History of Westwood

Map of New Jersey with Westwood MarkedLocation

The Borough of Westwood is in the northeastern part of the State of New Jersey. The Borough is located in the Pascack Valley in the center of Bergen County and is approximately 10 miles north-northwest of the George Washington Bridge and approximately 7 miles south of the New Jersey - New York state border.

Early History

During the early colonial period, the area that is now Westwood was home to the Lenni-Lenape Indians of the Eastern Algonquin Nation, and prior to the Civil War, the area was primarily farm land. The only means of public transportation being a stage coach line between Westwood and Hackensack.

It was not until the mid-1700s that the first permanent settlers arrived in the area. In April 1780, Isaac Bogert purchased 500 acres of land and soon thereafter moved his family from the city, establishing his residence in the area. The Bogert family was to become one of the more prominent families in the history of Westwood, and today the Bogert name can still be found on streets, buildings and landmarks in the Borough.


In the early 19th century, the area was known as Pleasantville and in 1826 it became a part of Harrington Township, which was renamed Washington Township in 1840. Finally, in 1875 the name of Pleasantville was changed to Westwood.

Around that time, Westwood had fewer than 25 houses. Its first general store, run by Isaac D. Bogert and Z.B. Van Emburgh, had been opened in 1869 on the northeast corner of Westwood Avenue and Railroad Avenue, and that same year the Westwood Hotel, the first hotel in the Borough, was built by A.B. Bogert on the corner across the street from the general store. Then, in 1870 the Erie Railroad was extended from Hackensack to Hillsdale, ushering in a era of growth for the area and of greater mobility for its residents.

Incorporation & Growth

Westwood was officially incorporated as the 'Mayor and Council of the Borough of Westwood' on May 8, 1894, with Isaac D. Bogert serving as the first mayor of the Borough. In April 1909, the area of Westwood was enlarged through the annexation of the 'Old Hook' section of the Borough of Emerson, and in June 1914 the Borough changed its corporate title to 'Borough of Westwood'. By 1923, the population had grown to 2,597, and it was estimated to be 6,100 in 1948.

Westwood Today

Today, the Borough has grown to approximately 11,000 residents, with a thriving downtown business district that befits its name as 'The Hub of the Pascack Valley'. The Borough is governed by an elected Mayor and Borough Council (6 members), with the day-to-day affairs being handled by a professional Borough Administrator. Its emergency services are provided by a professional Police force, an all volunteer Fire Department and an all volunteer Ambulance Corps.

The Borough also provides a free public library for its residents, and Westwood Regional School System, which is a regional venture with the Township of Washington, serves the educational needs of the Borough's school age population.