Vail, Alfred To Verona (New Jersey)

Vail, Alfred (b. Sept. 25, 1807; d. Jan. 19, 1859). Inventor. Alfred Vail was born in Morristown, the son of Judge Stephen Vail and Bertha Young. As Samuel F. B. Morse’s assistant between 1837 and 1848, Vail was important to the development of telegraphy. He greatly improved Morse’s instruments, working on them at the Speedwell complex in Morristown. Vail also headed the construction of the first telegraph line in May 1844. While some believe that Vail invented "Morse” code, he never claimed it, publicly or privately, as his invention. Poor health forced him into semi-retirement in 1848. He married Jane Elizabeth Cummings in 1839; she died in 1852. He then married Amanda Eno in 1855. They had three sons: Stephen, James Cummings, and George Rochester. Vail died in Morristown.

Valley Hospital. In 1910, residents of Ridgewood in northeast Bergen County began planning for a hospital to serve the Ramapo Valley area. The Ridgewood Hospital was incorporated at that time, but the charter was forfeited in 1922 for nonpayment of state taxes. In 1925, the Ridgewood Hospital Association was incorporated; the name was changed to the Valley Hospital in 1945. Despite a series of daunting setbacks and challenges, the Valley Hospital was finally opened in 1951. While the original construction was under way, the women’s auxiliary was able to raise sufficient funds to add and equip an extra floor. In 1995, the hospital became affiliated with the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. Currently, the Valley Hospital has expanded into a 427-bed facility offering a range of services, including a Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Program, a Center for Childbirth, and state-of-the-art cardio-logic diagnostic and surgical services.

Valley National Bancorp. Valley National Bankcorp has grown since its founding as the Passaic Park Trust Company in 1927. In 1976 it adopted the name Valley National Bank and in 1984 Valley National Bancorp was formed. Since 1993, Valley National has acquired Mayflower Financial Corporation, Peoples Bancorp, Rock Financial Corporation, Lakeland First Financial Group, Midland Ban-corporation, Wayne Bancorp, Ramapo Financial Corporation, and Merchants New York Bancorp. As of June 30, 2001, Valley National had 119 branches in New Jersey, with over $5 billion in deposits.

Valleys. Valleys are low-lying land surrounded by higher ground, usually located between ranges of hills, and often containing a stream. They generally result from stream erosion, but may also be developed by faulting in the earth’s crust. Valleys offer natural routes for transportation. Old Mine Road in the Minisink Valley in northwestern New Jersey and New York was built by early Dutch settlers as a means of moving copper from Kittatinny Mountain to markets in the Hudson, and the Millstone Valley in central New Jersey served as the route for the Delaware and Raritan Canal in the early nineteenth century.

Valli, Frankie (b. May 3, 1937). Singer. Francis Stephen Castelluccio was born in Newark on May 3, 1937. As Frankie Valli, he forged a successful career in rock and roll with the Four Seasons. Raised in Newark’s North Ward, he attended public schools, worked as a maintenance man for the Housing Authority, and sang nights at The Silhouette, a local club. After performing for over a decade, Valli and company scored four number-one hits from 1962 to 1964. They were one of two American groups (with the Beach Boys) to survive the "British Invasion” of the early 1960s. Their success has been attributed to the strong falsetto and three-octave range of Valli, the group’s tight doo-wop harmonies, the song-writing skill of pianist Bob Gaudio, and excellent production. Their recording career spans five decades; the Four Seasons is the only group to have at least one hit in so many consecutive decades. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. With sales over 100 million records worldwide, they are the most successful white doo-wop group in rock and roll history.

Vanderbilt, Arthur T. (b. July 7, 1888; d. June 16, 1957). Lawyer and chief justice of the state supreme court. Arthur T. Vanderbilt was the older of two sons of Lewis Vanderbilt, a Western Union telegraph operator in Newark, and Alice Leach Vanderbilt. He graduated from high school in 1905, spent a year working on a railroad surveying crew to earn money for college, and began his studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut in 1906. He worked his way through college with a series of part-time jobs, but was able to become student body president, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1910 withaB.A. andM.A. He completed Columbia University School of Law in 1913, working his way through by teaching high school classes in Newark every night.

