in Montclair, NJ
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For thousands of years before the beginning of European settlement,
the area we know today as Montclair was part of the homeland of
the Lenape Indians, who hunted and trapped here and passed over
the mountains on their way to gather shellfish at the shore. Such
place names as Watchung (on the hill) and Yantacaw (place of dancing)
bear witness to their heritage.
The story of Montclair as a settled community, however, begins with
the founding of Newark by English people from Connecticut in 1666.
The lands of the Newark settlement extended westward to First Mountain,
and having acquired acreage at "the foot of the mountain,"
Azariah Crane, his wife Mary Treat Crane, and their son Nathaniel,
built a home in 1694 near the present intersection of Orange Road
and Myrtle Avenue. Other pioneers arrived soon after, and the frontier
settlement of Cranetown came into being in what is now the southern
part of Montclair.
In 1679 Dutch
settlers acquired land from the Lenape Indians west of the Passaic
River and north of Newark, an arrangement later confirmed by the
British government. Early in the 1700's John Speer, a member of
the Dutch community, built a home that stands today on Upper Mountain
Avenue just north of the Montclair border. Other Dutch settlers
established farms in what is now the northern half of Montclair.
This community became known as Speertown. Later Valley Road was
laid out, thus providing a link between the two settlements. Moving
Companies Montclair, NJ