30In the era of the 1950’s, 1960’s and early 1970’s, student demonstrations, civil rights marches and disturbances, and the increasing problems of narcotics use occupied all segments of society and government. Teenagers danced to the new “Rock” music in their bobby sox, men’s shirts and dungarees, the new “look” of the day.
In Glen Ridge, too, changes were also occurring under the watchful guidance of Borough officials. In 1950, Mountainside Hospital discontinued ambulance service. The Fire Department raised funds, by public subscription, to purchase an ambulance, which was placed on 24-hour duty with a volunteer staff. Mr. and Mrs. Clayton Freeman donated $65,000 for the erection of a field house at Hurrell Field.
An addition to the High School, now Middle School, was erected in 1952. Private swimming pools became so prevalent in the 1960’s that a regulating ordinance was drawn up with an accompanying ordinance prohibiting bathing attire on Borough streets. An amendment to the Zoning Ordinance in 1963, permitted the erection of an apartment building, Parkway House, on Bloomfield Avenue. Heirs of the Clayton Freemans donated land at the corner of Maolis and Hawthorne Avenues to the Borough. Now known as Freeman Gardens, it is used for passive recreation.
In 1967, a bond issue of $2,790,000 was approved by voters to erect and equip a new High School on the west side of Ridgewood Avenue, south of Woodland Avenue. The Building was completed in 1968, and the old High School became the Middle School. During the celebration of the Borough’s 75th anniversary in 1970, James Brown, former Borough Clerk, summarizing the Borough’s history noted the following statistics:
…population has increased from 1,700 to 8,300; homes from 300 to 2,200; factories decreased from eight to one; municipal employees increased from three part time and one full time to 18 part time and 75 full time; school employees from five to 150. Assessed valuations have increased from $1,254,000 to $78,000,000 and the tax levy from $29,980 to $3,646,000.
At the anniversary celebration in the Glen, former Mayor George Minasian burned the mortgage on the Municipal Building. Since that time, the municipal government of the Borough has had no bonded indebtedness.