The Wyckoff area was inhabited by Lenape tribes from around A.D. 100 to A.D. 1600. The first white settlers appeared in the 1600s. The British Duke of York claimed the land and deeded all of New Jersey (also called Nova Caesaria) to Sir George Carteret and Lord John Berkeley in 1664. When Carteret died in 1679, the land was sold to 12 Quakers in 1682, who then split their shares to add 12 additional owners. The Earl of Perth was one of the early proprietors, and his name appears on the earliest deeds in the Wyckoff area. The Ramapo Tract was a large area of land that encompassed the towns of Allendale, Franklin Lakes, Glen Rock, Ho-Ho-Kus, Mahwah, Midland Park, Ramsey, Waldwick, and Wyckoff.
Land purchases were usually made from the proprietors but also from the Native Americans for clear title. Wyckoff was then part of New Barbadoes, which then formed Saddle River Township and consisted of all Bergen County west of Saddle River.
The first known settlers in Wyckoff are believed to have been John and William Voor Haze, two brothers who purchased 550 acres in 1742. Their house is known today as the Van Horn Ackerman House. By 1775, about 100 families in Franklin Township (named after Governor William Franklin, son of the famous Benjamin Franklin) with about 20 or 30 families living in the Wyckoff area.
During the Revolutionary War, the Wyckoff area was not affected much, probably due to the sparse population and no major troop movements through the town. Local resident, John Van Blarcom served as an officer in the Continental army.
By 1832, Franklin Township was listed as having 18 gristmills, 13 cotton mills, and 25 sawmills, and occupied an area of 45,000 acres. J. H. Bergman had tobacco sheds and exported tobacco to Germany c. 1870.
Most of the early settlers were Dutch, and the first church in the area was the Ponds Dutch Reformed Church, started in Oakland in 1710. In 1806, local residents built their own church. The Wyckoff Dutch Reformed Church became an important source of activities, including cake and strawberry festivals, oyster suppers, and church picnics.
The church was the source of education for the children until the first school was established c. 1800. There were several small schools that existed in those early days, but the earliest records mention three schools in 1869, including the Sicomac Schoolhouse. Schooling was the source of many disputes and a cause for some towns to secede, such as Ho-Ho-Kus, which formed in 1849.
John Ramsey’s hotel was a popular spot for entertainment. Country dances were held there and their liquor and wines were known throughout the country.
When the railroad came to town in 1870, the area was forever changed. The train ran from Jersey City through Wyckoff and continued north to Butler, where lines connected to the Pennsylvania coal fields. The trains made it easy for residents to get jobs in urban areas and brought people from the cities to Wyckoff to vacation in the fresh country air. Several boarding houses catered to the weekend and summer visitors.
After a large fire in 1905, residents formed a volunteer fire department in 1907. The Wyckoff Police Department formed in 1922.
Hamlets of Franklin Township continued to form their own towns, including Ridgewood, Midland Park, Oakland, and Franklin Lakes. Franklin Township was then renamed Wyckoff.
In the 20th century, the town population grew slowly, reaching only about 1,000 residents in 1910. The first housing development was built in the 1920s. The downtown commercial district continued to grow, and schools were added for the increasing population. Today, there are Lincoln, Washington, Coolidge, Sicomac grammar schools, Eisenhower middle school. Wyckoff has also been home to many diverse religious backgrounds and today there are 14 houses of worship.
To the casual beholder, the town looks like the modern suburb, but with some careful observation, there are places and buildings that are full of history. Not everything that should have been preserved or saved was, but photographs make a lasting memory of days past.