Upon graduation from Columbia, Vander-bilt married his high school sweetheart, Florence Althen. They had five children: three daughters and twin sons. For the next three decades he simultaneously pursued three careers. He opened a practice of law in Newark and became a prominent trial and appellate attorney, representing insurance companies, corporations, and banks, as well as handling pro bono a number of landmark civil liberties cases including State v. Butterworth (1928) and Thomas v. Casey (1939). He was regarded as a "lawyer’s lawyer”—an attorney to whom other lawyers would refer their most difficult cases. During his career he argued more cases in the New Jersey state and federal courts than any other lawyer.

During this same period, he taught at New York University School of Law two nights each week, becoming a full professor in 1919, and teaching during those three decades almost every course in the curriculum. In 1943, he became dean, and spearheaded a drive to make NYU one of the top ten law schools in the nation, a drive that resulted in hiring prominent faculty members, establishing scholarships to attract the best students, developing an extensive publication program, founding a number of institutes, and starting a building campaign. The new building for the Law School was later named Arthur T. Vanderbilt Hall. He developed at the school the concept of a law center, an institution where scholars, judges, lawyers, and business and labor leaders could collaborate on the systematic and continuous revision and modernization of the law.

Also during the same period, from 1914 to 1947, he became actively involved in Republican politics, putting together an insurgent slate of candidates (the "Clean Government” party) that took control of the government of Essex County, the state’s most populous county, and held power for over three decades. During these years, Vanderbilt served as county counsel and as the political leader of the New Jersey Republican party.

Vanderbilt was appointed chairman of the New Jersey Judicial Council in 1930, and began a seventeen-year movement to modernize the state’s antiquated courts and state government. He carried his campaign to improve the administration of justice to the nation’s courts as president of the American Bar Association (1937-1938), and served on federal committees that resulted in the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. After several failed efforts, the citizens of New Jersey adopted a new state constitution on November 4,1947.

Gov. Alfred E. Driscoll appointed Vander-bilt chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1948. As administrative head of the courts, he worked to streamline the administration of justice, and the New Jersey court system became a model for other states and nations intent on improving their judicial systems. For his work, he was awarded thirty-one honorary degrees and the Gold Medal of the American Bar Association. Dean Roscoe Pound declared him "entitled to a high place among those who have raised our institutions of justice to their highest possibilities,” and legal historian Bernard Schwartz ranked him as one of the ten greatest judges in American history.

Vanity plates. New Jersey offers its residents the opportunity to express their creativity on their license plates. Some amusing or interesting plates seen on New Jersey roads include EATDUST, NO COOK, SUSHI, SMILE, and B GR8FL. Personalized plates may be obtained from the Motor Vehicle Services Special Plate Unit for a one-time fee of $50 (which went down from $100 in January 2000), plus the regular registration fee. A minimum of three and maximum of seven characters (letters or numbers) are allowed, as long as no combination is considered offensive. Special-interest plates, such as Discover N.J. History, Conquer Cancer, and Wildlife Preservation, are also available.

Vanity license plates make driving on New Jersey roads an interesting experience.

Vanity license plates make driving on New Jersey roads an interesting experience.

Van Ness, Jennie Carolyn (b. c. 1880; d. date unknown). Woman suffrage advocate and state legislator. In 1920, when the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association reorganized as the New Jersey League of Women Voters, Jennie Carolyn Van Ness directed the league’s sixth region in Essex County, and helped draw up a state program of legislative issues for study. She was one of the first women elected to the state assembly. In the 1921 legislature, Van Ness, a Republican, served on the standing committees for Education and Unfinished Business, and on the joint committees for the Industrial School for Girls, the School for Feeble-Minded Children, and the State Library. She was defeated in her next run for the legislature because of her strong stand in favor of Prohibition enforcement.

Van Ness, Marjorie Schuyler (b. July 23,1914; d. Jan. 16,1990). Public official and agricultural activist. Appointed by Gov. William Cahill in 1971, Marjorie Schuyler Van Ness was the first woman member of the New Jersey Board of Agriculture. The recipient of many awards for her promotion of local agricultural efforts, she also founded and served as president of the American Saddlebred Horse Association of New Jersey and president of the New Jersey Horse Council. She was married to banker Eugene Van Ness, had three children, and lived in Annandale, where she raised horses and cattle on her seventeen-acre farm.

