preamble

This section is a brief overview of the thesis and purpose of this project. It will cover the ideas and brief reason to attempt to prove the thesis of this project. More information about the different paragraphs will be found in the different pages of this project with in the cite. It will also be supplemented by the usage of information from the US census and different maps of the region including the most current form of google earth allowing to show the difference from Mahwah pre infrastructure to a current view of how Mahwah has changed. This project will also be supplemented with a conclusionary page that will wrap up all the ideas and connect the information in order to help prove the thesis and provide final thoughts on the subject. With in each paragraph there will be a link to more detail about that topic.

Mahwah like most towns in New Jersey was a farm town with a few family controlling much of the land in the beginning of its existence. As time went on more and more people began to move in dividing up the land. Also existing families would have children that would also build houses on the family properties essentially shrinking the size of the property. There are many other factors that led to the suburbanization of the township of Mahwah. This project tends to look at one factor and the other related issues pertaining to this topic. How did infrastructure lead to the changing of Mahwah from a farm town to a suburban town?

One of the most important changes in the shaping of the town of Mahwah is the system of roads that was built due to many public programs and post world war 2 society. Many of the roads in Mahwah where existing even in colonial days before it was the state of new jersey. These where foot paths and dirt roads that are navigated by foot and horses. Some of these dirt roads are even dating back to pre colonial times such as NJ route 202 that was a path running along the Ramapo river that was used by the early natives for hunting and gathering. As properties changed hands and where divvied up into more properties some of these road changed.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s America had fallen on hard times after the economic boom in post world war one the stock market collapsed and the great depresses ion was on. This spurred the united states government to put into affect public works project in order to help give out of work people jobs and help spur the united states economy. One of which was the department of transportation, New jersey was the first state to receive this department. This is when many of the roads and bridges where first built in Mahwah and the rest of New Jersey.

With the birth of new roads came the need for vehicles to drive on these roads and uses them as intended. Thus was born the model T ford a creation of the great captain of industry Henry Ford. Before the model T many vehicles where unaffordable and couldn’t be owned by the average family. Also vehicles where not only expensive but some what unreliable. The model T aloud for most family’s to be able to own a mode of transportation but also started a revolution in the automotive industries of making reliable and affordable cars marketed to the middle class.

After world war 2 the economy of the united states was booming and GIs returning home from war looked to buy their own property and start there lives. Thanks in part to the united states government GI bill that provided low interest loans to united states military men. This caused many people to leave their homes of the great depression in the city’s to move out towards rural areas and start a new life. This caused major building projects and developments to start building these new suburban areas with cookie cutter style houses. Mahwah was no different aside from the large scale cookie cutter houses many people flooded into town to look to start their new family’s and lives.

Post World war 2 aloud for Dwight d Eisenhower to get elected president for his well know participation as the Five star general of the European theater. His time in Europe led him to come up with some ideas for American infrastructure changes to be made. He saw the German autobahn and how sophisticated and organized their road ways where and decided the united states needed the same. This where he came up with the defensive and transportation commission to allow for the numbering and designation of interstates and county roads in the event the military needed to use the roads in and emergency to ease with navigation.

As many people a lot of Jobs are found with in big United states cities but living is expensive and crowded in cities. Another project that went with FDRs new deal was the building of the Washington bridge allowing for easier transport in and out of New York city with out having to use a ferry to get across the Hudson river. This would allow many people to live outside the city and drive into work in the future. It is the idea of commuting to work before the affordable car and road ways allowing for this it was an unknown thing.

Mahwah saw this progression coming down the line and new they didn’t want their country wooded town to become a small city with in itself. The town council decided to make amendments to building regulations. They make it requiring for a house to be built it must have a mi um of one acre of land. This prevents a bunching up of houses and apartment buildings to be built in Mahwah keeping it a suburb and keeping to its open farming town roots.