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Edison, New Jersey
Township of Edison
Edison Tower
Edison Tower
Official seal of Edison, New Jersey
Nickname(s): "Birthplace of the Modern World"
Motto: "Let There Be Light"
"Birthplace of Recorded Sound"
Map of Edison Township in Middlesex County.
Map of Edison Township in Middlesex County.
Census Bureau map of Edison, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Edison, New Jersey
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Middlesex
Settled 1651
Incorporated March 17, 1870 (as Raritan Township)
Renamed November 10, 1954 (as Edison Township)
Named for Thomas Edison
 • Total 30.638 sq mi (79.351 km2)
 • Land 29.940 sq mi (77.543 km2)
 • Water 0.698 sq mi (1.808 km2)  2.28%
Area rank 88th of 566 in state
4th of 25 in county
Elevation 39 ft (12 m)
Population (2010 Census)
 • Total 99,967
 • Estimate (2015) 102,701
 • Rank 5th of 566 in state
1st of 25 in county
 • Density 3,339.0/sq mi (1,289.2/km2)
 • Density rank 198th of 566 in state
15th of 25 in county
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 08817, 08818, 08820, 08837, 08899
Area code(s) 732 and 908
FIPS code 3402320230
GNIS feature ID 0882166

Edison is a township in Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States, in the New York City metropolitan area, and the Raritan Bayshore subregion of the Jersey Shore. As of the 2010 United States Census, Edison had a total population of 99,967, retaining its position as the fifth-most populous municipality in New Jersey. The 2010 population reflected an increase of 2,280 (+2.3%) from the 97,687 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 9,007 (+10.2%) from the 88,680 counted in 1990. Edison's population has been above the 100,000 threshold since 2010, increasing by 2.7% to a Census-estimated 102,701 in 2015.

What is now Edison Township was originally incorporated as Raritan Township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 17, 1870, from portions of both Piscataway Township and Woodbridge Township. Portions of the township were taken to form Metuchen on March 20, 1900, and Highland Park on March 15, 1905. The name was officially changed to Edison Township on November 10, 1954, in honor of inventor Thomas Edison, who had his main laboratory in the Menlo Park section of the township.

Edison was ranked the 28th most-livable small city in the United States by CNN Money Magazine, and second in New Jersey in 2006 in Money Magazine's "Best Places To Live". In 2008, two years later, Money Magazine ranked the township 35th out of the top 100 places to live in the United States. In the 2006 survey of America's Safest Cities, the township was ranked 23rd, out of 371 cities included nationwide, in the 13th annual Morgan Quitno survey. In 2009, Edison was ranked as one of "America's 10 Best Places to Grow Up" by U.S. News & World Report. The rankings focused on low crime, strong schools, green spaces, and abundance of recreational activities.


Early history

Edison Township, comprising former sections of Piscataway and Woodbridge townships, was settled (by Europeans) in the 17th century. The earliest village was Piscatawaytown, which is centered around St. James Church and the Piscatawaytown Common, near the intersection of Plainfield and Woodbridge avenues in south Edison. The Laing House of Plainfield Plantation, the Benjamin Shotwell House, and the Homestead Farm at Oak Ridge, are buildings from the colonial era included in National Register of Historic Places listings in Middlesex County.

The community was previously known as "Raritan Township", not to be confused with the current-day Raritan Township in Hunterdon County.

The Edison era

Menlo Park Laboratory of Thomas Edison site of the Invention of the light bulb in Dearborn, Michigan at Greenfield Village The Henry Ford Museum from Menlo Park, New Jersey
Replica of Edison's lab where he invents the first commercially practical light bulb. Henry Ford, Edison's longtime friend, built it at the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan.

In 1876, Thomas Edison set up his home and research laboratory in New Jersey on the site of an unsuccessful real estate development in Raritan Township called "Menlo Park", (currently located in Edison State Park). While there he earned the nickname "the Wizard of Menlo Park." Before his death at age 83 in 1931, the prolific inventor amassed a record 1,093 patents for creations including the phonograph, a stock ticker, the motion-picture camera, the incandescent light bulb, a mechanical vote counter, the alkaline storage battery including one for an electric car, and the first commercial electric light.

The Menlo Park lab was significant in that was one of the first laboratories to pursue practical, commercial applications of research.It was in his Menlo Park laboratory that Thomas Edison came up with the phonograph and a commercially viable incandescent light bulb filament. Christie Street was the first street in the world to use electric lights for illumination. Edison subsequently left Menlo Park and moved his home and laboratory to West Orange in 1886.

