Many years before Europeans came to the Hackensack Valley, the Lenni Lenepe (part of the Delaware Nation of Native Americans), came from the west and settled here. The great peninsula of land now known as New Jersey, was then called Scheyechbi, the "Land Along the Water." In 1607, Henry Hudson sailed up the river that would later bear his name, and claimed for the Dutch both the river and the valley it drained. Early in the 17th century the Dutch West India Company established a trading post on high ground in present-day Hudson County, calling it Bergen, which meant "hill" in Dutch. In 1664, the Dutch surrendered their New World colonies to the British and the part of New Netherland on the west side of the Hudson was renamed the Province of New Jersey.
In order to encourage settlement, the English were generous in granting rights and land. Consequently, many Dutch and French settlers came along with the English. Englewood street names still attest to the diverse backgrounds of early settlers: Brinckerhoff, Van Brunt, Lydecker, Van Nostrand, and Durie (Duryea), all Dutch; Demarest (de Marais), DeMott and Lozier (LeSueur), French Huguenot; and Moore, Lawrence, Day, and Cole, English.
Englewood grew steadily and attracted an increasingly varied population as more and more goods and services were provided locally. A commercial center grew up around Palisade Avenue, and merchants, artisans and small businessmen settled in the area. Many were recent immigrants from Europe, and a few were black. Gradually local citizens established the institutions needed by the larger community.
The first 30 years of the 20th century saw the population of the city triple from the 6,253 figure recorded in 1900. During this period, more leaders of the financial community moved in, liking the easy commute to Wall Street. Among them was Dwight W. Morrow, a partner of J.P. Morgan & Co., who also served as ambassador to Mexico from 1927 to 1930. Shortly after his death in 1931, his wife helped lay the cornerstone of the new public high school dedicated in his memory.
The vibrant history of Englewood can still be viewed in surviving buildings from the early days, including five stone Dutch Colonial farmhouses on Grand Avenue, all of which are listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. The city abounds in Victorian and early 20th century houses in all sizes, shapes and styles, and has several notable churches from the Victorian period. Dwight Morrow High School, completed in 1933, is a splendid example of Tudor-Revival style and is one of the finest educational buildings in the state.
In modern day Englewood, the population is far more diverse than that of most suburbs, including many of its Bergen County neighbors. Occupations range from highly paid professionals to unskilled trades. One of many distinguished residents was Dizzy Gillespie, after whom a downtown area is named.
The schools here are top-notch as part of the Englewood Public School District. The District places an emphasis on a parentís involvement with their childrenís education and produces a monthly online newsletter Parent to Parent Connection, that include such topics as fitness tips and information to foster family discussions and learning about topics like Black History Month.
Flat Rock Brook Nature Center is a 150-acre preserve and environmental education center situated on the western slope of the Palisades in Englewood. Citizens who were deeply committed to land conservation and environmental education established the Center in 1974. A network of self-guiding trails leads to a cascading stream, wetlands, ponds, wildflower meadows, quarry cliffs and woodland. MacKay Park on Englewood Avenue near the center of town has softball, baseball, soccer, picnic areas, playground, basketball, ice skating, swimming and tennis.
Englewood Hospital and Medical Center is a full-service health facility serving Englewood and the surrounding communities. The hospital has a well-deserved reputation as a leader in providing high quality healthcare, using state-of-the-art technology and providing innovative programs and services.
With over 300 ground floor retail and restaurant operators, the Englewood downtown has been the home for many unique retailers for over 50 years. Englewood offers a variety of goods and services that exceeds many malls and downtowns in the metropolitan New York/New Jersey market. The presence of some of the most unique and eclectic independent entrepreneurs in the state makes Englewood a destination for upscale shoppers throughout Bergen Countyís Northern Valley and areas as far north as Nyack, New York and across the George Washington Bridge into Westchester, upper Manhattan and Long Island. In season, there is a popular Farmerís Market each Friday featuring locally grown produce and more. Downtown Englewood also features Bergen PAC, a performing arts center located in the former John Harms Center, long considered one of the leading cultural institutions in Northern New Jersey. Today, it attracts over 500,000 visitors annually with such acts as Tony Bennett, B.B. King, Tom Jones and many others.
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