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Hillside, New Jersey
Township of Hillside
Woodruff House
Woodruff House
Map of Hillside Township in Union County. Inset: Location of Union County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Map of Hillside Township in Union County. Inset: Location of Union County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Hillside, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Hillside, New Jersey
Hillside, New Jersey is located in Union County, New Jersey
Hillside, New Jersey
Hillside, New Jersey
Location in Union County, New Jersey
Hillside, New Jersey is located in New Jersey
Hillside, New Jersey
Hillside, New Jersey
Location in New Jersey
Hillside, New Jersey is located in the United States
Hillside, New Jersey
Hillside, New Jersey
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Flag of Union County, New Jersey.gif Union
Incorporated April 29, 1913
 • Type Faulkner Act (mayor–council)
 • Body Township Council
 • Total 2.78 sq mi (7.20 km2)
 • Land 2.77 sq mi (7.17 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.04 km2)  0.54%
Area rank 357th of 565 in state
15th of 21 in county
56 ft (17 m)
 • Total 21,404
 • Estimate 
 • Rank 121st of 566 in state
10th of 21 in county
 • Density 7,784.0/sq mi (3,005.4/km2)
 • Density rank 49th of 566 in state
6th of 21 in county
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 908 and 973
FIPS code 3403931980
GNIS feature ID 0882211

Hillside is a township in Union County, New Jersey. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 21,404, reflecting a decline of 343 (-1.6%) from the 21,747 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 703 (+3.3%) from the 21,044 counted in the 1990 Census.

Hillside was incorporated as a township on April 3, 1913, from portions of Union Township, based on the results of a referendum held on April 29, 1913. The township was named for the surrounding hills.

The township is split between area codes 908 and 973.


Hillside was created from parcels of land carved out of neighboring Newark, Elizabeth, and Union. It originally contained the farms of Woodruff, Conant and Saybrook. Local streets still bear their names.

Hillside was incorporated shortly after the appearance of Halley's Comet in 1910, and for that reason, the team nickname of Hillside High School is the "Comets." Several local businesses take the name "Comet" for the same reason.

The Hillside Historical Society was established in the 1980s in the Woodruff home on Conant Street, perhaps the township's oldest. The Woodruff House and Eaton Store Museum is operated and maintained by the Hillside Historical Society. Purchased by the Society in 1978, the house has been faithfully restored to its original grandeur. The Woodruff House spans three centuries in one structure, including the original 1735 building, the 1790 addition, the 1890s kitchen and the 1900s store. The society has also added to the grounds an authentic post and beam barn, a Phil Rizzuto and All Sports Museum honoring the Hillside legend as well as an archive to house the many documents the society has obtained over the years.

Jean-Ray Turner, a reporter for the Elizabeth Daily Journal, wrote Along the Upper Road in the 1970s, a book of the history of Hillside.

Hillside has been the home of Bristol-Myers Squibb. Lionel Trains were manufactured from 1929 to 1974 at a factory located in Hillside that employed as many as 2,000 employees. The town thrived for decades and reached an economic peak in the 1960s. Blue collar workers who lived primarily in the central part of town were employed in local manufacturing concerns. White collar workers established the neighborhood known as Westminster where Yankee shortstop and broadcaster Phil Rizzuto lived for most of his adult life, until his death. That section of town also included the private Pingry School for boys (which left the township) and is now the East Campus of Kean University.

In the 1950s and 1960s the township was approximately one-half Jewish, many of whom lived either in Westminster or in the area of Hillside near Chancellor Avenue, adjacent to the Weequahic section of Newark, which was the early home of comedian Jerry Lewis and writer Philip Roth (Portnoy's Complaint).

In the early 1950s the township established Conant Park, its largest. The park is bounded by the Elizabeth River and Conant Street. At the rear area of the park near Pingry School was the boundary of the Kean Estate, the boyhood home of Governor Thomas Kean (1982–1990). The wealthy Kean family also donated the land on Morris Avenue and helped to establish Newark Normal College in 1885, which was renamed Kean College, and later Kean University, in the family's honor. Also in the 1950s the Town Hall, Police Headquarters and Municipal Library were constructed at the corner of Liberty and Hillside Avenues.

