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Hackensack City

Hackensack City Hall is located at 65 Central Avenue, Hackensack NJ 07601; phone: 201-646-3980. Hackensack is the seat of government for Bergen County.

Beginnings [1]

Hackensack dates back to 1647 when the Dutch from Manhattan established a trading post on the lands of Chief Oratam. Governed by the Council of New Netherland, the region was later known as New Barbadoes after the island whence came the original grantees. By 1700 the village was stamped with a Dutch imprint despite the English conquest. Until 1921 when the town received a city charter, its official name was still New Barbadoes.

The Revolutionary period was a turbulent one in Hackensack, with Tory and patriot intrigue. Foraging parties of Continentals and Redcoats skirmished over the entire country. In 1780 Hessians and British plundered the village and set fire to the old courthouse on the Green.

After the war Hackensack continued to develop as a commercial and political center. In the early 1800's the Hackensack Turnpike was built, connecting the town with Hoboken, and making Hackensack the freight depot for northern New Jersey. The so-called "Windjammers of the Hackensack" plied the river and bay to New York City, further enhancing the community's shipping importance.

The conservatism of Hackensack's population was demonstrated when the Civil War broke out, popular sentiment favoring slavery to such an extent that an Abolitionist editor had his print shop raided, and the Union flag was publicly burned on the Green.

Construction of the New Jersey and New York Railroad station in 1869 accelerated Hackensack's growth as a residential community, the succeeding years being marked by large-scale real estate operations.

Incorporated as a separate governing unit in 1868, Hackensack, or New Barbadoes, had its affairs administered until 1933 by a group known as the Hackensack Improvement Commission, formed under an act of the State legislature in 1856. This body obtained mail delivery in 1858; introduced the gas street light in 1868; and the telephone exchange in 1882. The 20th century brought an influx of a large commuting population. With the abandonment of the Improvement Commission, Hackensack's experiments with municipal government turned to the city manager form.

  1. Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of New Jersey, New Jersey: A Guide to Its Present and Past, American Guide Series, The Viking Press, 1939, New York
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