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Highland Park, New Jersey
Borough of Highland Park
Livingston Homestead, Highland Park, NJ south view.
Livingston Homestead, Highland Park, NJ south view.
Highland Park highlighted in Middlesex County. Inset: Location of Middlesex County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Highland Park highlighted in Middlesex County. Inset: Location of Middlesex County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Highland Park, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Highland Park, New Jersey
Highland Park, New Jersey is located in Middlesex County, New Jersey
Highland Park, New Jersey
Highland Park, New Jersey
Location in Middlesex County, New Jersey
Highland Park, New Jersey is located in New Jersey
Highland Park, New Jersey
Highland Park, New Jersey
Location in New Jersey
Highland Park, New Jersey is located in the United States
Highland Park, New Jersey
Highland Park, New Jersey
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Middlesex
Incorporated March 15, 1905
 • Type Borough
 • Body Borough Council
 • Total 1.83 sq mi (4.74 km2)
 • Land 1.82 sq mi (4.72 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)  0.44%
Area rank 424th of 565 in state
21st of 25 in county
75 ft (23 m)
 • Total 15,072
 • Estimate 
 • Rank 176th of 566 in state
16th of 25 in county
 • Density 7,728.1/sq mi (2,983.8/km2)
 • Density rank 50th of 566 in state
3rd of 25 in county
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 732 / 908
FIPS code 3402331470
GNIS feature ID 0885252

Highland Park is a borough in Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States in the New York City metropolitan area. The borough is located on the northern banks of the Raritan River, in the Raritan Valley region. As of the 2020 United States Census, the borough's population was 15,072, reflecting an increase (7.28%) from the 2010 United States Census.

Highland Park was formed as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 15, 1905, when it broke away from what was then known as Raritan Township (present-day Edison). The borough was named for its location above the Raritan River.


The Native American Lenape people hunted on the hilly land along the Raritan River, and their trails crisscrossed the area. In 1685, John Inian bought land on both shores of the Raritan River and built two new landings downstream from the Assunpink Trail's fording place, which was later developed as Raritan Landing. He established a ferry service and the main road then was redirected to lead straight to the ferry landing. This river crossing was run by generations of different owners and a ferry house tavern operated for many years in the 18th century. A toll bridge replaced the ferry in 1795. The wood plank Albany Street Bridge was dismantled in 1848 and reconstructed in 1853. The present day stone arch road bridge was built in 1892. It became the Lincoln Highway Bridge in 1914 and was widened in 1925.

One of the earliest European settlers was Henry Greenland, who owned 384 acres (1.55 km2) of land and operated an inn along the Mill Brook section of the Assunpink Trail during the late 17th century. Others early settlers included George Drake, Reverend John Drake, and Captain Francis Drake, kinsmen of the famous explorer. In the early 18th century, a few wealthy Europeans including the Van Horns and Merrills settled on large tracts of land establishing an isolated farmstead pattern of development that would continue for the next 150 years.

The Reverend John Henry Livingston, newly chosen head of Queen's College (now Rutgers University), purchased a 150-acre (0.61 km2) plot of land in 1809, which would hereafter be known as the Livingston Manor. A gracious Greek Revival house built around 1843 by Robert and Louisa Livingston stands on this property, which remains Highland Park's most prominent historic house. The Livingston Homestead, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was owned by the Waldron family throughout most of the 20th century.

In the early 19th century, both the Delaware & Raritan Canal and a railroad were constructed largely to serve the commercial center of New Brunswick across the river. In 1836, the New Jersey Railroad and Transportation Company built a rail line that terminated on the Highland Park side of the Raritan River and established a station named "East New Brunswick." The Camden and Amboy Railroad built a wood, double-deck bridge which eliminated the station stop in 1838. It was destroyed by a suspicious fire in 1878. An iron truss bridge was quickly built upon enlarged stone piers, which in turn was replaced in 1902 by the twelve-span stone arch bridge encased in concrete in the 1940s, currently standing.

Despite the canal and the railroad, Highland Park's land continued to be used for agriculture. Residential development slowly began 30 years later, with several stately houses constructed on Adelaide Avenue and more modest houses constructed on Cedar, First, and Second Avenues and Magnolia, Benner, and Johnson Streets. In the 1870s, the small hamlet became better known as "Highland Park", a name derived from the suburban housing development although the area adjacent to the railroad tracks continued to be called "East New Brunswick." 1870 was also the year in which Highland Park was annexed to the newly formed township now called Edison, but at the time called Raritan Township.

