I came home on the Albany boat all by myself.

Our house had central heating because Mr. Beaumont was a tinsmith. We had a hot air furnace, but an outdoor John. We burned coal which we bought from Mr. DiBella after he came home from World War I. He was our first barber. There were no stores in Teaneck--they were all in Englewood. You'd go there to buy postcards. My mother always wrote postcards. My father used to send souvenir cards and I have quite a collection. I had one brother and two sisters.

My mother belonged to the Woman's Club, the Willing Workers of the Presbyterian Church and the Teaneck Civic Association. The women started the library. They bought property on Teaneck Road and later turned the profit to the town to start the library. My mother was secretary of the Teaneck Schools Civic Association. They had a dental project. Kids got a ticket for 25 cents and took that to the dentist.

Teaneck had no saloons. Emile Moreau had a beer bottling plant on Congress Ave. William Brarman also had a beer bottling plant. We helped wash the bottles. They sold beer for $1 a case, delivered. Brarman's son later had the tavern on Forest Avenue. You couldn't drink beer in the bottling plants, so the men would go over to Phelps woods.

During the panic of 1907 Dad was out of work for a year.  He drove the truck for Mr. Moreau on Saturdays. Allie (Alex) Strants lived in a Phelps house at Palisade and Vandelinda (all Phelps houses were painted red.) There was nothing near but a horse pastures. Schultz living in the Richeer house at Palisade and Cedar Lane.

No one rented in those days, every one owned his home. My father paid $2500 for a 2½ story house on a 50 by 100 lot. Electricity came down Robinson Street in 1912. We had water, every other street had water. Some people had wells.

After the Armistice in 1918 Dad took me to the shipyards in Brooklyn. John Sitzman had a store on Forest Avenue. He told me to go into the ice business. Peterson was our ice man. I had to get a 1-ton truck by July.  I got ice from Englewood. It was cut on the lakes in northern Jersey. I went to Copley Avenue and the Armory east of the railroad. John Brarman went west.

Clifford G. Hank the railroad station agent delivered mail. Raymond Moore delivered mail until 1918, Hanks in 1922. I took the job in the winter and had the ice route in the summer. I delivered mail house to house, walking Ogden, Rutland, Teaneck Road and Forest Avenue--twice a day 6 days a week.

Bucky McDonald had the route for the summer when he was home from college. Bucky got married and went to Maryland where he went to school. John Sedovic then took the route in the summer. In 1924 West Englewood became a second class post office. Before that it was a village post office and only granted $1,000 a year for deliver. There were three classes--RFD, village and city. We delivered mail--not parcel post. There were mail boxes in the railroad station. The post office was there until 1928 when it moved to 182 West Englewood Ave. opposite Cutlers. Mr. Hanks was a very strict postmaster. Bucky McDonald came back to town and was a carrier for many years. He became a cameraman, did photography for Brewster, picturing the progress of his many projects.

The morning RFD route went up River Road to New Bridge, over New Bridge to Teaneck Road including Foster Village--Judge Foster lived there then. Mr. and Mrs. Hanks sorted the mail. Thomas Oliver came later. George Haroy was the first tax collector, then Jim Heroy. Haroys were active in the Presbyterian Church. George McGann lived on Forest Avenue near the Cooper Dairy. He was church treasurer. My mother's envelop was No.5. After she was gone, mine was No.52.

Capt John Phelps lived on River Road. I knew the Stevensons when they lived in Englewood--on Rosemont Place. They later lived on John Christie's farm on the west side of Teaneck Road. There were all farms there in these ordar: Richards. Herr, O'Connell, Quinn, Butterick (ha was Butterick patterns). Schumanns (she was Dorothy Hooks). The Schumanns had a windmill and there was a cistern where the high school is now. Harry Bennett lived at 928 Teaneck Road where the school is now. Then came the Phelps ruins.

Note: Redwood lived at Belle Ave and route 4. He was a construction union leader Berhnhardt's Restaurant at Rte 4 and -Teaneck Rd. (Now Carriage Club) belonged to Jacob Schillimg, a trustee of the bank. I know he built the barn. Richards lived there and then Wiesner.

There ware eight gas lights between Robinson Street and Teaneck Rd. The last was at the kitchen door of the Phelps home where Holy Name Hospital is now.  Allie (Albert) Carlson was the lamplighter. I used to walk with him in the evening when we lighted the lamps--we climbed the pole and struck a match. I don't know who put them out.

I was with the Teaneck post office 43 years -- 1922-1965.  19 years assistant postmaster in Teaneck, 5 years superintendent in West Englewood.  I was in West Englewood from 1922-4l. Everything was horses in the early days. There was a big dip at Colonial Court to Church street. All the rigs "drove around it until it was a great big circle--muddy and swampy. They had to put in fill 20 feet high along Queen Anne, then Westfield.,

Vincent Sottosanti, Lucille McBride's uncle, had a friend who was a purser on the Italian lines.  I saved stamps and he sent me stamps from the Conte de Savoie and the Rex. Lu's uncle made trips on both of those boats.

 

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