BUT RESIDENTS WILL NOT
Newark Evening News, January 29, 1950
ELIZABETH. With city officials refusing
to admit defeat in their battle with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority,
residents of Fourth street still are clinging to a hope that the turnpike
unit's new toll highway never will be built on the land where their
homes stand today.
The Board of Works is seeking a legal
blockade to the route announced by the turnpike authority Monday, a
route the city has opposed because it will displace more than 200 families
in Baltic and Fourth streets. The authority, however, insists its decision
has been made and will stand.
Despite the announcement, residents in
the affected area have refused to become too worried about their future.
Many comments paralleled that of Mrs. Edward Mahon of 55 Fourth street,
who said calmly: "We're waiting for the bulldozers. Then we'll
Tenants and landlords explained their
skepticism by recounting dozens of conflicting rumors, newspaper stories
and bits of unofficial information that have come to them during the
last two years. It is hard for them to believe that according to the
authority, the elevated highway will be a reality by 1952.
The turnpike would displace all residents
on at least two blocks of Baltic street, and about 10 blocks of the
east side of Fourth street from First avenue to near Magnolia avenue,
where it will curve northward to Newark. It also will hit parts of cross
streets running to the Central Railroad tracks.
Both turnpike authority and city officials
who discussed re-housing have said some buildings will be razed and
others moved to new locations. No definite re-housing plan has been
announced, and landlords have not received purchase offers from the
Fourth street buildings on the route include
several small stores, the Strand Theater and former Public School No.
5, now used as Board of Education warehouse.
Mrs. Margaret Rehberger, a widow with
eight children, who owns a seven-room frame house at 141 Fourth street,
is philosophical like others in the road's path. She remembers hearing
as a child the story of a family friend who lost her home when the Brooklyn
Bridge was built.
"Now we're the ones swept away with
the tide," she said.
And the tide in Fourth street seems inevitable.
The city's plan to divert it along the Arthur Kill was turned down by
the authority as longer and too expensive.
Courtesy of the Newark Public Library.