19th Century Linden

pastby Diane Norek Harrison

LINDEN-This comes from my own research dated 1923: In 1865 Ferdinand Blancke, a prosperous restaurant proprietor in New York, purchased a large tract in and around what is now the borough of Linden and began to build a village. There was a station on Pennsylvania railroad at this place at the time called “Wheat Sheaf,” from the famous Wheat Sheaf Inn, in Revolutionary days among the famous stopping places in the borough of Elizabethtown, built about 1745, and at the time of the battle of Connecticut Farms kept by Ephraim Clark. He was preceded by one Wilkinson, who conducted it for many years. John Halsey was the landlord after Mr. Clark’s death, and in 1815 a grand celebration was held there to commemorate the treaty with Great Britain. After the death of Mr. Halsey, John Yates became the husband of Mrs. Halsey, and conducted the hotel until his death in 1843. It was then successively owned by Oliver Halsey, John Truax and John B. Day, who became the proprietor in 1857 and conducted the hostelry for over thirty years.

The borough was incorporated in 1893, and by the census of 1920 had a population of 1756. It enjoys exceptional advantages in the matter of location and railroad facilities. The borough extends eastward to Staten Island Sound and the Kill Von Kull, the waters of which are navigable over their entire length and breadth by ocean-going vessels. Stations of the Baltimore & Ohio and the Central Railroad of New Jersey are also within the borough limits. A large area of the borough is along the line of railroad, thus affording for manufacturing purposes connecting spurs to any point. Linden has a sewer system and a water supply drawn from the Elizabethtown Water Company. For fire protection there are two volunteer companies with the necessary apparatus, including street hydrants. The three public schools cover all grades from kindergarten to high school; four churches-Reformed, Roman Catholics, Methodist Episcopal and Protestant Episcopal; a fine borough hall, stores of various kinds; a satisfactory inn, the Linden Hotel, conducted for many years by Cornelius O’Donnell, and not least of all, an industrious population.

I am hoping to hear from new contributors from all four towns to be able to continue this column throughout the summer. Send your school, summer, sports past information or add more to what my contributors already send me. If you have any Memorial Day past information or memories from parades, services, etc. please send by April 20 to include in a May column. If I do not have a holiday column, it means I have not heard from readers. All sorts of memories, past material, past holiday information can be submitted. Hoping to continue this column, but need help from the readers to do so.

If you have your own memories or past material for Clark, Elizabeth, Linden or Rahway you can email me c/o dianenorekharrison@juno.com or send copies of your material to me c/o CMD Media, 1139 East Jersey St., Suite 503, Elizabeth NJ, 07201.

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