Owner of Hasbrouck Heights’ last farm, Edson Stagg, dies
This tribute/obituary appeared in The Record on Sept. 10, 2010:
Edson Stagg, the last farmer in Hasbrouck Heights, died Saturday at his home in Hunterdon County. He was 89.
Mr. Stagg operated a produce and flower farm for more than 25 years on land his father acquired in 1919. The land included a Dutch sandstone house dating to 1728. Mr. Stagg was born in the farmhouse.Edson Stagg operated this produce and flower farm in Hasbrouck Heights for more than 25 years on land his father acquired in 1919. He sold the property in 1972 and moved to Hunterdon County, where he opened another farm.
“When my father bought this farm … it was a mile long and 500 feet wide. It stretched all the way from the Erie Railroad tracks in Hackensack to the Lodi bleachery,” Mr. Stagg told a reporter in 1972, after he sold what remained of the family’s property, including the farmhouse, to a developer. By then, Stagg’s Farm was shoehorned between Routes 80 and 46, and a 12-story hotel, now the Hasbrouck Heights Hilton, was across the way.
Mr. Stagg grew and sold flowers in the spring and vegetables in the summer and fall. He sold Christmas trees during the holidays.
“He was a strong, determined man who knew what he wanted and was fussy about his road stand,” said his wife, Tory. “Everything had to be spotless, and anything not of A-1 quality would go right into the garbage.”
“We used to go there to buy our corn and tomatoes in the summer,” said Louise Davenport, 81, the Hasbrouck Heights historian and former borough clerk.
Mr. Stagg continued to operate the farm after moving to East Paterson in 1963. “But his heart, his whole life, was in Hasbrouck Heights,” his wife said. “He was very sad he had to sell, but he knew things were changing after they built the hotel across the street.”
The Staggs moved to Kingwood Township in 1980. Mr. Stagg had another Stagg’s Farm there — this one growing annuals and poinsettias.
In addition to his wife of 63 years, he is survived by his children, Edson Emil Stagg of Carlstadt and Jessica S. Morgan of Elmwood Park; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Visiting is today from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Patrick J. Conte Funeral Home, Elmwood Park. The funeral service will be held there Thursday at 10 a.m.