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Essex Fells, New Jersey
Borough
Borough of Essex Fells
Essex Fells Post Office
Essex Fells Post Office
Location in Essex County and the state of New Jersey.
Location in Essex County and the state of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Essex Fells, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Essex Fells, New Jersey
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Essex
Incorporated March 31, 1902
Government
 • Type Borough
 • Body Borough Council
Area
 • Total 1.41 sq mi (3.66 km2)
 • Land 1.41 sq mi (3.65 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)  0.43%
Area rank 460th of 565 in state
20th of 22 in county
Elevation
505 ft (154 m)
Population
 • Total 2,113
 • Estimate 
(2019)
2,088
 • Rank 484th of 566 in state
22nd of 22 in county
 • Density 1,496.3/sq mi (577.7/km2)
 • Density rank 337th of 566 in state
21st of 22 in county
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Code
07021
Area code(s) 973 exchanges: 226, 228, 264, 403, 618
FIPS code 3401321840
GNIS feature ID 2390558

Essex Fells is a borough in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 2,113, reflecting a decline of 49 (-2.3%) from the 2,162 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 23 (+1.1%) from the 2,139 counted in the 1990 Census.

Essex Fells was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 31, 1902, from portions of Caldwell Township (now Fairfield Township). The community's name was derived by taking "Essex" from the name of the county and adding "Fells" from the name of John F. Fell which also means hill or down.

New Jersey Family magazine ranked Essex Fells as the best town for families in its 2016 rankings of "New Jersey's Best Towns for Families". New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Essex Fells as its 10th best place to live in its 2008 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey. Niche.com ranked Essex Fells as the seventh best place to live in its 2019 rankings of the "Best Places to Live" in New Jersey.

In 2010, Forbes.com listed Essex Fells as 182nd in its listing of "America's Most Expensive ZIP Codes", with a median home price of $1,140,885.

History

Essex Fells was part of the Horseneck Tract, which was an area that consisted of what are now the municipalities of Caldwell, West Caldwell, North Caldwell, Fairfield, Verona, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Roseland, and portions of Livingston and West Orange.

In 1702, settlers purchased the 14,000 acres (57 km2) Horseneck Tract — so-called because of its irregular shape that suggested a horse's neck and head — from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans for goods equal to $325. This purchase encompassed much of western Essex County, from the Orange, or First Mountain in the Watchung Mountain range to the Passaic River.

In the late 1800s, Philadelphia developer Anthony S. Drexel realized the impact of train travel on residential development and sent Charles W. Leavitt to the northern New Jersey area near the end of the Caldwell line. Leavitt, Drexel and Drexel's son-in-law John F. Fell formed the Suburban Land Company and purchased 1,000 acres of land from the estate of Revolutionary War General William J. Gould. In order to create their residential development the group commissioned noted architect Ernest W. Bowditch. The community's name was derived by taking "Essex" from the name of the county and adding "Fells" from the name of John F. Fell which also means hill or down.

Based on an ordinance passed in 1928, commercial activity in the borough is limited to a single three-story building constructed to look like a house and two small workshops on a dead end. As of 2000, Essex Fells had 750 houses, most of which were custom built, with many occupying lots several acres in size. The borough has no apartment buildings, condos, office buildings or traffic lights. The only units available for rental are in carriage houses and other ancillary structures.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, Essex Fells borough had a total area of 1.418 square miles (3.673 km2), including 1.412 square miles (3.657 km2) of land and 0.006 square miles (0.015 km2) of water (0.42%).

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 442
1920 598 35.3%
1930 1,115 86.5%
1940 1,466 31.5%
1950 1,617 10.3%
1960 2,174 34.4%
1970 2,541 16.9%
1980 2,363 −7.0%
1990 2,139 −9.5%
2000 2,162 1.1%
2010 2,113 −2.3%
2020 2,244 6.2%
Population sources:
1910-1920 1910-1930
1930-1990 2000 2010 2020

2010 Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 2,113 people, 728 households, and 598 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,496.3 per square mile (577.7/km2). There were 758 housing units at an average density of 536.8 per square mile (207.3/km2)*. The racial makeup of the borough was 94.56% (1,998) White, 1.09% (23) Black or African American, 0.00% (0) Native American, 2.18% (46) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 0.24% (5) from other races, and 1.94% (41) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.99% (42) of the population.

There were 728 households out of which 42.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 73.4% were married couples living together, 6.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.9% were non-families. 16.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.26.

In the borough, the population was spread out with 29.9% under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 18.0% from 25 to 44, 31.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.8 years. For every 100 females there were 94.6 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 95.6 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $182,031 (with a margin of error of +/- $16,894) and the median family income was $202,917 (+/- $46,038). Males had a median income of $120,417 (+/- $32,492) versus $72,500 (+/- $12,065) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $94,423 (+/- $11,353). About 0.9% of families and 0.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.9% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

Parks and recreation

Grover Cleveland Park, the seventh-largest park in the Essex County park system, is a heavily wooded park covering 41.48 acres (167,900 m2) in the western section of the county along the Caldwell-Essex Fells border.

Essex Fells Pond, or also known as "The Pond" by Essex Fells residents, is a popular destination in the winter. Located on Fells Road, "The Pond" attracts people of all ages, typically during the months of December through March. Popular activities include ice skating, pond hockey, and figure skating.

Transportation

As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 16.99 miles (27.34 km) of roadways, of which 15.31 miles (24.64 km) were maintained by the municipality and 1.68 miles (2.70 km) by Essex County.

NJ Transit provides service in the borough to and from Newark on the 29 and 71 routes.

Education

The Essex Fells School District serves public school students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade at Essex Fells School. As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of one school, had an enrollment of 252 students and 32.4 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 7.8:1. In 2016, the school was one of ten schools in New Jersey recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education, a recognition celebrating excellence in academics.

Students in public school for seventh through twelfth grades attend the West Essex Regional School District, a regional school district serving students from Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell and Roseland. Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are West Essex Middle School with 564 students in grades 7-8 and West Essex High School with 1,123 students in grades 9-12. Seats on the nine-member board of education of the high school district are allocated based on population, with one seat assigned to Essex Fells.

Notable people

Justin Gimelstob 2, Aegon Championships, London, UK - Diliff
Justin Gimelstob

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

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