Just one peppercorn, if demanded

On January 9, 1804, Jacob Van Winkle
deeded a strip of land to school trustees for
the construction of a school. Van Winkle
requested a token yearly rent of just one
peppercorn, if demanded, for the land. The
peppercorn was a dried berry of black pepper,
expensive in quantity because it was an Asian
spice that had to be imported by ship.
The first schoolhouse was erected that same
year with money raised by subscription. The
cost was $162.20.

Thus was born the first known public school
system in Bergen County.

The schoolhouse: 1849 - 1893
The building was used until 1849 when it was
torn down and a two-story frame building was
erected. Only the first floor was used until
1873, when an increase in population created
a need for more space. Another teacher was
hired and the second floor was equipped. A
cupola and bell were added in 1874, as well as
two closets for a library. The 1849 building was
used until 1893.

The schoolhouse: 1893
In 1893, the 1849 building was torn down and
sold to a Mr. Conley for $35. However, the
cupola and bell were salvaged and added to
the newly constructed building. The cost for
the 1893 schoolhouse, again a one-story,
one-room structure, was $2,541.83, including
a $70 architect's fee.
The cupola, salvaged from
the 1849 building.
The cupola, salvaged from
the 1849 building.