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Madison, New Jersey
Borough of Madison
Downtown Madison
Downtown Madison
Flag of Madison, New Jersey
The Rose City
Location in Morris County and the state of New Jersey.
Location in Morris County and the state of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Madison, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Madison, New Jersey
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Morris
Incorporated December 27, 1889
Named for President James Madison
 • Type Borough
 • Body Borough Council
 • Total 4.33 sq mi (11.20 km2)
 • Land 4.31 sq mi (11.17 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)  0.30%
Area rank 288th of 565 in state
24th of 39 in county
266 ft (81 m)
 • Total 16,937
 • Rank 160th of 566 in state
13th of 39 in county
 • Density 3,767.9/sq mi (1,454.8/km2)
 • Density rank 168th of 566 in state
6th of 39 in county
Time zone UTC−05:00 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 973
FIPS code 3402742510
GNIS feature ID 0885287

Madison is a borough in Morris County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2020 United States Census, the population was 16,937.

Located along the Morris and Essex Lines it is noted for Madison's historic railroad station becoming one of America's first commuter railroads, attracting well-to-do families from nearby Manhattan. It remains a popular commuter town for residents who work in New York City. The community maintains a population of nearly 18,000 residents. It is known as "The Rose City" and was named in honor of President James Madison.

Madison was ranked 33rd in Money Magazine's 2011 ranking of the "Best Places to Live", the 3rd highest-ranked place in New Jersey and second highest in Morris County behind Montville. New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Madison first in the state in its 2019 rankings of the "Best Places to Live" in New Jersey.

Often regarded as a college town, along the Florham Park–Madison–Convent Station (Morris Township) border are three universities including Drew University, the Florham Campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University and the College of Saint Elizabeth located in Convent Station. Madison is home to the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, one of the largest professional Shakespeare companies in North America.


Native Americans occupied the areas that would become New Jersey and Madison following the retreat of the Wisconsin Glacier for many thousands of years. Settlements of the Lenape were agriculturally based following matrilineal lines.The protected lands nearby, Jockey Hollow, are what is remaining of the settlement. Occupation changed with the seasons, the variable nature of the climate, and to preserve the fertility of the rich soil. Their fishing and hunting territories were wide-ranging and similarly divided among the three clans of the matrilineal culture in this Eastern Woodland environment. Trade with these native peoples for food and furs was conducted by the Dutch during the period of colonization of New Netherland. Although the European principle of land ownership was not recognized by the Lenape, Dutch West India Company policy required their colonists to purchase land that they settled, but typically, trading relationships were established in this area, rather than Dutch settlements.

During the British colonial period, the earliest settlers of European descent arrived in this portion of the colony of New Jersey. Traditional native trails and pathways were followed as settlement began. Pressures upon the Lenape constantly drove them westward. About 1715 the village of Bottle Hill was established at the crossing of Ridgedale Avenue and Kings Road. Village governance principles followed the British model. The Luke Miller house at 105 Ridgedale Avenue is thought to be the oldest remaining home, having been built around 1730. During British colonial rule, Kings Road was a toll road that assessed fees levied by the government appointed by the English king. Farther south was the Shunpike, a road with a parallel path that was used deliberately by colonists to avoid the fees.

Morris County, created in 1739, was divided into three townships. The portion of the village north of Kings Road was put under the governance of Hanover Township and the portion to the south, under the governance of Morris Township. A meeting house for the Presbyterian Church of South Hanover, as Madison was called at that time, was started in 1747 where the Presbyterian Cemetery still exists between Kings Road and Madison Avenue. With the Treaty of Easton in 1758, the Lenape were required to vacate their lands in colonial New Jersey and to move westward. Later, their leaders allied with the colonists during the American Revolutionary War in hopes of regaining former lands, but that was never realized.

Presb Ch of Madison brick jeh
Presbyterian Church of Madison

Following the revolution, changes to governing methods in the former colonies occurred eventually as the new nation organized herself. The state of New Jersey formed its government and debated best policies. During the reorganization of Morris County in 1806, Chatham Township was established and included all of present-day Chatham Township, along with the three existing pre-Revolutionary War villages (the current municipalities of Chatham, Florham Park, and Madison) as well as all of the lands still governed by the current Chatham Township, and thus the governmental division of Bottle Hill was ended.

