Charter Revised - School Improvements
1872 - 1879
Revised Charter - First Street Gas Lamps - School
Improvements - First Fire Chief - Fourth Ward Created -
On March 22, 1872, a revised charter was
approved, which provided that all the' powers and authority
vested in the so-called Map and Grade Commissioners, upon the
expiration of their term of office, should then and thereafter
be vested in the Mayor and Council. The Commissioners continued
in office until May 1, 1873, when their term of office expired.1
Their duties then devolved upon the
Board of Councilmen, since which time the Board have had the
direction and control of the public improvements in the city.
On February 29, 1872, the first street
gas lamp for public use was lighted (ordinance passed December
12, 1871), and in October following a number of the streets in
the First Ward were lighted with gas, by contract.
According to the annual report of Police
Chief Whitney for 1872, the total number of arrests were two
hundred and twenty-five, and the number of places selling liquor
in the city limits was forty-six.
During this year the "long dock" had
been filled in.
An additional ward was created on March
11, 1873; thereby the city was divided into four wards. The
number of Council-men and other ward officers was
In the winter of 1873-74, the first
night school was opened in School No. 4. About this time the
city purchased Carragan's building for $10,500, which was
reconstructed on the same site where the city government had
been inaugurated in April, 1869. On June 30, 1874, the Mayor and
Council first met in this, the new City Hall.
For the year 1875, the aggregate sum of
$90,675.78 was to be assessed and collected. This included
$19,720 for supporting and maintaining public schools; $4,000
for street repairs, etc.; $9,984 for salaries of city officials;
and $21,500.78 for lighting streets.
In the spring of 1876, No. 1 School,
which was being built on Fifth Street between Avenue C and
Newman Avenue, was opened for use (cost about $20,000). Five
spacious brick buildings for public school purposes had so far
been erected in the several wards, under the direction and
supervision of the Board of Education, and a system of
instruction was established which placed the schools of the city
on a par with the best public schools of the State.
About June 1, 1877, the Standard Oil
Company erected an oil refinery on Constable's Hook. This was
the beginning of their present enormous plant at that place.
The first chief engineer of the Fire
Department was appointed in the same year. This was E. Berry.
At this time it was thought advisable to
revise and alter the division into wards, and to increase the
number of wards. An ordinance was passed in August, 1877, to
create a new ward, notwithstanding the objection of Mayor Meigs.
This ordinance was to take effect March 10, 1878. However, on
January 22, 1878, this ordinance was repealed.
Extracts from local newspapers during this epoch:
"Chestnuts should be very cheap this
year, there is an abundance of them."
"Boatmen on the canal are hurrying up
their trips in anticipation of an early close of navigation."
"Farmers are busily engaged in husking
corn. The crop is very large, which fact causes the farmers to
smile amazingly." "Bovine Express.
"An enterprising citizen passed our
office2 on Wednesday morning, driving a yoke of
oxen attached to a large wagon loaded with various articles of
merchandise, on his way to New York. We afterward saw the same
team on its way up Centre Street, New York, followed by a
company of boys who manifested great curiosity at the unusual
spectacle. Bovines have been brought into quite general use,
owing to the prevailing epidemic among the horses." "Hudson
County Times," November 1, 1872.
Total expenditures amounted to $24,252.14.
2. Avenue D, near Cottage
Source: First History of Bayonne, New
Jersey, by Royden Page Whitcomb, Published by R. P. Whitcomb, 24
East 37TH Street, Bayonne, N. J., 1904.