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  • Sue Tryforos, Borough Historian

Happy Quasquicentennial, Glen Rock!

What's a "quasquicentennial", you might ask? It is a fancypants way to say "Happy 125th Birthday"! On September 14, 2019, Glen Rock will be celebrating its 125 years of being an independent borough. Mark your calendars now because you won't want to miss the fun, food and festivities planned throughout the day. The official logo, pictured here, was the winning design by long-time Glen Rocker Michele Keller. The logo nicely pulls together some of the things that make our borough special: the Rock, of course, plus the two train lines and the stately Municipal Building.

For 2019, my plan is to use this Blog to share a more-or-less chronological history of Glen Rock from the beginning, using an unpublished manuscript compiled by George Hubschmitt. George was the eldest child of Adolph and Fannie (Courter) Hubschmitt. He was born in his grandfather's home, which stood on the property that now houses the Glen Rock Public Library, in 1892 - two years before Glen Rock became officially Glen Rock. The Hubschmitt family - Adolph, Fannie, George, Lilly and Mabel - was extremely civic minded and today's borough owes much to their dedication and vision (check out our Hubschmitt photo gallery here).

You may have noticed George's name engraved upon the bronze plaque on the face of The Rock. He was one of Glen Rock's World War I veterans, having served in the Army in the Quartermaster Corps. At the time of his enlistment in 1917, he was working as a letter carrier for the Ridgewood Post Office. After returning home from his service, George worked as a carpenter with his father, served as the Glen Rock building inspector for a while, became the chief of the Glen Rock Volunteer Fire Department and was a founding member of the American Legion Post # 145. In 1933, at the age of 41, he received his doctor of optometry degree from the Pennsylvania State College of Optometry.

[photo: George C. Hubschmitt in his Ridgewood High School graduation photo from 1910]

Dr. George C. Hubschmitt, O. D., enlisted again - this time in the US Navy - at the outbreak of World War II, serving with the Seabees in the South Pacific.

George and his sisters, Lilly and Mabel, had a deep and abiding love for their hometown. They would all become known as Glen Rock's unofficial town historians. The three siblings collected everything they could find that told the story of Glen Rock and much of what they collected has thankfully passed down to the Glen Rock Historical & Preservation Society (GRHPS). Their collected photographs and artifacts are the backbone of today's GRHPS archives. These materials include such diverse items as a wooden wheelbarrow (on view in the garden at the GRHPS Museum at the Station), the original school bell from Ridgewood-Grove District School #44 (aka The Little Red Schoolhouse), original programs from the American Legions' Scandals annual vaudeville shows, and even an optometric device and signs from George's practice.

George also set himself the task of compiling a comprehensive Glen Rock history, culling facts from the original Borough Council Minutes and adding material written by his father, who was Glen Rock's sixth mayor. George started this endeavor in the 1950s and continued working on it off and on for the next 20 years or so. The GRHPS is fortunate to have several copies of his manuscript and notes, received as a donation from Lilly following George's death in 1984. It is these original papers that I will use to attempt to produce a chronological Glen Rock history (up to at least the1960s, I hope) in this Blog during this Quasquicentennial year.

[photo: The Hubschmitt house on Rock Road, built by Adolph Hubschmitt in 1911]

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