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Scotch Plains, New Jersey
Township of Scotch Plains
The first school built in the town, which was renamed to Park Middle School
The first school built in the town, which was renamed to Park Middle School
Map of Scotch Plains Township in Union County. Inset: Location of Union County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Map of Scotch Plains Township in Union County. Inset: Location of Union County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Scotch Plains, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Scotch Plains, New Jersey
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Union
Incorporated March 6, 1878 (as Fanwood Township)
Renamed March 29, 1917 (as Scotch Plains)
 • Total 9.050 sq mi (23.440 km2)
 • Land 9.018 sq mi (23.358 km2)
 • Water 0.032 sq mi (0.082 km2)  0.35%
Area rank 220th of 566 in state
4th of 21 in county
Elevation 141 ft (43 m)
Population (2010 Census)
 • Total 23,510
 • Estimate (2015) 24,149
 • Rank 105th of 566 in state
7th of 21 in county
 • Density 2,606.9/sq mi (1,006.5/km2)
 • Density rank 239th of 566 in state
19th of 21 in county
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP code 07076
Area code(s) 908
FIPS code 3403966060
GNIS feature ID 0882217

Scotch Plains is a township in Union County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the township's population was 23,510, reflecting an increase of 778 (+3.4%) from the 22,732 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,572 (+7.4%) from the 21,160 counted in 1990.


The area known as Scotch Plains was first settled by Europeans, including many Scottish Quakers as early as 1684. The name is said to have come from George Scott, a leader of a group of Scottish settlers. It later served as a stop on the stage coach line between New York City and Philadelphia.

The Ash Swamp in Scotch Plains was the scene of a key action in the Battle of Short Hills, on June 26, 1777, which included skirmishes as Washington's forces moved along Rahway Road in Scotch Plains toward the Watchung Mountains. An ancient house in Scotch Plains recalls those skirmishes and, with the acreage adjoining the house, presents a vista of that decade, the 1770s. This was the home of Aunt Betty Frazee, whose retort to Lord Cornwallis led the British to find their bread from friendlier bakers in the same battle. The farmstead of Betty and Gershom Frazee is being restored by local organizations.

What is now Scotch Plains was originally incorporated as Fanwood Township on March 6, 1878, by an act of the New Jersey Legislature from portions of Plainfield Township and Westfield Township. Portions of the township were taken to form Fanwood Borough on October 2, 1895. Fanwood Township was renamed as Scotch Plains on March 29, 1917, based on the results of a referendum held that same day.

Scotch Plains was home to the Shady Rest Country Club, the nation's first African-American country club. Its pro, John Shippen, the first American golf professional, led the 1892 U.S. Open in the final round before finishing fifth. The Shady Rest clubhouse hosted Cab Calloway and other greats as a local center for African-American culture in the 1920s and 1930s. It is preserved today as the Scotch Hills Municipal course.

A much more complete history of the township can be found in the October 28, 1999, "Our Towns: Scotch Plains-Fanwood (2nd Annual)" issue of the The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood, produced by the town's newspaper of record at the time as well as on the township's website.

The ancestors of many residents immigrated from the area of Montazzoli, Italy, as part of a wave of Italian immigrants who arrived in the area in the early 20th century. In recognition of this longstanding connection, the township established "Montazzoli Plaza" in October 2015 in front of the Italian American Club.


According to the United States Census Bureau, Scotch Plains township had a total area of 9.050 square miles (23.440 km2), including 9.018 square miles (23.358 km2) of land and 0.032 square miles (0.082 km2) of water (0.35%).

The township borders the municipalities of Berkeley Heights, Clark, Fanwood, Mountainside, Plainfield and Westfield in Union County; Edison and South Plainfield in Middlesex County; and Watchung in Somerset County.

Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Alton, Goodmans, Graceland, Two Bridges and Willow Grove.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,167
1890 1,305 11.8%
1900 1,200 * −8.0%
1910 1,616 34.7%
1920 2,343 45.0%
1930 4,186 78.7%
1940 4,993 19.3%
1950 9,069 81.6%
1960 18,491 103.9%
1970 22,279 20.5%
1980 20,774 −6.8%
1990 21,160 1.9%
2000 22,732 7.4%
2010 23,510 3.4%
Est. 2015 24,149 2.7%
Population sources:
1880–1920 1880–1890
1890–1910 1910–1930
1930–1990 2000 2010
* = Lost territory in previous decade.

Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Scotch Plains as the most affordable suburb in New Jersey in its 2009 report.

2010 Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 23,510 people, 8,595 households, and 6,429 families residing in the township. The population density was 2,606.9 per square mile (1,006.5/km2). There were 8,896 housing units at an average density of 986.4 per square mile (380.9/km2)*. The racial makeup of the township was 77.43% (18,203) White, 11.08% (2,605) Black or African American, 0.12% (29) Native American, 7.65% (1,799) Asian, 0.01% (2) Pacific Islander, 1.39% (327) from other races, and 2.32% (545) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.73% (1,582) of the population.

