The 125th anniversary of the founding of the Village of Hillburn was celebrated July 28 at the annual Hillburn Day fair. Attractions at the event included rides for the kids, firetrucks, raffles and various give-a-ways.
Each year the famous Mt. Fuji Restaurant of Hillburn adds a distinct flavor to the occasion, providing free food to the public. Hundreds turned out to enjoy the fair, celebrate the anniversary and enjoy fine food at a perfect price.
THE HISTORY OF ROCKLAND’S LITTLE VILLAGE IN THE WOODS
BY DYLAN SKRILOFF
The village, situated adjacent to the Torne Valley in the Ramapo Highlands of western Ramapo, has a humble population of 951 person as of the 2010 census. Its history, however, is densely populated with intriguing facts, as well as events that helped chart the destiny of the United States nation.
Hillburn was settled in the late 1700s and early 1800s, primarily by remnants of the Lenape Indian tribes, freedmen of African ancestry and Dutch families. Intermarriage between the groups became commonplace, resulting in a unique ethnic heritage prevalent in Hillburn, as well as parts of Mahwah and Ringwood, New Jersey. The hamlet of Monsey in eastern Ramapo derives its name from the Munsee language traditionally spoken by Lenape tribes.
In 1980 the State of New Jersey recognized inheritors of the area’s mixed-lineage as the “Ramapo Lenape Nation.” The federal government, however, has denied any official designation.
Hillburn is noted historically for its role in a legal case that aided the burgeoning 20th century civil rights movement. In 1943, attorney Thurgood Marshall–later to become the first African-American US Supreme Court justice–won a lawsuit claiming the village’s school system provided children of color inferior facilities to white families.
Marshall’s victory paved the way for his landmark Brown vs. the Board of Education case, effectively ruling racial segregation to be unconstitutional and abolishing “separate but equal” as a legal precept. Marshall was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice in 1967, serving until 1991.