2011 – Hurricane Irene - Road collapse closes section of Route 287 in Boonton
From the Daily Record August 30 , 2011
Aug 30, 2011 - The state Department of Transportation is working on a repair plan for the shoulder of Route 287 North, near mile marker 44.6, where the floodwaters weakened part of the road’s support structure, causing a portion of the road’s shoulder to be washed away Monday. A DOT spokesman said they didn’t know when the highway would reopen as the water is still raging.
All lanes were reopened three days later.
However the resulting storm eroded the slope along the Rockaway River near Harrison Street in Boonton which is still not repaired.
The slope became a 40-foot cliff that threatens to swallow the Harrison Street homes. No one wants to bear the multi-million dollar cost to shore up the soil and prevent the possibility of the houses sliding down that slope.
The slope is owned by Jersey City, as part of its reservoir. Jersey City says it’s not liable, stating Irene was an act of God.
October 29,2011 – Halloween Snow Storm
Snow fell and so did tree limbs, bringing down electrical wires and causing power outages as Morris County and New Jersey dealt with the upcoming winter seasons first storm. About half-million residents in the state were without power. Schools were closed, rail service suspended. Morris County was the hardest hit with 10-14 inches of snow.
Some pictures below of Boonton area
2015 – The Birch Street Steps
The Birch Street Steps were built to allow residents who lived in the “Hill” section of the town easy access to the train station and the “Flats” section of town and beyond. In 1904, a new train station was built and shortly after, Birch Street was paved and the old wooden steps connecting with William Street were removed and substantial stones steps were substituted.
The steps continued to be used by commuters through the years.
Commuters were not the only ones to use the steps. Shoppers making the train trip to Paterson used them as well. Also students used then to access the tunnel under the train station and railroad tracks as a short cut to John Hill and Boonton High Schools.
Long in despair, the steps were renovated in 2015 and reopened later that year in December.
To read the entire story about the steps visit:
2015 Boonton Celebrates 50 Years of Lacrosse
From USA Today – High School Sports
The Boonton boys lacrosse program is one of the oldest in the state of New Jersey, and on Sunday June 14, 2015, former players, coaches and fans came together to celebrate that long and storied history.
The Bombers held their annual alumni game, but this one was even more special as it marked the 50th anniversary of the lacrosse program. Head coach Mickey Norton, who helped organize the event along with the alumni association in which 70 former players showed up to participate with legendary coach, Dick Risk.
Rizk, considered one of the godfathers of the sport in New Jersey, played two years of lacrosse at Rutgers and graduated in 1955. From there he went to Boonton where he started the program and coached for 24 years.
The Rizk Division in New Jersey Interscholastic Lacrosse League is named after him and he also spent 18 seasons as head coach at Stockton College.
According to Rizk, there were only 10 lacrosse teams when he started the program back in 1965, and five of them were prep schools.
Boonton played only six or seven games in its first seasons, but Rizk persevered and helped to grow the sport into what it is today, with about 200 teams in the state of New Jersey alone.
Former coach Carl Cuccihara said of Rizk, “How many sports do you know where you can contribute it to the founding of one person, and what was it like introducing a sport to a town, that’s a football town, baseball, and Mr. Rizk did that, he stuck with it, he recruited, because you have to convince people to play.”
“Once you play, there’s no sport like it. A lot of movement, a lot of team play and just a lot of fun, and he made it that way. The tradition you see it carries on and it means so much.
Read more here:
Boonton Firm to Build New Statue of Liberty Museum
On October 6, 2016, The Phelps Construction Group broke ground for the new 26,000 square foot Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island in New York Harbor.
The company founder is Doug Phelps and his office is located on Wootton Street in Boonton.
The $70 million museum is a project of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, working along with the National Park Service. In 2015, the firm completed the Foundation’s The Peopling of America Center on Ellis Island.
Phelps called being selected to build the new museum “a great honor.”
The sustainable building will be constructed with a first floor above the 500-year flood level and will be able to withstand hurricane force winds, which in the past have severely damaged both the Liberty and Ellis Island.
The exterior of the museum will feature an expansive green roof which will include vegetation native to the Island.
When completed, the museum will give millions of visitors the opportunity to learn about the Statue of Liberty’s history
The museum is expected to completed by 2019.
For more information, please visit:
Stephen Bolcar – War Hero, 2016 Citizen of Year, celebrates 100th birthday 2017
On December 19, 2016, Mayor Matt DiLauri proclaimed Stephen (Steve) Bolcar as the Town of Boonton Citizen of the Year for 2016. The proclamation stated:
Steve was born in August 1917 to Stephen and Julia Hornick Bolcar, immigrants from Austria-Hungary. As a toddler, through the determination of his grandmother, survived the flu epidemic that had taken his mother. Afterwards, he was cared for lovingly by his grandparents.
Despite being a good student and very much wanting to continue his studies, left school in order to help support his family. As a teenager, Steve worked for the WPA like many during the Depression.
