West Orange, New Jersey facts for kids
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West Orange, New Jersey
|Township of West Orange|
Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange
"Where Invention Lives"
Census Bureau map of West Orange, New Jersey
|Lua error in Module:Location_map at line 412: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).|
|Incorporated||April 10, 1863 (as township)|
|Reincorporated||February 28, 1900 (as town)|
|• Type||Faulkner Act (mayor–council)|
|• Body||Township Council|
|• Total||12.13 sq mi (31.41 km2)|
|• Land||12.00 sq mi (31.09 km2)|
|• Water||0.12 sq mi (0.32 km2) 1.01%|
|Area rank||189th of 565 in state
3rd of 22 in county
|Elevation||512 ft (156 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Rank||40th of 566 in state
5th of 22 in county
|• Density||3,836.0/sq mi (1,481.1/km2)|
|• Density rank||160th of 566 in state
14th of 22 in county
|Time zone||UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))|
|GNIS feature ID||1729718|
West Orange is a suburban township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 46,207, an increase of 1,264 (+2.8%) from the 44,943 counted in the 2000 Census. West Orange is both an inner-ring suburb of Newark (the seat of Essex County, and New Jersey's largest city) and a commuter suburb of New York City; it is approximately 12 miles west of Manhattan. West Orange is well known for having been home to the inventor Thomas Edison, who also maintained a laboratory and workshop in town.
West Orange was initially a part of Newark township, and remained so until November 27, 1806, when the territory now encompassing all of The Oranges was detached to form Orange Township. On April 13, 1807, the first government was elected. On January 31, 1860, Orange was incorporated as a town, and on April 3, 1872, it was reincorporated as a city. Almost immediately, Orange began fragmenting into smaller communities, primarily because of local disputes about the costs of establishing paid police, fire and street departments. South Orange was organized on April 1, 1861, Fairmount (an independent municipality for less than one year that was later to become part of West Orange) on March 11, 1862, and East Orange on March 4, 1863. West Orange (including what had been the briefly independent municipality of Fairmount) was incorporated as a township on April 10, 1863, and was reformed as a town on February 28, 1900. In 1980, West Orange again became a township to take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies that allocated a greater share of government aid to municipalities classified as townships.
Llewellyn Park, the first planned community in America, is located within West Orange, and was designed by entrepreneur Llewellyn Haskell and architect Alexander Jackson Davis in 1857. Llewellyn Park is considered among the best examples of the "Romantic Landscape" movement of that period. Thomas Edison was one of the many residents.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 12.171 square miles (31.522 km2), including 12.046 square miles (31.198 km2) of land and 0.125 square miles (0.324 km2) of water (1.03%). It is located approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) west of downtown Newark and 13 miles (21 km) west of New York City.
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Crestmont, Crystal Lake, Llewellyn Park, Pleasantdale and Saint Cloud.
The township is marked by an eclectic mix of neighborhoods and housing types, which roughly correspond to the township's geographic features. Generally, the township has four distinct neighborhoods:
- Downtown West Orange and The Valley
The oldest and most densely populated part of the township is Downtown West Orange, which lies in the low basin along the township's eastern border with the city of Orange and Montclair. Main Street, in this section, is home to the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, as well as the municipal building, police headquarters, and a branch post office. The West Orange Public Library is located on Mount Pleasant Avenue in this section, just west of Main Street. Downtown West Orange is laid out in the pattern of a traditional town, and is formed around the western termini of two major east-west arteries of the Newark street grid: Central Avenue and Park Avenue. Downtown West Orange has the most urban character of the township's neighborhoods, while the Valley is home to a growing arts district and a significant African American community.
- The First Mountain
West of Downtown, the neighborhoods of West Orange become increasingly suburban as one ascends the steep hill of the First Watchung Mountain along Northfield, Mount Pleasant, or Eagle Rock Avenue. The housing stock in the neighborhoods of Hutton Park and Gregory is a mixture of Victorian, Jazz Age, and Tudor-style houses; large estates; garden apartments; and post-World War II modern houses. The Victorian enclave of Llewellyn Park, one of America's first planned residential communities, is also located on the First Mountain, having been created in 1853 as a site for country homes for the wealthy from New York City. Many blocks on the First Mountain have sweeping views of the Newark and New York City skylines.