Van Riper-Hopper Museum. Opened to the public in 1964, the Van Riper-Hopper House on Berdan Avenue is Wayne Township’s museum and the home of its historical commission. Uriah Van Riper completed the first portion of the house before marrying Mary (Polly) Berdan in 1786. The walls are fieldstone with interior plaster. The porch and dormers are nineteenth-century additions. A frame addition is believed to have housed slaves and is now the curator’s apartment. It became the Van Riper-Hopper House after Andrew Hopper married Uriah’s great-granddaughter Mary Van Riper in 1872.

Van Saun Park. This 140-acre Bergen County park, located in Paramus, has among its many attractions the Van Saun Park Zoo and a miniature railroad. The zoo features seventy-five kinds of animals, including fifteen species of reptiles. The unique habitat of the Hackensack Meadowlands has been re-created in a 4,000-square-foot free-flight aviary, the largest of its style in the Northeast. The miniature train, a replica of an 1866 locomotive, pulls canopied coaches in a loop around the zoo and past a fully stocked 1860s farmyard scene. The park’s Washington Spring was a water source for the Continental Army during an encampment in September 1780.

Van Twiller, Wouter (b. c. 1606; d. Aug. 1654). Director general of New Netherland. Wouter Van Twiller was the nephew of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, an important patroon on the Hudson River, and a director of the Dutch West India Company. Van Twiller’s short administration as director general of New Netherland (1633-1637) was marked by the loss of Dutch control over two trading posts in Connecticut at today’s Hartford and Saybrook to the English, but he did succeed in preventing English settlement along the Delaware River and in maintaining cordial relations with the Indians. His recommendation that the company focus on cattle raising and agriculture, rather than trade, was unacceptable to his profit-minded superiors, who recalled him.

Vaughan, Sarah Lois (b. Mar. 27,1924; d. Apr. 3,1990). Jazz singer and pianist. Born in Newark, Sarah Vaughan grew up with music at home, at church, at school, and at Newark’s clubs and theaters where she heard the great jazz musicians of the era. Singer Billy Eckstine discovered her in 1942 at Harlem’s Apollo Theater amateur night. Bandleader Earl "Fatha” Hines soon hired her, and in 1946 she began barnstorming small towns and big city clubs.

Dubbed "Sassy” and "The Divine One,” Vaughan sang at the Garden State Arts Center, the Hollywood Bowl, the Newport Jazz Festival, and the Brussels World’s Fair, and starred in PBS’s "American Pop—The Great American Singers,” CBS’s "Sass and Brass,” and, with the New Jersey Symphony, performed in PBS’s "Rhapsody and Song—A Tribute to George Gershwin.” Her first million-sale record was "Broken Hearted Melody” (1958). Her many hits, including "The Lord’s Prayer,” "Tenderly,” "Send in the Clowns,” and "My Funny Valentine,” display her innovative jazz style.

Vaughan married and divorced trumpeter George Treadwell, football player Clyde B. Atkins (with whom she adopted daughter Deborah), and trumpeter Waymon Reed. Reputedly, she also married restaurateur Marshall Fisher. Vaughan died of lung cancer in Hidden Hills, California. Her funeral was held at Newark’s Mount Zion Baptist Church, and she was buried in Glendale Cemetery, Bloomfield.

Vegetation. New Jersey has much botanical diversity in a relatively small area. About 1,860 species of vascular plants were present in the state when the first Europeans arrived. Although at least thirty-two of these are now extinct in New Jersey, about eight hundred species of plants have been introduced into the state from other parts of the globe and are now more or less naturalized in it, resulting in a total flora of about 2,600 species. By comparison, West Virginia, three times the area of New Jersey, has about 2,200 species of plants; and New York, six times the area, has about 3,600 species. Of the 173 plant families represented in New Jersey, the largest are the aster family (291 species), the grasses (269 species), and the sedges (265 species).

Kneiskern’s beaked rush, found only in the Pinelands, is New Jersey’s only truly endemic plant species; bog asphodel, though now found only in New Jersey, once grew also in Delaware and the Carolinas. Both of these species are globally rare, though they occur in fairly large populations in New Jersey. Several other rare plants, which can still be found growing outside New Jersey, have their largest populations within it; examples are swamp pink, Pine Barrens boneset, Long’s woolgrass, and New Jersey rush. A few other plant species, including sand myrtle, spring beauty, and Pickering’s morning glory, have varieties or forms that are found only in New Jersey.