Steve enlisted in United States Army during World War II. He has been honored with the Air Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal with three bronze battle stars. Steve served in the 445th Bomb Group from September 1944 to May 1945 and flew on many missions as a gunner. The 445th was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Palm in recognition of gallantry and heroism in battle. Steve, survived a plane crash that took the lives of five crew members in February 1945. During the ordeal, Steve helped save the life of a fellow crew member.
Steve met the love of his life Emily Westura at a dance at the Sokol Hall. After the war, Steve and Emily married, and together raised their wonderful children Judy, Bruce and Allen.
Steve served on the Board of Aldermen from 1978 to 1979. He still travels the hills of his beloved Boonton on foot, greeting everyone with a kind word and a pleasant smile.
Aug 5, 2017 – Town Celebrates the 100th birthday of beloved patriarch and WW II tail-gunner
There wasn’t a dry eye to be found at the town’s favorite watering hole when hundreds of friends and family members gathered at Johnnies Tavern to celebrate the 100th birthday os Stephen Bolcar.
The crowd at the 80-year-old tavern filled the parking lot on Boonton Avenue as Morris County Sheriff Jim Gannon arrived in his vintage police patrol car with the guest of honor, who greeted his many fans with a bright smile and familir fist-pump.
“When you have a guy like Steve Bolcar, the town comes out,” said Gannon, who knew Bolcar as a local kid before starting his career as a beat cop on Main Street.
Like Gannon, Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco has known Bolcar since he was a student at Boonton High School. The previous night, Bucco and his wife stopped for a nightcap at Johnnies. “It got to be about 11:30 pm, I was tired and told my wife it was time to leave when the door blows open and it’s Steve, “ Bucco explained. “When we finally left, he was playing pool with some young guys.”
“He’s been a regular for probably 50-60 years,” said Bob Steinhauser, a third-generation owner of the 80-year-old tavern with his brother Jack. “He lives right up the street and likes playing pool with a lot of the young kids. He’ll stay here very late at night shooting pool. And he rarely loses.”
The Steinhauser brothers, along with granddaughter Kate Bolcar, helped to plan the birthday party.. “We were just going to have a little birthday party for him, “ Steinhauser said. “It blew up once people started hearing about it.”
James Gannon – 2017 “There’ a new sheriff in town”
Jim grew up in Boonton in an Irish and Polish Catholic family with two brothers and one sister, who were all raised by his father, mother and grandmother. His passion for law enforcement came from his father, who was a decorated Detective in the New York City Police Department.
Jim graduated from Our Lady of Mount Carmel elementary school and Boonton High School where he played sports and was a member of the Boonton Township Fire Service. His school years are where Jim was influenced by the Italian American community who taught him about church, family, food, language and culture. Gannon earned his Associate’s degree in Law Enforcement from County College of Morris and then his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from William Paterson University.
After graduation, Gannon was a Patrolman in his hometown of Boonton, and Boonton Township, followed by over two decades of service at the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, where he attained the rank of Deputy Chief of Investigations.
Jim was then assigned to the FBI's elite Joint Terrorism Task Force where he focused on foreign terrorist organizations operating in the United States.
Upon retirement, Jim joined the private sector at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, where he recently retired as the Global Head of Security Risk.
Along the way, Gannon graduated from the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Virginia, earned a Certificate in Supervisory Management from Rutgers University and a Master of Administrative Science degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
During his decorated, 33year career in law enforcement and security, Gannon served as Commander of the FuncoLand Homicide Task Force and the Walter Contreras Homicide Task Force, formed the Morris County Cold Case Unit, coauthored the “Morris County Counterterrorism Task Force Manual,” and has lectured, trained and conducted investigations with fellow professionals in places like Russia, Ukraine, South Africa, Hungary, Thailand and Uzbekistan, uniquely preparing him for the day-to-day battle to protect Morris County citizens from terror attacks by radical groups like ISIS.
In addition to his professional career in law enforcement and security, Gannon has given back to the surrounding communities in other ways, including as current President of the 200 Club of Morris County, Adjunct Professor at Centenary College, Life Member of the New Jersey State PBA # 327, Cofounder of the Morris County Chapter of the Emerald Society of the State of New Jersey, and as a Drum Major in the Police Pipes & Drums of Morris County to name just a few.
Gannon was married to his wife, Lisa, for 26 years before losing her in 2010 after a courageous battle against Multiple Sclerosis. Jim and Lisa had one daughter, Kate who, along with her husband Matt, are parents to son Luca. Jim is a lifelong resident of Morris County and lives in Boonton.
In November 2016, James Gannon was voted in to succeed retiring, 24-year Sheriff Edward V. Rochford.
Boonton Opera House is back in business
Daily Record October 16, 2016
The Boonton Opera House is back in business – right down to the period-appropriate period on the front sign overlooking Main Street. Proudly sitting next to the Maxfield Firehouse – another significant recent historic restoration that has added to the town’s modern revival – many residents did not know the 19th century opera house was still there, boarded up behind the public parking lot on Boonton Avenue. But while the three-story building at 715 Main St. has kept its street-level retail storefronts occupied over the years, the larger portion of the three-story structure, behind the stores and two upper-level apartments, has seen little use over the last 100 years.
