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Bordentown, New Jersey
City of Bordentown
Clara Barton School
Clara Barton School
The City of Bordentown highlighted in Burlington County. Inset map: Burlington County highlighted in the State of New Jersey
The City of Bordentown highlighted in Burlington County. Inset map: Burlington County highlighted in the State of New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Bordentown, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Bordentown, New Jersey
Bordentown, New Jersey is located in Burlington County, New Jersey
Bordentown, New Jersey
Bordentown, New Jersey
Location in Burlington County, New Jersey
Bordentown, New Jersey is located in New Jersey
Bordentown, New Jersey
Bordentown, New Jersey
Location in New Jersey
Bordentown, New Jersey is located in the United States
Bordentown, New Jersey
Bordentown, New Jersey
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Burlington
Settled 1682
Incorporated December 9, 1825 (as borough)
Reincorporated April 3, 1867 (as city)
Named for Joseph Borden
 • Type Walsh Act
 • Body Board of Commissioners
 • Total 0.97 sq mi (2.52 km2)
 • Land 0.93 sq mi (2.42 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)  4.02%
Area rank 504th of 565 in state
36th of 40 in county
49 ft (15 m)
 • Total 3,924
 • Estimate 
 • Rank 415th of 566 in state
31st of 40 in county
 • Density 4,222.3/sq mi (1,630.2/km2)
 • Density rank 142nd of 566 in state
4th of 40 in county
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 609 exchanges: 291, 298, 324, 424
FIPS code 3400506670
GNIS feature ID 0885165

Bordentown is a city in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 3,924. The population declined by 45 (-1.1%) from the 3,969 counted in the 2000 U.S. Census, which had in turn declined by 372 (-8.6%) from the 4,341 counted in the 1990 Census.

Bordentown is located at the confluence of the Delaware River, Blacks Creek, and Crosswicks Creek. The latter is the border between Burlington and Mercer counties. Bordentown is the northernmost municipality in New Jersey that is considered a part of the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is approximately one-third the distance between Center City Philadelphia and Midtown Manhattan, located 5.8 miles (9.3 km) south of the state capital Trenton, 27 miles (43 km) northeast of Center City Philadelphia, and 53 miles (85 km) southwest of New York City.

Bordentown's first recorded European settlement was made in 1682 in what became known as Farnsworth's Landing and, after 1717, the town that had developed in the Provence of New Jersey was renamed to Borden's Town. Following the revolution and the establishment of the New Jersey state government, Bordentown was incorporated with a borough government form by an act of its legislature on December 9, 1825, from portions within Chesterfield Township. It was reincorporated with a city government form on April 3, 1867, and it was separated from Chesterfield Township about 1877.


Thomas Farnsworth, an English Quaker, was credited with being the first European settler in the Bordentown area in 1682, when he moved his family up river from Burlington. He made a new home on the windswept bluff overlooking the broad bend in the Delaware River. The Farnsworth's cabin was situated near the northwest corner of Park Street and Prince Street, perhaps where an 1883 frame house now stands. "Farnsworth Landing" soon became the center of trade for the region. Farnsworth is also the namesake of one of Bordentown's main street, Farnsworth Avenue.

Joseph Borden, for whom the city is named, arrived in 1717, and by May 1740 founded a transportation system to carry people and freight between New York City and Philadelphia. This exploited Bordentown's natural location as the point on the Delaware River that provided the shortest overland route to Perth Amboy, from which cargo and people could be ferried to New York City.

By 1776, Bordentown was full of patriots. Patience Lovell Wright, America's first female sculptor, was creating wax busts in King George's court in England. Later, however, Bordentown became a rabble-rousing hotbed. In addition to Joseph Borden's son (also named Joseph Borden), who became a colonel during the war, patriots Francis Hopkinson (a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence), Colonel Kirkbride, Colonel Oakey Hoagland and Thomas Paine resided in the area. Due to their well-published activity in Bordentown, the British retaliated. Hessians occupied the town in 1776, and the British pillaged and razed the town during May and June 1778.

Other notable people who have lived in the city include Clara Barton, who in 1852 started the first free public school in New Jersey and later founded the American Red Cross. A recreation of her schoolhouse stands at the corner of Crosswicks and Burlington streets.