- Pleasant Valley and Pleasantdale
Beyond the high ridge traced by Prospect Avenue, West Orange becomes a patchwork of post-World War II suburban neighborhoods, interspersed with pockets of older Victorian homes, as well as golf courses, professional campuses, and shopping centers. Pleasantdale, a walkable business district in this part of the township, includes a number of restaurants, office buildings, and houses of worship. Pleasantdale is also home to a significant Orthodox Jewish community.
- The Second Mountain
Finally, the westernmost section of West Orange lies along the eastern face of the Second Watchung Mountain, and includes large portions of the South Mountain Reservation. The housing stock in this neighborhood resembles that of Pleasantdale, as well as those of the adjacent suburban townships of Millburn and Livingston.
1870–1920 1870 1880–1890
1900–1990 2000 2010 2020
As of the census of 2010, there were 46,207 people, 16,790 households, and 11,753 families residing in the township. The population density was 3,836.0 per square mile (1,481.1/km2). There were 17,612 housing units at an average density of 1,462.1 per square mile (564.5/km2)*. The racial makeup of the township was 57.15% (26,406) White, 26.58% (12,284) Black or African American, 0.38% (174) Native American, 7.96% (3,680) Asian, 0.02% (10) Pacific Islander, 4.82% (2,227) from other races, and 3.09% (1,426) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.20% (7,487) of the population.
There were 16,790 households out of which 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.1% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.0% were non-families. 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.28.
In the township, the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 27.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.6 years. For every 100 females there were 88.3 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 83.2 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $88,917 (with a margin of error of +/- $4,480) and the median family income was $106,742 (+/- $5,256). Males had a median income of $65,854 (+/- $4,548) versus $43,223 (+/- $2,769) for females. The per capita income for the township was $43,368 (+/- $2,021). About 4.9% of families and 7.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.5% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 44,943 people, 16,480 households, and 11,684 families residing in the township. The population density was 3,708.7 people per square mile (1,431.7/km2). There were 16,901 housing units at an average density of 1,394.7 per square mile (538.4/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 67.6% White, 17.5% African American, 0.14% Native American, 8.09% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.52% from other races, and 3.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.04% of the population.
There were 16,480 households, out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.0% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.1% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.19. In the township the population was spread out, with 23.3% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.0 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $69,254, and the median income for a family was $83,375. Males had a median income of $52,029 versus $39,484 for females. The per capita income for the township was $34,412. About 4.6% of families and 5.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.0% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.
Parks and recreation
The township is set off by two large parks: the South Mountain Reservation along its southwestern borders with Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange, and the Eagle Rock Reservation along its northeastern borders with Montclair and Verona. The township straddles the transition between the low-lying Newark Bay basin and the high terrain of the Watchung Mountains.
Fishing and kayaking is available on the Rahway River.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010[update], the township had a total of 114.54 miles (184.33 km) of roadways, of which 89.63 miles (144.25 km) were maintained by the municipality, 19.45 miles (31.30 km) by Essex County and 5.46 miles (8.79 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
NJ Transit offers bus service in the township to Newark on the 21, 29, 71, 73 and 79 routes, with local service on the 97 route. In September 2012, as part of budget cuts, NJ Transit suspended service to Newark on the 75 line.
DeCamp Bus Lines offers scheduled service between the township and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan on the 66 route. Coach USA / Community Coach serves the Port Authority Bus Terminal on route 77.
The township offers a jitney service that operates on weekdays, offering service to the Orange and South Orange train stations.
Developed by Sol Atlas, Essex Green Shopping Center is an outdoor mall with stores, like ShopRite, restaurants and an AMC Theatres Fork and Screen dine-in movie theater. The 350,000-square-foot (33,000 m2) mall, the largest of its type in Essex County, was purchased in 2016 by Clarion Partners.
