Hillsdale New Jersey | A History of The Iconic Traffic Booth

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Valley Realty

Hello everybody Bob say Hi,

Continuing with my series on Hillsdale New Jersey, my hometown, I submit this bit of history about our famous iconic traffic booth which still stands in the center of town. It has been moved since my days of growing up but it's still there. Standing proudly to a bygone era of our towns history.

greetings from Hillsdale

Hillsdale Traffic Booth and Clock

The Police Booth was donated by the then existing Hillsdale Board of Trade. The Traffic Booth in Hillsdale NJ was first used in December of 1925 on Christmas Day. It was the home base of the the Hillsdale Police Dept. until 1931 when the town finally built a Borough Hall on Hillsdale Ave. which also housed the Fire Dept.

Here's a picture from my families collection , before it also changed and the town built a new Borough Hall.

Hillsdale Borough Hall

The New Hillsdale Borough Hall was constructed in 1973.

Below is a picture of our present day Borough Hall.

Hillsdale Borough Hall

Now onto the Police Booth.

Traffic Booth

The Police Booth sits on the corner of Hillsdale Ave and Broadway.

Originally the booth sat in the middle of the road on Hillsdale Ave. as you can see in the picture below.

Police Booth 1987

The first traffic lights were installed at the corner of Hillsdale Avenue and Broadway in July 1927.
In those early days it was operated manually by an officeer sitting inside the booth. If the officer was needed for an emergency, he could switch it to automatic and then hop in his car and go.

One amenity that was offered by the booth was a telephone located inside the booth. Before 1924, a telephone indented solely for police use was placed on a pole at Park Ave. and Broadway. A thoughtful citizen by the name of Mr. Beck, donated a beach umbrella and placed it next ot the pole so police officers could avoid being exposed to rough weather when placing calls. Once the booth was constructed it was quickly moved inside the booth.

In 1926 Hillsdale also bought it's first patrol car, a Chevrolet Roadster. Then in 1928 a borough ordinance established the police department as an official municipality entity and named it's first chief of police.

Heres's an interesting tidbit. On June 4 1900 Hillsdale enacted it's first traffic ordinance. It "prohibited bicycle riding on the paths beside the roadside". A law followed in May of 1902 that set a town speed limit of 8 MPH for all motorcycles automobiles and bicycles. Wow! Times sure have changed.

So many changes took place in such a short period of time as the result of the changing demographics.

Between 1920 and 1930 Hillsdale's population grew from 1,720 to 2,959 creating a greater need for maintaining law and order. Between 1950 and 1970 the population nearly tripled as over 7500 new people moved to Hillsdale. The population as of the 2000 census now stands at approximately 10,087 and I am sure it has grown since then.

I hope you have enjoyed my historical posts.

If you or anyone you know is looking to buy or sell a home in the Pascack Valley Hillsdale NJ areas, please contact me and my wife Lisa. We have lived here all our lives and we have deep roots here. We love our my hometowns and continue to watch them grow and get better everyday.

Have a great Day!

Look for my next installment coming soon.

Have a great day

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Robert & Lisa Hammerstein • Sales Associates • Coldwell Banker • (201)315-8618

Address • 50 Broadway • Hillsdale, NJ 07642 •

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Sheldon Neal
Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited - Maywood, NJ
That British Agent Bergen County NJ

What a fascinating local post Bob !

Who knew a lowly li'l 'traffic booth' could have had such a journey through life :o)

Nicely done, and yes, nice to join you giys on top of Bergen County featured agents !!

Cheers !


Jul 26, 2009 10:47 AM #1
Robert Hammerstein
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate

Sheldon - thanks and I almost forgot. My grandfather was supposedly an architect on the booth as well. Rumor has it in my fam..... Good to see you up here with us.


Jul 27, 2009 01:26 AM #2
Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate

Hey I remember when the traffic booth used to be in the middle of the road.  That was really sort of neat.  Hillsdale is a really special town.



Jul 29, 2009 08:48 AM #3

I think that the history of Hillsdale is very interesting. As a resident for 13 years, a student in the Hillsdale Public School System and as a current Senior at Pascack Valley High School, I'd like to learn more about the history of our town. If you have any other sites, links, historical facts, and/or statistics I would appriciate if you could contact me at Strynkau@pascack.k12.nj.us


Austin S.

Aug 06, 2009 04:55 PM #4
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