In 1834, the name of the settlement was changed to Madison. As a tribute to the name every year there is a fair that is called Bottle Hill Day. On December 27, 1889, based on the results of a referendum passed on December 24, 1889, the village seceded from Chatham Township and adopted the newly created, borough form of government (when it first became available), in order to develop a local water supply system for its population of 3,250. Madison annexed additional portions of Chatham Township in 1891, and again each year from 1894 to 1898, which was followed by an exchange of certain lands in 1899 with Chatham Township.

Influence of early railroad

Madison NJ
Madison station, pre-1916
Madison New Jersey downtown
Downtown Madison

The Morris and Essex Railroad connected the town with Newark and Hoboken in 1838 and provided good transportation for farm produce grown at Madison. Later, the railroad made possible the establishment of a flourishing rose growing industry, still commemorated in Madison's nickname, The Rose City. The rail service connected the commerce to the markets of Manhattan. Madison's growth accelerated after the Civil War and the Morris and Essex Lines became one of America's first commuter railroads, attracting well-to-do families from Manhattan (many of whom already owned large parcels land in the area for farming, hunting, and recreation) and contributing to the development of "Millionaire's Row", which stretched from downtown Madison to downtown Morristown. Greenhouses dotted the countryside. Talented horticulturalists were attracted to the area for employment at the many wealthy estates in the immediate area and to establish related businesses. One of the first grand houses to be built on "Millionaire's Row" was the Ross Estate.

Madison's historic railroad station was funded by the community which passed an ordinance authorizing $159,000 for railroad improvement bonds. The result with the cooperation of the D.L. & W.R.R. in the planning was completed in 1916. The tracks were elevated through the downtown and no established roadways were hindered by crossing delays. Mrs. D. Willis James financed much of the road grading caused by the elevation of the tracks. The station included baggage and cargo facilities readily accessible by wagons as well as the stationmaster offices, a newsstand, and waiting facilities featuring extensive banks of high-backed wooden seating. Weeping Mulberry trees were planted among the landscaping and in natural areas in the parking area.

The rose industry and the large estates in the area attracted working-class people of all kinds. As a result, Madison developed a diverse population very early, both in terms of socioeconomic status and ethnic background. The original settlers were of British stock; French settlers came after the American Revolution; African Americans have been members of the community from early in the nineteenth century; Irish came in the mid-nineteenth century; and then Germans and Italians arrived around the turn of the twentieth century. To this day there is a substantial population of Italian descent in Madison. Today Madison also remains a diverse community, with many of the most recent newcomers arriving from Central America, South America, and Asia. Madison is a railroad suburb of New York City.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 4.218 square miles (10.926 km2), including 4.2057 square miles (10.891 km2) of land and 0.013 square miles (0.035 km2) of water (0.32%). Madison is located about 25 miles (40 km) west of downtown Manhattan, and is a suburban town of New York City.

Neighboring towns include Morris County communities Chatham Borough to the east, Chatham Township to the south, Morris Township to the west and Florham Park to the north.

Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the borough include Brooklake Park, East Madison and North Park.

Climate data for Madison, 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) 39
Average low °F (°C) 18
Record low °F (°C) −25
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.54
Source: Weather Channel


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,756
1890 2,469 40.6%
1900 3,754 52.0%
1910 4,658 24.1%
1920 5,523 18.6%
1930 7,481 35.5%
1940 7,944 6.2%
1950 10,417 31.1%
1960 15,122 45.2%
1970 16,710 10.5%
1980 15,357 −8.1%
1990 15,850 3.2%
2000 16,530 4.3%
2010 15,845 −4.1%
2020 16,937 6.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1880–1890 1890–1920
1890–1910 1890–1930

Census 2010

As of the census of 2010, there were 15,845 people, 5,485 households, and 3,675 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,767.9 per square mile (1,454.8/km2). There were 5,775 housing units at an average density of 1,373.3 per square mile (530.2/km2)*. The racial makeup of the borough was 86.75% (13,746) White, 2.96% (469) Black or African American, 0.12% (19) Native American, 5.51% (873) Asian, 0.01% (2) Pacific Islander, 2.34% (371) from other races, and 2.30% (365) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.87% (1,406) of the population.