New Jersey’s floristic diversity reflects the habitat diversity of the state and its location in the mid-Atlantic region. Northern New Jersey, particularly the Highlands and the Ridge and Valley physiographic regions, is ecologically linked to New England and the Appalachians. Southern New Jersey’s Outer Coastal Plain is part of the coastal plain of eastern North America, which stretches south to Florida. Thus, although the majority of New Jersey’s plants are species that are widespread in eastern North America, the state has strong elements of both northern and southern floras.

Over a hundred southern coastal plain species reach or approach the northern limit of their ranges in southern New Jersey. Some of these are Pinelands specialties, such as Pine Barrens gentian, orange milkwort, and Pine Barrens sandwort. Others, such as loblolly pine, pale hickory, and basket oak, are more typical of the forests that fringe Delaware Bay. But many are widespread, including willow oak, sweet bay magnolia, and persimmon. Northern New Jersey has several hundred plants of northern affinity that reach the southeastern limit of their ranges there, although many of them can be found farther south at higher elevations in the Appalachian Mountains. Again, some are plants of restricted habitats, such as the black spruce, painted trillium, and bead lily, which are found in the cold bogs and bog forests formed in our northern counties by the glaciers of the last ice age. But many other essentially northern plants are widespread, including such species as sugar maple, eastern hemlock, and black birch that are major components of extensive plant communities.

Plants of many specialized habitats add to the state’s flora. About forty species of plants, among them sea lavender, sea pink, and marsh elder, are found in New Jersey only in the salt marshes that fringe the Atlantic coast and Delaware Bay. Other plants, such as American beach grass, seaside spurge, sea rocket, beach heather, and beach pea, grow only on coastal dunes.

Broad-leaved and narrow-leaved cattails, blue flag, pickerelweed, and many other species grow in the swamps and freshwater marshes that occur throughout the state. About fifty species of New Jersey’s plants are submerged aquatics, such as water milfoil and twenty-five species of pondweeds. Plants such as Parker’s pipewort, river bulrush, and wild rice can be found in the freshwater tidal marshes that occur along some of New Jersey’s larger rivers, especially the Delaware and its tributaries. Another interesting assemblage of plants, which includes Kalm’s lobelia, fringed gentian, grass of Parnassus, and a number of rare sedges and grasses, can be found around limestone fens and sinkhole ponds in northwestern New Jersey. Rock outcrops in the same region support ferns such as wall-rue spleen-wort and purple cliff brake that grow only on calcareous rocks.

Probably the most familiar plants of New Jersey are the roadside species such as daisy, dandelion, red clover, and chicory. Most are nonnative. These have sometimes been intentionally introduced by highway departments and other government agencies, or have escaped from cultivation, but most came in unintentionally as impurities in crop seeds or as seeds mixed in bulk cargoes or as ship ballast. The majority of these plants are of European or Asian origin. Most of them are relatively benign, occupying disturbed habitats that offer little suitable habitat for our native woodland species and disappearing as a successional area grows up to forest. About a dozen species, however, including Japanese honeysuckle, Morrow honeysuckle, yam-leaved clematis, stiltgrass, the Eurasian strain of common reed, Oriental bittersweet, purple loosestrife, Japanese barberry, porcelainberry, garlic mustard, and Norway maple, are able to invade native plant communities and displace native plants.

The preservation of New Jersey’s botanical diversity is important. Of our 1,828 possibly extant native plants, about 650 are threatened, rare, or otherwise worthy of monitoring on a statewide level by the New Jersey Heritage Program. This includes about ninety "historical” species that are perhaps present but for which no extant populations are known. It also includes 322 species that are considered endangered, which in most cases means that they have fewer than five populations, and in some cases only one small population, in the state. Most of New Jersey’s 650 threatened or endangered plants are species at the edges of their natural ranges and have healthy populations outside the state, but forty-two are globally rare, among them small whorled pogonia, American chaffseed, and Boykin’s lobelia. The precise environmental requirements of these plants are sometimes very poorly understood. At a minimum, these species require preservation and protection of significant areas of suitable habitat and the reestablishment or continuance of natural cycles of fire and flooding where applicable, though active management such as mowing or removal of invasive, nonnative species may become necessary.

