Located in Bergen County, New Jersey only a short drive from the foot of the George Washington Bridge leading to New York City, Cresskill NJ is a charming bedroom community. About 8,000 people call the borough home, with most commuting to New York City for employment. What was once a farming community named for the humble watercress growing in placid streams, Cresskill has boomed, especially with the development of multi-million dollar homes being built in the Tamcrest neighborhood.
Zip code: 07626
Median Family income (1999): $96,245
Like much of Bergen County, the Cresskill area has a largely agrarian past being settled by first the Dutch, and then the English. Cresskill takes its name from watercress and the streams, or “kills” in which it grows. Modern Cresskill was formed at the height of “boroughmania” in New Jersey, whereby communities seeking greater degrees of self-rule broke from existing townships. To this day, especially in Bergen County, the borough is the most popular form of municipal government in New Jersey. Carved from the Palisades Township, Cresskill was incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on May 8, 1894. Later, in 1904, Alpine NJ, another borough, annexed a portion of Cresskill.
Camp Merritt and the Camp Merritt Circle Monument
Cresskill was most notably the site of Camp Merritt, named for the first Governor General of the Philippines, Major General Wesley Merritt. Camp Merritt served as the major debarkation point for American troops being sent abroad to fight in World War I. Opened in 1917, this 770 acre camp saw over 1 million servicemen off to the European front.
To honor the 563 men and women who died in the 1918 flu epidemic while stationed at Camp Merritt, the 56-foot Merritt Circle Monument was built in 1924. The monument was dedicated by General John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing who led American forces to fame and victory in World War I. The large obelisk in the center commemorates the lives of the over 1 million Americans who died serving their country in World War I. One can find this monument at the intersection of Knickerbocker Road and Madison Avenue on the boarder of Cresskill and Dumont.
Cresskill Parks & Recreation
Though a small Bergen County borough, Cresskill maintains plenty of recreational facilities for its residents. Cool off in the Cresskill Municipal Pool, or if sports are your fancy, enjoy tennis, soccer, basketball, softball, wrestling, football and little league. In addition to its 5 athletic fields, Cresskill also maintains 6 playgrounds and 5 parks, so all can enjoy the outdoors. Cresskill also plays host to its annual July 4th celebration, and Ragamuffin Halloween Parade.
For those active gardeners—or those wishing to become active gardeners—in this part of the Garden State, the Garden Club of Cresskill is worth discovering. Founded in 1947, the Garden Club is dedicated to keeping Cresskill beautiful. The club has contributed much beauty to Cresskill: Christmas lights and decorations were obtained for the Borough Hall; dogwood trees were planted on Dogwood Lane; a wrought iron fence, platform and benches were installed Veterans Square by the club. These are just a few of the many undertakings of the club in recent years. Get to know your fellow gardeners at a friendly Garden Club meeting! Meetings are held on the third Wednesday of the month, except during July and August, at 1 PM.