Hospital Opens - McKinley Passes - Reports
1895 - 1904.
Seymour Elected Mayor - Trouble With
Water Company - Hudson Boulevard Completed - Extensive School
Improvements - St. Luke's Hospital Opened - Standard Oil Fire -
President McKinley's Death - Small-pox Epidemic - The Meeker Act
- Street Improvements - St. Luke's Hospital Burned - Avenue C
Asphalted - Andrew Came Gives City Library - Work Begun on
Public Park - New School No. 8 - Fire Destroys Tenements -
Reports, Statistics, Etc., at Close of 1903.
mayoralty election in the spring of 1895, Egbert Seymour, on the
Democratic ticket, was elected Mayor. Several of the Councilmen
who were elected at this election, and two or three city
officials, were opposed to the new water contract, and
at-tempted a "hold-up." The trouble reached its height one day
during the first year of Seymour's administration. While
employees of the water company were tapping the old mains to
make the necessary water connection, some city officials arrived
on the scene.
Immediately there was trouble. The Fire Department
was called out and played the hose on the poor employees of the
water company until they quit work. For a time, a small sized
riot was in progress. The matter was taken before the Supreme
Court of the United States by the water company, and an
injunction was obtained against the city. United States marshals
were stationed at the scene until the work was completed, to
arrest any city official who interfered.
In May, 1895,
the Bayonne section of the Hudson County Boulevard was
completed. The city did not have any share in the expense of its
construction, and abutting property owners paid a portion of the
cost for flagging. In the spring of this year, electric arc
lights were placed on every corner along Avenue D, illuminating
that thoroughfare from one end to the other.
For the first
time in the world, a telephone and telegraph message was sent
through a wire suspended by kites five hundred feet in mid-air
on December 5, 1895, at Bergen Point. "Kite" William A. Eddy was
making the experiment.
For this year the actual dwellings numbered 2,915, with 6.8
persons estimated to each.
overcrowding of the schools necessitated the enlarging of
several school buildings. Old No. 3, in Pamrapo, having long
been condemned and out of use, warranted the erection of a new
school in that section. On June 18, 1895, contract was awarded
for an addition of four rooms to School No. 2, at a cost of
$7,784 (opened for use January 23, 1896). On July 14, the
following year, contracts were awarded for the following: No. 3
School, new. Avenue D between Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Streets,
sixteen rooms; cost, land $6,400, building $44,888 (opened for
use April 28, 1897). No. 1 School, addition of four rooms;
contract price $9,975 (opened for use April 6, 1897). No. 5
School, addition of four rooms; contract price $10,975 (opened
for use about April 6, 1897).
remarkably few fires during the year 1896. The report of Hymen
Lazarus, Chief Engineer of the Fire Department for the year
ending January 6, 1897, showed a total of nineteen alarms in the
Improvements were still on the increase, so that on May 15,
1897, there were forty-one miles of opened streets and fourteen
miles of sewers.
At this time
the High School had outgrown its quarters in the old church
building on Avenue D and Twenty-ninth Street. On this account
the school was transferred on December 6, 1897, to Schuyler
Hall, at Bergen Point, its present location.
On April 5,
1898, a contract was awarded for the erection of a new
twenty-room school, No. 7, on property between Seventeenth and
Andrew Streets; price of land, $12400; building, $71,300 (opened
for use September 5, 1899). On April 19, 1898, contracts were
again awarded for the enlargement of school buildings, this
time: No. 4 School, addition of four rooms; contract price
$13,216 (opened for use October 10, 1898); No. 6 School,
addition of four rooms; contract price, $10,897 (opened for use
about November 1, 1898).
3, 1898, St. Luke's Hospital on East Twenty-second Street was
summer of 1897-8 several balloon ascensions were made at
"Salter's," in Pamrapo, to which thousands would flock to
witness these daring feats. At one occasion the parachute failed
to open in its descent, and the horrified spectators saw the
aeronaut fall to the earth and killed.
in population for the ten years ending 1900 was 13,689, making
the total in that year 32,722 souls.
On the night
of July 4, 1901, a number of oil tanks belonging to the Standard
Oil Company at the Hook exploded. A terrible fire raged for five
days, consuming millions of gallons of oil. Houses close by were
threatened by the blaze, and the tenants, who were mostly poor,
were compelled to remove their household belongings and camp out
on the salt meadows. The local Fire Department fought splendidly
night and day, and much property was saved by the heroic efforts
of the men, who were assisted by fire tugs from New York. This
fire proved to be one of the largest in the United States.