The Bordentown School operated from 1894 to 1955.

Joseph Bonaparte

Bordentown Joseph Bonaparte 003
Former Bonaparte mansion, after its remodeling
Bordentown Joseph Bonaparte 002
Original entrance of Bonaparte tunnel entrance

Several years after the banishing of his family from France in 1816, arriving under vigilant disguise as the Count de Survilliers, Joseph Bonaparte, former King of Naples and Spain and brother to Napoleon I of France, established his residence in Bordentown. He lived there for 17 years, entertaining guests of great fame such as Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and the future 6th U.S. President, John Quincy Adams. The residents of Bordentown nicknamed the Count, "The Good Mr. Bonaparte" (Good to distinguish him from his younger brother). He built a lake near the mouth of Crosswicks Creek that was about 200 yards wide and half a mile long. On the bluff above it he built a new home, "Point Breeze". The current Divine Word Mission occupies its former site along Park Street.

Today only vestiges of the Bonaparte estate remain. Much of it is actually the remains of a building remodeled in English Georgian Revival style in 1924 for Harris Hammon, who purchased the estate at Point Breeze as built in 1850 by Henry Becket, a British consul in Philadelphia. In addition to the rubble of this mansion and some hedges of its elaborate gardens, only the original tunnel to the river (broken through in several places) and the house of Bonaparte's secretary remain. Many descendants of Joachim Murat, King of Naples, also were born or lived in Bordentown, having followed their uncle Joseph there. After the Bonaparte dynasty was restored by Napoleon III, they moved back to France and were recognized as princes.

In August 1831, master mechanic Isaac Dripps of Bordentown re-assembled (without blueprints or instructions) the locomotive John Bull (originally called "The Stevens") in just 10 days. It was built by Robert Stephenson and Company, in England, and was imported into Philadelphia by the Camden and Amboy Railroad. The next year it started limited service, and the year after that regular service, to become one of the first successful locomotives in the United States. The John Bull is preserved at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

In 1866, Susan Waters moved into what is now one of the larger properties on Mary Street. This was a base from which she taught and produced over 50 of her works, many of which are painting of animals in natural settings and pastoral scenes. She was also an early photographer. In 1876 she was asked to exhibit several of her works at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.

In 1881, Rev. William Bowen purchased the old Spring Villa Female Seminary building (built on land purchased from the Bonapartes in 1837) and reopened it as the Bordentown Military Institute. In 1886, African-American Rev. Walter A. Rice established a private school for African-American children, the Manual Training and Industrial School for Colored Youth, in a two-story house at 60 West Street, which later moved to Walnut Street on the banks of the Delaware, and became a public school in 1894 under Jim Crow laws. The school, which was known as the Bordentown School, came to have a 400-acre (1.6 km2), 30-building campus with two farms, a vocational/ technical orientation, and a college preparatory program.

In 1909, the religious order Poor Clares established a convent in the former Motherhouse of the Sisters of Mercy on Crosswicks Street. The building still stands and is used as an assisted living home for non-ambulatory elderly, called The Clare Estate. The Order of Poor Clares moved to a new facility outside Bordentown City.

The city has become a destination for weekend dining as well as for the casual perusal of its book and record stores, historical sites and art galleries. The active downtown business association sponsors an annual Iris Festival & Art Show in early May, an annual Street Fair in mid- to late May, and an annual Cranberry Festival in early October. The Bordentown Historical Society sponsors other events, such as the Holiday House Tour and Peach Social.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 0.968 square miles (2.507 km2), including 0.929 square miles (2.407 km2) of land and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2) of water (3.99%),

The City of Bordentown is surrounded on three sides by Bordentown Township and on the western side by the juncture of the Delaware River and Crosswicks Creek, which is the border with Hamilton Township in Mercer County. It is bounded on the east by U.S. Route 130 and U.S. Route 206, on the south by Black's Creek and Interstate 295, and on the north by the Mile Hollow Run. Across the Delaware River is Falls Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 2,725
1860 1,130 −58.5%
1880 4,258
1890 4,232 −0.6%
1900 4,110 −2.9%
1910 4,250 3.4%
1920 4,371 2.8%
1930 4,405 0.8%
1940 4,223 −4.1%
1950 5,497 30.2%
1960 4,974 −9.5%
1970 4,490 −9.7%
1980 4,441 −1.1%
1990 4,341 −2.3%
2000 3,969 −8.6%
2010 3,924 −1.1%
2019 (est.) 3,792 −3.4%
Population sources: 1850-2000
1850-1920 1850-1870
1850 1870 1880-1890
1890-1910 1910-1930
1930-1990 2000 2010

