Sunday, April 29, 2007

White Water on Second River


Sometimes happenings in the present are just as exciting as events in history. But then, you should get used to the idea that you are part of a living history. Indeed, what shall we write in our own chapter of “The Saga of Second River” ?

A storm struck the village last week causing flooding in a number of places. Your author here present, with camera in hand, was there to record the images of the white-water rapids on Second River. Can you imagine that ? White water rapids on Second River ? Our quiet, ankle-deep, mill stream surged into a raging torrent with the roar of rushing water, crashing waves, rapids, swirls, and water up to the edge and in some places over, the banks ! It was not something you see very often.

There were some moments of concern as the water reached the top of the banks. There are some homes nearby between Washington Avenue and Bridge Street which were at risk. And, there were all those new cherry blossom trees newly planted along the walkway by the north bank. The water overflowed just west of Bridge Street because the culvert there isn’t large enough for the rush of water to pass through, but otherwise the banks held.

Things were worse over by the Rutan area and on Fairway Avenue where the Third River overflowed causing damage. Also, the Passaic River rose and flooded Main Street on the north end by the Post Office Annex and the old Kidde site on up to the Kingsland Street Bridge. That episode made the TV evening news where it was said that flood water swamped the vehicles in the Post Office parking lot. Most unfortunate was the drowning of an elderly fellow on Main Street who, it appears , was unable to escape the rising water and rushing currents, a moment which has saddened us all.

Has any reader here ever wondered why Main Street is not the “main street” in town ? Well, we have just seen only a small sample of why that is so. About a hundred years ago, the Passaic River flooded, completely swamping all the homes, mansions and businesses there. Afterwards, Main Street was rebuilt and business went on as usual. But a couple of years later, the river raged again; this time even worse. There are photos in the archives of the extensive flooding on that occasion. This time, the good folks of town got the hint and “Main Street” was moved to the higher ground on Washington Avenue which has ever since been our “main street.”


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New Cherry Blossom Trees

Work in progress.
Here is an opportunity for readers of this Blog to witness our village history as it is happening. This is the first time since 1937, yes, that’s 70 years ago, that such a massive planting of new cherry blossom trees has been undertaken. There will be 2,000 new trees planted in Branch Brook Park over the next three years; a large number of those to be along Second River. This is the first installment.

Back in 1937, when the display was first created, 3,400 trees were planted. For long afterwards we fancied ourselves as the “Cherry Blossom Capital of America” which is really quite true. However, these trees have a thirty-year life span and re-planting programs have ranged from sporadic to non-existent. Thus, last time a count was taken, two years ago, there were but 1,100 trees remaining.

Every citizen of the village should be well pleased to know that, upon completion of the current program, the tree count will have been restored to historic numbers and we shall resume our place at the center of national attention. Yes, our display has been and will now again be larger than our nearest competitor, Washington D.C.