The West Orange Public Schools serves students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2019–20 school year, the district, comprised of 12 schools, had an enrollment of 6,718 students and 632.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 10.6:1. Schools in the district (with 2019–20 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Betty Maddalena Early Learning Center (with 71 students in PreK), Gregory Elementary School (454 students; in grades K-5), Hazel Avenue Elementary School (320; K-5), Kelly Elementary School (455; PreK-5), Mount Pleasant Elementary School (353; K-5), Redwood Elementary School (509; K-5), St. Cloud Elementary School (356; K-5), Washington Elementary School (417; K-5), Thomas A. Edison Middle School (516; 6), Liberty Middle School (536; 7-8), Roosevelt Middle School (487; 7-8) and West Orange High School (2,098; 9-12). Pleasantdale School was renamed Kelly School in May 2016 in honor of Mark and Scott Kelly, identical twins who attended the school starting in second grade before becoming NASA astronauts.
Seton Hall Preparatory School is a Roman Catholic all boys' high school that operates under the supervision of the Archdiocese of Newark. Founded in 1856 on the campus of Seton Hall University, the school moved to West Orange in 1985.
The Jersey Rockhoppers hockey team of the Eastern Professional Hockey League, formed for the 2008–09 season, played home games at the Richard J. Codey Arena. The arena also used to be the practice facility for the New Jersey Devils from 1986 to 2007. The New Jersey Daredevils, a special needs hockey team formed in 2002 that plays in the SHI (Special Hockey International League), uses the arena for home games and practices. Annually in October, the Daredevils host a Halloween themed tournament for Special Hockey International teams (including the Daredevils themselves) called Frankenfest. Frankenfest has been going on every October since 2009. The New Jersey Devils Youth Hockey team also plays here as well.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with West Orange include:
- Nat Adderley Jr. (born 1955), music arranger who spent much of his career with Luther Vandross.
- Treena Livingston Arinzeh, biomedical engineer and professor known for her work researching adult stem-cell therapy.
- Mike Austin (born 1943), swimmer who represented the United States at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and won a gold medal in the 4 × 100 m freestyle relay.
- Ben Barres (1954–2017), born as Barbara Barres, neuroscientist at Stanford University and advocate for underrepresented groups in science, including women, members of the LGBT community, and people of color.
- John L. Blake (1831–1899), politician who represented New Jersey's 6th congressional district from 1879 to 1881.
- Enea Bossi Sr. (1888–1963), aviation pioneer who created the first stainless steel aircraft and one of the first human-powered planes.
- Martin Brodeur (born 1972), ice hockey goaltender in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils.
- Anna Easter Brown (1879–1957), part of the original nine group of founders in the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
- Joanna Bruno (born 1944), operatic soprano.
- Brendan Byrne (1924–2018), Governor of New Jersey from 1974 to 1982.
- Jean Byrne (1926–2015), educator who served as the First Lady of New Jersey from 1974 to 1982 during the tenure of her former husband, two-term Governor Brendan Byrne.
- David Cassidy (1950–2017), teen idol, singer and actor who appeared on the 1970s TV series The Partridge Family.
- Joan Caulfield (1922–1991), movie, theatre, television actress of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.
- James Ormsbee Chapin (1887–1975), artist.
- Bill Charlap (born 1966), jazz pianist
- Chris Christian (born 1989), professional soccer player who currently plays as a defender for Oakland Roots SC in the National Independent Soccer Association.
- Mary Jo Codey (born 1955), healthcare activist and former First Lady of New Jersey.
- Richard Codey (born 1946), state senator who served as acting governor of New Jersey in 2002 and as governor from 2004 until 2006. (Now resides in neighboring Roseland)
- Jemima Condict (1754–1779), American Revolutionary War era diarist.
- Brandon Costner (born 1987), professional basketball forward for Caciques de Humacao of the Baloncesto Superior Nacional.
- Cicely Cottingham, artist.
- Anthony Criss (born 1970), member of the rap group Naughty by Nature.
- Alexander Jackson Davis (1803–1892), architect who helped create Llewellyn Park.
- John J. Degnan (born 1944), Attorney General of New Jersey from 1978 until 1981 who was chosen as chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
- Frank J. Dodd (1938–2010), politician who served as president of the New Jersey Senate from 1974 to 1975.
- Joe Dooley (born 1966), head men's basketball coach of the East Carolina University Pirates.
- Billy Drummond (born 1959), jazz drummer.
- Ginny Duenkel (born 1947), winner of a Gold and Bronze medal in two swimming events at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Ginny Duenkel Municipal Pool is named in her honor.