Dougboy Highland Park
The Doughboy statue in downtown Highland Park

Highland Park had its own school district and on March 15, 1905, the Borough of Highland Park was formed. Highland Park's drive for independence from Raritan Township arose over the issue of public schooling. Residents wanted an independent school system and there was a related dispute over school taxes. The fire department, which had formed in 1899, also wanted more local control over their affairs. The 1905 New Jersey census counted 147 dwellings in the new borough. In 1918, Robert Wood Johnson II was appointed to the Highland Park Council and became mayor in 1920. His summer house and estate was located on River Road, just north of the railroad tracks.

Over the past 100 years, Highland Park's lands have been parceled into ever-smaller suburban residential plots. Planned developments included Watson Whittlesey's Livingston Manor development begun in 1906; the Viehmann Tract, also on the north side; Riverview Terrace on the south side; Raritan Park Terrace in the triangle between Raritan and Woodbridge Avenues; and East New Brunswick Heights in the Orchard Heights neighborhood. It has taken years of continuously constructing houses and apartment buildings to create the largely residential borough.

Highland Park's industrial development in the 19th and 20th centuries included such businesses as a brewery, Johnson & Johnson, The John Waldron Machine Company, Turner Tubes, Flako Products, and the Janeway & Carpender Wallpaper factory. The borough is the birthplace of the Band-Aid. and Flako Products packaged mixes for baked goods. However, the industrial nature of the borough completely declined by the 1960s. The commercial zones along both Raritan and Woodbridge Avenues continue to thrive with "mom & pop" shops, many that have lasted for generations.

Throughout the 20th century, Highland Park's religious institutions, educational facilities, and municipal governance have kept pace with the growth of the town. The trends of local autonomy and control that shaped Highland Park in the past continue to this day.

In 2012, Highland Park became the first municipality in the state to contract a home performance company to help residents consume less energy. The program is a one-of-a-kind program that can offer up to a 30% energy savings for homeowners.

Livingston Manor Historic District

Livingston Homestead
Waldron House
Livingston Homestead, Highland Park, NJ south view.jpg
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Location 81 Harrison Avenue
Architectural style Greek Revival
NRHP reference No. 02000215
Significant dates
Added to NRHP March 20, 2002
Livingston Manor Historic District
Location Parts of Cleveland, Grant, Harrison, Lawrence, Lincoln, Madison, and North Second Avenues and River Road
NRHP reference No. 04000672
Added to NRHP July 7, 2004

Livingston Manor was a subdivision built upon the lands surrounding the Livingston Homestead. This subdivision was the brainchild of Watson Whittlesey (1863–1914), a real estate developer born in Rochester, New York. Whittlesey was more than a typical land speculator; he was a community builder, which was noted by his residency in various Livingston Manor houses from 1906 to 1914, and by his active involvement in the municipal affairs of Highland Park. Instead of auctioning lots like his 19th century predecessors, Whittlesey sold subdivided lots with either a house completely built by his company or with the promise of providing a company-constructed house similar to those previously constructed.

The suburban development grew between 1906 and 1925, when Whittlesey's company, the Livingston Manor Corporation and its successor, the Highland Park Building Company, constructed single-family houses from plans produced by a select group of architects. While a variety of building types and styles are present on each block, the buildings in the district are distinguished by the use of specific building plans found nowhere else in Highland Park and by the embellishments that are typical of the Craftsman philosophy, which emphasized the value of the labor of skilled artisans who showed pride in their abilities.

In the first years of this development, the houses were constructed one entire block at a time beginning with the southeast side of Grant Avenue between Lawrence Avenue and North Second Avenue. The next block to be developed was the northwest side of Lincoln Avenue between Lawrence Avenue and North Second Avenue. Six stucco bungalows were then constructed on the southern side of Lawrence east of Lincoln Avenue. As the housing development grew in popularity, houses were constructed less systematically by block, and more often on lots that individual homeowners selected from the remaining available properties. Whittlesey used plans from architects George Edward Krug and Francis George Hasselman, as well as plans generated by several local architects including John Arthur Blish and William Boylan. Several of Livingston Manor's Tudor Revival houses were designed by Highland Park's eminent architect Alexander Merchant. Merchant created numerous buildings in New Brunswick and Highland Park (see list below). Like other early-20th century architects, he was active during the period of early American modernism, but, having trained at the firm of Carrère and Hastings, Merchant developed and maintained a classical design vocabulary.

