The following abbreviated Church history has been taken from our 75th anniversary booklet published in 1968 written by the late John C. Macy.
Our original church building at 165 Burton Avenue was used by the congregation for worship prior to 1923. It was then renamed The Young Peoples Hall building (YPH) , it is now used by the Montessori school.
On January 17, 1893 Twenty-four people, nine men and fifteen women gathered at the Chapel of the First Congregational Society of Hasbrouck Heights. These twenty four Christians rose in unison to start a new church on a life of service to its members, to the community and to “all the world.”
When the church was founded in 1893, Hasbrouck Heights (known as Corona until 1889) was a small town of about 500 persons. Farming was the principal occupations and the first commuters were just beginning to make the long trip to and from New York City each day. There were no paved roads and travel about town was on foot or by horse and carriage; trolley service did not begin until 1895. Actually our church is about a year and a half older than the borough, which was incorporated on August 2, 1894.
Before the Church was formally organized the religious education of the children was provided by the establishment of the First Reformed Sunday School. For a number of years this Sunday School met in the one-room frame structure on Washington Place near Burton Avenue which had been built in 1882 or 1883 as the town’s first public school. (This building was later moved to Jefferson Avenue as a sanctuary for the Episcopal Church and still stands today as a private home.) After it was well established the Sunday School moved to its own building, the small chapel on the southwest corner of Washington Place and Burton Avenue. The cornerstone for this Chapel was laid by the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Corona on June 20,1878 and the Chapel was dedicated on July 28th. However, the Chapel was closed and the title passed though foreclosure to Mr. Marcel Halstead. The First Reformed Sunday School purchased the property from Mr. Halstead shortly thereafter.
This postcard was printed inFrance, mailed from Hasbrouck Heights to a person in Ulster County, NY. It was postmarked July 27, 1932. Note: the basement windows have not been blocked in, the woodwork is exposed and a lack of curb along the street. The tower window not yet grated to keep out the pigeons and a whole set of different plantings along the street. Ice guards still on the original slate roof.
The original intent had been to form a Congregational Church and on February 27,1892 a meeting was held by the “Officers and teachers of the First reformed Church Sunday School of Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. Members of the Ladies Aid Society and regular contributors to the maintenance of church service and worship.” At that meeting the organization of the First Congregational Society of Hasbrouck Heights was authorized. It subsequently developed that there was no larger Congregational church in the immediate neighborhood to which the fledging church could look for guidance and help, so the decision was taken to organize a Reformed Church. The Rev Herman Vanderwart of the Church on the Green in Hackensack served as a sponsor for the church during this formation period in late 1892 and early 1893. As soon as the new church was established , title to the Chapel was transferred to it. The church still own this building presently used by the New World Montessori School. For many years it had been called YPH (Young Peoples Hall) as it was used as an auxiliary Sunday school building and by the Youth Group and the apartment at its rear used to house our intern ministers on weekends.
As early as 1909 there had been discussions about a new church building since it was obvious that the congregation was outgrowing the Chapel. In 1919 twelve builders were invited to submit bids. Many situations kept that building from starting. In 1920 a new minister was called to serve this congregation and under the leadership of this James E. Hoffman who had just graduated from Seminary plans moved forward towards that goal. On May 5,1922 A contract was initiated between Dansen Construction Company of Lodi, N.J. and the consistory. On October 15th 1922 a ceremony took place at the laying of the cornerstone. The new building was dedicated on Sunday June 10, 1923. In the morning the Sunday School marched from the Chapel across the street to the new building, two by two, singing the martial hymn- Onward Christian Soldiers.
Now that the Chapel was no longer needed, steps were taken to sell it to the American Legion. This was done on February 1, 1924. The Legion used the building until October 1, 1929 when the church repurchased it at the request of the Sunday School and renovated it for the use of the Young People’s department.
In 1987 the decision was made by the consistory to lease this building to the New World Montessori School and the building was upgraded to satisfy state laws. The building is generally referred to as the Montessori school now. In 2004 the area of the building that had been used by the Bergen County Council of Churches as an office since about 1960 was modified for use by the Montessori School for a teachers lounge and office. A member of our church, Neila Vandervliet ,had been the secretary for the Bergen County Council of Churches (BCCC) from 1964 till 1994. The entire building is now used by the Montessori school program.