20th century

Near Piscatawaytown village, a portion of the Township was informally known as "Nixon," after Lewis Nixon, a manufacturer and community leader. Soon after the outbreak of World War I, Nixon established a massive volatile chemicals processing facility there, known as the Nixon Nitration Works. It was the site of the 1924 Nixon Nitration Works disaster, a massive explosion and resulting fire that killed 20 persons and destroyed several square miles of the Township.

In 1954, the township's name was changed to honor inventor Thomas A. Edison. Also on the ballot in 1954 was a failed proposal to change the community's name to Nixon.

21st century

Edison has been one of the fastest-growing municipalities in New Jersey. As of the 2000 United States Census, it was the fifth most-populated municipality in the state, after the cities of Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, and Elizabeth.

Edison is primarily a middle-class community with more than 75 ethnic communities represented. Edison has a large Jewish community next to Highland Park, with multiple synagogues located in Edison. Edison also has a growing Indian community and a number of temples serving the religious needs of the community. Reflecting the number of Edison's residents from India and China, the township has sister city arrangements with Shijiazhuang, China, and Vadodara, India.


Roosevelt Park2
Roosevelt Park in Edison

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 30.638 square miles (79.351 km2), including 29.940 square miles (77.543 km2) of land and 0.698 square miles (1.808 km2) of water (2.28%).

Edison is on the east side of Raritan Valley (a line of communities in central New Jersey), along with Plainfield, and completely surrounds the borough of Metuchen, New Jersey, making it part of 21 pairs of "doughnut towns" in the state, where one municipality entirely surrounds another. The township borders East Brunswick Township, Highland Park, New Brunswick, Piscataway Township, Sayreville, South Plainfield and Woodbridge Township in Middlesex County; Clark, Plainfield and Scotch Plains in Union County.

Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Bonhamtown, Camp Kilmer, Centerville, Clara Barton, Eggert Mills, Greensand,


Extreme temperatures in Edison have ranged from −17 °F (−27 °C), recorded in February 1934, to 106 °F (41 °C), recorded in July 1936 and August 1949.

Climate data for Edison, New Jersey
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 73
Average high °F (°C) 38
Average low °F (°C) 21
Record low °F (°C) −8
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.02


Edison hosts one of the region's main centers of Asian American cultural diversity.

As part of the 2010 Census, 28.3% of Edison residents identified themselves as being Indian American. In the 2000 Census, 17.75% of Edison residents identified themselves as being Indian American, the highest percentage of Indian American people of any place in the United States with 1,000 or more residents identifying their ancestry.

Edison is also developing a sprawling suburban Chinatown.

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 3,460
1880 3,789 9.5%
1890 3,018 −20.3%
1900 2,801 * −7.2%
1910 2,707 * −3.4%
1920 5,419 100.2%
1930 10,025 85.0%
1940 11,470 14.4%
1950 16,348 42.5%
1960 44,799 174.0%
1970 67,120 49.8%
1980 70,193 4.6%
1990 88,680 26.3%
2000 97,687 10.2%
2010 99,967 2.3%
Est. 2015 102,701 2.7%
Population sources: 1870-1920
1870 1880-1890
1890-1910 1910-1930
1930-1990 2000 2010
* = Lost territory during previous decade.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 99,967 people, 34,972 households, and 26,509 families residing in the township. The population density was 3,339.0 per square mile (1,289.2/km2). There were 36,302 housing units at an average density of 1,212.5 per square mile (468.1/km2)*. The racial makeup of the township was 44.10% (44,084) White, 7.05% (7,046) Black or African American, 0.23% (229) Native American, 43.19% (43,177) Asian, 0.04% (36) Pacific Islander, 2.72% (2,718) from other races, and 2.68% (2,677) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.11% (8,112) of the population.

There were 34,972 households out of which 36.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.3% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.2% were non-families. 20.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.26.

In the township, the population was spread out with 22.7% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 30.1% from 25 to 44, 27.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.1 years. For every 100 females there were 95.8 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 93.8 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $86,725 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,000) and the median family income was $100,008 (+/- $2,624). Males had a median income of $66,898 (+/- $4,094) versus $50,953 (+/- $1,462) for females. The per capita income for the township was $36,464 (+/- $1,184). About 3.5% of families and 7.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.