Ventnor City. 2.2-square-mile city on Absecon Island, adjacent to Atlantic City in Atlantic County. First populated in the 1880s, Ventnor City incorporated in 1903 from Egg Harbor Township. The residential seaside resort is named for Ventnor, a similar resort on England’s Isle of Wight. Recreation facilities center on its beach, with its adjacent boardwalk that extends Atlantic City’s famous Boardwalk by 1.8 miles, but is without commercial establishments. Fishing, boating, tennis, and other sports are all available. The portion of the city that contains an inland waterway has been compared to Venice. The city’s 1929 Tudor-style municipal building is on the National Register of Historic Places, as is a collection of houses of architectural significance near the beach.

The 2000 permanent population of 12,910, which can double or triple in the summer, was 77 percent white, 8 percent Asian, and 17 percent Hispanic (Hispanics may be of any race). The median household income was $42,478. For complete census figures, see chart, 137.

Verizon. Verizon, a telecommunications company, is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and is the nation’s largest provider of wireline and wireless communications.

Verizon’s origins can be traced back more than a century to the early telephone companies that provided the foundations on which the world’s largest corporation, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T), was constructed. AT&T operated until 1984 as a government-regulated telecommunications monopoly. Its nationwide Bell System of regional telephone companies was highly regarded. Following more than a dozen years of antitrust litigation by the federal government, AT&T’s operations were divided into smaller, independent companies in the divestiture of 1984. Its Bell telephone network was divided into seven independent regional Bell operating companies, commonly known as "Baby Bells.” One of the newly independent companies, Philadelphia-based Bell Atlantic (which covered New Jersey), was a direct forerunner of today’s Verizon Communications. Bell Atlantic acquired New York City-based NYNEX in 1997 and moved its headquarters to New York. In 2000 Bell Atlantic acquired yet another major telecommunications company, the GTE Corporation, and Verizon Communications was established.

Verizon Communications has more than 241,000 employees and annual revenues of over $67 billion. The company is the nation’s largest provider of local telephone services. It serves sixty-seven of the top one-hundred domestic markets with wireline services and has over nine million long-distance customers. Verizon has operations in over forty countries worldwide. Within the Garden State, the company operates facilities at several locations, including Bernardsville, Chester, Morris Plains, and Newark.

Verizon Wireless was formed during 2000 as a joint venture combining the wireless operations of Verizon and Vodafone. With over thirty million customers, Verizon Wireless is the nation’s leading provider of wireless communications services. Another Verizon company, Verizon Information Services, is the world’s largest publisher of print and online directories.

Vernon. 68-square-mile township in northeastern Sussex County. Vernon was set off from Hardyston Township in 1792. Located on the western edge of the Highlands, the Ver-non Valley bisects the township north-south, with Pochuck Mountain and the Wallkill River to the west. Arable land in the valleys attracted European settlers by the 1730s, while iron ore in the mountains brought mining by the time of the Revolution. Iron mining had ceased by 1890, but farming remained the town’s primary endeavor through the 1960s. During the 1920s and 1930s, the town developed summer cabin resorts such as Lake Wallkill and Highland Lakes. Construction of a consolidated school in 1958, along with better highway access, led to the town becoming a bedroom suburb starting in the 1960s. The ski-resort industry came to Vernon in 1964, and tourism and open-space recreation remain important industries. Some 50 percent of the town is open space, including Wawayanda State Park, the Pequannock Watershed, the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, and the Appalachian Trail.

In 2000 the population of 24,686 was 97 percent white. The median household income was $67,566. 

Verona. 2.77-square-mile township in Essex County. Verona and Cedar Grove seceded from Caldwell Township in 1892 and created Verona Township. In 1907 the residents voted to establish Verona as an incorporated borough; in 1981 it again became a township.

Its location between the First and Second Watchung Mountains provided a healthful climate that led to the creation of the Essex County Sanatorium. An important early business was the American Bronze Powder Company, begun in 1876, the first and only such factory in the Western Hemisphere until 1903. The powder was used in wallpaper, ink, finishes, labels, and other products. Annin and Company, the oldest and largest flagmakers in the United States, moved to Verona in 1918. Annin is the largest industry in town, and Celentano Brothers, producer and distributor of frozen Italian foods, is the second largest. Late in the nineteenth century, Capt. Hiram Cook decided to develop his lakefront property as a "Picnic and Pleasure Grounds,” building a boathouse, bathhouse, and small pavilion. Called Eden Wild, his portion of the property was sold to the Verona Lake and Park Association in 1900. Essex County purchased the land in the 1920s and hired the Olmsted brothers to develop what is now Verona Park.

In 2000 the population of 13,533 was 93 percent white. The median household income was $74,619.

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