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Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Street scene in Basking Ridge
Street scene in Basking Ridge
Basking Ridge, New Jersey is located in Somerset County, New Jersey
Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Location in Somerset County, New Jersey
Basking Ridge, New Jersey is located in New Jersey
Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Location in New Jersey
Basking Ridge, New Jersey is located in the United States
Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Somerset
Township Bernards
Area
 • Total 13.46 sq mi (34.85 km2)
 • Land 13.44 sq mi (34.81 km2)
Elevation
335 ft (102 m)
Population
 • Total 26,747
 • Density 1,987.8/sq mi (767.49/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP code
07920, 07939
Area code(s) 908
GNIS feature ID 874531
ZCTA 07920 Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Map of Basking Ridge ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) 07920

Basking Ridge is an unincorporated community located within Bernards Township in the Somerset Hills region of Somerset County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the population for the ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) 07920 was 26,747.

The area was settled during colonial times. It was home to the old AT&T Headquarters, now operated by Verizon. Basking Ridge is the current headquarters for Collabera, Verizon Wireless, Vencore Labs, Lawyer.com, and Barnes & Noble College Booksellers.

The community of Basking Ridge is part of greater Bernards Township, which also includes the neighborhoods of Liberty Corner, Lyons and West Millington.

History

Basking Ridge was originally settled in the 1720s by British Presbyterians escaping religious persecution. The land was bought from the Lenape Native Americans.

Bernards Township was officially chartered on May 21, 1760 granted by King George II and granted to Sir Francis Bernard, first governor of the noted section which includes Basking Ridge.

On the morning of December 15, 1776, General Charles Lee was captured by the British at Widow White's tavern. Lee had ranked next to Washington in command.

The downtown area of Bernards Township known as Basking Ridge was added to the New Jersey and National Registries as a Historic District. on August 8, 1974.

Demographics

As Basking Ridge is not an independent municipality, demographic data is based on the United States Census Bureau figures for the ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) for the 07920 ZIP Code.

Census 2000

As of the 2000 United States Census there were 24,600 people, 9,300 households, and 6,517 families residing in the ZCTA. The population density was 1,137.1 people per square mile (1830.0/km²). There were 9,537 housing units at an average density of 440.8/sq mi (709.3/km²). The racial makeup of the ZCTA was 89.2% Caucasian, 1.4% African American, 0.1% Native American, 7.8% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. 2.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 9,300 households out of which 37.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.8% were married couples living together, 5.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.9% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the ZCTA the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18 , and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.3 years.

The median income for a household in the ZCTA was $105,471, and the median income for a family was $131,618. Males had a median income of $93,436 versus $60,101 for females. The per capita income for the ZCTA was $54,753. 1.4% of the population and 0.6% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 1.2% of those under the age of 18 and 2.8% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Demographic Basking
Ridge
United
States
Population 21,424 308,745,538
Median Age 37.13 years 37.2 years
Median Household Income $93,946 $51,144
 % of Single Households 37.39% 30.22%
 % of Married Households 62.61% 69.78%
 % Families 70.72% 69.40%
Avg. Household Size 2.42 people 2.58 people
 % College or Higher 59.76% 26.46%
 % White Collar 82.53% 55.54%
Homes Owner Occupied 79.84% 57.72%
Avg. Dwelling Size 6 rooms 4.5 rooms

Arts and culture

Cultural events

Street scene cropped Basking Ridge New Jersey with trees and church
Downtown area with Presbyterian church in distance

Basking Ridge has an annual event in May called Charter Day. Many rides are set up in the Oak Street field—a bounce house, inflatable race tracks, and spinning rides. Also, in the center of the town hundreds of stands are set up mostly promoting school sports, but there are also many kettle corn stands, which is a traditional food children eat during Charter Day. At night, the traditional Battle of the Bands takes place, which many teenagers sign up for to play their favorite songs.