September, 1901, President McKinley was lingering between life
and death, the result of an assassin's bullet wound, public
feeling here was at its height. Upon his death, the city went
into mourning; sorrow was manifest everywhere. Memorial services
were held in most of the churches, and several fraternal
organizations expressed their sympathy in writing to Mrs.
The city was
visited by small-pox in November, 1901. Over seventy cases were
reported, of which twelve were fatal. School No. 5, on East
Twenty-second Street, and the annex on the Hook Road, were both
closed by order of the Board of Health. Every effort was made to
check the spread of this dreaded disease. Dr. Forman, the city
physician, and other doctors were kept busy night and day in
vaccinating people. It is said some 7,000 persons were treated.
In this year,
by an act of Legislature, the commencement of the Councilmanic
terms were changed from the last Monday in April, as prescribed
by the charter, to the first day of January at 12 o'clock, noon.
This was called the "Meeker Act." Owing to this. Mayor Seymour
entered his fourth term on January 1, 1902, being the first to
Building Inspector Thomas Herbert reported that during 1901 more
than a million dollars were invested in the erection of new
dwellings and places of industry, together with improvements.
The valuation of real estate amounted to over $15,-000,000.
activity was evident in street improvements during this
administration. From April, 1901, to April, 1902, there were
added 3,608 linear feet of curbstone, 5,506 linear feet of
flag-stone, 4"673 linear feet of macadam pavement, 5,800 feet of
1, 1902, the old Masonic building on Eighth Street and Avenue C,
(formerly Schuyler Hall), which was being used as a High School,
was purchased by the city at a cost of $14,500. (Alterations
cost $11,661. School opened for use January 26, 1903.)
1902, St Luke's Hospital, on East Twenty-second Street, was
totally destroyed by fire.
Up to this
period, Avenue C from Fifty-fourth Street to Twenty-fifth Street
was a dirt road, with the exception of the stone blocks laid by
the traction company between its tracks. It was thought
advisable by the majority of the property owners to have this
section asphalted, and the contract was awarded. This
improvement was finished in the winter of 1902-3, at a total
cost of $88,661.65.
1903, Andrew Carnegie presented the city with $50,000 for a
Public Library. A site had been previously selected on the
northwest corner of Avenue C and Thirty-first Street, costing
$8,500, and work was begun on the building in the fall.
1903, work was commenced for the laying out of a public park on
grounds owned by the city, bounded by the Boulevard and Newark
Bay, from Sixteenth to Nineteenth Streets.
In the same
year contract was awarded for the erection of a twenty-room
public school building on Avenue C between Twenty-seventh and
Twenty-eighth Streets, to be called No. 8. Cost of land,
$13,700; contract price of building, $84,658.1
In this year, property, real and personal, amounted to
mayoralty election in the fall of 1903, Thomas Brady was elected
Mayor on the Democratic ticket, to succeed Mayor Seymour, who
was serving his fourth term.
19, following, fire destroyed a row of frame flats on Avenue C
and Eighteenth Street, rendering forty families (mostly Hebrews)
homeless and destitute. The fire victims were given temporary
shelter in the Hebrew Hall building nearby, and contributions in
the way of food, clothing and money were given by charitable
neighbors and church workers.
Statistics, Etc., at the Close of 1903.
Police Thomas Magner reported for the past year as follows:
of arrests, 1,962; males arrested, 1,462; females arrested, 320;
over 16 years, 1,679; under 16 years, 283; total number of meals
furnished for prisoners, 1,311, at 25 cents each, cost $327.75.
Nativity of some of the persons arrested: Austria, 140; England,
50; Germany, 117; Hungary, 21; Italy, 47; Ireland, 273; Poland,
125; Russia, 179; United States, 977. Total amount of fines paid
in Recorder's Court, $2,109.50.
Superintendent of Schools, J. H. Christie, reported for
December, 1903, as follows: Total enrollment, 5,504; average
attendance, 4,644. This includes the night school, with total
enrollment of 334.
miles; macadam, 9.7 miles; asphalt, 1.6 mile; opened streets,
improved, 13.5 miles; opened streets, unimproved, 36 miles;
total miles of streets in city, 77.5 miles. There were also 30
miles of sewer and 39 miles of water pipe.
Treasurer's annual report for the City of Bayonne Fire
Department Relief Fund showed a net balance of $19,190.35.
Corner stone laid April 16, 1904.
Source: First History of Bayonne, New
Jersey, by Royden Page Whitcomb, Published by R. P. Whitcomb, 24
East 37TH Street, Bayonne, N. J., 1904.