Many workers in the building trades, such as Harvey E. Dodge, the carpenter Frederick Nietscke and the contractor Harold Richard Segoine, have also been identified as Livingston Manor Corporation employees as well as Livingston Manor residents. Whittlesey, with his wife Anna, also lived in several Livingston Manor houses, including the Spanish Colonial style house at 35 Harrison Avenue designed specifically for them.

On December 1, 1906, the first deeds were transferred to two individual homeowners. Many prominent New Brunswick and Highland Park residents bought houses in this new neighborhood. They included Rutgers College professors, school teachers, bank employees, factory owners, and store owners. Census data show that most of the women were housewives and mothers. There were many extended families. Some families took in boarders and several households included live-in servants. Sixty-two houses had been constructed in Livingston Manor by 1910.

In 1912, Watson Whittlesey hired a sales agent, John F. Green, and began selling bungalow lots. These properties were smaller and less expensive, and a set of plans for a bungalow was given to any purchaser. By 1913, 120 houses had been constructed in Livingston Manor.

Dubbed "Lord of the Manor", Whittlesey created a neighborhood spirit by giving receptions for the residents, by providing playgrounds for the children, and by encouraging the men to take a more active part in public affairs. After his death on April 8, 1914, Manor residents turned out in the hundreds to attend a memorial service at his house.

The Highland Park Building Company was incorporated in 1914 by long-standing members of his company including builder Robert Lufburrow and engineer Harold Richard Segoine. In 1916, Mrs. Whittlesey, who was president of the Livingston Manor Corporation, turned over the privately owned streets, sidewalks, and curbs to the borough. Remarkably, there were no provisions for the borough to accept public ownership of the sewers. That required an act of legislation at the statehouse in Trenton, which was accomplished by Senator Florance and Assemblyman Edgar and signed by Governor Walter Evans Edge the following year. Anna Wilcox Whittlesey, "Lady of the Manor", died on August 16, 1918. She was remembered as "a woman of rare refinement and culture, and the soul of hospitality."

Highland Park's identity as a streetcar suburb was transformed to that of an automobile suburb during the 1920s. By 1922, there had been 210 dwellings constructed in Livingston Manor. The Livingston Manor Corporation continued to have transactions into the 1960s, but the area's significant development had taken place by 1925.

The Livingston Manor is an important neighborhood in Highland Park. The Livingston Manor Historic District was listed in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places on April 1, 2004 and in the National Register of Historic Places on July 7, 2004.

Buildings designed by Alexander Merchant

  • 55 South Adelaide Avenue (1909)
  • Lafayette School on South Second Avenue and Benner Street (original school-1907 and Second Avenue wing-1915. The third wing on Second Avenue was designed by Merchant's son Alexander Merchant Jr. in 1952). The Lafayette School is now condominiums and no longer a school.
  • Reformed Church on South Second Avenue (original church-1897 and auditorium wing circa 1920)
  • Irving School on Central Avenue (original building-1914)
  • The Center School on North Third Avenue (formerly the Hamilton School in 1914)
  • The Pomeranz Building on Raritan Avenue and South Third Avenue (1920)
  • 82 Harrison Avenue (1913)
  • Two houses on Cliff Court (1914)
  • Several houses on South Adelaide Avenue near Cliff Court (1910–1914)
  • The Highland Park High School (original building-1926)
  • The Masonic Temple on Raritan Avenue at North Fourth Avenue (1923) It remains as a one-story commercial building after a fire in 1965 destroyed the upper levels of the auditorium and offices.
  • The Brody House at corner of Raritan and North Adelaide Avenues (built 1911—demolished 1997)
  • The former Police Station at 137 Raritan Avenue (now a deli).
  • Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple on Livingston Avenue in neighboring New Brunswick (1929)


According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2010 the borough had a total area of 1.819 square miles (4.712 km2), including 1.809 square miles (4.686 km2) of land and 0.010 square miles (0.026 km2) of water (0.56%).

The borough received its name for its "park-like" setting, on the "high land" of the banks of the Raritan River, overlooking New Brunswick. Highland Park borders the Middlesex County municipalities of Edison, New Brunswick, and Piscataway.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 1,517
1920 4,866 220.8%
1930 8,691 78.6%
1940 9,002 3.6%
1950 9,721 8.0%
1960 11,049 13.7%
1970 14,385 30.2%
1980 13,396 −6.9%
1990 13,279 −0.9%
2000 13,999 5.4%
2010 13,982 −0.1%
2019 (est.) 13,711 −1.9%
Population sources: 1910-1920
1910 1910-1930
1930-1990 2000 2010

2010 Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 13,982 people, 5,875 households, and 3,267 families residing in the borough. The population density was 7,728.1 per square mile (2,983.8/km2). There were 6,203 housing units at an average density of 3,428.5 per square mile (1,323.8/km2)*. The racial makeup of the borough was 68.26% (9,544) White, 7.83% (1,095) Black or African American, 0.14% (20) Native American, 17.84% (2,495) Asian, 0.03% (4) Pacific Islander, 3.28% (458) from other races, and 2.62% (366) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.95% (1,252) of the population.

