Then & Now

Photo courtesy Kearny Public Library Photo by Karen Zautyk
Photo courtesy Kearny Public Library                                                      Photo by Karen Zautyk


Last time, we had a photo of people ice skating on the Passaic River between North Arlington and Belleville in 1905. This week’s picture, from the early 1900s, shows another option for those skaters who did not want to venture downhill to the river: the reservoir at the top of the hill. It was part of the Jersey City Waterworks system and was built, as best we can fi gure out (dates are sketchy) sometime in the late 1800s. A pumping station near the banks of the Passaic fed river water into the reservoir, and that water then fl owed, by gravity, down across the Meadowlands and into another reservoir in Jersey City. Eventually, apparently before 1900, the Passaic water had already become too polluted to be potable, and Jersey City had to look elsewhere for its drinking water. A map of North Arlington from the 1920s shows the reservoir still extant, though disused. We do not know when it was finally filled in, but by the 1950s, it was gone. And where had it been located? Believe it or not, at the intersection of Ridge Road and the Belleville Pike, the current site of the Riverview Gardens apartment complex.

– Karen Zautyk

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