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Old Bridge Township, New Jersey
Township
Township of Old Bridge
Cheesequake State Park
Map of Old Bridge Township in Middlesex County. Inset: Location of Middlesex County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Map of Old Bridge Township in Middlesex County. Inset: Location of Middlesex County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Old Bridge Township, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Old Bridge Township, New Jersey
Old Bridge Township, New Jersey is located in Middlesex County, New Jersey
Old Bridge Township, New Jersey
Old Bridge Township, New Jersey
Location in Middlesex County, New Jersey
Old Bridge Township, New Jersey is located in New Jersey
Old Bridge Township, New Jersey
Old Bridge Township, New Jersey
Location in New Jersey
Old Bridge Township, New Jersey is located in the United States
Old Bridge Township, New Jersey
Old Bridge Township, New Jersey
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Middlesex
Incorporated March 2, 1869 (as Madison Township)
Renamed November 5, 1975 (as Old Bridge Township)
Government
 • Type Faulkner Act Mayor-Council
 • Body Township Council
Area
 • Total 40.93 sq mi (106.00 km2)
 • Land 38.18 sq mi (98.89 km2)
 • Water 2.75 sq mi (7.11 km2)  6.71%
Area rank 52nd of 565 in state
3rd of 25 in county
Elevation
46 ft (14 m)
Population
 • Total 65,375
 • Estimate 
(2019)
65,590
 • Rank 18th of 566 in state
3rd of 25 in county
 • Density 1,717.7/sq mi (663.2/km2)
 • Density rank 312th of 566 in state
22nd of 25 in county
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Codes
08857 - Old Bridge
08859 - Parlin
08879 - Laurence Harbor
07735 - Cliffwood Beach
07747 - Matawan*
08879 - South Amboy*
Area code(s) 732/848
FIPS code 3402354705
GNIS feature ID 0882158

Old Bridge Township is a township in Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States. The township is located in the Raritan Valley region within the New York metropolitan area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township had a total population of 65,375, reflecting an increase of 4,919 (+8.1%) from the 60,456 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 3,981 (+7.0%) from the 56,475 counted in the 1990 Census. As of the 2010 Census, the township was the state's 18th largest municipality, after being the state's 21st most-populous municipality in 2000. Old Bridge is a bedroom suburb of New York City located across the Raritan Bay from Staten Island, and it is about 25 miles (40 km) from Manhattan, and about 30 miles (48 km) south of Newark.

What is now Old Bridge Township was originally incorporated as Madison Township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 2, 1869, from portions of South Amboy Township (now City of South Amboy). In a referendum held on November 5, 1975, voters approved changing the township's name to Old Bridge Township by a margin of 7,150 votes to 4,888. The township's name was changed to avoid confusion with the borough of Madison in Morris County. Initially, the township was made up of farms and the population grew slowly. In 1880, the population was 1,662 and in 1950 it had reached 7,365. Over the next decade, a building boom started and farms gave way to developments, and the population grew to 22,772 by 1960. The 1980 census cited 51,406 people. The township saw major changes with the extension of Route 18 to the shore.

The township was named as a contender for the title of one of the best places to live in the United States by Money magazine in both 2005 and 2007.

In 2016, SafeWise named Old Bridge Township as the sixth-safest city in America to raise a child; the township was the second-highest ranked of the 12 communities in New Jersey included on the list.

History

The first inhabitants of the area known as Old Bridge, were the Lenni Lenape Native Americans. Those who settled in Old Bridge were known as the Unami, or "people down the river." They, like many people today, migrated to the shore along the Raritan each summer from their hunting grounds in the north. When the English gained control from the Dutch in 1664, the state was divided into two provinces, East Jersey and West Jersey. In 1683, the general assembly of East Jersey defined the boundaries of Middlesex County and the three other original counties (Bergen, Essex and Monmouth) as containing all plantations on both sides of the Raritan River, as far as Cheesequake Harbor to the east, then southwest to the Provincial line, with the southwest line being the border of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties and the Township's southern border.

Thomas Warne, one of the original 24 proprietors of East Jersey, was listed as a landowner of this area, and his son is said to have been the earliest white resident residing in the Cheesequake area in 1683. John and Susannah Brown were granted a 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) land grant from the King of England in 1737. They called the area Brownville, and today this part of town is now known as Browntown. Other important proprietors of Old Bridge were the Bowne, Morgan, Letts, Brown, Tone, Herbert and Cottrell families, who date back as some of the first landowners of Old Bridge.