Census 2010

As of the census of 2010, there were 3,924 people, 1,859 households, and 922 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,222.3 per square mile (1,630.2/km2). There were 2,014 housing units at an average density of 2,167.1 per square mile (836.7/km2)*. The racial makeup of the city was 83.51% (3,277) White, 10.12% (397) Black or African American, 0.20% (8) Native American, 2.73% (107) Asian, 0.03% (1) Pacific Islander, 1.17% (46) from other races, and 2.24% (88) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.81% (228) of the population.

There were 1,859 households out of which 21.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.4% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.4% were non-families. 41.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the city, the population was spread out with 18.4% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 29.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.3 years. For every 100 females there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 87.1 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $66,557 (with a margin of error of +/- $9,567) and the median family income was $90,165 (+/- $11,644). Males had a median income of $52,652 (+/- $10,201) versus $48,906 (+/- $9,108) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $36,814 (+/- $3,714). About 1.7% of families and 3.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including none of those under age 18 and 12.1% of those age 65 or over.

Federal, state and county representation

Bordentown City is located in the 3rd Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 7th state legislative district. Prior to the 2011 reapportionment following the 2010 Census, Bordentown City had been in the 30th state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Bordentown City had been part of the 4th Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections.

New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District is represented by Tom MacArthur (R, Toms River). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (D, Paramus, 2019). For the 2016–2017 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 7th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Diane Allen (R, Edgewater Park Township) and in the General Assembly by Herb Conaway (D, Moorestown) and Troy Singleton (D, Palmyra). The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach). Burlington County is governed by a Board of chosen freeholders, whose five members are elected at-large in partisan elections to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year. The board chooses a director and deputy director from among its members at an annual reorganization meeting held in January. As of 2015, Burlington County's Freeholders are Director Mary Ann O'Brien (R, Medford Township, 2017; Director of Administration and Human Services), Deputy Director Bruce Garganio (R, Florence Township, 2017; Director of Public Works and Health), Aimee Belgard (D, Edgewater Park Township, 2015; Director of Hospital, Medical Services and Education) Joseph Donnelly (R, Cinnaminson Township, 2016; Director of Public Safety, Natural Resources, and Education) and Joanne Schwartz (D, Southampton Township, 2015; Director of Health and Corrections). Constitutional officers are County Clerk Tim Tyler, Sheriff Jean E. Stanfield and Surrogate George T. Kotch.


As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 2,493 registered voters in Bordentown City, of which 906 (36.3% vs. 33.3% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 500 (20.1% vs. 23.9%) were registered as Republicans and 1,085 (43.5% vs. 42.8%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 2 voters registered to other parties. Among the city's 2010 Census population, 63.5% (vs. 61.7% in Burlington County) were registered to vote, including 77.9% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 80.3% countywide).

In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 1,298 votes (66.4% vs. 58.1% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 605 votes (31.0% vs. 40.2%) and other candidates with 34 votes (1.7% vs. 1.0%), among the 1,954 ballots cast by the city's 2,634 registered voters, for a turnout of 74.2% (vs. 74.5% in Burlington County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 1,305 votes (64.8% vs. 58.4% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 669 votes (33.2% vs. 39.9%) and other candidates with 25 votes (1.2% vs. 1.0%), among the 2,015 ballots cast by the city's 2,543 registered voters, for a turnout of 79.2% (vs. 80.0% in Burlington County). In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 1,151 votes (58.7% vs. 52.9% countywide), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 778 votes (39.7% vs. 46.0%) and other candidates with 17 votes (0.9% vs. 0.8%), among the 1,961 ballots cast by the city's 2,488 registered voters, for a turnout of 78.8% (vs. 78.8% in the whole county).

