Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey is a quiet suburban hamlet, known for its affluent residents, and its strange-sounding syllabic Native American Indian name.
Well, most accounts anyway trace the origin of Ho-Ho-Kus to the Chihohokies Indian tribe or to the word “hohokes,” which means whistle of the wind against the trees. Or it could refer to a Native American word for running water, named so because of the brook running through the town.
But according to the town’s official website, the most likely origin is a contraction of the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indian term "Mah-Ho-Ho-Kus" (or "Mehokhokus"), meaning "the red cedar.”
But whatever definition you choose, the hamlet, with its stately homes, top-notch schools, tree-lined streets and small town feel along busy Route 17, received the no. 1 town ranking in the 2011 New Jersey Monthly Top Towns survey. The 4,078 residents benefit by the short commute into Manhattan, low crime rate and a fairly low tax rate for New Jersey, which has one of the highest property tax rates in the country.
What’s in a Name?
The name "Ho-Ho-Kus" was used explicitly in the resolution requesting a change of name from that of Orvil passed by the Borough Council on October 12, 1908 and submitted to the Secretary of State of New Jersey. Founding fathers requested "that the Borough now known as the Borough of Orvil be hereafter known as the Borough of Ho-Ho-Kus..."