In 1684, South Amboy Township was formed. At that time, it covered an area that now consists of the Townships of Monroe and Old Bridge, the Borough of Sayreville and the City of South Amboy. The Township covers 42 square miles (110 km2) that separated from South Amboy on March 2, 1869, and was originally called Madison Township. In 1975, the name was changed by referendum to the Township of Old Bridge. The purpose of doing this was to formulate just one postal designations and ZIP code for the township and to differentiate the township from the Borough of Madison in Morris County. Old Bridge derives its name from the fact that the first bridge spanning the South River was built there, and as other bridges were built across the river the first one became known as "the Old Bridge." Prior to that, it was known as South River Bridge."

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 40.783 square miles (105.627 km2), including 38.060 square miles (98.575 km2) of land and 2.723 square miles (7.052 km2) of water (6.68%).

Brownville (2010 population of 2,383), Laurence Harbor (2010 population of 6,536), Madison Park (2010 population of 7,144) and Old Bridge CDP (2010 population of 23,753) are unincorporated communities and census-designated places (CDPs) located within Old Bridge Township. Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names within Old Bridge Township include Browntown, Brunswick Gardens, Cheesequake, Cottrell Corners, East Spotswood, Matchaponix, Moerls Corner, Morristown, Parlin, Redshaw Corner, Runyon, Sayre Woods South, South Old Bridge and Texas.

Old Bridge Township shares a border with New York City, sharing a boundary with the borough of Staten Island across Raritan Bay. The township also borders East Brunswick Township, Monroe Township, Sayreville and Spotswood in Middlesex County; and Aberdeen Township, Manalapan Township, Marlboro Township and Matawan in Monmouth County.

Major streams/rivers

  • Raritan Bay
  • South River
  • Matchaponix Brook
  • Deep Run
  • Tennets Brook
  • Barclay Brook
  • Cheesequake Creek

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 1,870
1880 1,662 −11.1%
1890 1,520 −8.5%
1900 1,671 9.9%
1910 1,621 −3.0%
1920 1,808 11.5%
1930 2,566 41.9%
1940 3,803 48.2%
1950 7,366 93.7%
1960 22,772 209.2%
1970 48,715 113.9%
1980 51,515 5.7%
1990 56,475 9.6%
2000 60,456 7.0%
2010 65,375 8.1%
2019 (est.) 65,590 0.3%
Population sources: 1870-1920
1870 1880-1890
1890-1910 1910-1930
1930-1990 2000 2010

2010 Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 65,375 people, 23,777 households, and 17,333 families residing in the township. The population density was 1,717.7 per square mile (663.2/km2). There were 24,638 housing units at an average density of 647.3 per square mile (249.9/km2)*. The racial makeup of the township was 74.06% (48,418) White, 6.21% (4,063) Black or African American, 0.20% (129) Native American, 14.34% (9,374) Asian, 0.02% (10) Pacific Islander, 2.72% (1,780) from other races, and 2.45% (1,601) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.81% (7,064) of the population.

There were 23,777 households out of which 33.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.5% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.1% were non-families. 22.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.25.

In the township, the population was spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 30.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.1 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 92.5 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $82,640 (with a margin of error of +/- $6,053) and the median family income was $98,634 (+/- $2,857). Males had a median income of $67,487 (+/- $3,364) versus $48,856 (+/- $3,104) for females. The per capita income for the township was $35,666 (+/- $1,152). About 3.1% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.3% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.

Township attractions

  • Cheesequake State Park
  • Laurence Harbor Beachfront
  • John Piccolo Arena
  • Old Bridge Airport
  • Township parks include Veterans Park and Geick Park