There were 5,485 households out of which 34.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.0% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 27.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the borough, the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 13.6% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.0 years. For every 100 females there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 85.3 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $106,070 (with a margin of error of +/- $8,499) and the median family income was $139,886 (+/- $18,117). Males had a median income of $100,289 (+/- $12,722) versus $64,684 (+/- $10,127) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $54,518 (+/- $4,561). About 1.1% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.6% of those under age 18 and 2.7% of those age 65 or over.

Census 2000

As of the 2000 United States Census there were 16,530 people, 5,520 households, and 3,786 families. The population density was 3,935.6 people per square mile (1,519.6/km2). There were 5,641 housing units at an average density of 1,343.1 per square mile (518.6/km2). The racial makeup of the population was 89.69% White, 3.00% African American, 0.13% Native American, 3.77% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 1.55% from other races, and 1.63% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.97% of the population.

There were 5,520 households, out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.6% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 25.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.05.

The age distribution of the population shows 20.6% under the age of 18, 17.6% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.

The median income for a household was $82,847 and the median income for a family was $101,798. Males had a median income of $62,303 versus $42,097 for females. The per capita income was $38,416. About 2.0% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.8% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Every year, Madison has an event called Bottle Hill Day. During this time, the community is able to come down to the center of town to celebrate the community with games, food, music, and a variety of activities for as many as 20,000 participants.


2021-08-24 15 03 19 View east along New Jersey State Route 24 from the overpass for Greenwood Avenue in Madison, Morris County, New Jersey
View east along Route 24 in Madison

Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 54.73 miles (88.08 km) of roadways, of which 46.38 miles (74.64 km) were maintained by the municipality, 4.76 miles (7.66 km) by Morris County and 3.59 miles (5.78 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

The main thoroughfare is Route 124 which connects with Morris Township in the northwest and Chatham Borough to the southeast.

Route 24 is the only limited access road to pass through the borough, doing so briefly for 0.47 miles (0.76 km), but the closest exit is in neighboring Florham Park.

Public transportation

NJ Transit's Madison station provides commuter service on the Morristown Line, with trains heading to Hoboken Terminal, and to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan via the Kearny Connection.

NJ Transit provides local bus service on the 873 and 879 routes, replacing service that had been offered on the MCM3 and 966 until subsidies to the local providers were eliminated in 2010 as part of budget cuts.

Madison also has a private commuter bus line run by Boxcar Transit that operates five days a week, running directly to and from Midtown Manhattan.

A low-cost campus/downtown shuttle bus operates along Madison Avenue and Main Street during afternoon and evening hours.

Sister cities

Madison has three sister cities: Madison, Connecticut; Issy-les-Moulineaux, France; and Marigliano, Campania, Italy.

Points of interest


Madison's downtown is supported by the Madison Downtown Development Commission and a downtown manager. Many historical buildings remain in the community. The Madison Civic Commercial Historic District, which includes much of "downtown" as well as the borough hall and the train station, is listed on the State Register of Historic Places. The borough hall was donated to the community by Geraldine R. Dodge and Marcellus Hartley Dodge Sr. as a memorial to their son who died in an automobile crash shortly after his graduation from Princeton University. Commercial vacancy rates are low. In recent years Madison has become noted for the number and quality of its restaurants.

Giralda Farms, a planned office development, occupies 175 acres (0.71 km2) of the former Geraldine R. Dodge estate in Madison (she and her husband had separate estates). The site includes the corporate headquarters of Quest Diagnostics. Covering 181 acres (73 ha), the site requires that all parking be underground and that 85% of the land be undeveloped.


Madison YMCA jeh
Original YMCA building

Public schools

The Madison Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of five schools, had an enrollment of 2,646 students and 219.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.1:1. Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Central Avenue School (499 students; in grades PreK-5), Kings Road School (310; K-5), Torey J. Sabatini School (316; K-5), Madison Junior School (618; 6-8) and Madison High School (879; 9-12).

Students from Harding Township attend the district's high school as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Harding Township School District.

