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Ordinances, Schools and Taxes


Farr Elected Mayor - Board of Trade Organized - High School Established - New City Hall Completed - Celebration of Opening - Ordinance to Prohibit Vice and Immorality - Kite Experiments - New City Dock - Public Library Opened - Annual Tax for 1894 - Contract for Pure Water.

William C. Farr was elected Mayor in 1891 on the Republican-Citizens' ticket.

On October 5, 1891, the Board of Trade was organized.

The following year the Bergen Neck Railway spur from Communipaw to Constable's Hook was completed. This spur was used for the purpose of conveying oil and other products from the Hook.

In 1892 the organization of the High School was effected. The academic classes which had previously been held in Schools Nos. 2, 4 and 6, were transferred to the old church building on Avenue D and Twenty-ninth Street, and termed the High School.

In the fall of the same year the new City Hall was completed, at a cost of $55,236.15. The grounds, however, costing $9,046.43, brings the total cost to $64,282.58. This building was occupied on October 21. On this day, the inhabitants celebrated the opening of the new City Hall. Churches, schools, stores and dwellings were tastefully decorated with flags and bunting. Pupils of the schools held anniversary exercises. A large military, civic and trade union parade took place. The Fire Department and school children also participated in this event, making a total of 4,000 in line. The following day, the 22d, the City Hall was thrown open for inspection. Police Headquarters were also transferred from the old City Hall to the new, and additional patrolmen were soon added to the force.

In March, 1893, the Common Council granted to the Board of Trustees of the Public Library a ten-year lease of the old building at a nominal rent, with the privilege of removing.

An ordinance to prohibit and prevent vice and immorality was passed May 2, 1893, and approved May 4 by Mayor Farr. This ordinance made it unlawful to admit any female under sixteen years of age to any picnic, ball, dance house or other public place of amusement, unless accompanied by her parents or by her legal guardian.

The highest flight ever made by a kite was on November 7, 1893, at Bergen Point, when William A. Eddy used two miles of cord in flying tandem kites, one of which reached an altitude of 5,595 feet.

In 1893 the city built a dock at the foot of Ingham Avenue, at a cost of $9,000.

It was during this year that the Bayonne "Democrat," with M. R. Freel as editor and publisher, began publication as a weekly democratic newspaper.

In the spring of this year Mayor Farr received both the Republican and Democratic nominations, and was re-elected. He was the first Mayor ever elected in Bayonne without an opposition candidate.

During the last term of Farr's administration the city obtained control of the property bounded by the Boulevard, Newark Bay, Sixteenth to Fourteenth Streets, to be used at some future time as a public park.1

On January 8, 1894, the reading-room of the Public Library was opened to the public, and two weeks later the circulating department was opened with nearly 4,cxx) volumes on the shelves. The books of the Workingmen's Library (some 1,500 volumes) were purchased June 25, 1894, and on February 1, 1895, the total number of volumes had increased to about 6,600.

An ordinance to direct the assessment and collection of the annual tax for 1894 included the following: For supporting and maintaining public schools, $45,710; for support of Fire Department, $5,000; Bayonne Hospital, $1,500; repairs to streets, $7,000; police pensions, $975; salaries of city officials, $15,800; support of police, $34,100; Free Public Library, $3,675.80.

In 1894, old No. 3 School in Pamrapo was condemned, having been cracked in the process of moving from Centre Street to Forty-seventh Street.

Up to this time the city contracted with Jersey City for its water supply. This water was very poor and unhealthy, and it was deemed a public necessity to obtain a better supply. As a result, in September, 1894, the Common Council awarded a twenty-five year contract to the New York and New Jersey Water Company to supply the city with pure water, the city agreeing to pay for two million gallons daily the first year, and two and one-half millions daily thereafter, at the following rates: 2,000,000 gallons at $89 per million, 3,000,000 gallons at $80 per million, 4,000,000 gallons at $70 per million, 5,000,000 gallons at $55 per million, 6,000,000 gallons at $40 per million. This contract contained a provision by which the water company was obliged to purchase lands for dams, etc., and build water works and sell the same to the city at certain periods mentioned in the contract, should the city desire to purchase the same.

On February 28, 1895, the Charity Organization Society was organized.

During Farr's administration, more than $350,000 was paid for street improvements alone, for which bonds were issued and sold for as high as $110.

The completion of the labors of the "Martin Act" Commission and its discharge by the Circuit Court occurred during Farr's term of office. This was the means of saving an expenditure of about $12,000 per year in fees and salaries.

The organization of the detective bureau, the adoption of the present fire alarm signal system, and the paving of East Twenty-second Street from Avenues D to I, making it fit for public travel,2 were also accomplished.

1. This land was secured and taken in exchange by the city, in lieu of unpaid taxes and assessments.
2. The city endeavored to improve this road several times during the eighties, but always failed on account of court proceedings instituted by the Central Railroad Company.

Source: First History of Bayonne, New Jersey, by Royden Page Whitcomb, Published by R. P. Whitcomb, 24 East 37TH Street, Bayonne, N. J., 1904.


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