Community and historical information

  • Old Bridge has the 14th worst superfund site in the United States. That area is fenced off along Waterworks Road, near Cheesequake Road. This area has one chemical plant still operating, Old Bridge Chemical. A former plant, Ciba Chemical closed several years ago and a bulk of the plant was demolished, only the office building remains.
  • Many small ponds in the area are remnants of clay pits dug in the 19th century, as clay was a major industry. The Perrine clay pit was located near Route 9 and Ernston Road.
  • The Runyon coal yards were located off Bordentown Avenue and Cheesequake Road, where Stavola Asphalt Construction Company (formerly Manzos Contracting) currently operates. Rail cars at this yard were used to transport their loads to the South Amboy docks, where the coal was shipped to New York City.
  • Pilings of former docks can be found by foot traversing Steamboat Landing Road, also known as Dock Road, which is the extension of Cottrell Road at its intersection with Route 34.
  • The Ochwald Brickworks, now the site of Bridgepointe Development in Laurence Harbor, began operation in 1910 and continued operation into the early 1960s. Behind the Bridgepointe Development and far into the woodline and field, old bricks can still be found.
  • The Kepec Chemical Company in the Genoa section (off County Road) is where the Rosenbergs allegedly contacted Russian spies in 1950. The FBI conducted surveillance of the building at the corner of Biondi Avenue and Gordon Street. Only a few bricks remain to mark this location at the foot of Columbus Avenue. In the past 10 years, this old Genoa section has experienced new houses and the demolition of old.
  • A mass grave in the Ernst Memorial Cemetery off Ernston Road holds the remains of over a dozen unidentified victims of the T. A. Gillespie Company Shell Loading Plant explosion of 1918. This plant exploded in the Morgan section of neighboring Sayreville killing over an estimated 100 persons. Shock waves were felt as far north as Newark.
  • A horse-racing track used to be located where present day Lakeridge development now stands (near the border with Matawan Borough.)
  • A circular car racing track (early 1950s to approximately 1982) used to be located off CR516 where the Whispering Pines Development is now. No visible trace remains.
  • Cheesequake State Park, one of the oldest in the country, opening on June 22, 1940, is located in Old Bridge. Located near the Garden State Parkway exit 120, Route 34 and Route 35, the park is often crowded by sunbathers, picnics, concert goers (nearby PNC Bank Arts Center) and tourists.
  • A Cold War-era Nike missile base is located off U.S. Route 9 on Jake Brown Road. Listed in Weird NJ as a haunted site, readers frequent this area and explore the fields where former base worker residences once stood. The actual base was purchased by Old Bridge Township Board of Education and is currently used to store their own supplies and vehicles. The former underground silos and tunnels were purposely flooded and caved in when the base was closed.
  • Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, a racetrack that hosts Funny Car and drag racing, is located off Route 527 (Englishtown Road) near the township's border with Manalapan and Monroe.

Economy

Old mill streams

Madison Township had many mill streams that were used to generate water power. The Warne family owned fulling mills in the area. Fulling was used as a finishing process used on woolen cloth that would remove the dirt and grease and to compact the wool fibers. The mill is said to have been run behind Old Bridge High School and flows east into the Matawan Creek. The area of Old Bridge was also known for its many mills that manufactured snuff, a scented tobacco product that was used by men and women during that time. The Washington Snuff mill (later renamed the Dill Snuff Mill) was established in 1801 and was located on Mount Pleasant and Old Bridge Turnpike (now Route 516).

Clay industry

The clay soil in the area surrounding Old Bridge was used for pottery and bricks way before the first European settlers. "Fine clay had surrounded Cheesequake Creek when the Lenni Lenape Native Americans lived there. The early discoveries of clay along the banks opened the clay industry to Middlesex County as well as the state of New Jersey. By the 1800s clay was a major industry. The clay deposits found along Cheesequake Creek are reported to be some of the finest stoneware clays in the United States." The clay supplied local potters as well as those in Hudson Valley, Norwalk, Connecticut, other New England states, and parts of Canada. The earliest use of clay from this area was used by Captain James Morgan before the Revolution. The Perrine clay pit was located near U.S. Route 9 and Ernston Road.

Apple farms

The Cottrell homestead is a landmark in Old Bridge. It was built in 1831 and still stands today on the northeast corner of County Route 516 and Cottrell Road. The Cottrells owned a 150-acre (61 ha) apple orchard that was located across the street from their home. Apples that could not be used because of their size or quality did not go to waste. Across from the cold-storage building on the southwest corner of Cottrell Road and Route 516 (where Walgreens is now located), the family built the New Jersey Apple Growers Inc. distillery. It was at this distillery that they pressed the apples into cider and distilled the brandy in large vats. The brandy would age in barrels in a government warehouse that was located on the Cottrells' property. The Cottrells produced apple brandy for twenty years on the farm and sold it wholesale to distributors under the name Browntown.