Historic sites

2016.Basking.Ridge.Oak
600 year-old historic oak tree in Basking Ridge, June 2016
  • Basking Ridge is home to a 600-year-old White Oak, perhaps the oldest White Oak in the world. George Washington is said to have picnicked under the so-called "Holy Oak". The tree is located on the historic graveyard of the local Presbyterian church. The tree is 97 feet (30 m) in height and has a trunk circumference of 20 feet (6.1 m) and its lower branches are supported. In 2016 the tree showed signs of distress as its upper parts failed to sprout leaves. Sadly, a big portion of the tree is set to be cut down due to decay in 2017.
  • The Brick Academy was built as the Basking Ridge Classical School; its function was to prepare young men for the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton University). It has also served as a public school, a union hall, a public library, and a town hall. It now serves as a historic museum for Basking Ridge.
  • The Van Dorn Mill was built in 1768 as a wooden structure; it was rebuilt in 1843 as the finest stone structure in New Jersey. Thousands of stones were hauled from the hedgerows of nearby farms. Builders were paid one dollar per day to build the stone mill. Altogether, this amounted to $5,000, a large amount of money in the 1800s. However, the mill paid for itself in the first year of operation.
  • The Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church is a Greek Revival church built in 1839 and is listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places (Added on December 31, 1974.
  • In the center of town is an oak tree that was recorded in General William Lane's diary during the American Revolutionary War.
Warren Kinney Oak, Basking Ridge, NJ - May 2013
Warren Kinney Oak
  • The Warren Kinney Memorial Oak Tree commemorates the life of a well-known dairy farmer and community leader from New Vernon, NJ. According to Mr. Kinney's 1975 obituary, he "helped lead a fight to prevent a jetport from being built on the Great Swamp Wildlife Refuge in Morris County," and was "a founding member of the Madison Square Club, and trustee of the New York Zoological Society."
  • The Devil's Tree is a solitary oak with some dead limbs growing in an undeveloped field on Mountain Road, opposite Emerald Valley Lane. Local legend, documented in Weird NJ magazine and the book based on it, tells that the tree is cursed or the property of the Devil.

National Register of Historic Places

Cafe in Basking Ridge New Jersey
Cafe in the downtown area

Basking Ridge has several properties on the National Register of Historic Places.

Parks and recreation

Beautiful tree in church cemetery in Basking Ridge New Jersey
This ancient tree in a church cemetery in Basking Ridge is supported by numerous poles, as well as wires between the branches

There are several parks within the town. Four are county parks: Lord Stirling Park, Rebel Hill, Southard, and Harry Dunham. The fifth is Pleasant Valley Park which contains the town pool and miles of woodchip trails.

Transportation

Shops and sidewalk and lamps in Basking Ridge New Jersey
Sidewalk and shops

Trains

NJ Transit's Gladstone Branch runs through Basking Ridge. There are two stations that residents can use to get to New York City and Hoboken Terminal:

  • Basking Ridge: Built in 1912 by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, it serves downtown and north Basking Ridge.
  • Lyons: Built in 1931 by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, it serves the Hills, and south Basking Ridge in addition to Liberty Corner. Lyons gets more passengers than Basking Ridge.

Buses

Ice cream shop and tree and sky in Basking Ridge New Jersey
Ice cream shop

Lakeland Bus Lines (Route 78) provides service to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan during peak commuting hours.

Roads and highways

Two Interstates are located near Basking Ridge:

Education

William Annin Middle School
William Annin Middle School in Basking Ridge NJ

Bernards High School was founded by the Bernards Township Board of Education in 1924. When Bernardsville separated from Bernards Township, the schools still remained one system until 1947 when the original high school became the property of Bernardsville. From 1948, however, township students continued attending Bernards High School as tuition students. In 1960 a contract was issued for the construction of a new Ridge High School and Cedar Hill School which were built on approximately 60 acres (24 ha) of land.

William Annin Middle School was originally named after a colonial patriot who settled in Basking Ridge in 1722. Construction started in 1968 and the school was dedicated on September 28, 1969 as William Annin Junior High School and contained grades 5 through 8. It became a middle school in 1982. It currently contains grades 6 through 8. The school is one of the few in the United States to have a seismograph.

