Posted by & filed under Bergen County Life.

Ellis Iland

Saving A Turn of the Century Home is more than a real estate story.

It is about how one lady, my Great Aunt, stood up against developers.  She was on a mission to save her turn of the century Hackensack home and neighborhood along with the entire Fairmount District.

My family has spread out across the US but things were different when I was a child.  I grew up in a very close and nurturing world where my large extended Armenian family lived quite near each other.  We were a family of immigrants and their first born all of whom were the adults in my world.

Like so many other Bergen County residents of the time, my family arrived at Ellis Island, settled in Hudson County’s urban neighborhoods and later moved north to Bergen County’s quieter suburban streets and nice sized yards.

Among those moving north was my Great Aunt Aghavnie Hammalian.  My Aunt Aghavnie was a spirited woman who had more spunk than her tiny size would indicate.  I don’t think she was even 5 feet tall.  She had white hair and bright blue eyes that would turn dark if anyone said one negative word about her beloved Hackensack.

Highly intelligent, she spent most of her life as a widow in the 2 family home she bought at 72 Poplar Avenue.  Horrified when developers started tearing down the gorgeous turn of the century homes in her Fairmount neighborhood, she mounted a one woman campaign to stop it.   lovely-victorian-home_2175682

Aunt Aghavnie was adamant that they were not going to get any more homes on her block.  She actively recruited the remaining neighbors (one of whom was a cowering relative) to preserve the street.  After she died they did do more projects but her home still stands as do so many more.

Because of her spunk and drive, she was able to not only save her home but convince many other residents. As a result, the beautiful Fairmount District remains.

My Aunt Aghavnie had the power of one – the power of one person.  Today most of the truly magnificentl homes of Hackensack’s Fairmount District still stand.  People drive though the Fairmount District admiring one turn of the century home after another.

As a real estate agent I often show homes there.  When I drive by 72 Poplar I always smile.  Her turn of the century home is still there.  No, Aunt Aghavnie.  They never got your home.

This article was originally published by me on Jan 24, 2014.  Driving through the Fairmount District and by 72 Poplar, I thought you’d enjoy reading this.  So here it is again for you.  Barbara

One Response to “Saving A Turn of the Century Home”

  1. Evelyn Gort Friedman

    Great work Auntie A. I will drive by your house on Poplar, admiring the house and your spirit! Thanks for the story Barbara.