Education

The Old Bridge Township Public Schools serve students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2020-21 school year, the district, comprised of 14 schools, had an enrollment of 8,058 students and 680.10 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.85:1. In 2019, Cheesequake Elementary School closed due to the state's reduction of school funding. Schools in the district (with 2020-21 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are M. Scott Carpenter Elementary School (250; K-5), Leroy Gordon Cooper Elementary School (196; K-5), Virgil I. Grissom Elementary School (183; K-5), Madison Park Elementary School (278; K-5), James A. McDivitt Elementary School (514; K-5), Memorial Elementary School (416; K-5), William A. Miller Elementary School (273; K-5), Walter M. Schirra Elementary School (253; K-5), Alan B. Shepard Elementary School (273; K-5), Southwood Elementary School (385; K-5), Raymond E. Voorhees Elementary School (387; K-5), Jonas Salk Middle School (896; 6–8) and Carl Sandburg Middle School (981; 6–8) and Old Bridge High School (2,714; 9-12).

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.

Multiple private schools operate in the township. Calvary Christian School serves students in grades K-10, operating within Calvary Chapel Old Bridge. St. Ambrose School and St. Thomas the Apostle School are PreK-8 Catholic elementary schools that operate under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen. St. Thomas the Apsotle School was recognized in 2018 by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program of the United States Department of Education.

Infrastructure

Transportation

2021-05-28 08 30 45 View north along the northbound lanes of New Jersey State Route 444 (Garden State Parkway) from the overpass for Middlesex County Route 626 (Laurence Harbor-Matawan Road) in Old Bridge Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey
View north along the Garden State Parkway, the largest and busiest highway in Old Bridge

Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the township had a total of 222.24 miles (357.66 km) of roadways, of which 179.32 miles (288.59 km) were maintained by the municipality, 24.41 miles (39.28 km) by Middlesex County and 16.65 miles (26.80 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 1.86 miles (2.99 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

The township is crisscrossed by many many major roads and highways.

The Garden State Parkway passes through Old Bridge for about 1.9 miles (3.1 km), connecting Aberdeen Township in Monmouth County in the south to Sayreville in the north and houses Interchange 120, which is signed for Laurence Harbor / Matawan.

Other routes, such as U.S. Route 9, Route 18, Route 34 and Route 35 also pass through the township. Major county routes that pass through are County Route 516, County Route 520, County Route 527 and County Route 615.

The New Jersey Turnpike (Interstate 95) is minutes north along Route 18 outside the township in bordering East Brunswick (Exit 9) and not too far also in bordering Monroe Township (Exit 8A).

Public transportation

Rail

Old Bridge borders Matawan on Route 34, and the Aberdeen-Matawan train station, and it also borders South Amboy on U.S. Route 9, and the South Amboy train station, both located along the North Jersey Coast Line. Old Bridge is also close to the New Brunswick train station in nearby New Brunswick and Metropark in nearby Iselin on the Northeast Corridor Line.

Busing

For busing, Old Bridge Park and Ride is located along Route 9 northbound, close to Ernston Road.

NJ Transit Bus Operations provides bus service to communities along US Route 9 from Lakewood Township to Old Bridge Township, via bus routes 131, 133, 134, 135, 138, and 139 to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, service to Newark on the 67, on the 68 to Jersey City and local service on the 817 and 818 routes. Bus service is available from Route 9 to Wall Street in New York's Financial District via the Academy Bus Line.

Middlesex County Area Transit (MCAT) shuttles provide service on routes operating across the county, including the M3 route, which operates between Brunswick Square and Old Bridge Township and the M7 route between Brunswick Square and South Amboy.

Aviation

Old Bridge Airport is a general aviation facility located 5 miles (8.0 km) south of the central business district. The closest commercial airport is Newark Liberty International Airport.

Healthcare

Raritan Bay Medical Center has two hospitals in the area, the Old Bridge division and the Perth Amboy division. The Old Bridge Division, which handles all but trauma cases is located at the intersection of, Route 18 and Ferry Road.

Other regional hospitals near the township that handle all but trauma cases include CentraState Medical Center in nearby Freehold and Bayshore Medical Center in nearby Holmdel. Most trauma cases are handled by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in nearby New Brunswick.

