History of Oakland Boro

Bergen County, New Jersey

pre-Colonial the earliest inhabitants were the Minsi Indians of the Lenni Lenape tribe.

1695 a group of Dutch settlers purchased 5,500 acres of land in the area. Arent Schuyler, representing a group of Dutch associates, paid for the land.

The Minsi named the river "Ramapaugh" or "river of many round ponds". The Dutch called their settlement "De Panne" or the "The Ponds".

1682 Bergen County set up a road commission to convert the Indian paths into usable roads.

By 1710 there were at least ten families in the Ponds.

1740 the log Ponds Church had been replaced by a hexagonal structure.

The stagecoach ran along the Paterson-Hamburg Turnpike and to Ramapo Valley Road through Oakland.

1777 (July 14) muddy roads forced Washington to halt his march and stay overnight at Oakland's Van Allen house.

1780 (March 22) the courthouse in Hackensack burned by the British. For about three years Oakland (then known as Youpough or Ponds) was the county seat. Records were stored in the original Ponds church. ( located at Long Hill Road and Ramapo Valley Road. )

Soldiers, cannons, ammunition, provisions and troops moved along the secreted Cannon Ball Road between Pompton Lakes and Suffern. It is now a popular hiking trail known as Cannonball Trail and includes a footbridge over Route 287.

1829 the Ponds Church was replaced by a stone structure after which our present library was modeled. During this period the church, situated at the southwest corner of the present day Ramapo Valley Road and Long Hill Road, was the center of the town's activity.

1835 the first bridge built across the Ramapo River.

1869 arrival of the New Jersey Midland Railroad.

1870 the town's name was changed from "The Ponds" to Oakland.

By the late 1800's arrival of tourists, vacationers, hunters, fishermen and hikers to the area.

1902 Oakland incorporated.

1902 the Ramapo River flooded and swept away all bridges between Pompton Lakes and Suffern except for the Pleasureland bridge located near the old Ponds Church.

1909 the Volunteer Fire Department founded.

1916 electricity came to town.

By 1927 only three roads had been paved - Franklin Avenue, Ramapo Valley Road (Route 202), and Long Hill Road.

Before World War II population of Oakland was 932.

After World War II -- Oakland began its rapid development.

1950's Oakland became known as "The Valley of Homes".

1961 the first scheduled bus to New York City.

1962 Route 208 completed.

Route 287 made Oakland even more accessible.