By 1871 the Civil War was behind us, the Industrial Revolution lay ahead of us, and the era of the railroad barons was well under way. Ulysses S. Grant was President; Bell’s telephone and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union were soon to capture everyone’s attention. A new era of suburban communities was dawning.
New Barbadoes ran from Newark Bay on the south to the boundary line of Sussex County on the north. An act of the State Legislature in March 1871 established the Township of Midland bounded by Washington Township on the north, New Barbadoes (Hackensack) and Lodi on the south, the Hackensack River to the east, and Saddle River Township and Ridgewood on the west. This became effective April 3, 1871.
William A. Kipp was the first clerk of the Township. He was secretary and chief administrative officer, election official, keeper of the official seal, signer of all legal documents and legal agent for the receipt of papers served on the town. This was considered a part-time job; the clerk’s office was located in his home.
The area was divided into 24 road districts. Each had an overseer who was allotted a sum of money to maintain the roads. Rochelle Park was Road District 16.
There was little need for police in Midland Township. The county sheriff enforced the law. What led to the creation of a local law enforcement agency in 1887 was tax collection. A special constable, John Voorhis, was appointed. In John Chrystal was chosen chairman of the Township Committee. Albert J. Bogert was named collector of taxes. Taxable property in Midland Township amounted to $1,661,549. 1889 he was put in charge of all law enforcement.
Education was equally simple. Rochelle Park children attended a “schoolhouse” on Passaic Street in the Arcola section.
The earliest Board of Health Records go back to 1886. In 1887, the New Jersey State Board of Health was established; Rochelle Park organized its own board in 1889. There was little a health department could do against the scourges of diphtheria, scarlet fever, measles and whooping cough, except hang a “Quarantined” sign on the door of the unfortunate household. Nor was there a Pure Food and Drug Act. However, the collection of vital statistics was an important first step.
In 1894, River Edge, Oradell, Maywood, and the Cherry Hill (Fairmount) section of Hackensack became independent, leaving only Paramus and Rochelle Park in the Township of Midland.
To get to the Rochelle Park railroad depot, farmers across the Saddle River had to go to Market Street and then onto Rochelle Avenue. Saddle River Township resident, Samuel Vander Linden donated three days time to build a road directly from Old Dutch (Saddle River) Road to the station. Bergen County then built a bridge.
As early as 1896, a trolley line ran through Midland Township from Paterson to the 125th Street Ferry in Edgewater. The Red Rock Inn on Rochelle Avenue accommodated vacationers and provided refreshment for travelers, many bicycling from New York to Greenwood Lake.
In 1896 Grover Cleveland was President for a second time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was instituted, opening at 40.94. Brothers Frank and Charles Duryea built, not the first automobile, but the first 13 autos of the same model. The 20th Century was about to begin.