There are four elementary schools in Basking Ridge.

  • Liberty Corner School, was built for a farming community in 1905. It is the oldest school in the district. Part of the original building still remains today. It is located in the Liberty Corner section of Bernards Township.
  • Oak Street School was built in 1938, although it was completed late. It was dedicated on November 21, 1939 and opened on November 23, the day before Thanksgiving. Dr. Horatio Gates Whitnall originally owned the property on which Oak Street School was built. The land was used for farming and his home was what is now the Summit Bank. Over the years, the population rose rapidly. It serves downtown Basking Ridge which is the area around the Presbyterian Church and the Old Oak Tree.
  • Cedar Hill School was built 1956. It is situated on land which was once the property of a succession of wealthy families: Owen, Lee, Bissell, and Astor. It was donated in the Mid 1950s by the Lees. It serves the area around William Annin Middle School and Ridge High School.
  • Mount Prospect was built in 1999. The school was built because a new population rolled in by 2000. Basking Ridge was extended southward and a new subdivision was built: The Hills. Mount Prospect is the newest school in the district and serves the Hills.
  • The former Maple Avenue School, a two-story, eight classroom structure, was demolished in the 1970s to make room for the current Basking Ridge Public Library.
  • Enrollment Data (2016)

Ridge High School: 1,937| William Annin Middle: 1,489| Liberty Corner: ~600| Oak Street: ~600| Cedar Hill: ~600| Mount Prospect: ~700|

Notable people

See also (related category): People from Bernards Township, New Jersey

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Basking Ridge include:

  • J. C. Chandor (born 1974), Academy award-nominated writer/director of the 2011 film Margin Call.
  • Chris Daggett (born 1950), former regional administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection who ran for Governor of New Jersey in 2009 as an independent.
  • Scott Fischer (1955–1996), climber and guide who was the first American to climb Lhotse, the fourth-highest mountain in the world. He died on May 11, 1996 in an attempt to climb Mount Everest in the 1996 Everest Disaster.
  • Patricia Lee Gauch (born 1934), author of over 30 works of children's literature who was inducted into the New Jersey Literary Hall of Fame in 1993.
  • Jeff Grace, comedian, screenwriter, film producer, film director and actor, who directed Folk Hero & Funny Guy.
  • Jon Gutwillig (born 1974), guitarist of the Disco Biscuits.
  • Tobin Heath (born 1988), 2x World Cup Champion and 2x Olympic gold medalist soccer player with the United States women's national team.
  • Vincent R. Kramer (1918–2001), United States Marine Corps colonel who was a guerrilla warfare expert and was awarded the Navy Cross during the Korean War.
  • Peter Kuhn (1955-2009), race car driver who won both the USAC and SCCA Formula Super Vee championships in 1980.
  • Philip Lindsley (1786–1855), Presbyterian minister, educator, and classicist who served as the acting president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) from 1822 to 1824.
  • Page McConnell (born 1963), keyboardist best known for his work with Phish.
  • Robert E. Mulcahy III (born 1932), former athletic director at Rutgers University.
  • Akshay Nanavati (born 1984), United States Marine Corps veteran, speaker, entrepreneur, ultra runner and author of Fearvana.
  • Jasbir Puar (born 1967), queer theorist, Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Rutgers University and author of The Right to Maim.
  • Samuel Lewis Southard (1787–1842), served as U.S. Senator, Secretary of the Navy, and the 10th Governor of New Jersey.
  • Meryl Streep (born 1949), multiple Oscar-winning actress
  • LaDainian Tomlinson (born 1979), former NFL running back who played for the San Diego Chargers.
  • The founding members of punk rock band The Bouncing Souls grew up in Basking Ridge.
  • John Jacob Astor VI - Son of John Jacob Astor IV who lost his life on the Titanic in 1912 was a resident of Basking Ridge from 1950-1960 at what is known locally as the Astor Estate
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