Private schools

St. Vincent Martyr School (SVMS) is a Catholic parochial school, established in 1848, that serves students in grades PK-3 through eight, operated under the auspices of the Saint Vincent Parish and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson. SVMS is a recipient of the No Child Left Behind National Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence for 2005–2006. Rainbow Montessori School, founded in 1981, is a Montessori school teaching children in PreK and kindergarten.

Higher education

Seton Hall College was established in Madison in 1856 and relocated to its current location in South Orange, New Jersey in the late nineteenth century.

Drew University was founded in 1867 and continues to operate in Madison, on a wooded campus near downtown that was previously a private residence.

Fairleigh Dickinson University's Florham Campus is located in Madison on the former Twombly estate.

The Landmark Conference, an NCAA Division III conference, is based in Madison.

The College of Saint Elizabeth is located just outside the boundary, in Convent Station (Morris Township)

Notable people

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

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

  • The 16 Deadly Improvs, improvisational rock band.
  • Robert Adams (born 1937), photographer who has focused on the changing landscape of the American West.
  • Lincoln Brower (1931–2018) was an American entomologist and ecologist, best known for his research on monarch butterflies
  • Andy Breckman (born 1955), creator and producer of television series Monk, former Saturday Night Live writer and radio personality.
  • Jonathan Edward Caldwell (born 1883), aeronautical engineer whose designs included an ornithopter, which would have flown by flapping its wings.
  • Robert L. Chapman (1920–2002), thesaurus editor.
  • Samuel S. Coursen (1926–1950), awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Korean War.
  • Dick DeBiasse, automotive engineer and machinist (founder of AER Research, also located in Madison), is credited with having contributed to the success of the Lake Underwood team that established Porsche as a winning race car in the United States. He also did the motor work for Mark Donohue in the following decade.
  • Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge (1882–1973), philanthropist and noted dog breeder and judge.
  • Marcellus Hartley Dodge Sr. (1881–1963), chairman of the board of Remington Arms.
  • Marcellus Hartley Dodge Jr. (1908–1930), heir to the Remington-Rockefeller fortune.
  • Alexander Duncan (1788–1853), Member of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio.
  • Jonathan Dwight (1858–1929), ornithologist.
  • Dean Faiello (born 1959), fake doctor convicted of operating without a license after the 2003 death of a patient.
  • Janeane Garofalo (born 1964), actor, comedian, author, and activist moved to Madison at age nine, where she remained until she graduated from high school.
  • Marcel Gleyre (1910–1996), gymnast who competed in the men's vault event at the 1932 Summer Olympics.
  • Mike Hall (born 1989), bassist.
  • Nick Mangold (born 1984), former NFL pro-bowl center with the New York Jets.
  • William McGurn (born 1958), former speechwriter for George W. Bush.
  • Ted Mitchell (1905–1985), American football center who played in the NFL for the Orange/Newark Tornadoes.
  • Don Newcombe (1926–2019), former Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher who played for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians.
  • Neil O'Donnell (born 1966), former NFL quarterback.
  • Greg Olear (born 1972), novelist.
  • Horace W. Palmer (1878–1953), lawyer and politician who served in the New York State Assembly.
  • Edward Irenaeus Prime-Stevenson (1858–1942), author of Imre: A Memorandum, who wrote under the pseudonym Xavier Mayne.
  • Aubrey Eugene Robinson Jr. (1923–2000), Chief Federal Judge of the District Court of the District of Columbia, appointed by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966.
  • Jay P. Rolison Jr. (1929–2007), lawyer and politician from New York who served in the New York Senate from 1967 to 1990.
  • David Austin Sayre (1793–1870), silversmith.
  • David F. Sayre (1822–1919), Wisconsin State Assemblyman, farmer and lawyer.
  • JoJo Starbuck (born 1951), two-time Olympic competitor in figure skating.
  • William A. Starrett (1877–1932), builder who constructed the Empire State Building.
  • Mary Wilkinson Streep (1915–2001), fine artist and art editor.
  • Charles Henry Totty (1873–1939), horticulturist.
  • Eddie Trunk (born 1964), heavy metal radio host.
  • George Witte, poet and author of Deniability: Poems.
  • Marta Wittkowska (1882–1977), contralto opera singer.

Images for kids

See also

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