Leonia, New Jersey facts for kids

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Leonia, New Jersey
Borough
Borough of Leonia
Vreeland House
Vreeland House
Map highlighting Leonia's location within Bergen County. Inset: Bergen County's location within New Jersey
Map highlighting Leonia's location within Bergen County. Inset: Bergen County's location within New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Leonia, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Leonia, New Jersey
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Bergen
Incorporated December 5, 1894
Area
 • Total 1.635 sq mi (4.234 km2)
 • Land 1.536 sq mi (3.977 km2)
 • Water 0.099 sq mi (0.257 km2)  6.06%
Area rank 436th of 566 in state
56th of 70 in county
Elevation 85 ft (26 m)
Population (2010 Census)
 • Total 8,937
 • Estimate (2015) 9,219
 • Rank 257th of 566 in state
41st of 70 in county
 • Density 5,819.5/sq mi (2,246.9/km2)
 • Density rank 89th of 566 in state
25th of 70 in county
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP code 07605
Area code(s) 201
FIPS code 3400340020
GNIS feature ID 0885276
Website www.leonianj.gov

Leonia is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 8,937, reflecting an increase of 23 (+0.3%) from the 8,914 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 549 (+6.6%) from the 8,365 counted in the 1990 Census. It is a suburb of New York City located near the western approach to the George Washington Bridge.

Leonia was formed as the result of a referendum passed on December 5, 1894, from portions of Ridgefield Township. The borough was formed during the "Boroughitis" phenomenon then sweeping through Bergen County, in which 26 boroughs were formed in the county in 1894 alone. Portions of Leonia were taken on February 19, 1895, to form the Township of Teaneck.

New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Leonia as its 31st best place to live in its 2008 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey.

History

The original inhabitants of Leonia were the Hackensack tribe (Ashkineshacky) of Native Americans. The population was about 1,000 before the Europeans settled in the area. At the time of the American Revolutionary War, Leonia was known as part of the English Neighborhood, a name that survives in neighboring Englewood. It was settled in 1668 mainly by Dutch and English farmers, making it one of the oldest communities in the state and county. A third of the population was African slaves. It was located on the western slope of the Palisades, and started as a quiet farming community. Leonia's proximity to New York City and its major universities, theaters and performing venues contributed to Leonia's place in the world of art and academics, with many artists and leading thinkers finding a home there in the twentieth century.

The local economy that had been focused on agriculture underwent economic and cultural growth during the late nineteenth century, marked by the introduction of train service at was originally called West Fort Lee. J. Vreeland Moore and other town leaders chose the name "Leonia" in 1865 in honor of American Revolutionary War General Charles Lee, for whom Fort Lee was named.

After traveling through Leonia upon arriving in New Jersey by ferry at Edgewater in 1899, advertising executive Artemus Ward purchased a large piece of land and established the Leonia Heights Land Company to develop and market housing in the community. His advertising attracted many academics and artists who were drawn to Leonia's small size, culture, and location, earning the town's nickname of the "Athens of New Jersey".

In 1915, the Leonia School of Illustration was established by Harvey Dunn, fostering the artists' colony that subsequently emerged over the next decade. By the 1930s, it had the highest number of residents, per capita, in Who's Who in America and 80% of its residents were college graduates. Transportation through the borough was enhanced with access to ferries and trolley systems and Leonia became a refuge for many of America's most creative thinkers which included five Nobel Prize winners.

For 200 years, one of the two major avenues that run north-to-south through Leonia, Grand Avenue (the other one is Broad Avenue) was called the English Neighborhood Road. In colonial times, this road served as the main inland route between Paulus Hook, Bergen, and the English Neighborhood. Leonia was a crossroads of the American Revolution and a training ground for American Civil War soldiers.

Historic places in the town include the Civil War Drill Hall and Armory and the Cole-Allaire House, constructed around 1765, making it the oldest dwelling in the borough, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The Vreeland House, constructed in 1786 by Dirck Vreeland and expanded in 1815, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Leonia celebrates "Leonia Day" annually on the third Sunday in May.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.635 square miles (4.234 km2), including 1.536 square miles (3.977 km2) of land and 0.099 square miles (0.257 km2) of water (6.06%).

While the borough center's elevation is 105 feet (32 m), the western part of the borough can reach 5 feet (1.5 m) and the eastern part of Leonia reaches 318 feet (97 m).

The borough borders Englewood, Fort Lee, Palisades Park, Ridgefield Park and Teaneck.

Leonia is designated as a Tree City USA, receiving its 21st annual recognition in 2010 from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 804
1910 1,486 84.8%
1920 2,979 100.5%
1930 5,350 79.6%
1940 5,763 7.7%
1950 7,378 28.0%
1960 8,384 13.6%
1970 8,847 5.5%
1980 8,027 −9.3%
1990 8,365 4.2%
2000 8,914 6.6%
2010 8,937 0.3%
Est. 2015 9,219 3.2%
Population sources:
1900-1920 1900-1910
1910-1930 1900-2010
2000 2010

Census 2010

As of the census of 2010, there were 8,937 people, 3,284 households, and 2,519 families residing in the borough. The population density was 5,819.5 per square mile (2,246.9/km2). There were 3,428 housing units at an average density of 2,232.2 per square mile (861.9/km2)*. The racial makeup of the borough was 55.22% (4,935) White, 2.34% (209) Black or African American, 0.16% (14) Native American, 35.12% (3,139) Asian, 0.01% (1) Pacific Islander, 3.71% (332) from other races, and 3.44% (307) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.66% (1,489) of the population. Korean Americans accounted for 26.5% of the population.