There were 5,875 households out of which 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.4% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the borough, the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.8 years. For every 100 females there were 92.0 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 91.0 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $78,821 (with a margin of error of +/- $8,312) and the median family income was $103,316 (+/- $6,807). Males had a median income of $72,533 (+/- $8,231) versus $55,591 (+/- $3,873) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $41,300 (+/- $3,714). About 5.4% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.4% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.


Highland Park has at times been a bedroom community for nearby Rutgers University and Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, with a resulting academic flair to the community. Nobel laureate Selman Waksman (Medicine, 1952) lived in the borough until he moved to Piscataway in 1954, and laureate Arno Penzias (Physics, 1978) lived in the borough until the 1990s.

There is a new state-of-the-art environmental center on River Road, just a few hundred feet upstream from the Albany Street Bridge. The borough's Environmental Commission envisions this center as a stop along a riverbank walking trail that would link Johnson Park with Donaldson Park and beyond, to the Meadows environmental area on the Edison border.

In 1978, Highland Park was one of the first municipalities in New Jersey to gain an Eruv, or symbolic wall. Through an arrangement with New Jersey Bell (now Verizon), a continuous wire was strung from pole to pole around portions of the borough. Eventually this expanded and includes portions of Edison, New Jersey and connects with New Brunswick, New Jersey. The wires are supposed to be inspected every Friday to ensure that the connections are complete. When intact, this Eruv satisfies most Orthodox Jewish religious requirements allowing residents to carry objects during the Sabbath.


Roads and highways

2020-09-16 11 08 42 View north on New Jersey Route 27 and east on County Route 514 (Albany Street Bridge) approaching River Road and Lincoln Avenue, crossing the Raritan River from New Brunswick into Highland Park in Middlesex County, New Jersey
Route 27 and CR 514 entering Highland Park on the Albany Street Bridge

As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 31.46 miles (50.63 km) of roadways, of which 27.85 miles (44.82 km) were maintained by the municipality, 2.22 miles (3.57 km) by Middlesex County, and 1.39 miles (2.24 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

There are five main roads in Highland Park:

  • New Jersey Route 27 – Known as Raritan Avenue, it traverses for about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) through downtown and the outskirts of Highland Park. The section between Adelaide and Fifth Avenues runs virtually east to west and divides the town into the north and south sides.
  • County Route 514 – Enters Highland Park concurrent with Route 27, then heads eastward on Woodbridge Avenue at South Sixth Avenue. It runs through the southeast region of the borough.
  • Middlesex County Route 622 – River Road in Highland Park, stretches for over 1 mile (1.6 km) in the western region of the borough following the curving bank of the Raritan River.
  • Middlesex County Route 676 – This is Duclos Lane and it forms a portion of Highland Park's eastern border with Edison. Road spends 0.49 miles (0.79 km) in Highland Park.
  • Middlesex County Route 692 – Cedar Lane in the northern section of the borough intersects with River Road.

U.S. Route 1 and New Jersey Route 18 are accessible close to Highland Park, just beyond its southeastern and southwestern borders.

Public transportation

NJ Transit local bus service is provided on the 810 and 814 routes.

Atlantic City weekend service is available on Suburban Transit's 700 route.

NJ Transit northbound trains to Penn Station New York, and southbound to the Trenton Transit Center via the Northeast Corridor Line can be found in neighboring New Brunswick station and Edison station.


Hphs hp nj
Highland Park High School

The Highland Park Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.As of the 2020–21 school year, the district, comprised of four schools, had an enrollment of 1,558 students and 145.7 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 10.7:1. Schools in the district (with 2020–21 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Irving Primary School with 248 students in grades PreK-1, Bartle Elementary School with 437 students in grades 2–5, Highland Park Middle School with 364 students in grades 6–8 and Highland Park High School with 477 students in grades 9-12.

The community is also served by the Greater Brunswick Charter School, a K-8 charter school serving students from Highland Park, Edison, Milltown and New Brunswick. As of the 2020–21 school year, the school had an enrollment of 394 students and 31.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.4:1.

