Ho-Ho-Kus is a small community in northern New Jersey, just a half hour from downtown Manhattan. The residents and civic government officials are concerned with maintaining the small town feel of the village: they like their quiet, small town the way it is. If residents want the excitement of the big city, Manhattan is just that short commute away. There aren't even any supermarkets here; the closest ones you are going to find are found in the communities surrounding Ho-Ho-Kus. You'll only find a few pharmacies, antique stores and restaurants in the downtown area. But, residents wouldn't have it any other way and it's easy to understand why. With a low crime rate and palpable serenity, the town's atmosphere is as invigorating as it is serene!
The Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ Community Appeal
Ho-Ho-Kus was named the #1 town to live in the state of New Jersey by New Jersey Monthly in 2011. The town's appeal comes from its dedication to preserving itself as a quiet community. Mayor Thomas Randall calls the community "fully developed" and is against any further expansions. Beyond the few restaurants, office spaces and other businesses in the downtown area, there really isn't anything in the way of industry and residents look to keep it that way, balking at the idea of adding any kind of chain retailer to the area.
The community also features a large variety of green space for residents to enjoy. The sprawling 16 Acre Park is at the heart of the community and the nature preserve serves as a quiet oasis to residents in an already quiet town. And East Park lies right on the bank of the Saddle River as it bisects the community and adds to its picturesque quality,
So, What's in a Name Anyway?
It's not a universally accepted fact where the name of the town came from or what prompted its unique spelling. The generally accepted origin comes from the Delaware Indians meaning "Red Cedar" but other meanings have been thrown around. Examples include "running water" or "cleft in the rock", or, even a version of Hoog Akers which means "high acorns" in Dutch, a nod to the area's early European settlers.
The Ho-Ho-Kus Mayor boasts about his town's name being the only one in the country that is spelled with 3 capital letters and 2 hyphens. It's been suggested that this unique spelling was instituted to differentiate the town from nearby Hoboken or the previously named Hohokus township (without the extra capitals or the hyphens). Although efforts have been made in the past to alter the spelling to something more conventional, residents have embraced this unique spelling and made it an integral part of the community's lore.
Links to the Past
The borough of Ho-Ho-Kus contains several landmarks that hint at its over 300 year old history. Originally founded by Dutch settlers in 1712, the community houses several landmarks from an earlier time. The Hermitage is the Gothic revival mansion that was built in the mid 19th century. At one time a house on the site belonged to Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson's Vice President; the residence even hosted his wedding to Theodosia Prevost in 1782. The site was added to New Jersey's Registry of Historic places in 1971 and became the first historic landmark recognized in Bergen County. Also, The Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern has stood in its place for over 200 years and currently houses a restaurant.