During World War I from August 1917 to June 30, 1920, 1,088,081 servicemen from all over the country past through Camp Merritt, the United States embarkation camp, which was located in the general area where Cresskill, Dumont, Tenafly, Closter, Harrington Park, Englewood, and Northvale are today.
The monument in Cresskill where Madison Avenue and Knickerbocker Road meet and create a roundabout, which goes around the monument, was dedicated in 1924 in honor of the 563 men and women who died in the 1918 flu epidemic while stationed and working at Camp Merritt.  The dedication was so important that it was done by General Pershing himself, who had led the American forces to fame and triumph in World War I
The background is a photo of that day of dedication. 
The articles which follow tell the story of the camp as it unfolded in the newspaper during the Great War.

If you want to get an understanding of the effect World War I had on the area, some veterans to note are as follows: First click on Albert Klaiber, one of the early enlisted men who graduated from Hackensack High School and was Killed in Action.  Another Hackensack High School graduate E. Frederic Morrow, the first black Presidential aide in the history of the United States under the Eisenhower administration, gives his perspective of the Black community’s view of the Great War at the time on pages 74-83 in his book, Way Down South Up North, copyright 1973. 

E. Fredric Morrow’s brother, Eugene Morrow, is worth looking up on his service during World War I.   

The description of the negative effects the camp had revealed in the articles coincides with E. F. Morrow’s writing, along with the positive improvement of roads, are reflected in the news articles.

Eugene Breen gives a lot of information on how baseball was a big part of the area at the turn of the century. 

Frank Brough’s page has articles on him and reveals the deep sense of patriotism throughout the area.  His sister is mentioned a few times in singing and entertaining at Camp Merritt.  His story is very moving.  Particularly the letter sent home by a nurse brings one to tears.

Harry Doremus must be mentioned for he was so beloved by the area.  As you drive around, you may notice streets with his family name.  He was 42 years old when he took the Regiment from Hackensack overseas.
By the times standards, he was an old man.                                                                                           

H. Kent Hewitt did escort missions across Atlantic and Mediterrenian and escorted President Wilson to the peace conference. From Hackensack, he became head of all naval forces at the end of World War II in the European Theater.     

Click on 1917 prohibition article on drunken driving.  It helps to clarify partly why prohibition came about.  The accidents and incidences caused by drunken behavior at Camp Merritt, and I am sure camps all over the United States, only added to its passage.

Written by:
Bob Meli
January 4, 2016

Click on each individual year to view corresponding articles arranged by month

1967 1999 2017

Year 1917



Year 1918

Year 1919

Year 1922

Year 1924


Year 1967

Year 1999

Year 2017