Buckshot was Flying all Over - By the time WWII had begun, Bergen County had grown to the point that Upper Saddle River was one of the last rural areas left. Four or so square miles of forest and fields home to deer, raccoon, squirrel, otter, weasel, fox, rabbit and pheasant. So many hunters were coming to our town that in 1947 we formed a Sportsmen's Club to close the town to all outside hunters But by the mid 1950's the Boro had grown so much and there were so many houses that hunting could no longer be allowed.
Twenty Lashes - In the 1800s there was little crime in the area, but occasionally someone who committed an offense (usually stealing) had to be brought into court, which was held in Post's store and tavern on West Saddle River road. Joseph Post who was Justice of the Peace, held trials there. Never mind that having a crowd of spectators in his store was good for business, and never mind that he served as judge, prosecutor, defense attorney and juror, it all seemed to work. If the judge in his many roles found the defendant guilty, he usually sentenced him or her to lashes at the whipping tree - a white oak located across the road from the tavern. No appeals, no plea bargains, just 20 lashes and it was over.
Upper Saddle River Sleigh Ride - In the 1800s and early 1900s, before automobiles came in, transportation was by horse and buggy and in the winter, horse and sleigh. To provide a good surface for sleighs, we used to roll the roads to compact the snow and make a smooth surface for sleigh runners. On at least one occasion, the snow piled up so fast and so deep that no one could get through, even on foot and people were house-bound. That was the blizzard of 1888.
When the Gypsies Came to Visit - "The Gypsies used to camp in the field near the Old Stone Church. As kids we were intrigued by them. We'd kind of flutter around and yell at them, and they'd chase us. That was great sport. They camped there because those meadows were good pasture (for their horses). They stayed for 3 or 4 days, never caused any trouble. " (early 1900s) .... Godfrey Van Kampen, 1981 Oral History Tape.