- Charles Edison (1890–1969), United States Secretary of the Navy 1940, Governor of New Jersey 1941 to 1944 and son of Thomas Edison.
- Theodore Miller Edison (1898–1992), only child of his inventor father who graduated from college; went on to become an inventor with over 80 patents.
- Thomas Alva Edison (1847–1931), inventor of the phonograph, the incandescent electric lightbulb, and the first practical motion picture camera whose home was Glenmont Mansion. Edison's Black Maria, the first movie studio, was located in West Orange.
- Marion Eppley (1883–1960), physical chemist.
- Michael W. Farrell (born 1938), Senior Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
- Eugenio Fernandi (1922–1991), tenor with the Metropolitan Opera who rose to prominence in the late 1950s and 1960s, receiving 22 curtain calls for his performance in Lucia di Lammermoor.
- Leo Fitzpatrick (born 1978), actor.
- Alan Flusser (born 1945), men's clothing designer.
- Rich Galen (born 1946), columnist, political strategist and former press-secretary to Vice President Dan Quayle and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
- GDP, hip-hop recording artist.
- Chris Gethard (born 1980), comedian, TV show host of The Chris Gethard Show, author of Weird New York and an associate editor of the Weird NJ publications.
- John J. Giblin (1909–1975), labor leader and Democratic Party politician who served one term in the New Jersey Senate.
- Whoopi Goldberg (born 1955), comedian, actress, talk show host.
- Maclyn Goldman (1901–1977), politician who served in the New Jersey Senate.
- Raymond E. Goldstein, (born 1961), Professor of Complex Physical Systems at the University of Cambridge.
- Allan Gorman (born 1947), visual art professional best known for his photorealistic paintings of industrial objects.
- Llewellyn F. Haskell (1842–1929), United States Army officer and a Union general during the American Civil War.
- Eldridge Hawkins Jr. (born 1979), former Mayor of Orange, New Jersey.
- Maya Hayes (born 1992), soccer player who has played for Sky Blue FC of the National Women's Soccer League.
- Will Hill (born 1990), safety for the Baltimore Ravens.
- Kyrie Irving (born 1992), professional basketball player for the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association.
- Ja Rule (born 1976), rapper
- Jennifer Jones (born 1967), dancer and actress, who in 1987 became the first African American Radio City Music Hall Rockette.
- Mark Kelly (born 1964), NASA astronaut and husband of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
- Scott Kelly (born 1964), NASA astronaut.
- Gus Keriazakos (1931–1996), MLB pitcher.
- Paul J. Kern (born 1945), commanding general of the United States Army Materiel Command from 2001 to 2004.
- Carole King (born 1942) and Gerry Goffin (born 1939), husband & wife songwriting team who resided off Pleasant Valley Way in the mid-1960s along with other songwriters, a location that gave rise to the song Pleasant Valley Sunday, recorded by the Monkees in 1967.
- Bettye LaVette (born 1946), soul singer who released her first record at age 16 and found success with I've Got My Own Hell to Raise at age 59 in 2005.
- Georgia Mason (1910–2007), botanist and author.
- Nick Massi (1927–2000), bass singer and bass guitarist for the Four Seasons.
- Joshua D. Maurer (born 1964), film producer, writer and actor whose credits include Georgia O'Keeffe, The Hoax, The Last Tycoon, Rosemary's Baby, Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret and Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.
- George B. McClellan (1826–1885), major general and briefly general-in-chief of the Union Army during the Civil War who ran as a Democrat against Lincoln in the presidential election of 1864 and went on to become Governor of New Jersey (1878–1881).
- The McClure Twins (born 2013), YouTube personalities.
- John F. McKeon (born 1958), member of the New Jersey General Assembly representing the 27th Legislative District who served as Mayor of West Orange from 1998 to 2010.
- Joseph Minish (1916–2007), represented New Jersey's 11th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives.
- Ken Murray (1928–2008), professional basketball player.
- Gordon Allen Newkirk Jr. (1928–1985), astrophysicist who studied the solar corona.
- Charles W. Nichols (1875–1959), businessman who constructed the Pleasantdale Chateau.
- Okieriete Onaodowan (born 1987), actor who originated the roles of Hercules Mulligan and James Madison in the 2015 Broadway musical Hamilton.
