History of Hackensack
Hackensack’s name honors the “Sagamore of Hacquinsacq,” Lenni Lenape Chief Oratam, born in 1577, who deeded the land to early settlers in 1664.
The town was first settled as a trading post by the Dutch in 1639, later occupied by the French Huguenots and, in 1688, by the British. At that time it was known as the township of New Barbadoes. In 1921, by referendum vote, Hackensack received its charter under its present name.
A strategic point during the American Revolution, Hackensack was a small village centered around The Green. Washington headquartered here in November 1776 while he surveyed the local roads and bridges. On November 20,1776 he led his army into Hackensack. It camped on The Green as he made the important decision to continue the retreat from overwhelming British and Hessian forces. This prepared the way for the first American victory of the Revolution the following month at the Battle of Trenton.
At The Green is the statue of General Enoch Poor, one of Washington’s officers, who died in September 1780. He was buried in the adjoining cemetery of the Dutch Reformed Church. The church, originally built in 1696 and rebuilt in 1791, is the oldest in Bergen County and the second oldest in New Jersey.
Hackensack is the seat of Bergen County in northeastern New Jersey, occupying 4.6 square miles. Elevation is from three feet to 120 feet above sea level. From a number of locations one can see the New York City skyline, seven miles to the east.
The population of Hackensack is approximately 43,000. However, the daytime population more than triples as people come to the county seat daily for various commercial, professional, or personal needs.
The city is governed by a Council-Manager form of government. Five councilpeople are elected every four years, and the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are selected by the Council. The City Manager is a full-time, professional municipal executive.