Photographs of life in Teaneck from the 1950's-1970's

By Emmett Francois

Photo Exhibit at the Teaneck Public Library, December 2009 - January 2010,
sponsored by the Friend of the Library

Emmett Francois

Emmett Francois grew up in Teaneck on Belle Avenue with his parents Joseph and Marie Francois and with his brother Bruce and his sister Marie. At the start of his vocation as a photographer Mr. Francois worked for the Teaneck Sunday Sun. The Reader's Digest employed him for six years in the International Art Department where he later left to join the Bergen Evening Record as a staff photographer. For thirty-five and a half years he taught fine art and communications photography at various institutions such as Fairleigh Dickinson University, the Ridgewood Community School and Green Mountain College. His career in the Navy Reserve spanned thirty years. He attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander and retired as the senior photographic officer. He now reside in Vermont with Kerstin Soderstrom Francois, his wife of fifty years.


Mildred K. Taylor
Jacob Van Buskirk

JACOB VAN BUSKIRK - While working for the Sunday Sun and Sun Bulletin newspapers I had a discussion with Mildred Taylor who was the social editor.  We spoke about the history of Teaneck which led me to visit the remains of a cemetery on River Road that was part of the second oldest Lutheran church in America.  Dr. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg had preached there in 1750.  Upon visiting the site I found two grave stones one of which was of Jacob Van Buskirk’s grave.  The message on the stone left a deep impression that influenced me for the rest of my life.  As you will see in this display of Teaneck so many years ago, much of that message has come about since many of those in the photographs are no longer with us.

Message on the stone reads:


Born the 20 of June 1765
And Departed this Life the
2 of January 1812. Aged
46 Years 6 Months and 12 Days

Call and see as you pafs (pass) by
As You are now So once was I
As I am now you Soon must be
Prepare for Death and follow me

Northeast View of Cedar Lane

NORTHEAST VIEW OF CEDAR LANE - My father graduated from the New York Institute of Photography the 19th of January 1941.  He had a darkroom in our house on Belle Avenue where he turned out copious numbers of photographs.  The developing and printing took place at night. In the morning I would look at the dried prints from the ferrotype tin propped up against a radiator (to hasten the process).  It all seemed like magic to me at the time.  Later, when I was eleven, my father taught me the basics of the craft of working with light.  A Kodak 127 Baby Brownie was my first camera.  This view from the roof of the apartment house on Linden Avenue and Alma Terrace was one of my earliest efforts to document Cedar Lane.

West View of Cedar Lane

WEST VIEW OF CEDAR LANE - Standing in traffic was probably not a good idea but that is how I took this 1951 view of Cedar Lane.  You can see in #2 and in this photograph that forty-five degree parking was allowed until too many accidents happened from people backing their vehicles into oncoming traffic.  There were a lot more cars in Teaneck after WWII.

Route 4 West

ROUTE 4 WEST - In the early 1950’s the highway was beginning to carry more powerful cars which were very different from the Model A Ford type of vehicle it was designed to carry.  In the photograph you can see the absence of the cement barrier between the lanes of traffic.  There were no footbridges in view either like the one that crosses over Route 4 to Lowell School.  The car on the right is a Packard.

Stillman & Hoag Buick

STILLMAN & HOAG BUICK - Teaneck Patrolmen Pete Mooney talks to firemen at rear of Stillman & Hoag Buick next to Heywang’s Gulf Station.  Prior to Stillman & Hoag Buick occupying the building for their showroom it was an Acme Supermarket.

New York Central Railroad Locomotive

NEW YORK CENTRAL RAILROAD LOCOMOTIVE - Steam trains ran through Teaneck on two of the inside express tracks bringing soldiers from Camp Shanks down to the Weehawken ferry for transfer to troop transports during WWII.  Passenger service ran up to West Point and further on north to Albany.  Tanks, trucks, howitzers, jeeps, ambulances and other war material were expedited by rail to get the needed supplies overseas.  Those who commuted by West Shore Line to Manhattan could arrive in thirty minutes.

New York Central Diesel Locomotive

NEW YORK CENTRAL DIESEL LOCOMOTIVE - The era of steam gave way to the diesel electric locomotive in 1952.  The steam powered Hudson’s and Niagara’s were too labor and maintenance intensive for the railroads to operate profitably.  The photograph shows the train starting to head north after delivering its commuters from New York City to the Teaneck train station opposite Windsor Road.