In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 661 votes (51.0% vs. 61.4% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 579 votes (44.7% vs. 35.8%) and other candidates with 30 votes (2.3% vs. 1.2%), among the 1,295 ballots cast by the city's 2,658 registered voters, yielding a 48.7% turnout (vs. 44.5% in the county). In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 714 ballots cast (50.1% vs. 44.5% countywide), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 553 votes (38.8% vs. 47.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 86 votes (6.0% vs. 4.8%) and other candidates with 54 votes (3.8% vs. 1.2%), among the 1,424 ballots cast by the city's 2,567 registered voters, yielding a 55.5% turnout (vs. 44.9% in the county).


2018-05-23 18 30 15 View north along U.S. Route 130 and U.S. Route 206 at Burlington County Route 528 (Crosswicks Street) in Bordentown, Burlington County, New Jersey
US 130/206 at CR 528 in Bordentown

Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the city had a total of 12.73 miles (20.49 km) of roadways, of which 10.09 miles (16.24 km) were maintained by the municipality, 2.25 miles (3.62 km) by Burlington County and 0.39 miles (0.63 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

U.S. Route 130 and U.S. Route 206 run through very briefly and intersect at County Route 528 in the city. In addition to CR 528's western terminus in Bordentown, County Route 545 has its northern terminus in the city. The New Jersey Turnpike (Interstate 95) passes through neighboring Bordentown Township with access at interchange 7 to U.S. Route 206, which is signed as Bordentown-Trenton. Interstate 295 also passes through Bordentown Township and has two interchanges that take travelers into Bordentown: exit 56 and exit 57.

Public transportation

The Bordentown station at Park Street offers service between the Trenton Rail Station in Trenton and the Walter Rand Transportation Center (and other stations) in Camden, on NJ Transit's River Line Light rail system.

NJ Transit provides bus service in the township between Trenton and Philadelphia on the 409 route.


Bordentown City's one square mile is home to more than 10 houses of worship, including: American Presbyterian Church, B'nai Abraham Synagogue, Christ Episcopal Church, Dorothea Dix Unitarian Universalist Community, Ebenezer Full Gospel Community Church, First Baptist Church of Bordentown, First Presbyterian Church, Mount Zion AME Church, Saint Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Shiloh Baptist Church, Trinity United Methodist Church and Union Baptist Church.


Downtown Bordentown has many book, record and antique stores lining its streets, with Italian and American restaurants. The restaurants are primarily Italian, but there are also restaurants and diners that specialize in American food, Chinese food, and more recently Japanese and Latin-American food.


Public schools

Public school students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grades attend the schools of the Bordentown Regional School District, which serves students from Bordentown City, Bordentown Township and Fieldsboro Borough. As of the 2017–18 school year, the district, comprised of five schools, had an enrollment of 2,528 students and 182.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 13.8:1. Schools in the district (with 2017-18 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Clara Barton Elementary School with 235 students in grades K-3 (generally serves Bordentown City and the Holloway Meadows section of Bordentown Township), Peter Muschal Elementary School with 512 students in grades PreK-3 (generally serves remainder of Bordentown Township and the Borough of Fieldsboro), MacFarland Intermediate School with 391 students in grades 4–5, Bordentown Regional Middle School with 623 students in grades 6-8 and Bordentown Regional High School 733 students in grades 9-12. The district's board of education has nine members, who are elected directly by voters to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with three seats up for election each year. The board's nine seats are allocated based on the population of the constituent municipalities, with three seats assigned to Bordentown City.

The New Hanover Township School District, consisting of New Hanover Township (including its Cookstown area) and Wrightstown Borough, sends students to Bordentown Regional High School on a tuition basis for ninth through twelfth grades as part of a sending/receiving relationship that has been in place since the 1960s, with about 50 students from the New Hanover district being sent to the high school. As of 2011, the New Hanover district was considering expansion of its relationship to send students to Bordentown for middle school for grades 6–8.

Students from Bordentown, and from all of Burlington County, are eligible to attend the Burlington County Institute of Technology, a countywide public school district that serves the vocational and technical education needs of students at the high school and post-secondary level at its campuses in Medford and Westampton Township.