Eighth grade students from all of Middlesex County are eligible to apply to attend the high school programs offered by the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools, a county-wide vocational school district that offers full-time career and technical education at Middlesex County Academy in Edison, the Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences in Woodbridge Township and at its East Brunswick, Perth Amboy and Piscataway technical high schools, with no tuition charged to students for attendance.

The Center School serves students with learning and emotional challenges in grades K-12. Founded in 1971 in Bound Brook, the school moved in 1989 to a former public school building in Highland Park. A fire in the school's building in February 2012 forced the school to relocate to Branchburg Township on an interim basis.

Notable people

See also (related category): People from Highland Park, New Jersey

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

  • Adele Astaire (1896–1981), acclaimed vaudeville and musical theater dancer, actress.
  • Fred Astaire (1899–1987), dancer, singer, actor, recipient of three Emmy and three Golden Globe Awards and an honorary Academy Award.
  • Jim Axelrod (born 1963), CBS news correspondent.
  • Harvey Jerome Brudner (1931–2009), engineer and inventor.
  • David Clewell (1955–2020), poet and creative writing instructor at Webster University who served as the Poet Laureate of Missouri.
  • Earle Dickson (1892–1961), inventor of the Band-Aid.
  • Kirk Douglas (born Issur Danielovitch; 1916 – 2020), actor, producer, director, philanthropist and writer.
  • Michael Douglas (born 1944), actor, director and producer.
  • Samuel G. Freedman, author and columnist for The New York Times.
  • Israel Gelfand (1913–2009), renowned mathematician.
  • Rebecca Goldstein (born 1950), author, philosopher, and 1996 MacArthur "Genius Award" winner.
  • Alan Guth (born 1947), physicist and cosmologist.
  • Dwayne Haskins (1997–2022), American football quarterback
  • Amy Herzog, playwright.
  • John Hulme (born 1987), author of the book series The Seems and director of the documentary Blood, Sweat & Tears: A Basketball Exorcism.
  • John Seward Johnson II (1930–2020), sculptor and founder of the Johnson Atelier in Hamilton Township, Mercer County, New Jersey.
  • Robert Wood Johnson II (1893–1968), Johnson & Johnson President, general and philanthropist, who served as mayor of Highland Park from 1920 to 1922.
  • Soterios Johnson, WNYC radio host.
  • Seth Kaper-Dale, Protestant pastor who was a Green Party candidate in the New Jersey gubernatorial election, 2017.
  • Sacha Killeya-Jones (born 1998), American-British basketball player for Hapoel Gilboa Galil of the Israeli Basketball Premier League.
  • Sheldon Lavin (born 1932), CEO and chairman of meat processor OSI Group.
  • Roy Lichtenstein (1923–1997), pop artist who moved to a home at 66 South Adelaide Avenue in 1960.
  • Seth Mandel (born 1982), conservative author who is editor of The Washington Examiner.
  • Tomás Eloy Martínez (1934–2010), journalist and writer, professor and director of the department of Latin American Studies at Rutgers, author of Santa Evita and The Peron Novel.
  • Suzy Parker (1932–2003), fashion model and actress who lived in Highland Park in her youth (circa 1930s).
  • Arno Allan Penzias (born 1933), physicist and a co-winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize in physics.
  • George T. Reynolds (1917-2005), physicist best known for his accomplishments in particle physics, biophysics and environmental science.
  • Susana Rotker (1954-2000), Venezuelan journalist, columnist, essayist and writer.
  • Rudy Rucker (born 1946), mathematician, computer scientist and science fiction author, best known for the novels in the Ware Tetralogy.
  • Neil Sloane (born 1939), mathematician, creator and maintainer of the On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences.
  • L. J. Smith (born 1980), former NFL tight end.
  • Joan Snyder (born 1940), pioneering neo-expressionist feminist artist and 2007 MacArthur "Genius Award" winner.
  • Darrell K. Sweet (born 1934), illustrator best known for cover art for science fiction and fantasy novels.
  • Endre Szemerédi (born 1940), mathematician who was the 2012 winner of the Abel Prize.
  • Norman Tanzman (1918–2004), politician who served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1962 to 1968 and in the New Jersey Senate from 1968 to 1974.
  • Olga Von Till (1897–1996), classical pianist and piano teacher.
  • Alan Voorhees (1922–2005), engineer and urban planner.
  • Selman Waksman (1888–1973), biochemist and microbiologist who won the Nobel Prize for his work on antibiotics including Streptomycin for treating tuberculosis.

Images for kids

See also

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