Community Development

The Wilson School was opened in 1875 on Lodi Street, now Main Street. Very small at first, it expanded in 1907 as the population grew. It was closed in 1981 and demolished in 1985. Memorial School opened its doors on February 3, 1969.

The first Post Office was in a country store operated by James Pickens, also the founder of our first school in 1875 and the Congregational Church. The very old houses in the town were made up of wood since bricks were mainly produced for export.

James Pickens became the first Mayor in 1894 when the Borough of Little Ferry was incorporated.

The Czechs began coming to town in the early 1890's. The first Czech Sokol, called T.J. SOKOL, was erected on the corner of Main Street and Garden Street in 1897. The present structure was built in 1911 after a fire destroyed the first one. Around the turn of the century, many Czech families opened small pearl button shops on their property. They employed many towns’ people and prospered for around fifty years.

In 1900 a new steel bridge was constructed to replace the old wooden one. A trolley ran along Bergen Pike from 42nd Street Ferry in Weehawken through Little Ferry and into Hackensack. The Bergen Pike Toll was eliminated in 1915.

Between 1890 and 1930, there was a large building boom with many buildings constructed to meet the growing population. In 1907, the Hose Company was organized: Washington School was built in 1914; Saint Margaret of Cortona R.C. Church in 1912; the Hook and Ladder Company in 1923; the Congregational Church in 1923; and the Little Ferry Free Public Library in 1929.

In 1934, Route 6 (now Route 46) and the Route 6 Bridge came through, making the borough more easily accessible to people. In 1940, the Bergen Pike Bridge was demolished. After World War II, the Route 46 strip became a thriving used car center.

As the population grew, the farms disappeared and garden apartments sprang up. Industries began coming in, particularly along Bergen Pike and Industrial Avenue. Valley Fair and the Outdoor Drive-In at that site were built in the 1960's.

In 1986, some of the older homes and empty tracts of land became condominium sites. The drive-in became Waterside Village. The D.O. SOKOL HALL on Washington Avenue, site of numerous semi-pro basketball games, was sold to a sportswear firm.

As we move forward, we look back when we became a Borough in 1894 and James Pickens became our first Mayor, from the small population of mostly Germans and Czechs, to our current Mayor, Mauro D. Raguseo, and to our larger population of many different ethnic backgrounds. We remember the many people who made our Borough what it is today, as we continue to grow and prosper and strive for a better community for many generations.