That all changed in 2012, when Ann and Pat Cox, owners of the popular Heavenly Temptations café and gift shop across the street, purchased the property with the hopes of putting it back to good use.
“Boonton started to turn around when we got building owners to start taking care of their businesses. The result of that is not only do the buildings look nice, but you get great companies.” said Pat Cox.
Renovations began in November 2012. Noting the gap between the back stage and actual dirt ground beneath it, “We decided to excavate, not even knowing if the space was going to be a restaurant, or for entertainment, or something else, “ Pat Cox said.
So we excavated about 11 feet of earth down below the stage.”
That lower-level space eventually was adapted to the new tenants, a Boonton-based digital-marketing business called iMedia.
In 2013, the Cox’s enlisted noted local architect Lawrence Korinda and charged him with coming up with plans that would preserve the character of the space, with the hopes of attracting a tenant in the performing arts, but leaving it open to adaptive use.
Korinda came up with an open floor plan, with the former stage, located on the back wall, rising above the old seating area. What was left of the balcony area after the apartments were added to the front in the 1950’s also offered additional space overlooking the floor.
Elliot Ruga, of the Boonton Historic Preservation Commission, worked with the owners reviewing old photographs of the building and provided recommendations for details including lighting, accent colors and even the font for the lettering of the Boonton Opera House sign, which curiously ended with a period.
“Nobody knew what the period was for,: Ann Cox said. “We put it there anyway.”
Working together with Ruga, in the end, what Boonton got was an historically accurate building renovation to proudly show off at one of Boonton’s main commercial district intersections. The building now matches much more closely to what it looked like 1890.
March 18,2017 – Boonton turns 150
On a chilly Saturday morning in March, about 200 spectators came to see the community’s history recognized and to learn more about the place they call home through its festivities.
The ceremony started with the unveiling of a commemorative anniversary banner that now hangs over the town hall Building. A flag salute was provided by the Boy Scout Troop 1 and Cub Scouts Pack 201, along with the National Anthem sung by the Girl Scout Troops 5046 and 96372.
Following the speeches, the Harmony Senior Drum Corp performed on the front yard of the town hall building.
After the town hall festivities, the spectators were invited to the Boonton Historical Society Museum on Main Street where refreshments were served. The museum featured a special exhibit on the towns centennial year from 1967.
The day ended with more history lessons at the Darress Theatre. With a full house, a local documentary was screened on Boonton’s early history, the development and name origins of certain streets, the styles of architecture that were popular during the early time period and still stand today. The movie was put together by Steve Onopa and Harold Johnson, who was the films narrator.
Mayor Matthew DiLauri remarked, “From 1867 through today, Boonton, New Jersey, has produced and continues to be the home of some of the most amazing people this country has seen.”
“The kinds of people that are woven into the very fabric that has made this nation great for so long. My fellow Boontonites, people like you that walk out your doors each day to make a difference, to belong to something bigger than yourselves and that continue to make Boonton, New Jersey, a small town with a big heart.
And so from all of us to our beloved small town on a hill, a happy birthday and may God continue to bless Boonton, U.S.A.”
Boonton Birthday Celebration continues September 22-24
Friday September 22
- Birthday celebration with a reception of the Historic Boonton Station 1904.
- Russ Conn Art Exhibit. Thanks to a generous donation by our local community hospital, Saint Clare’s Health, a selection of local artist, Russ Conn’s watercolors, featuring Main St. and other Boonton venues, which haven’t been seen in Boonton for 35 years, are being made available to the public for viewing. Lovingly and professional reproduced by John Castronovo’s Boonton Main Street business, Techphoto, the art will be on display from August1st and ending up at the Friday September 22bd reception to honor Boonton’s 150th birthday.
- Bob Bogue Art Exhibit – More thanks are in order to A. Lloyd Charlton who has loaned his collection of Bob Bogue paintings for display during the 150th celebration year.
Saturday September 23
10:00AM - Main Street Tour lead by local historian, 90 yr. old Lloyd Charlton. The tour starts at the top of Main Street across from River Rock Yoga (1175 Main Street)
12:30PM – Time capsule interment at Mayor’s Park (across from the field entrance of Boonton High School)
1:30PM - Showing of the historic architecture tour film at the Darress Theatre
Sunday September 24
• Historic Morris Canal Walking Tour leaving the post office patio at 10AM
• Boonton Day 12 Noon - 4PM on Historic Boonton Main Street. Town of Boonton businesses and organizations welcome to register for FREE, please Click here or see below - Out of town businesses please contact Boonton Parks and Recreation at 973-263-2110
12:30 pm “Join the Mayor at the corner of Boonton Avenue and Main Street along with Harmony Drum Corps for an old fashioned ribbon cutting to officially launch Boonton Day 2017 – The 150th Anniversary Edition”
The Voice semi-finalist Brendan Fletcher. Corner of Cornelia Street and Main
• Children's music starring Big Jeff Top of Main Street in front of Culture Cabin (1017 Main Street)
• Historic Scavenger Hunt happening along Main Street
• 2:00pm - Movie at the Darress Theatre - 1902 Photos of Boonton
• Scavenger hunt on Main Street