Dismentling the Footbridge over the West Shore Railroad

DISMANTLING THE FOOTBRIDGE OVER THE WEST SHORE RAILROAD - After the New York Central ceased running passenger trains railroad work crews were set into motion to eliminate the passenger stations.  The footbridge that spanned the rails was erected in the 1920s to link the north and south bound service to those passengers who used the trains.  The dismantling of the bridge took place two years after the West Shore Railroad stopped service on the line in 1959.

Fred's Gas Station

FRED'S GAS STATION - Located on Forest Avenue east of Teaneck Road Fred Puglisi operated Fred’s Service Station.  He is pictured here with Jimmy Gobles next to their tow truck.  If you look hard at the sign on the gas pump you can see that gasoline sold for just 28 cents a gallon.

Charlie Jacobi's Texaco Station

CHARLIE JACOBI'S TEXACO STATION - I remember Charlie Jacobi living across from Teaneck High School on Cranford Place.  Charlie was the treasurer for the Teaneck City Club.  He was an avid salt water fisherman who loved his vacations in the Florida Keys.  The station was located on the corner of State Street and Teaneck Road.

George's Mobil Service Station

GEORGE'S MOBIL SERVICE STATION - George’s Cedar Lane Mobil Service Station is pictured here next to The Elms Tavern.  This station was later torn down and rebuilt where it is still in operation today.  The Elms featured a steak sandwich and was the local bar owned by the Press family.  Today it is part of Louie’s Charcoal Pit.

Pomander Walk and the Esso Service Station

POMANDER WALK AND THE ESSO SERVICE STATION - Humble Oil and the Esso trade names have been long gone including this gas station located just off the Anderson Street Bridge next to Pomander Walk.  For years the area behind the station was used as a town dumping ground.  Later it was restored and a swimming pool was put in.  On the other end of Pomander Walk was a Native American Indian burying ground.

Teaneck Police Marching

TEANECK POLICE MARCHING - The Teaneck Police marching on Queen Anne Road led by Teaneck Police Chief Cornelius J. Harte.  Chief Harte was with the Teaneck Police Department from 1937 until 1966.

Cedar Lane Accident

CEDAR LANE ACCIDENT - The injured girl is thirteen year old Kathleen Walsh of Haworth, NJ struck by a car Thursday as she crossed Cedar Lane to catch a bus.  She was the eleventh youngster to be hit by a car in Teaneck this summer.  Not seriously injured, she was released after treatment in Holy Name Hospital.  The policeman is Teaneck Patrolman Annibale DeVincentis. 

Route 4 Accident

ROUTE 4 ACCIDENT - Accidents on Route 4 were common due to the wearing down of the cement roadway to the bluestone gravel embedded in it.  When it rained the oil from all the passing vehicles from three decades of use could coat the polished blue stone to make it like black ice.  Unsuspecting drivers would hit their brakes and the cars would inevitably go out of control.  It took some years and a lot of persuasion to get the State of New Jersey to repave the highway to stop the carnage.

Davis Pool Store Fire on Cedar Lane

DAVIS POOL STORE FIRE ON CEDAR LANE - Davis Toys Land moved from where the Big Bear Supermarket once stood to open Davis Pools.  When fire broke out there were chemicals stored in the building and it was just a matter of time before the explosion would occur.  I was standing off to the side in the middle of Cedar Lane when the front of the building blew out into the street narrowly missing the firemen.

Fire Department Memorial Dedication Ceremony

FIRE DEPARTMENT MEMORIAL DEDICATION CEREMONEY - A bird’s eye view from the jump tower of the Teaneck Fire Department Headquarters of the dedication ceremony of the Teaneck Fireman’s Memorial.

Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps members

TEANECK VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE CORPS MEMBERS - Dressed in their familiar white coveralls the members of the Teaneck Volunteer AMBULANCE Corps are:
Back Row: Harold Schwab, (Unknown), R.G. Schlichting
Front Row: David Musicant, Harry Zimmer, W. (Bill) Schneeloch

Richard Rhoda

RICHARD RODDA - Richard Rodda was always involved in the Teaneck Recreation Department in one way or another to make life in Teaneck reach a higher level of quality.  I can well remember him practicing his game of golf on the southernmost end of Votee Park just under a large weeping willow tree.

Teaneck Councilmen

TEANECK COUNCILMEN - Of course politics carries conflict but these seven men cared about the town that they oversaw.
Left to Right: Bradford S. Menkes, Max A. Hasse, Jr., Thomas J. Costa, Jack Walsh, Mathew Feldman, Robert H. Henderson and Samuel P. Bartoletta.

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