Township organizations include Rotary International, Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus, Elks, the Hillside Industrial Association, the Hillside Business and Professional Women's Club, the Republican Club and the Democratic Club, as well as a number of ethnic clubs and associations.

In 1991, police from both Hillside and Newark fired nearly 40 shots at a van that had rammed a Hillside police vehicle after a high-speed chase. The pursuit had started after the van had been reported stolen at gunpoint in Newark and was being followed by three Newark police cars before crossing into Hillside. Two of the people inside the vehicle were killed and four of the five other passengers were wounded, though the Union County Prosecutor indicated that there was no clear explanation for why the police had started shooting. The Reverend Al Sharpton held a rally outside Town Hall on Hillside Avenue demanding that the police officers involved in the shootings should be prosecuted for their actions.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 2.761 square miles (7.150 km2), including 2.750 square miles (7.122 km2) of land and 0.011 square miles (0.028 km2) of water (0.39%).

Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Lyons Farms and Saybrooke.

The township is located on the northern edge of Union County and is bordered to the northwest by Irvington and to the north and northeast by Newark, both in Essex County. Elizabeth borders Hillside to the east and southeast, while Union borders to the west.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Hillside has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 5,267
1930 17,601 234.2%
1940 18,556 5.4%
1950 21,007 13.2%
1960 22,304 6.2%
1970 21,636 −3.0%
1980 21,440 −0.9%
1990 21,044 −1.8%
2000 21,747 3.3%
2010 21,404 −1.6%
2019 (est.) 21,967 2.6%
Population sources:
1920 1920-1930
1930-1990 2000 2010

2010 Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 21,404 people, 7,112 households, and 5,533 families residing in the township. The population density was 7,784.0 per square mile (3,005.4/km2). There were 7,536 housing units at an average density of 2,740.6 per square mile (1,058.2/km2)*. The racial makeup of the township was 34.75% (7,438) White, 53.19% (11,384) Black or African American, 0.22% (47) Native American, 2.73% (585) Asian, 0.03% (7) Pacific Islander, 6.22% (1,332) from other races, and 2.85% (611) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.63% (3,774) of the population.

There were 7,112 households out of which 33.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 22.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.2% were non-families. 18.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.01 and the average family size was 3.41.

In the township, the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 27.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.0 years. For every 100 females there were 86.8 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 84.3 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $55,520 (with a margin of error of +/- $5,760) and the median family income was $67,492 (+/- $5,643). Males had a median income of $44,421 (+/- $3,088) versus $42,927 (+/- $4,392) for females. The per capita income for the township was $35,486 (+/- $3,349). About 9.4% of families and 11.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.7% of those under age 18 and 13.3% of those age 65 or over.


2021-07-07 09 46 56 View west along Interstate 78 (Phillipsburg-Newark Expressway) from the overpass for Union County Route 509 (Chestnut Avenue) in Hillside Township, Union County, New Jersey
I-78 westbound in Hillside

Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the township had a total of 48.48 miles (78.02 km) of roadways, of which 38.72 miles (62.31 km) were maintained by the municipality, 5.57 miles (8.96 km) by Union County, 3.47 miles (5.58 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 0.72 miles (1.16 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

The Garden State Parkway, Interstate 78, U.S. Route 22, New Jersey Route 439 and County Route 509 all pass through Hillside. The Union toll plaza of the Garden State Parkway is located on the northbound lanes of the parkway, approaching the interchange for I-78.

Public transportation

NJ Transit offers bus service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan on the 114 route and to other New Jersey points. There is one train line that passes through the township but there are no stations. The Irvington Industrial Branch of the Lehigh Valley Railroad (now Conrail Shared Assets) breaks off of the mainline to serve several industries. The closest train stations are Union station in Union, and North Elizabeth station in Elizabeth.

Newark Liberty International Airport is approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) east of Hillside.

Pop culture

  • Hip hop artist Lauryn Hill mentions Hillside on her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. In the song "Every Ghetto, Every City," in which she describes her experiences growing up in New Jersey, she raps, "Hillside brings beef with the cops."
  • Hillside Public Schools's 2014–15 School Report Card from the New Jersey Department of Education


Portions of the township are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ), one of 32 zones covering 37 municipalities statewide. Hillside was selected in 1996 as one of a group of seven zones added to participate in the program. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment and investment within the UEZ, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3.3125% sales tax rate (half of the 6+58% rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants. Established in May 1996, the township's Urban Enterprise Zone status expires in May 2027.