Private schools

Saint Mary School was a Catholic school serving students in Pre-K - 8, that operated for over 100 years under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton. The school closed its doors in June 2013 due to the school's financial challenges in the face of enrollment that was half of the 220 students needed to remain financially viable.

The Bordentown Military Institute was located in the city from 1881 to 1972. The Society of the Divine Word fathers operated a minor seminary in Bordentown from 1947 to 1983. One of its more notable alumni Douglas Palmer was the four-term mayor of Trenton, New Jersey, leaving office in 2009.

Notable people

BHS-TP Statue
This statue on Prince Street honors Thomas Paine, who periodically lived in Bordentown
See also (related category): People from Bordentown, New Jersey

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

  • Burgiss Allison (1753–1827), Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives from 1816-1820.
  • Ricardo Almeida (born 1976), Brazilian-American mixed martial artist and Brazilian jiu-jitsu grappler.
  • Al Aronowitz (1928–2005), rock journalist who claimed that Bob Dylan wrote his famous "Mr. Tambourine Man" in Aronowitz's former Berkeley Heights home.
  • Clara Barton (1821–1912), in 1852 started the first free public school in New Jersey and later founded the American Red Cross.
  • Charlotte Bonaparte (1802–1839), artist and daughter of Joseph Bonaparte, whose works included a series of landscape paintings of New Jersey scenes.
  • Joseph Bonaparte (1768–1844), King of Naples and Sicily, King of Spain and the Indies and brother to Napoleon I of France.
  • Denise Borino-Quinn (1964–2010), actress who played the role of Ginny Sacramoni, the wife of New York mob boss Johnny Sack in The Sopranos.
  • Herb Conaway (born 1963), member of the New Jersey General Assembly who has represented the 7th Legislative District since 1988.
  • Erica Dambach (born 1975), head coach of Penn State Nittany Lions women's soccer]] team.
  • Robert Duncan (born 1948), Anglican bishop who was the first primate and archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), serving from June 2009 to June 2014.
  • Dionne Farris (born 1968), singer-songwriter best known for her work as a vocalist with the hip-hop group Arrested Development.
  • Samuel C. Forker (1821–1900), represented New Jersey's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1871–1873.
  • Peter Gamble (1793–1814), midshipman who was killed in action at the Battle of Lake Champlain during the War of 1812.
  • Eric Gibbons (born 1966), artist and owner of The Firehouse Gallery of Bordentown and founder of Firehouse Publications.
  • Richard Watson Gilder (1844–1909), poet, author and editor of The Century Magazine.
  • Eric Hamilton (born 1953), retired American football coach, who was head football coach at The College of New Jersey from 1977 through 2012.
  • Francis Hopkinson (1737–1791), author who was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Joachim, 4th Prince Murat (1834–1901), Major-General in the French Army.
  • Joseph R. Malone (born 1949), former member of the New Jersey General Assembly who served as Bordentown's mayor from 1973 to 1993 and 2013 to 2017.
  • Edward McCall (1790–1853), officer in the United States Navy during the War of 1812 who was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.
  • Joseph Menna (born 1974), sculptor.
  • Rob Novak (born 1986). runner who specialized in the 800 meters.
  • Thomas Paine (1737–1809), American and French Revolution inspiration and author of many works, including "Common Sense" and "The Rights of Man".
  • Chris Prynoski (born 1971), animator.
  • Joshua Shaw (1776–1860), English-American artist and inventor.
  • Charles Stewart (1778–1869), United States Navy admiral, resided in Bordentown at the time of his death in 1869.
  • Ishod Wair (born 1991), professional skateboarder who was Thrasher magazine's Skater of the Year 2013.
  • Susan Waters (1823–1900), painter and photographer, who was active in the suffrage movement and in animal rights causes.
  • Joseph Wright (1756–1793), artist and engraver who is credited as the designer of the Liberty Cap Large Cent.
  • Patience Wright (1725–1786), America's first native-born sculptor.
  • Joshua M. Zeitz (born 1974), historian and writer who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2008 and served as a policy adviser to the Corzine Administration.
  • August Zeller (1863–1918), sculptor who was a student of Thomas Eakins and Auguste Rodin.

Images for kids

See also

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