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Spotlight on: Leonia, New Jersey

Drive down Leonia's streets and you will notice that many commemorate Leonia's founding fathers. Among the early Dutch settlers were the Vreelands and the Van Ordens. Land for the first church in Leonia, the "True Dutch Reformed", was donated by Thomas Moore. The first mayor was Cornelius Christie. C.D. Schor was the first store keeper, railroad station agent and postmaster. Mr. Paulin was the real estate agent who developed the Leonia Heights part of town (the southeast hill). Reldyes Street was named after the secretary to the Leonia Heights Land Company (Seydler spelled backwards). Leonia's livery stable was owned by Mott Allaire, Leonia's first and only cowboy. His horses pulled Leonia's first Hook and Ladder and were also rented to the movie producers in Fort Lee during the filming of early westerns. One of the highest streets in Leonia, towering over the Hackensack Valley, is Oratam Terrace, named after Leonia's oldest and perhaps noblest inhabitant, Chief Oratam.

While most towns in Northeast New Jersey are being urbanized rapidly, the tiny borough of Leonia is a residential community with an emphasis on education, culture, tranquility and plenty of greenery.

For recreation, many residents go to Overpeck Park, located on Fort Lee Road. Years ago, the park was a beautiful wetlands area filled with marsh flowers, wildlife, fish, crabs and oysters. In the 1920's the Regional Planning Association of the New York Metropolitan visited the area and declared it to be "one of the finest opportunities for preserving and open space of exceptional beauty in the Metropolitan Area". Today the park has lighted courts for tennis, volleyball and basketball, as well as running tracks, bicycle paths, aerobic workout areas, picnic grounds and a private horse stable. This popular recreation area is filled with people from sunrise to sunset who can be found exercising, picnicking, bicycling, rollerblading, jogging, playing tennis and tossing frisbees. Leonia also has a recreation center on Broad Avenue which runs an aggressive program including a summer camp, nursery school, basketball courts, roller skating, and numerous enrichment programs for all ages.

An early vision of Leonia was a place with ubiquitous greenery of the country and the culture and intellectual riches of the city. This continues to exit today, and if Leonians have it their way, it will remain.

 

To contact Terri Golden:

Phone: (201) 461-5000
Fax: (201) 461-6509
Evenings: (201) 941-4702
Email: info@terrigolden.com

2151 Lemoine Avenue
Fort Lee, New Jersey 07024