The borough of Dumont was
founded on July 20, 1894. Present-day Dumont was originally part
of larger Shraalenburgh, a Dutch province that included the present-day
boroughs of Bergenfield, Dumont, Haworth, and parts of Closter.
The original Dutch settlers had traveled into present-day
Bergen County from Fort Amsterdam, which was located in lower Manhattan
Island. The Dutch parent colony of New Netherland lasted from
the early 17th century to 1664, with the surrender of the colony
to Britain. With Governor Pieter Stuyvesant's surrender of New Netherland
in 1664, Britain gained control of the Dutch claims in New York
and New Jersey. The colony was briefly recaptured by the Netherlands
in 1673 in one of the Anglo-Dutch wars, but was restored to British
control soon after in 1674. When Dumont became a separate borough
in 1894, it initially kept the name of Schraalenburgh (the other
towns changed their names). The borough originally contained 3 square
miles; however, strips of land were ceded to the neighboring townships
of Palisades Twp. (Pd New Milford) and Harrington Twp. (Pd Haworth).
In 1898, Schraalenburgh changed
its name to Dumont, named after Dumont
Clarke, the first mayor of the borough. Dumont's main historical
landmarks include Camp
Merritt and The Old North Reformed Church (see below) at the
intersection of Washington and Madison Avenues. Celebrating over
one hundred years as a borough, Dumont has grown and developed into
a thriving community, currently home to 17,500 residents* and approximately
Old North Church
Old North Church, located on the southwest corner of Washington
and Madison Avenues, is perhaps Dumont's finest link to its past.
Founded in 1724 as a result of a schism from the "too liberal"
South Church of Bergenfield, the church actually owned and governed
most of Schraalenburgh, an area of nearly three square miles, from
Cresskill to Palisade Twp (New Milford) and from Harrington Twp
(Haworth) to Bergenfield. The word Schraalenburgh actually means
"ridges" in Dutch. The Old North Church and surrounding
area was governed by the Consistory, a board made up of the eldest
deacons, elected by the congregation. Hundreds of years later, the
Consistory still functions in making decisions for the congregation.
The Old North Church remains
the second oldest church in the area (second only to the Church
on the Green), with its first bricks laid in 1723 on land donated
by Colonel Isaac Kipp. Later, after fruitlessly attempting to reunite
with the South Church, Rev. Solomon Froeligh's congregation decided
a new church must be built. This church's architecture was to be
similar to the South Church's, except Froeligh deliberately ordered
that the steeple be made twenty feet taller. The construction of
the present church at Washington and Madison Ave's was begun in
1801 by Peter J. Durie, a reputable builder from New York City.
The structure remains one of the finest examples of early American
Old North Church Cemetery first began burying parishioners
over two centuries ago. This cemetery remains the resting place
for dozens of Revolutionary War and Civil War veterans. Well-known
parishioners buried at this cemetery include members of the Blauvelt,
Demarest, and Quakenbush families.
When the church's sanctuary
expanded in the 19th century, it was necessary to push the west
wall of the church 18 feet out into the cemetery, requiring the
movement of remains and headstones. This expansion explains the
10-12 headstones currently resting against the west wall of the
church. The first burial is approximated to have occurred in the
1730s, shortly after the North Church broke away from the South
Church. The last known burial occurred in 1925. Despite the ages
of the headstones, most have astonishingly remained intact and readable.
Today, the Old North Reformed
Church remains Dumont's best source of history, retaining not only
detailed written documents dating back to the eighteenth century,
but also a wealth of physical artifacts displayed prominently throughout
the church. The church also has an historical committee dedicated
to preserving these records and artifacts. Artifacts include Dumont
Clarke's mantelpiece, which he donated to the church over a hundred
years ago, an old Bible written in Dutch dating back to 1738, and
a pew warming box also from that time period.