The Hillside Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of six schools, had an enrollment of 3,123 students and 260.7 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.0:1. Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Abram P. Morris Early Childhood Center (636 students; in grades PreK-1), Calvin Coolidge Elementary School (205; grade 2), Hurden Looker School (461; 3–4), George Washington School (488; grade 5), Walter O. Krumbiegel Middle School (452; 6–8) and Hillside High School (842; 9–12). Hillside High School on Liberty Avenue was originally constructed in 1941, replacing the Coe Avenue (A.P. Morris) School which became a grammar school. Additions were later added to accommodate the baby-boomers of the 1950s and 1960s. In the mid-sixties the high school held some 1,500 students.

Catholic grammar schools included Christ the King on Columbia Avenue and St. Catherine of Siena School in Elizabeth on North Broad Street until the two were merged in 2004 to form Hillside Catholic Academy with the students from both schools together at the facility on Bloy Street. The school was one of eight closed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark at the end of the 2011–12 school year, in the face of declining enrollment and rising expenses, part of a long-term reduction in the number of schools in the archdiocese, which had dropped to 112 from the 176 schools systemwide a decade earlier.

A portion of Kean University is located in the Westminster section of Hillside, on the grounds of the former Pingry School.

Notable people

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

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

  • William Bendix (1908–1964), actor (Lifeboat, Life of Riley), lived here in the 1930s
  • Blanks 77, street punk band
  • Clint Bolick (born 1957), associate justice of the Arizona Supreme Court
  • Marquis Cunningham (born 1989), finalist on So You Think You Can Dance
  • Michael V. Gazzo (1923–1995), playwright (A Hatful of Rain) and Academy Award-nominated film actor (The Godfather Part II)
  • David Jones (born 1968), former NFL tight end who played for the Los Angeles Raiders in 1992
  • Marc Leepson (born 1945), journalist and historian
  • Kyle Lofton (born 1999), college basketball player for the St. Bonaventure Bonnies
  • Rollie Massimino (1934–2017), college basketball coach, led Villanova to 1985 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship
  • Jerron McMillian (born 1989), NFL safety for the Green Bay Packers
  • Mr. Len (Leonard "Lenny" Smythe), hip-hop artist, former member of underground group Company Flow, current member Roosevelt Franklin
  • Adrienne A. Mandel (born 1936), politician who represented the 19th District in the Maryland House of Delegates for more than ten years.
  • Xavier Munford (born 1992), professional basketball player for the Memphis Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association
  • Kendall Ogle (born 1976), 1999 draft pick of NFL's Cleveland Browns
  • Robert Parham (born 1966), kickboxing former World Kickboxing Champion and actor
  • Alan Paul (born 1949), member of The Manhattan Transfer
  • Nicholas Reale (1922–1984), watercolorist with a lengthy career in art and teaching
  • Ralph H. Spanjer (1920–1999), U.S. Marine Corps major general
  • Tab Ramos (born 1966), footballer and member of the United States' 1990 and 1994 World Cup teams; Hillside was childhood home
  • Phil Rizzuto (1917–2007), Hall of Fame baseball player and broadcaster; longtime Hillside resident
  • Marquis Spruill (born 1991), football linebacker
  • Dan Studney (born 1941), former track and field athlete who competed in the javelin throw, winning a gold medal for the United States at the 1963 Pan American Games
  • Tame One (born 1970 as Rahem Brown), hip-hop artist and member of supergroup The Weathermen
  • Jeff Tittel, environmentalist who spent more than two decades as the director of the New Jersey Sierra Club
  • Harry Wilf (1921–1992), co-founder of the real estate development firm Garden Homes
  • Joseph Wilf (1925–2016), co-founder of the real estate development firm Garden Homes
  • Zygi Wilf (born 1950), real estate developer, principal owner of NFL's Minnesota Vikings, younger brother Mark Wilf (born 1962), president of the Vikings and cousin Leonard Wilf (born 1947), the team's vice chairman
  • Hela Young (1950–2002), Miss New Jersey 1971, former New Jersey Lottery host
  • Dick Zimmer (born 1944), former member of the United States House of Representatives, Republican candidate for United States Senate in 1996 and 2008
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