- Michael Oren (born 1955), Israeli ambassador to the United States.
- Fred Ott (1860–1936), an employee of Thomas Edison's in the 1890s who "starred" in two of the earliest surviving motion pictures – Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze (a.k.a. Fred Ott's Sneeze) and Fred Ott Holding a Bird – both filmed in 1894.
- Robert Pearlman (born 1976), founder and editor of collectSPACE.
- Nicholas H. Politan (1935–2012), attorney who served as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
- Vinnie Politan (born 1965), co-anchor of In Session on the cable network truTV.
- Ann Probert (born 1938), golfer.
- Paul C. Reilly (1890–1984), architect who designed many buildings for Catholic clients and for several Manhattan theatres.
- John Renna (1920–1998), politician who served as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.
- Stuart Risch, United States Army major general who serves as the Deputy Judge Advocate General of the United States Army.
- Phil Rizzuto (1917–2007), nicknamed "The Scooter," played shortstop for the New York Yankees from 1941 to 1956.
- Brandon Scoop B Robinson, NBA analyst
- Douglas Robinson Jr. (1855–1918), businessman who was married to Corinne Roosevelt Robinson, the sister of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and the aunt of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
- Douglas Robinson Sr. (1824–1893), businessman and banker.
- Vin Rock (born 1970), rapper for group Naughty by Nature.
- Peter W. Rodino (1909–2005), United States Congressman from 1949 to 1989.
- Hilary Rosen (born 1958), former chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America and CNN political analyst.
- Jeffrey Rosen, founder, chairman, and owner of Triangle Financial Services and the owner of the Maccabi Haifa basketball team.
- Renee Rosnes (born 1962), jazz pianist.
- Sherry Ross (born c. 1954), sportscaster and journalist.
- Johnny Sansone (born 1957), electric blues singer, songwriter, harmonicist, accordionist, guitarist and piano player.
- Lyndsey Scott (born 1984), model, iOS mobile app software developer and actress.
- Carol Selman, historian, writer and teacher who has served on the New Jersey Historical Commission.
- Walter H. Seward (1896–2008), super-centenarian, lived to 111 years.
- Edward S. Shapiro (born 1938), historian of American history and American Jewish history who is a retired professor from Seton Hall University.
- Marc B. Shapiro (born 1966), professor and author of various books and articles on Jewish history, philosophy, and theology.
- Alfredo Silipigni (1932–2006), conductor.
- Eve Slater (born 1945), physician who served as the United States Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush, from 2002 to 2003.
- Amos Alonzo Stagg (1862–1965), known as "The Grand Old Man" of college football. During the founding year of the College Football Hall of Fame, he was inducted as both a player and a coach. He was among the first group of inductees into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959. He is also credited with the invention of the batting cage in baseball and the tackling dummy in football. West Orange's Stagg Field playground is named in his honor. Ranked #4 on the Sports Illustrated list of The 50 Greatest New Jersey Sports Figures.
- Andy Stern (born 1950), former president of the Service Employees International Union.
- Edwin Stern (born 1941), lawyer and judge who served as acting justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court.
- Mike Trainor (born 1981), comedian.
- David Twersky (1950–2010), journalist, Zionist activist and peace advocate in Israel and the U.S., who was an editor for The Forward and The New York Sun and a leader of the American Jewish Congress.
- Brandon Uranowitz (born 1986), stage and screen actor best known for his roles as Adam Hochberg in the musical An American in Paris and as Mendel Weisenbachfeld in the 2016 Broadway revival of Falsettos.
- Alberto Vilar (born 1940), former investment manager.
- Stephen Vittoria (born 1957), filmmaker and author.
- Evelyn Ward (born 1923), actress, mother of David Cassidy.
- Charlotte Fowler Wells (1814–1901), phrenologist and publisher.
- DJ Whoo Kid (born 1972), official DJ of G-Unit.
- Kenneth T. Wilson (born 1936) politician who served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1968 to 1972.
- Scott Wolf (born 1968), actor who is best known as Bailey Salinger on the TV series Party of Five.
- Ian Ziering (born 1964), actor who is best known for the role of Steve Sanders on the TV series Beverly Hills, 90210.
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