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Mrs. Clarence Lofberg & Mrs. Ralph Olsen
(Interview taped 10/20/1976)
Mrs. Olsen: I have lived in Teaneck since 1905. We lived on Center Place where I live now. Our family included my mother, father, two brothers and myself. We had no school in our neighborhood then. I went to school in Bogota. The school was where the Borough Hall is now. There was no police force, just Mr. Winter who came from Hackensack. The nearest school in Teaneck was Longfellow then. I walked to school--it was just six blocks. Emerson school was built about 1913. I finished school in Bogota at the Main Street School--now the Lillian Steen School. She was one of my teachers. I went to Leonia High School. We had our choice between Leonia and Hackensack. Leonia High opened in 1913.
Mrs. Lofberg: I came to Teaneck as a bride June 27, 1927. We lived on Griggs Avenue, then known as Phelps Manor, a new development. Inez (Mrs. Olsen's) husband and brother Frank built most of the houses in that area. The firm was Olsen and Lofberg. Griggs Avenue was not cut through. I was a teacher in Bogota High--Spanish and English. I was there three years and then my Richard came along. Our mail came through Bogota. There was no post office in Teaneck.
Mrs.Olsen: Terhune Park was a big buckwheat field. The old frame house that stood there so many years was torn down when they made the park. When I was a girl the house was rented in three sections. Various people lived there. My aunt lived in one section of the Terhune house. Cedar Lane was a wagon road. There were farms all around. I remember the Garrison farm and Fiss, Doerr and Carroll riding stables. They gradually developed the area. There was a big red barn on the Terhune place and a little cabin in the back. Bill Easterbrook lived down there.
I went to Bogart Church until the Community Church started. We were founders of the Smith Community Church as it was called then. Mr. Shields had been at Bogart Church. He took. Mr. Lane's place when he was in the service. We met in the Kenwood Firehouse until we got our church.
There were farms around Linden Avenue where the apartments are now. The Garrison farm was north of Cedar Lane. All west of there was farms.
Mrs. Lofberg: After Richard arrived I went back as a substitute teacher. I had a precious mother-in-law who lived next door to Inez. She took care of the baby while I taught school. Clarence would take him to Grandma's. I might as well of had a full time job. I taught six weeks in Teaneck, then in Ridgefield Park through the winter and in Leonia till the end of school. I met my husband at a Halloween party--a dress up party at the Community Church. The Blue Bird Inn was a big deal then. we went with Ferde Grofe. Clarence sold him his house in Leonia, then his house in Teaneck. He lived on Norma Road. I saw him in California three or four years ago. Stayed with him and his third wife in Santa Monica. He was terribly ill and is gone now. He and his wife were transcribing all his big records made with Paul Whiteman's orchestra. He orchestrated mostly. I think he played the piano and another instrument, probably the violin, but his orchestrations were the big thing. The big deal, of course, was Rhapsody in Blue by Gerschwin. When he married the second time a gal named Ruth Maglane of Jersey City, Clarence was an usher. They had two children--one 6 months older then Richard. His name was Ferdinand. He went to Longfellow School. Then they had Anne, a little girl. They went to California. He used to have many parties. We met a lot of musicians. We met Paul Whiteman at a concert. I have pictures of their wedding.
Mrs. Olson: My children went to Emerson School. I have three girls. The property belonged to my father. He was a portrait painter. There was no market for that here. He traveled to Englewood and Tenafly on the Hudson River trolley, changed at Leonia junction. He was with a contracting firm--Holmgren in Englewood. Both of my parents came from Sweden--Skane province. My mother lived near Copenhagen. My daughter has resurrected pictures from the attic. One is a water color of the Hackensack River. They are not in frames.
Mrs. Lofberg: I grew up in Hackensack. The river then was lovely--fish and clams. On Sunday afternoons people used to go crabbing on the bridge. There was a place called Eden Beach in River Edge where you could swim. People canoed up there. The Wheelman's Sports Club was in the Oritani Field Club area.
Mrs. Olsen: we used to go around the Ruins where the Teaneck Municipal Building is now.
Mrs. Lofberg: Holy Name Hospital was new when I came here. Not all the streets were cut through. Albin Street was a dead end. Pat Cornell lived near us, then there was Ralph and Frank (Olsen) and the Barneses lived next door.
Mrs. Olsen: We had no stores near us. We shopped on Main Street, Bogota. There was a general store on River Road and the car tracks. They took orders and delivered. There were no phones. There were no lights before my father and some others formed a Civic Association. The streets were all gulleys. There was Kates grocery store, a small A & P at Larch and Main, Butler and Reeves -- that was our shopping Center. We used to go to Hackensack on Saturday--on the trolley--it cost a nickel. If we didn't have the nickel we walked. Clarence had a little red wagon. We didn't need many vegetables because we had a garden. My family had a cow, sometimes a pig. Oh yes, we had chickens and we had some geese. There was plenty of room. A car? Oh no! Dr. Edwards got a little Saxon. He drove me home from school one day. I sat on the floor. Dr. Edwards was at 100 Larch Ave, half a block from Main street. My parents didn't know anyone out here when they came from Brooklyn. I don't know how they happened to settle here. Max Hasse and my brother were in school together. The Hasses lived not too far away.
Mrs. Lofberg: My husband used to work near the Bronx--a tool and dye place. Then he got into real estate and later moved in to insurance. Then he had the Motor Vehicle Agency for over 20 years. Every one in Teaneck came to see him once a year. I worked with him. We knew a lot of people. Our two boys went to Teaneck schools. Dick had scholarships to spare. He got the Bosch and Lomb award and went to Cornell to become a chemical engineer.
Mrs. Olsen: Recreation? We went sleigh riding. We skated on the cow pond in the buckwheat field at Terhune's when it froze hard. My mother wouldn't let us go until it was hard because the pond was deep. Mr. Knopping made a pond on his place. He'd let water in from the river. They had a hut there. It was nice.
Mrs. Lofberg: Places to go? There was Sigrid's Restaurant at Cedar Lane and River Road. The Rotary met there. I heard they had gambling in the red barn, but I never saw it. We used to go on picnics to The Pines in the Suffern Road area. We went there from Lincoln Place. Churches from Hackensack used to have their picnics in those pine woods. The needles were so thick on the ground you could dance on them. I know there was a lot of activity when they changed to the Council-Manager plan. They said that was when Hudson County came over. My husband started in political activity but said it took too much time.
Mrs. Olson: Do I remember the Depression! Homes were mortgaged in this whole area. People lost their homes right and left. Now look what the taxes are. Teaneck was on television two weeks ago showing how the town picks up leaves.
Mrs. Lofberg: I have had happy memories of Teaneck. You pay high taxes, but they're high everywhere.
Talking about where we used to go. There was a place on the Cliffs. That was where Frank Sinatra came into the Limelight. The Rustic Cabin. But most of the doings were in homes, churches, schools. The PTA put on plays and fund raisers. I joined the woman's Club when Alice Lober was president. I was on the board of A.A.U.W. with her and was up to my neck, but she wanted me to come in while she was president. I had been active in P.T.A., as a classmother and teaching. I remember when the junior high was added to the high school, teaching with a 11 that clatter.
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