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Bridgewater Township, New Jersey
Township of Bridgewater
Bridgewater Commons in the township
Bridgewater Commons in the township
Census Bureau map of Bridgewater Township, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Bridgewater Township, New Jersey
Bridgewater Township, New Jersey is located in Somerset County, New Jersey
Bridgewater Township, New Jersey
Bridgewater Township, New Jersey
Location in Somerset County, New Jersey
Bridgewater Township, New Jersey is located in New Jersey
Bridgewater Township, New Jersey
Bridgewater Township, New Jersey
Location in New Jersey
Bridgewater Township, New Jersey is located in the United States
Bridgewater Township, New Jersey
Bridgewater Township, New Jersey
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Somerset
Royal charter April 4, 1749
Incorporated February 21, 1798
Named for English town of Bridgwater
 • Type Faulkner Act Mayor-council
 • Body Township Council
 • Total 32.36 sq mi (83.81 km2)
 • Land 31.89 sq mi (82.59 km2)
 • Water 0.47 sq mi (1.23 km2)  1.46%
Area rank 76th of 565 in state
4th of 21 in county
138 ft (42 m)
 • Total 44,464
 • Estimate 
 • Rank 42nd of 566 in state
2nd of 21 in county
 • Density 1,387.9/sq mi (535.9/km2)
 • Density rank 349th of 566 in state
8th of 21 in county
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Code
08836 - Martinsville
08805 - Bound Brook
Area code(s) 732 and 908
FIPS code 3403507720
GNIS feature ID 0882171

Bridgewater Township is a township in Somerset County, New Jersey, United States. The township is both a regional hub for Central New Jersey and a major bedroom suburb of New York City in the much larger New York Metropolitan Area, located within the heart of the Raritan Valley region. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 44,464, reflecting an increase of 1,524 (+3.5%) from the 42,940 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 10,431 (+32.1%) from the 32,509 counted in the 1990 Census. As of the 2019 Population Estimates Program census estimate, the township's population was 43,968.

Bridgewater Township was created by Royal charter on April 4, 1749, from portions of the Northern precinct. It was incorporated as one of New Jersey's initial group of 104 townships by the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798, under the Township Act of 1798. During the nineteenth century, portions of the township were taken to form Warren Township (March 5, 1806), Branchburg Township (April 5, 1845), Somerville (March 25, 1863), Raritan (April 3, 1868) and Bound Brook (March 24, 1869).


Middlebrook Encampment Flag
Thirteen Star Flag at the site of the Middlebrook encampment in Bridgewater is displayed continuously

Bridgewater is a relatively large, suburban township located in the center of Somerset County. The area of the present Township of Bridgewater was originally purchased from a local Lenape Native American tribe. Bridgewater was chartered by George II of Great Britain in 1749, and incorporated on February 21, 1798, as one of New Jersey's 104 original townships. It is named after the town of Bridgwater in the English county of Somerset.

Tradition holds that it was at the Middlebrook encampment that the first official flag of the United States was unfurled, after a law to adopt a national flag had been passed by Congress on June 14, 1777. By special order of Congress, a Thirteen Star Flag is flown 24 hours a day at the Washington Camp Ground, part of the former Middlebrook encampment, in Bridgewater. Since 1889, the first hoisting of the flag is commemorated annually each July 4 with a changing of the flag, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, and the delivery of an historical address.

Until the 1960s, Bridgewater was largely known as a farming community. In the 1970s its population began to grow when residents of larger cities such as Plainfield and Newark started to migrate into Bridgewater as a result of the 1967 Plainfield Riots and 1967 Newark riots. Subsequently, Bridgewater started to receive an influx of residents who worked in the strong pharmaceutical, telecommunications and financial industries in Bridgewater and the Raritan Valley. More recently, there has also been growth as Bridgewater has become more popular with New York City commuters who use Bridgewater Station on New Jersey Transit's Raritan Valley Line or Interstate 78 East to commute to New York City. Bridgewater is now a fairly developed suburban community, with only a few traces of its rural past still evident in the town (particularly in its northwestern section). Bridgewater is now Somerset County's second-most populous municipality, after Franklin Township.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 32.510 square miles (84.200 km2), including 32.037 square miles (82.974 km2) of land and 0.473 square miles (1.226 km2) of water (1.46%).

