Library To Host Annual Birthday Celebration Sunday
Library trustee among those honored at event marking New Milford's 335th birthday and 90th anniversary of incorporation.
The Historic Preservation Commission is hosting New Milford's annual birthday celebration Sunday, June 10, at 2 pm at the New Milford Public Library. The event, co-sponsored by the Library's Board of Trustees and the New Milford Historic Preservation Commission, marks the 335th anniversary of the Demarest family's settlement of New Milford as well as the 90th anniversary of the borough's incorporation.
Dan Harmatz, President Emeritus of the Library's Board of Trustees, and long-time community volunteer, will be honored at the celebration. To honor Dan, the circle in front of the library will be named “Dan Harmatz Way.”
Dan has served on the Library Board since 1976. In 1990, he became the Board president and was instrumental in getting the current Library on Dahlia Avenue built. Prior to its current location, the library was located on the site of the Senior Activity Center on River Road.
The New Jersey Library Association has honored Harmatz as Trustee of the Year and created the Daniel Harmatz Trustee Advocacy Award in honor of his tireless work in improving Library funding. In addition, Dan has held numerous positions in Bergen County and Regional Library Associations, and helped represent New Jersey at the White House Conference on Libraries and Informational Service.
Dan has also spent 50 years as a member of New Milford's Board of Health, serving almost all of that time as President. He has also been a volunteer for a number of charitable organizations in New Milford.
In addition to honoring Harmatz, the birthday celebration also commemorates the 335th anniversary of the Demarest family's decision to establish a permanent settlement along the banks of the Hackensack River. On June 8, 1677, family patriarch David Demarest purchased from the Native Americans land in an area that is now part of New Milford, thus earning the borough its title as the “Birthplace of Bergen County.”
The New Milford Historic Preservation Commission will give a presentation on “Peetzburgh: The Growth of Suburbia in Bergen County.” In the 1890s, a developer from New York City, Gustav Peetz, began building one of the first suburban developments in Bergen County. The development was named after him and stretched approximately from Main Street north to the Oradell border and from Boulevard west to the Hackensack River. Peetzburgh was home to many “firsts” in the New Milford, including its first school, firehouse, and houses of worship, and is considered the birthplace of modern-day New Milford. To the south of Peetzburgh were the farms and mills of the Old Bridge and New Bridge areas.
In 1922, the Borough of New Milford was incorporated, and the names of Peetzburgh, Old Bridge and New Bridge lost their identities as separate communities. However, more than 70 homes with the distinct architectural style of Peetzburgh still exist. In recognition of their efforts to preserve their Peetzburgh-era home, the historic commission will present a certificate of commendation to Renard and Grace Ruiz.
To celebrate both milestones, the historic commission will display a “Hall of History” exhibit at the library during June and July. The exhibit includes photographs and other items from the commission's archives.
The New Milford Historic Preservation Commission is charged with preserving the borough's rich historic heritage through preservation and archiving of buildings, land, and items of historic value; through research into the people, events, and locations that have formed that history, through public education programs, and through commendations for borough residents and organizations that have aided this mission.
The event is free and open to the public. Please call the library at (201) 262-1221. Ext 207 for further information.
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