Watchung, New Jersey facts for kids

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Watchung, New Jersey
Borough
Borough of Watchung
Map of Watchung in Somerset County. Inset: Location of Somerset County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Map of Watchung in Somerset County. Inset: Location of Somerset County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Watchung, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Watchung, New Jersey
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Somerset
Incorporated April 20, 1926
Area
 • Total 6.054 sq mi (15.679 km2)
 • Land 6.026 sq mi (15.607 km2)
 • Water 0.028 sq mi (0.072 km2)  0.46%
Area rank 254th of 566 in state
10th of 21 in county
Elevation 259 ft (79 m)
Population (2010 Census)
 • Total 5,801
 • Estimate (2015) 5,916
 • Rank 355th of 566 in state
16th of 21 in county
 • Density 962.7/sq mi (371.7/km2)
 • Density rank 387th of 566 in state
12th of 21 in county
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP code 07069
Area code(s) 908
FIPS code 3403577600
GNIS feature ID 0885433
Website www.watchungnj.gov

Watchung is a borough in Somerset County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 5,801, reflecting an increase of 188 (+3.3%) from the 5,613 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 503 (+9.8%) from the 5,110 counted in the 1990 Census.

History

The name "Watchung" comes from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans, meaning "high hills" or from "watschu", meaning "hill".

George Washington surveyed the British troops in Perth Amboy, many miles away, from the first ridge of the Watchung Mountains. The eastern edge of these ridges reaches to the Oranges in the direction of Newark. The name "Washingtonville" was used in early times, but was rejected as the name for the area by the United States Postal Service, which felt that the state already had too many places named Washington.

Watchung, in the 1900s was a semi-rural small community of about 3,200 people in comparison with the relatively larger and more urban communities of Plainfield and Somerville. The first mayor of the town was Henry Baldwin Macdonald, who served from 1926 to 1928. Even as late as the 1960s, it was common for residents to know one another by name, with few moving in or out of the town. The 1967 Plainfield riots, however, caused an exodus of the large upper-middle class population from the nearby cities to the Watchung Hills area to communities such as Watchung, Warren Township and Bridgewater Township.

Watchung was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on May 23, 1926, from portions of North Plainfield Township (now Green Brook Township) based on the results of a referendum held on April 20, 1926.

Watchung Lake, Watchung New Jersey
Fishing is allowed at Watchung Lake on a catch-and-release basis only.

In the wake of public fear that ensued after the 1938 radio broadcast of Orson Welles' The War of the Worlds, National Guard troops were stationed around the hills in Watchung, as told on the vinyl record recording of news reports of the day.

Notable figures who have lived in Watchung include Bobby Thomson, Billy Ard and Carl Banks.

Historic places

Eaton House is a Watchung historic site that was owned by congressman Charles Aubrey Eaton and has been the residence of other notables over the years. Known also as the Sunbright Farm farmhouse, the home was damaged in April 2014 when it was hit by trees that fell as a result of a likely microburst in a severe storm that rolled through the area.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 6.054 square miles (15.679 km2), including 6.026 square miles (15.607 km2) of land and 0.028 square miles (0.072 km2) of water (0.46%).

Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the borough include Washingtonville.

The borough borders Bernards Township, Bridgewater Township, Green Brook Township and Watchung in Somerset County; portions of Morris County; and Berkeley Heights in Union County.

The Stony Brook flows through Watchung borough, making its way from Warren Township to the Watchung Lake, then through the gorge in the first Watchung mountain and over the Wetumpka Falls, on its way to the Green Brook.

The borough is roughly a 25-minute drive from New York City and a 10-minute drive from Newark.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 906
1940 1,158 27.8%
1950 1,818 57.0%
1960 3,312 82.2%
1970 4,750 43.4%
1980 5,290 11.4%
1990 5,110 −3.4%
2000 5,613 9.8%
2010 5,801 3.3%
Est. 2015 5,916 2.0%
Population sources: 1930
1930–1990 2000 2010

2010 Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 5,801 people, 2,114 households, and 1,613 families residing in the borough. The population density was 962.7 per square mile (371.7/km2). There were 2,234 housing units at an average density of 370.7 per square mile (143.1/km2)*. The racial makeup of the borough was 80.52% (4,671) White, 3.45% (200) Black or African American, 0.12% (7) Native American, 12.69% (736) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 0.81% (47) from other races, and 2.41% (140) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.29% (307) of the population.

There were 2,114 households out of which 32.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.2% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.7% were non-families. 20.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the borough, the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 18.8% from 25 to 44, 32.1% from 45 to 64, and 21.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.9 years. For every 100 females there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 87.3 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $112,917 (with a margin of error of +/- $21,189) and the median family income was $144,883 (+/- $38,172). Males had a median income of $92,667 (+/- $15,969) versus $63,811 (+/- $15,306) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $59,177 (+/- $6,617). About 3.2% of families and 2.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.2% of those under age 18 and 0.0% of those age 65 or over.

2000 Census

As of the 2000 United States Census there were 5,613 people, 2,098 households, and 1,617 families residing in the borough. The population density was 933.0 people per square mile (360.0/km2). There were 2,155 housing units at an average density of 358.2 per square mile (138.2/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 84.30% White, 3.37% African American, 0.09% Native American, 9.85% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.71% from other races, and 1.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.99% of the population.

There were 2,098 households out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.4% were married couples living together, 4.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.9% were non-families. 19.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the borough the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 30.1% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 95.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.3 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $101,944, and the median income for a family was $120,764. Males had a median income of $80,658 versus $54,167 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $58,653. About 0.5% of families and 2.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.6% of those under age 18 and 1.6% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation

Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 44.63 miles (71.83 km) of roadways, of which 33.24 miles (53.49 km) were maintained by the municipality, 9.07 miles (14.60 km) by Somerset County and 2.32 miles (3.73 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 1.09 miles (1.75 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

Interstate 78 runs through the northwestern portion of the borough, including interchange 41, entering in the east from Warren Township and continuing for 1.4 miles (2.3 km) to Berkeley Heights Township in Union County. U.S. Route 22 passes briefly through the borough's southeast corner, entering from North Plainfield in the east and continuing into Scotch Plains Township in Union County.

County Route 527 (Mountain Boulevard / Valley Road) stretches 5.2 miles (8.4 km) across the length of the borough from Warren Township in the southwest to Berkeley Heights in the northeast. County Route 531 (Somerset Road / Hillcrest Road) runs for 1.4 miles (2.3 km) across the borough from North Plainfield to Warren Township.

Public transportation

NJ Transit provides service on the 95 bus route between Watchung and Newark.

Images for kids


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