While much of Bridgewater has relatively flat terrain, the northeastern portion of the township is very hilly, with the First Ridge of the Watchung Mountains (sometimes known as the First Watchung Mountain) passing through the township. Additionally the Second Ridge (Second Mountain) passes just north of the township border.

The Raritan River and its branches and tributaries form much of Bridgewater's borders with other municipalities and a number of smaller rivers and streams run through Bridgewater. The Raritan itself runs along Bridgewater's southern border (except where Somerville and Raritan were carved out as separate boroughs) and the North Branch of the Raritan River forms the township's western border with Branchburg. The North Branch and South Branch of the Raritan River meet at the extreme southwestern corner of Bridgewater at the border with both Branchburg Township and Hillsborough Township, and this point known as the Raritan River Confluence was once intended to be a major reservoir.

Bradley Gardens (with a 2010 Census population of 14,206), Finderne (5,600), Green Knoll (6,200) and Martinsville (11,980) are census-designated places and unincorporated communities located within Bridgewater Township. Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Chimney Rock, Middle Brook Heights, Milltown and Sunset Lake.

Bridgewater borders 13 other municipalities. Its longest borders are with Branchburg Township, Bedminster Township, Bernards Township, Warren Township, Bound Brook, Somerville and Raritan. It also borders Green Brook (though connected only by Route 22), Middlesex (though connected only by one local street), South Bound Brook (a very short border in the middle of the Raritan River), Franklin Township (the only street connection is Interstate 287), Manville (the only street connection is Finderne Avenue, a county highway), and Hillsborough Township (no direct street connection).

Bridgewater Township's ZIP Code is 08807, with 08836 used in the community of Martinsville, and 08805 used in the Thomae Park section (mailing address of Bound Brook). Bridgewater's area codes are 908 and 732/848. Bridgewater is in Raritan Valley (a line of cities in Central New Jersey). Bridgewater lies in the western division of the Raritan Valley along with Branchburg and Raritan.


DukeIslandPark bridgewater NJ
Duke Island Park in the Bradley Gardens section
Postoffice bridgewater NJ
Post office off of N. Bridge St.

Bridgewater contains a number of communities and sections, many of which do not have officially defined boundaries. They include:

  • Bradley Gardens: Located in southwestern Bridgewater, bordered on the east by Raritan and Branchburg to the west. This is one of Bridgewater's older residential areas but also includes some newer developments as well as a commercial area along Old York Road.
  • North Branch (eastern portion): Most of North Branch is in Branchburg, but a portion lies to the east of the North Branch of the Raritan River, in Bridgewater Township.
  • Finderne: Located in southeastern Bridgewater between Bound Brook and Somerville. This is a diverse area with older neighborhoods bordering Foothill Road, newer developments, multi-unit housing near the Raritan River/Manville border, as well as commercial and industrial areas. The Middlebrook Crossing industrial park, the Promenade shopping center and TD Bank Ballpark, home to the Somerset Patriots, are located here.
  • Thomae Park: In the extreme eastern portion of Bridgewater, bordering Bound Brook and Middlesex. Residents there have a Bound Brook ZIP code. One of their main attractions is Thomae Park, which has a playground, basketball court, baseball field, and hiking trail.
  • Green Knoll: Located in central Bridgewater, this is a residential area with many major commercial developments and government facilities, including the Bridgewater Commons Mall at the intersection of U.S. Route 22 and U.S. Route 202-206, a large office park just west of the Commons across 202-206, the municipal building and police station, and Bridgewater-Raritan High School.
  • Country Club/Meadow Road Area: This area is referred to by some as the "Country Club-Meadow Road area" or similar names, after the major north-south streets there. Some also refer to it as "the Van Holten area" after the elementary school located there. It borders Bedminster and Branchburg.
  • Milltown/Vanderveer Road Area: This area is known to some as the "Milltown-Vanderveer" area, or "Chindia" to some residents. The area is northeast of Bradley Gardens bordering Raritan and Branchburg. It is mainly a residential community with many new homes.
  • Martinsville: Located in northeastern Bridgewater near Warren Township and Bernards Township. This is an affluent, predominantly residential area, though it does have its own commercial center along Washington Valley Road, and its own post office and ZIP code. This also is a very hilly area; it is the portion of Bridgewater through which the Watchung Mountains pass.
  • Sunset Lake: Built around a man-made lake in the extreme northern part of Bridgewater, near the interchange of Interstate 287 and Interstate 78. Some of its residents have the Basking Ridge ZIP code 07920.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 2,578
1810 2,906
1820 3,147 8.3%
1830 3,549 12.8%
1840 3,986 12.3%
1850 4,070 2.1%
1860 4,947 21.5%
1870 2,082 −57.9%
1880 1,912 −8.2%
1890 1,444 −24.5%
1900 1,601 10.9%
1910 1,742 8.8%
1920 1,934 11.0%
1930 3,352 73.3%
1940 4,934 47.2%
1950 8,234 66.9%
1960 15,789 91.8%
1970 30,235 91.5%
1980 29,175 −3.5%
1990 32,509 11.4%
2000 42,940 32.1%
2010 44,464 3.5%
2019 (est.) 43,968 −1.1%
Population sources:
1790-1920 1840 1850-1870
1850 1870 1880-1890
1890-1910 1910-1930
1930-1990 2000 2010
* = Lost territory in previous decade.

