Source: Teaneck Public Library Oral History file, taped March 1, 1976.
Interview With Lacey Walker, Age 84
I came to Teaneck in July of 1923 or 24, I lived here until 1960 when I moved to Englewood, then to Cape Cod and to Essex., Conn. After my second wife died I returned and now live in Ridgefield Park.
I lived first at 274 DeGraw Avenue. then 315 Crestview Place and at 205 Vandelinda Ave. from 1937 to 1960. 1 remember the trolley from Edgewater that came through Leonia, up DeGraw Avenue and on to Paterson. There was a ferry at 125th Street.
I was elected to the Township Committee and served on the Council in 1928 and 29 as fire commissioner. I was mayor or chairman of the Township Committee in 1930 until the Taxpayers' League took over in November,1930. I was on the other side, They elected five, I was a Republican candidate and was sixth after the Taxpayers League elected five. I'd have been elected if we hadn't had so many Republicans on the Council.
I was active in the Masons and in the Teaneck Building and Loan Association from 1929 to 42. Through mergers this became Central Bergen Savings and Loan Association. I was a director for 49 years and am now a director emeritus. I can attend all the meetings but I can't vote.
The Masonic Lodge got its charter in 1929. I've been a member 58 years. We bought property and built a temple at the end of Minell Place--bought it from Mrs. Lippman. We lost it in the depression. After that we met in Bogota and then at the Kenwood Fire house,
Among those I remember were John Kelly, Christ Gloeckler, James Reilly, Bob Lewis and Augie Hanniball.
The Building and loan business was good in 1928 and 29. One of the things we did was to have a master plan of Teaneck made by a professional. Nelson Ayers had a plan to develop State Street. It is unusually wide. He built one apartment building and planned others. He had a lot of ideas. He was away ahead of his time.
When I moved to Teaneck, Queen Anne Road ended about where Copley Avenue is. My wife, two children and I used to walk up and sit on the culvert. Everything north of there was Phelps Woods. There was a building on the hill on Palisade Avenue south of Cedar Lane where they purchased horses for the cavalry in World War I.
We had three volunteer fire departments--Glenwood Park, Morningside Terrace and Kenwood as well as the main fire house on Teaneck Road. I was a member of Morningside Terrace. All the land south of there was vacant. We used to have carnivals there. The Volunteer Fire department owned the land. We sold it to the township about 10 years ago and they have the fire house there now. When the Kenwood people sold the Masons bought it. I was active on the Council as fire commissioner and was a volunteer fireman. I'm an exempt Fireman now. They tell me that will help out with my burial.
Ken Ridley was fire chief. The Longfellow School fire was in 1922, My children went to Longfellow the next year.
Hillcrest Terrace ended at Morningside Terrace. There was a big house there with a fire ring and hammer out front.
I remember the Board of Education fought Route 4 because they thought it would interfere with the high school. The Phelps Golf Course was north of Cedar Lane, east of Teaneck Road. South of Route 4 they had a beautiful clubhouse. We used to have lots of Republican meetings there.
I was with the American Petroleum Institute from Jan.15,1921 to Dec.31, 1959--39 years. I was secretary, assistant treasurer, convention manager. We had conventions all over the United States. Big ones at the Stevens Hotel in Chicago--now the Hilton. We had 6500 members, We'd have as many as 150 committee meetings A week.
I was born in Osealoosa, Iowa, Feb.16. 1892. When I was 11 we moved to Des Moines. I worked a few years for the Rock Island railroad. Then I went to the Railroad Commission in the state of Iowa. When the commissioner moved to Chicago for rate cases he took me with him. I was there two years and was then offered a job with the American Petroleum Institute as a statistician. I went nights to the Walton School of Commerce and got a diploma.
The Blue Bird Inn was an active place in the old days. Benny Rossi ran it. It was popular during prohibition. Lots of political meetings were held there. After Benny sold he opened a place in Park Ridge. His wife was a good cook.
The West Shore Railroad was important. There were lots of commuters. I used to get on at Bogota and ride to Weehawken and go either to 42nd Street or Wall Street. There used to be a group on the 8:05 -- Republicans and democrats.
I had a responsible position in the town. I seldom sat down to the evening meal that some one didn't call wanting a job, a favor or something.
I remember once there was quite a fire on DeGraw Avenue and Queen Anne Road. An invalid grandmother died in the place. It was where there is a gas station now.
As for the excitement when the Taxpayers League took over, I remember one fellow brought a duck or something to the Council room. As for naming Votee Park, I think it's wrong. It should have remained Central Park.
There was a man from Glenwood Park on the school board--named Schulenberger. They generally called on him to vote first and he'd pass--then come back and vote afterwards.
The high school site was all woods. A lot of citizens went there and cut down trees before the building was built. When I was mayor they laid the cornerstone of the High School--1928 or 29. My daughter Mary was in the first graduating class. She did it in 3 1/2 years. My son John was 2 years later.
When I first came here there were about 4,000 people. Now there are about 44,000.
Floyd B. Farrant had an office where the Gulf State gas station is. Later he moved to where James Sweeney's office is. Floyd B. died and his son Floyd H. and daughter Louie Farrant Barnes took over. Farrant developed that area around DeGraw Avenue. The boys used to play baseball where the old A & P was.
When the Town Hall was built they made Jake Brinkerhoff custodian emeritus. He came over from the old town hall where School is now.
My first wife used to go to and give a lot of luncheons. Sometimes she'd take four or five women out for lunch. While I was on the Council, we used to go out with Augie Hanniball and his wife. They lived near the Armory. I remember Joe Kinsley--the former sheriff. He used to live in that Dutch colonial house on River Road. They had an enormous fire place. We used to have meetings there in front of that fireplace. Judge Ferry lives near there.
Where Fairleigh Dickinson is was all a park. Archie Hart had a big house there. Glenwood Park was called Frog Hollow. Bill Lindsay, the chief came from there. His son is now in the fire Department.
Murray was the Chief when I was on the council. He came with the Taxpayers' league. There were three Democrats and two Republicans on the Council. John Kelly was loud spoker I used to say You can't scare me. If you're reasonable, I'm with you. He built all those concrete roads. It turned out to be a good thing, It was Garrison that put in granite curbs.