Fair Lawn is an old Dutch settlement, gained attention as the site of Radburn, a world-famous experiment is post-automobile city planning. The concepts behind Radburn, which was built in 1929 by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright have been widely influential in British and continental town planning. Organized in super blocks, Radburn segregated cars from people and had the fronts of the houses face common greens. Parking was close enough to a house to enable a shopper to carry groceries easily, but the children could walk to school without ever crossing a street. The Depression interfered with the original completion of the plan, and many post- World War II houses coexist with the 1929 buildings. To get a better sense of the original flavor, look at photographs in the lobby of the commercial building at Plaza Rd. and High Street. The Radburn historic district includes Fair Lawn, Berdan, and Prospect Aves. and Plaza and Radburn Roads.
Just west of Plaza Road on Pollitt Drive is the Cadmus House, an early-19th-century Dutch stone house, moved to its present site. Once part of a farm that covered half of present-day Fair Lawn, the house has been converted to a museum. One room is furnished with Victorian pieces, another with old fire-fighting equipment, another with artifacts from a farmhouse destroyed to build a highway interchange. The collection also includes a variety of local memorabilia.
West of Radburn near the Passaic River is the Garretson Forge and Farm Restoration. The Garretson family left the Netherlands in 1660 and bought this land in 1668. Six generations lived on the farm until Mary Garretson died in 1950. The property was rescued from a developer and is currently being restored. The main section of the 18th-century house was made of dressed stone; the sandstone blocks were held together with mortar made of river mud mixed with straw and hogs' hair. The carriage shed and the kitchen wing with its beehive oven have also been restored. Among the furnishings are a rope bed and a kas , and there are periodic displays of 19th- and 20th-century artifacts, including some from the Garretson family; early iron work; and antique farming tools, as well as cooking demonstrations, sheep-shearing festivals, and harvest festivals.
Oreos, the country's most popular cookie, are manufactured at the Nabisco Fair Lawn Bakery, as are animal crackers and Newtons.
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