According to National Geographic magazine, Bridgewater has an unusually high number of twins and triplets.

2010 Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 44,464 people, 16,111 households, and 12,035 families residing in the township. The population density was 1,387.9 per square mile (535.9/km2). There were 16,657 housing units at an average density of 519.9 per square mile (200.7/km2)*. The racial makeup of the township was 76.46% (33,996) White, 2.38% (1,059) Black or African American, 0.10% (46) Native American, 17.83% (7,927) Asian, 0.00% (2) Pacific Islander, 1.46% (647) from other races, and 1.77% (787) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.76% (3,004) of the population.

There were 16,111 households out of which 38.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.1% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.3% were non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the township, the population was spread out with 25.5% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 30.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.2 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 87.8 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $108,680 (with a margin of error of +/- $5,095) and the median family income was $130,594 (+/- $6,507). Males had a median income of $90,875 (+/- $4,851) versus $65,501 (+/- $4,264) for females. The per capita income for the township was $46,994 (+/- $1,811). About 1.6% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.

Parks and recreation

Washington Camp Ground (also known as Middlebrook encampment), just north of Bound Brook, is a preserved portion of the land on which the army of George Washington encamped during the winter of 1778-79, though the general himself stayed in a house in Somerville.

The area also offers many parks and other recreational facilities, including Washington Valley Park.


Emergency services

The township's Communications Center handles all emergency calls with 11 full-time dispatchers and five part-time dispatchers as of 2013. The Bridgewater emergency dispatch is being transitioned to Somerset County at an unknown time frame, joining nine other county municipalities that have emergency calls handled centrally and dispatched to each individual police department. The move is expected to save the township $4.5 million over 10 years, saving $4.50 on the average tax bill.


CountryhillsFD bridgewater NJ
Country Hills Fire Department

Bridgewater has six all-volunteer fire companies, which provide fire suppression and assist in vehicle extrication and rescue attempts:

  • Country Hills Fire Company (District 3)
  • Green Knoll Fire Company (District 3)
  • North Branch Fire Company (District 3)
  • Bradley Gardens Fire Company (District 2)
  • Finderne Fire Company (District 4)
  • Martinsville Fire Company (District 1)


Bridgewater is served by five volunteer BLS rescue squads, which provide EMS coverage as well as vehicle extrication, water rescue, and other rescue services. ALS (paramedics) are dispatched from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital - Somerset. During daytime hours, RWJ - Somerset also provides Basic Life Support coverage for a portion of the township.

  • Martinsville Rescue Squad
  • Green Knoll Rescue Squad
  • Finderne First Aid & Rescue Squad
  • Bradley Gardens First Aid & Rescue Squad
  • Bound Brook First Aid Squad


2021-06-23 17 47 04 View south along Interstate 287 from the overpass for Talamini Road in Bridgewater Township, Somerset County, New Jersey
Interstate 287 southbound in Bridgewater Township

Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the township had a total of 239.75 miles (385.84 km) of roadways, of which 189.03 miles (304.21 km) were maintained by the municipality, 23.49 miles (37.80 km) by Somerset County and 27.23 miles (43.82 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

Bridgewater is crisscrossed by several major highways. Interstate 287 is the main limited-access road that passes through the township, while Interstate 78 traverses the northern part briefly without any exits. Both U.S. Route 22 and Route 28 take an east-westerly alignment, while Route 202-206 run north–south.

Major county roads that pass through include CR 525, CR 527, CR 533 and CR 567.