There were 8,595 households out of which 37.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.6% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.2% were non-families. 21.7% 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 2.72 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the township, the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 29.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.9 years. For every 100 females there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 88.3 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $104,873 (with a margin of error of +/− $6,397) and the median family income was $126,138 (+/− $7,410). Males had a median income of $90,016 (+/− $11,033) versus $66,022 (+/− $5,055) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $52,488 (+/− $3,094). About 1.3% of families and 3.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.7% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or over.

2000 Census

As of the 2000 United States Census there are 22,732 people, 8,349 households, and 6,295 families residing in the township . The population density is 2,503.3 inhabitants per square mile (966.6/km2). There are 8,479 housing units at an average density of 933.7 per square mile (360.5/km2). The racial makeup of the township is 78.88% White, 11.30% African American, 0.09% Native American, 7.25% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.95% from other races, and 1.52% from two or more races. 3.94% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 8,349 households out of which 36.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.4% are married couples living together, 8.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 24.6% are non-families. 20.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.71 and the average family size is 3.16.

In the township the population is distributed with 25.4% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 31.8% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females there are 92.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 88.8 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $81,599, and the median income for a family was $96,238. Males had a median income of $63,648 versus $43,714 for females. The per capita income for the township is $39,913. 3.0% of the population and 2.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 2.0% of those under the age of 18 and 7.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Parks and recreation

Shackamaxon Country Club is a private golf course, swimming and tennis facility also hosting celebrations, founded in 1916 and is located on Shackamaxon Drive in Scotch Plains. Some of its 130+ acres occupy land in Westfield.

Scotch Hills Municipal Golf Course, known as the Shady Rest Golf and Country Club before it was taken over by the township, was at one time the only African-American country club in the United States.

Bowcraft Amusement Park is an amusement park located on Route 22 West that was featured in scenes in the films Mortal Thoughts (1991) and North (1994).

Highland Swimming Club is a private swimming facility with a large L-shaped main pool and a smaller kiddie pool, a BBQ area, a small "Snack Shack", and play area named "The Grove". Its swim team competes against other private swim clubs in the area in meets held mostly in July. It also hosts an annual swim meet with a club from Derry, Northern Ireland.


Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the township had a total of 89.39 miles (143.86 km) of roadways, of which 75.06 miles (120.80 km) were maintained by the municipality, 11.95 miles (19.23 km) by Union County and 2.38 miles (3.83 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

The two major roads that pass through are Route 28 for a brief stretch in the central part and U.S. Route 22 in the north.

The township is accessible from limited access in neighboring communities, such as Interstate 78 in both Watchung and Berkeley Heights, the Garden State Parkway in Clark and Interstate 287 in Edison Township.

Public transportation

Scotch Plains is bisected by NJ Transit's Raritan Valley Line, formerly the mainline of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. A passenger station is located in Fanwood. Another rail line, the Lehigh Line, carries freight trains through the southernmost tip of the township.

New Jersey Transit offers service on the 112, 113, 114 and 117 routes to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, and service to Newark on the 59, 65 and 66 (Limited) routes.

Newark Liberty International Airport is approximately 14 miles (23 km) east of Scotch Plains, most conveniently reached via Route 22, and Linden Airport, a general aviation facility is in nearby Linden, New Jersey. Newark Liberty International Airport is also accessible via New Jersey Transit train by transferring from the Raritan Valley Line to the Northeast Corridor Line at Newark Penn Station.

Scotch Plains also has access to Amtrak service, by taking the Raritan Valley Line to Newark Penn Station. This gives Scotch Plains rail access to destinations along the entire east coast.

Points of interest

  • The Aunt Betty Frazee House is a farmhouse of a colonial-era couple Gershom and Elizabeth Frazee, the latter of whom was approached by British generals in 1777 who sought to buy bread she'd been baking that day. Aunt Betty's famous retort ("I offer this bread not in love but in fear" — whereupon the generals courteously abandoned their effort to buy) puts her in company with Betsy Ross, Molly Pitcher and other women who distinguished themselves in the American Revolution. Her house is on state and national historic registers, and many in the community are seeking a way of restoring the house (at 1451 Raritan Road) to honor Betty's story and secure it in American history.
  • Hillside Cemetery is the burial site of Dudley Moore and Senator James Edgar Martine.
  • John's Meat Market is the site of Mr. T's reality TV show for TV Land.
  • Osborn-Cannonball House Museum is a historic home located at 1840 Front Street that is operated by The Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood New Jersey.
  • John H. Stamler Police Academy trains officers and volunteers throughout Union County and is located on Raritan Road.
  • The Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey has its Jewish Community Center and offices on Martine Avenue.

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