Old Bridge also has many long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

Emergency services

Fire departments

Old Bridge is divided into four fire districts:

  • Fire District 1: Laurence Harbor Fire Department, established in 1924 and operating out of two stations.
  • Fire District 2: Cheesequake Volunteer Fire Company, with Station 1 at 113 Route 34, Station 2 at 4290 Route 516 and Station 3 at 3080 Route 516.
  • Fire District 3: South Old Bridge Volunteer Fire Company, established in 1947 and operating out of three stations, with Engine Company 1 located at 958 Englishtown Road, Engine Company 2 at 14 Throckmorton Lane and Engine Company 3 at 1599 Englishtown Road.
  • Fire District 4: Madison Park Volunteer Fire Company, organized in 1956.

Each of the above have several different fire houses with adequate equipment and trucks to handle any and all situations that arise within the township or surrounding towns. Old Bridge is equipped for:

  • HAZMAT
  • Tower rescue
  • Water rescue/ice rescue
  • Heavy Duty rescue
  • General search and rescue
  • Wildland firefighting
  • Trench rescue

Medical/first aid services

Old Bridge is divided into five districts each with a volunteer first aid squad. Numerous ambulances are in service for the community. A paid squad is employed between the hours of 6am to 6pm.

  • Cheesequake Volunteer First Aid Squad, formed in 1969
  • Laurence Harbor Volunteer First Aid Squad, established in 1927 and serving the areas of Laurence Harbor, Cliffwood Beach, Genoa, Cheesequake State Park, Cheesequake Village and Ellen Heath
  • Madison Park Volunteer First Aid Squad, formed in 1959
  • Old Bridge First Aid and Rescue Squad (nicknamed "Red & White" due to the color of their ambulances)
  • Old Bridge Volunteer Emergency Medical Services (nicknamed "Green & White" due to the color of their ambulances)

Old Bridge Township Emergency Medical Services (OBTEMS) is the municipal paid service which covers daytime hours 6AM-6PM.

Advanced Life support or "ALS" for short, also known as medics, are paid personnel dispatched to all township calls based on the requirements of assistance. Medics respond to all life/death situations due to a traumatic injury, industrial accident, heart problems, strokes, serious vehicle crashes, etc. The medics are housed by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Saint Peter's University Hospital and Raritan Bay Medical Center. Each are assigned their own ambulance.

Notable people

See also (related category): People from Old Bridge Township, New Jersey

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Old Bridge Township include:

  • Brandon Allen (born 1993), professional soccer player for the New York Red Bulls.
  • R. J. Allen (born 1990), professional soccer player for New York City FC.
  • Josh Ansley, bass player for Streetlight Manifesto and Catch 22.
  • Adam Chazen (born 1985/86), special effects producer, best known for his work on the cable television series Game of Thrones, for which he has received five Emmy Awards.
  • Quinton Crawford (born 1990), assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA.
  • Junot Diaz (born 1968), Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist.
  • Doug Emhoff (born 1964), lawyer and the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris.
  • Colleen Fitzpatrick (born 1972), a pop music artist, dancer and actress, better known by her stage name, Vitamin C.
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick (born 1996), American football defensive back for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Laurie Hernandez (born 2000), artistic gymnast representing Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Gold medalist in the team competition.
  • Phil Ivey (born 1977), professional poker player.
  • Franklin Lawson, retired soccer player who played professionally in the American Soccer League and the United Soccer League.
  • Caren Lissner (born 1972), novelist.
  • Fabian Nicieza (born 1961), comic book writer and editor who is best known for his work on Marvel titles such as X-Men, X-Force, New Warriors, Cable & Deadpool and Thunderbolts.
  • Brian O'Halloran (born 1969), actor. Appeared in Clerks and Clerks 2.
  • Jodi Lyn O'Keefe (born 1978), actress.
  • Metallica heavy metal band (formed 1981).
  • Tab Ramos (born 1966), retired soccer midfielder.
  • George Rizzi (born 1951), guitarist and musical director of the 1960s pop/rock group The Happenings, whose hits include "See You In September" and "Go Away Little Girl".
  • Michael Rotkowitz (born 1974), applied mathematician best known for his work in decentralized control theory.
  • Diane Ruggiero, screenwriter for Veronica Mars.
  • Ed Sanicki (1923–1998), outfielder who played for the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • Donna Simpson (born 1967), Guinness World Record holder for largest mother.
  • Joann H. Smith (1934–1998), politician who served in the New Jersey General Assembly from the 13th Legislative District from 1986 to 1998.
  • Shannon Sohn (born 1974), first helicopter reporter to earn a national Emmy Award.
  • William H. Sutphin (1887–1972) represented New Jersey's 3rd congressional district from 1931 to 1943.

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