The following article was previously published in "Historic Happenings", the newsletter of the Pascack Valley History Project. Titled "Fond Memories Of Hillsdale - Get them Before They Fade!, the article is self-explanatory.
GuestWritten by Lisa Hammerstein as told by Bob Hammerstein.
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Ned Barber, the founder of The Pascack Valley History Project, and he asked me if I had any Pascack Valley memories or old photos that I would be willing to share. Here is just one of the many fond memories I have.
Born and raised in Hillsdale, I had the opportunity to attend all three of the Hillsdale Grammar Schools. Growing up on the East side of town on David Place, near Beechwood Park in the early 60's while the Meadowbrook School was being built, I attended Ann Blanche Smith School for the first part of my 3rd Grade (1963-1964). At that time, the town shuttled children by bus from Beechwood Park to Ann Blanche Smith School. The photo above, showing the old borough hall and firehouse, is the view I saw out the window of my school bus each day on the way to school. It was given to me many years later by my father, the late Hillsdale Councilman John S. Hammerstein.
After the completion of Meadowbrook School, I remember that the children were given the opportunity to cast their vote for the school's new name. Our choices included Kennedy, in memory of the former president, and Stephen Foster, the1800's composer who wrote Camptown Races, Oh! Susanna and Swanee River. The winner, however, was Meadowbrook. The name Meadowbrook stems from the fact that the School was built on a "meadow" with a "brook" that ran behind it! My brother, John, remembers that the town had an outside consulting firm determine that the new school would meet the needs for the Hillsdale town children for another 20 years. Today 40 years later the school is, of course, much larger than originally built.
During the construction of Meadowbrook School, the town provided the children with a gravel-covered footpath that ran from Liberty Avenue to Piermont Avenue between the homes on Everdell Avenue and Stonybrook Country Club. The land is now the home to the Stonybrook Townhome Complex and part of the Stonybrook Swim Club. Back in those days, however, the land was partially owned by the town and partially owned by the Country Club, as my mother recalls. I believe that the Country Club Club House was once used as a training facility for a professional boxer. Perhaps a reader will remember the name and more details.
Walking down the footpath on route to and from school at lunch break, while listening to "WABC" on my A.M. Transistor Radio as the Beatles arrived at Idlewild Airport (now known as JFK Airport), is my all-time favorite memory. Sadly, I can also remember being released from school early on the day that John. F. Kennedy was assassinated. It was a simpler time in Hillsdale but one filled with many memories that this former resident will always treasure!
Note: Bob and Lisa Hammerstein are Realtors who grew up in Hillsdale and River Vale .
Visit Bob's & Lisa's Website - www.hammersteam.com