There were 3,284 households out of which 34.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.2% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.3% were non-families. 20.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.7% 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 3.13.

In the borough, the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 31.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.0 years. For every 100 females there were 92.9 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 88.9 males.

Same-sex couples headed 35 households in 2010, more than double the 17 counted in 2000.

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $66,271 (with a margin of error of +/- $9,365) and the median family income was $91,129 (+/- $16,890). Males had a median income of $54,754 (+/- $8,175) versus $60,057 (+/- $8,680) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $40,030 (+/- $4,132). About 5.8% of families and 9.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.2% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.

Census 2000

As of the 2000 United States Census there were 8,914 people, 3,271 households, and 2,436 families residing in the borough. The population density was 5,921.3 people per square mile (2,279.3/km2). There were 3,343 housing units at an average density of 2,220.6 per square mile (854.8/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 65.74% White, 2.27% African American, 0.09% Native American, 26.06% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 3.20% from other races, and 2.64% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.73% of the population.

There were 3,271 households out of which 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.5% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.5% were non-families. 22.1% 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 3.20.

In the borough the population was spread out with 24.6% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $72,440, and the median income for a family was $84,591. Males had a median income of $55,156 versus $38,125 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $35,352. About 5.0% of families and 6.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.0% of those under age 18 and 1.8% of those age 65 or over.

As of the 2000 Census, 17.24% of Leonia's residents identified themselves as being of Korean ancestry, which was the fourth-highest in the United States and second highest of any municipality in New Jersey — behind neighboring Palisades Park (36.38%) — for all places with 1,000 or more residents identifying their ancestry. Additionally, 3.07% of Leonia's residents identified themselves as being of Japanese ancestry, which was the fourth highest of any municipality in New Jersey — behind Fort Lee (6.09%), Demarest (3.72%) and Edgewater (3.22%) — for all places with 1,000 or more residents identifying their ancestry.

Arts and culture

Leonia is home to the Players Guild of Leonia, which operates as the oldest continuing theatre troupe in the state of New Jersey, and is one of the oldest community theatre groups in the state with continuous performances since 1919. Performances have included comedies, tragedies, classics, and musicals. The Guild's production of One Mad Night in 1940 was the first three-act play performed on television, when it was broadcast on WPTZ, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1963, the Children's Show was instituted and continues each spring. Between 1968 and 1998, the Guild produced Theatre in the Park. Since 2002, the Players' Guild of Leonia has produced a Playwright's Showcase featuring original scripts. The Guild operates out of the historic Civil War Drill Hall Theatre on Grand Avenue which is leased from the borough. Recent productions include Kiss Me Kate, The Importance of Being Earnest, Our Town, The Pajama Game, I Never Sang For My Father, and The Melody Lingers On.

Since 2000, Leonia has also been home to Summerstage at Leonia, which produces a Broadway-style family musical each summer in the last two weeks of July. Originally, Summerstage performances were held in the Leonia High School Little Theater, but now take place at the Civil War Drill Hall Theater. Auditions are held in May and open to all in the NY metro area. Past shows have included The Wizard of Oz, Carousel, The Sound of Music, Annie, Oliver, and Les Miserables.

The Leonia Chamber Musicians Society, founded in 1973, is made up of professional musicians who reside in Leonia, has been performing classical music concerts four times a year at various venues in the borough.

Sculpture for Leonia aims to build the art and cultural environment in Leonia through the display of outdoor sculpture throughout the community and in the Erika and David Boyd Sculpture Garden, which is located on the grounds of the Leonia Borough Annex. This group sponsors an annual Taste of Leonia fundraiser. Leonia Arts provides a calendar of all arts events in Leonia.

Parks and recreation

Leonia has five public recreational areas, of which only the Leonia Swim Club requires a membership fee. The recreation areas include Wood Park, located on the corner of Broad Avenue and Fort Lee Road; Sylvan Park and the Leonia Swim Club, both on Grand Avenue near Sylvan Avenue; and the Recreational Center on Broad Avenue which has an indoor basketball court.

Overpeck County Park, a Bergen County park that is located in Leonia, Ridgefield and Teaneck, is home of the county's World Trade Center Memorial.

Transportation

Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 23.02 miles (37.05 km) of roadways, of which 19.53 miles (31.43 km) were maintained by the municipality, 1.12 miles (1.80 km) by Bergen County, 1.56 miles (2.51 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 0.81 miles (1.30 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

Route 93 (Grand Avenue) runs north-south for 1.5 miles (2.4 km) through the center of the borough, connecting Palisades Park and Englewood. Interstate 95 (the New Jersey Turnpike) curves along the borough's northern border while U.S. Route 1/9 and U.S. Route 46 briefly enter along the western border with Fort Lee.

Public transportation

NJ Transit bus route 166 provides local and express service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, and route 182 services the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal, with local service offered on the 751, 755 and 756 routes.

Rockland Coaches provides service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal on the 11T/11AT, 14ET, 20T and 21T routes.

The Northern Branch Corridor Project is a proposal to utilize the already existing Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to restore passenger train service on the CSX tracks, which offered passenger service decades before and is now used for occasional freight service. NJ Transit's plan would include a station in Leonia.

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