Public transportation

The Raritan Valley Line of NJ Transit provides service at the Bridgewater station, located on the old American Cyanamid property. NJ Transit ended service at the Finderne station, off Finderne Avenue, in October 2006.

NJ Transit bus service is provided on the 114 route to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, to Newark on the 65 line (Limited) and local Wheels service on the 884 and 989 bus routes.

The Somerville branch of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, pictured right before its RWJ merger

Bridgewater Township is serviced by three local airports, Solberg-Hunterdon Airport to the west in Readington, Somerset Airport to the north in Bedminster Township, and Central Jersey Regional Airport to the south in Manville. These airports are open to the public and offer charter flight services as well as flight training and other aviation-related services. They operate in all weather conditions and have instrument approaches available for use by pilots in bad weather.

Scheduled commercial passenger service is provided by Morristown Airport, located approximately 17 miles (27 km) away in Morristown.


Located in neighboring Somerville, the township is served by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital for Somerset County. Originally founded as Somerset Hospital in 1901, the medical center has grown into a regional university hospital for Greater Somerset. Since June 1, 2014, the 355 bed facility has been affiliated with Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the largest healthcare network in the state.

Points of interest

AmericanLegion bridgewater NJ
The American Legion Hall
Elks bridgewater NJ
The Elks Lodge 1068
  • Places of worship in Bridgewater include churches for a number of Christian denominations, a Jewish synagogue, a Hindu temple (Balaji Temple) and a Sikh temple.


Popular culture

  • Bridgewater is the setting for a concept album by the band The World/Inferno Friendship Society. Titled The True Story of the Bridgewater Astral League, the album talks about a gang of young people who like to get together and create all sorts of mischief.
  • It was one the filming locations for the Columbia Pictures 1994 comedy film North, which used the Bridgewater Commons Mall as the setting for a discussion between characters.

Superfund cleanup site

In August 2011, Hurricane Irene submerged the former American Cyanamid Superfund site, causing chemicals to leak into the nearby Raritan River. It could cost Pfizer up to $205 million and take a decade to clean up nearly all of the contaminated American Cyanamid site in Bridgewater—of which 560 acres (230 ha) are in the township and 10 acres (4.0 ha) are in Bound Brook—according to a company study awaiting federal approval.

Mosque settlement

In early 2011, application was made to turn the former inn/reception center, the Redwood Inn, into a mosque, the town's first. The township council passed an ordinance that required houses of worship, country clubs and other such businesses only be built on locations with access to major roads, which would directly impact the application by the mosque. The planning board then immediately dismissed the application, averting state statute that would become effective on May 5 that would have made rejection much more difficult. The applicant, Al Falah Center, then filed a lawsuit against the township.

In December 2014, the case was settled out of court, with the township agreeing to purchase a 15-acre (6.1 ha) lot between Routes 202-206 and Route 287 for $2.75 million and give it to the organization to build a mosque, as well as provide $5 million paid by its insurer for reimbursement for legal fees and alleged damages. In return, the case was dropped and the township was given ownership of the original Mountaintop Road property, with the zoning ordinance law left intact.


The township has long been a hub for pharmaceutical companies including Valeant, Allergan, Amneal Pharmaceuticals, many small, and mid-size ones. Sanofi's US headquarters are in Bridgewater. Bridgewater is also home to many Fortune 500 companies across various industries from software to financial services.

Bridgewater Commons is a large regional shopping mall anchored by Bloomingdale's and Macy's, with a gross leasable area of 994,000 square feet (92,300 m2). There are also several smaller but substantial shopping areas such as Bridgewater Promenade, Chimney Rock shopping center, and Somerset shopping center.


TD Bank Ballpark is home to the Somerset Patriots (originally Commerce Bank Ballpark). The 6,100-seat stadium was constructed in 1999. Starting in the 2021 season, following many years as an independent team under the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, the Patriots will be the Double-A Minor League Baseball affiliate of the New York Yankees.

