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  • Sue Tryforos


It always amazes me how clear a vision Glen Rock's early leaders had for the development and modernization of the original farming community they inhabited. Right from the start, Glen Rock was to be a residential community, with limited business and virtually no manufacturing. The healthful air ("no malaria!" screamed the promotions) and artesian well water that drew new residents to the area were to be protected. Following incorporation as an independent borough in 1894, the town leaders took the next few decades to systematically modernize the dirt roads (virtually all the local roads except for Maple Avenue - then Paterson Road - were dirt), lay sidewalks, put in street lights (which were quickly removed since they were so bright they blinded drivers and horses) and sanitary sewers. The growing popularity of bicycles and then motor cars demanded better streets.

In 1894, there were fewer than 600 residents in Glen Rock. Business included two mills, a bakery, a seed store, three blacksmith shops and three greenhouses. There were three hotels along Maple Avenue, although these establishments were more like taverns where travelers could rest and get a decent meal. There were also farms, lots of farms, some big and some small and the great majority of residents were farmers. By the end of the 1920s, Glen Rock was well on its way to becoming a modern, commuting suburb. The DeBoer Dairy farm on Harristown Road (pictured below), begun in 1899, was the last working farm in Glen Rock; the last DeBoer cows were relocated in 1980 when the remainder of the farm's original 16 acres was absorbed into the Glen Rock Industrial Park (hence the street named DeBoer Drive).

I came across an early zoning ordinance, specifically Ordinance # 284 dated 28 October 1929 (revised October 1949) in the GRHPS archives, and I found it interesting to read the regulations controlling industrial zones. The accompanying map (see below) is dated January 1950 and the only industrial zone included runs on either side of State Highway S 4-B (today's Route 208) from Robinson Avenue, west of Main Street, to Harristown Road and up to Lincoln Avenue. The 1929 Ordinance established a functioning Board of Zoning Adjustment, consisting of five (5) members appointed by the Mayor.

Here is the list of trades, industries or uses specifically prohibited for Glen Rock's Industrial Zone at that time:

1. Acetylene gas manufacture

2. Arsenal

3. Asphalt manufacture or refining

4. Blast furnace

5. Boiler Works

6. Brick, tile or terra cotta manufacture

7. Candle manufacture

8. Coke ovens

9. Crematory

10. Creosote treatment or manufacture

11. Disinfectant, insecticide or poison manufacture

12. Distillation of coal, wood or bones

13. Dyestuff manufacture

14. Emery cloth and sand paper manufacture

15. Explosives, manufacture or storage

16. Fat rendering

17. Fertilizer manufacture

18. Forge

19. Gas (illuminating or heating) private manufacture in excess of 10,000 cubic feet per day.

20. Glue, size or gelatine manufacture

21. Iron, steel, brass or copper foundry

22. Lamp black manufacture

23. Lime, cement or plaster of paris manufacture

24. Oil cloth or linoleum manufacture

25. Paint, oil, shellac, turpentine or varnish manufacture

26. Petroleum, refining or storage of, in excess of 10,000 gallons, or Fuel Oil refining or storage in excess of 90,000 gallons, 15,000 gallons in any tank, which will be buried at least three (3') feet underground if within 200 feet of any dwelling or building used as such.

27. Potash works

28. Printing ink manufacture

29. Pyroxlin plastic manufacture or the manufacture of articles therefrom

30. Raw hides or skins - storage, curing or tanning

31. Reduction of garbage, dead animals, offal or refuse

32. Rock or stone crusher

33. Rolling mill

34. Rubber or gutta percha manufacture or treatment

35. Sauerkraut manufacture

36. Sausage manufacture

37. Shoe blackening or stove polish manufacture

38. Slaughtering of animals

39. Smelters

40. Soap manufacture

41. Starch, glucose or dextrine manufacture

42. Stockyards

43. Sugar refining

44. Sulfurous, sulphuric, nitric or hydrochloric acid manufacture

45. Tallow, grease or lard manufacture or refining

46. Tar distillation or manufacture

47. Tar roofing or waterproofing manufacture

48. Tobacco (chewing) manufacture or treatment

49. Wool pulling or scouring

50. Yeast plant

51. Any other trade or use that is noxious or offensive by reason of the emission of odor, dust, smoke, gas or noise.

52. No billboard, signboard, advertising sign or wall display sign shall be permitted exceeding forty (40) square feet in superficial area. (Added by Ordinance No. 380, December 13, 1937).

No use permitted in a residence or business zone shall be excluded from an industrial zone.

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