2000 census

As of the 2000 United States Census there were 97,687 people, 35,136 households, and 25,881 families residing in the township. The population density was 3,243.0 people per square mile (1,252.2/km2). There were 36,018 housing units at an average density of 1,195.7 per square mile (461.7/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 59.49% White, 29.27% Asian, 6.89% African American, 0.14% Native American, .04% Pacific Islander, 2.02% from other races, and 2.15% from two or more races. 6.37% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 35,136 households out of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 61.1% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.3% were non-families. 21.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% 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 3.19.

In the township the population was spread out with 22.9% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 34.0% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.0 males.

The median household income in the township is $69,746, and the median income for a family was $77,976. Males had a median income of $53,303 versus $36,829 for females. The per capita income for the township was $30,148. About 3.3% of families and 4.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.3% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.


Oak Tree Pond is the site of the Battle of Short Hills, a minor battle of the American Revolutionary War and whose conversion into a park ended a real estate development controversy.

Roosevelt Park, located between Parsonage Road and Route 1, west of the Mall, covers 217 acres (88 ha), including the 8-acre (3.2 ha) Roosevelt Park Lake. The park was established in 1917, making it the oldest county park in Middlesex County.

Sister cities

Notable places

  • Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) has a Hindu temple on Woodbridge Avenue
  • Bonhamtown, site of a battle during the American Revolutionary War
  • Camp Kilmer, a World War II era army post, was partially located in what is now Edison.
  • The Clara Barton downtown area, a community with its own downtown area near Woodbridge.
  • Dismal Swamp, preserved wetlands area that also includes portions of Metuchen and South Plainfield.
  • Durham Woods, a complex of several apartment buildings and scene of the Edison, New Jersey natural gas explosion in 1994, in which a 36-inch natural gas pipeline burst and exploded, destroying buildings in the area.
  • Edison Landfill, landfill site undergoing environmental cleanup since it was ordered closed in 1977.
  • Edison has three public libraries: the Main Library is on Plainfield Avenue in South Edison, near Edison station; North Edison Branch is on Grove Avenue, and the Clara Barton Branch is in the Clara Barton downtown area, on Hoover Avenue. Library service also includes a popular Bookmobile.
  • The Edison Municipal Complex, located off Route 27 next to the Edison Square/Clarion Hotel office park.
  • Edison station in south Edison, offering service on NJ Transit's Northeast Corridor Line.
  • Ford Motor Company had a plant here, the Ford Edison Assembly Plant on U.S. Route 1, assembling the Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series trucks. The plant closed in 2004, with about 1,420 workers losing their jobs. Hartz Mountain purchased the property and is proposing a mixed-use retail center that began construction in 2007. Township officials have negotiated no housing on the site, to be called "Edison Towne Square." Instead, it is hoped that a community center can be built at no cost to taxpayers alongside the retail and commercial space. So far Sam's Club is the only retail store built on the property.
  • ILR Landfill, closed landfill site owned by Industrial Land Reclaiming (ILR) providing power to Middlesex County's wastewater treatment operations from methane gas recovery.
  • Jewish Community Center/YMCA or Community Campus located off Oak Tree Road.
  • Kin-Buc Landfill, former landfill and Superfund site where 70 million US gallons (260,000 m3) of hazardous waste was dumped.
  • Laing House of Plainfield Plantation, historic home built in the early 1700s when the region was being settled by Scottish Quakers in the late 17th and early 18th century.
  • Menlo Park Mall, located at the intersection of Route 1 and Parsonage Road, has a gross leasable area of 1,260,703 square feet (117,123.1 m2).
  • Nixon Park, a large neighborhood surrounding Lincoln School. A "cookie-cutter" development of three-bedroom homes built in the very early 1950s, homes there were largely purchased by WWII veterans using the GI Bill. Constructed at the same time, and adjoining Nixon Park, were the Lincoln Village, Vineyard Village and Washington Park developments. Children from Lincoln and Vineyard Villages attended Lincoln School. Washington Park surrounded both the Washington School and the Saint Matthew's Catholic School (grades 1–8).
  • Oak Tree Road in Edison and the Iselin section of Woodbridge Township is known for its large concentration of Indian stores and restaurants.
  • Raritan Center is one of the largest business parks in the northeastern United States.
  • St. Helena Roman Catholic Church, off New Dover Road.
  • The Thomas Alva Edison Memorial Tower and Museum, in Menlo Park, dedicated in 1938. Located in Edison State Park, at the site where its namesake inventor invented the incandescent light bulb and the phonograph.
  • Udipi Sri Krishna Temple housing First Tulsi Mrithika Brindavana (Mobile) of Guru Raghavendra in the U.S. is a Hindu temple on May Street




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