Club League Venue Established Championships
Somerset Patriots Double-A Northeast, Baseball TD Bank Ballpark 1998 6 (Atlantic League)


Bridgewater is part of the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District, which serves students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade from Bridgewater and Raritan Borough. As of the 2017–18 school year, the district, comprised of 11 schools, had an enrollment of 8,603 students and 782.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.0:1. Schools in the district (with 2017-18 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Adamsville Primary School (569 students; in grades PreK–4), Bradley Gardens Primary School (294; PreK–4), Crim Primary School (383; PreK–4), Hamilton Primary School (507; K–4), John F. Kennedy Primary School (397; K–4), Milltown Primary School (427; PreK–4), Van Holten Primary School (416; K–4), Eisenhower Intermediate School (770; 5–6), Hillside Intermediate School (574; 5–6), Bridgewater–Raritan Middle School (1,411; 7–8) and Bridgewater–Raritan High School (2,882; 9–12). All schools in the district are in Bridgewater except for Kennedy, which is in Raritan. The overwhelming majority of students in the district are from Bridgewater, with approximately 1,000 students from Raritan. Seats on the district's nine-member board of education are allocated based on population, with eight seats allocated to Bridgewater Township.

During the 1999–2000 school year, Bridgewater-Raritan High School was recognized with the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education, the highest award an American school can receive from the federal government.

Bridgewater is the home of the Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School, a four-year magnet school that provides occupational and academic training to students from Somerset County.

Little Friends of Jesus Nursery School (preschool, non-parochial) operates under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen.

The headquarters of the Somerset County Library System is located in Bridgewater.

Notable people

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

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

  • Hank Beenders (1916–2003), early professional basketball player
  • Matthew Boxer, politician who served from 2008 to 2013 as New Jersey State Comptroller.
  • Rob Bunker (born 1988), racecar driver in the ARCA Menards Series in 2007.
  • Tunis Campbell (1812–1891), delegate to the Georgia State Constitutional Convention and Georgia state senator during the Reconstruction era.
  • Catherine Caro (born 1995), field hockey player on the United States women's national field hockey team.
  • Herman Carr (1924–2008), physicist who was an inventor and early pioneer of magnetic resonance imaging
  • Barbara Cohen (1932–1992), author of children's literature who wrote more than thirty books in a range of genres, from picture books (The Carp in the Bathtub, 1972) to retellings of Biblical stories (e.g., The Binding of Isaac, 1978; David, 1995) to classical literature (Four Canterbury Tales, 1987) to young adult dystopias (Unicorns in the Rain, 1980).
  • Frank DiPascali (born 1956), CFO of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC and key lieutenant of Bernard Madoff
  • Paul Heck (born 1967), music producer and artist liaison for the Red Hot Organization and an independent sound manager.
  • Elena Kampouris (born 1997), film and television actress, best known for her appearances in the films My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 and Men, Women & Children, and the TV series American Odyssey
  • Andrea Kane, author of romance novels
  • Matt Kassel (born 1989), soccer player for the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer
  • Andy Kessler (born 1958), businessman, investor, and author.
  • Paul Laird (born 1958), musicologist at the University of Kansas who has published several books, on Leonard Bernstein, American musicals, and other classical music topics.
  • Geraldine Laybourne (born 1947), former TV executive and entrepreneur in media and technology who led the team that created Nickelodeon in the 1980s and co-founded Oxygen Media.
  • Derek Luke (born 1993), professional soccer who plays for FC Cincinnati in the United Soccer League
  • Saul Marantz (1911–1997), musician, inventor and engineer who founded audio manufacturer Marantz in 1948
  • Richard P. McCormick (1916-2006), historian and professor emeritus at Rutgers University, who served as president of the New Jersey Historical Society.
  • Eric Murdock (born 1968), former professional basketball player who played nine seasons in the NBA
  • Casey Murphy (born 1996), professional soccer player who plays goalkeeper for Reign FC of the National Women's Soccer League.
  • William O'Brien (born 1959), racing driver who has competed in the TCR International Series.
  • Varun Sandesh (born 1989), actor in Telugu cinema
  • Anne Sayre (1923-1998), writer best known for her biography of Rosalind Franklin, one of the discoverers of the structure of DNA.
  • Scott Schwartz (born 1968), former child actor who appeared in 1980s films The Toy and A Christmas Story, the latter as Flick, the boy who gets his tongue stuck to a telephone pole.
  • Jack Terricloth (1970–2021), pseudonym of Pete Ventantonio, frontman of the band The World/Inferno Friendship Society
  • Jeffrey Vanderbeek (born 1957, class of 1975), former owner of the New Jersey Devils.
  • David Wiesner (born 1956), author and illustrator of children's books and publications, whose work has won several honors, including three Caldecott Medals.
  • Tom Wilson (born 1967), politician who served as chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee from 2004 to 2009.

Images for kids

See also

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