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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
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 84.200 km2 (32.510 sq mi)
 • Land 82.974 km2 (32.037 sq mi)
 • Water 1.226 km2 (0.473 sq mi)  1.28%
Area rank 74th of 566 in state
3rd of 21 in county
42 m (138 ft)
 • Total 44,464
 • Estimate 
 • Rank 42nd of 566 in state
2nd of 21 in county
 • Density 535.9/km2 (1,387.9/sq mi)
 • Density rank 349th of 566 in state
8th of 21 in county
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (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. 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.

Bridgewater Township was originally 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%
Est. 2015 45,198 1.7%
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.

2000 Census

At the 2000 United States Census, there were 42,940 people, 15,561 households and 11,888 families residing in the township. The population density was 1,323.4 per square mile (510.9/km²). There were 15,879 housing units at an average density of 489.4 per square mile (188.9/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 83.07% White, 2.17% African American, 0.08% Native American, 11.54% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.89% from other races, and 1.25% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.79% of the population. 21.3% were of Italian, 17.1% Irish, 16.7% German and 11.8% Polish ancestry.

There were 15,561 households of which 38.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.6% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.6% were non-families. 19.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.14.

25.7% of the population were under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.4 males.

The median household income was $88,308 and the median family income was $99,832. Males had a median income of $67,089 versus $49,096 for females. The per capita income for the township was $39,555. About 1.6% of families and 2.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.7% of those under age 18 and 3.7% 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.


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, including Interstate 287, Interstate 78, U.S. 22, Route 202-206 and Route 28.

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.

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.

Points of interest

AmericanLegion bridgewater NJ
The American Legion Hall
Elks bridgewater NJ
The Elks Lodge 1068


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.

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