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Maplewood, New Jersey

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Maplewood, New Jersey
Township of Maplewood
Municipal Building
Map of Maplewood in Essex County. Inset: Location of Essex County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Maplewood, New Jersey
Coordinates: 40.732672°N 74.271125°WCoordinates40.732672°N 74.271125°W[1][2]
Country United States
State New Jersey
County Essex
Incorporated April 1, 1861 as South Orange Township
Renamed November 7, 1922 asMaplewood township
 • Type Township
 • Mayor Victor DeLuca (term ends December 31, 2013)[3]
 • Administrator Joseph F. Manning[4]
 • Clerk Elizabeth J. Fritzen[5]
 • Total 3.879 sq mi (10.048 km2)
 • Land 3.877 sq mi (10.043 km2)
 • Water 0.002 sq mi (0.006 km2)  0.06%
Area rank 302nd of 566 in state
11th of 22 in county[2]
Elevation[7] 115 ft (35 m)
Population (2010 Census)[8][9][10][11]
 • Total 23,867
 • Estimate (2012[12]) 24,115
 • Rank 103rd of 566 in state
11th of 22 in county[13]
 • Density 6,155.3/sq mi (2,376.6/km2)
 • Density rank 82nd of 566 in state
9th of 22 in county[13]
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP code 07040[14][15]
Area code(s) 973[16]
FIPS code 3401343800[17][2][18]
GNIS feature ID 0882220[19][2]

Maplewood is a township in Essex CountyNew Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 23,867,[9][10][11]reflecting a decline of 1 person (0.0%) from the 23,868 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 2,216 (+10.2%) from the 21,652 counted in the1990 Census.[20]



When surveying the area now known as Maplewood, Robert Treat found several trails used by Lenape tribes of AlgonquianNative Americans, though there was only sparse pre-European settlement. These paths form the basis for what are the town's main thoroughfares today.[21]

The first European settlers arrived around 1675, primarily EnglishDutch, and FrenchPuritans who had earlier settledHempsteadLong Island, and Stamford, Connecticut, via Newark and Elizabeth. They had acquired most of today’s Essex County from the Native Americans and followed three trails that roughly correspond to South Orange Avenue, Springfield Avenue, and Ridgewood Road. These three routes resulted in the development of three separate communities that coalesced to become Maplewood and South Orange.[21]

Those who came from Newark on the trail that now corresponds to South Orange Avenue settled the area that became South Orange Village.[21]

Six families (with last names of Smith, Brown, Pierson, Freeman, Ball, and Gildersleeve) came up today’s Ridgewood Road and established scattered farms around a center that became Jefferson Village, named after Thomas Jefferson. This village, which roughly corresponds to downtown Maplewood today, developed several mills and orchards. John Durand, the son of Hudson River school painterAsher Brown Durand (who was born in Maplewood in 1796), describes the place as a picturesque but slightly backwards community with close ties to Springfield. The apple harvest was apparently quite impressive and included “Harrison” and “Canfield” varieties. By 1815, there were approximately 30 families in the village. Although the residents of the area were predominantly Presbyterian, the first house of worship was a Baptist chapel in 1812. This was in use until 1846 and fell into disrepair until 1858, when it was taken into use as a Methodist Episcopal church.[21]

Those who came up today’s Springfield Avenue settled on a hill crest near today’s intersection between Tuscan and Springfield Avenue and established a hamlet known as North Farms. Over time, this community became known as the Hilton section. It became a stagecoach stop between Newark, Jersey City (then Paulus Hook), and Morristown and thereby a center for trade and light manufacturing. The village changed its name from North Farms to Middleville in 1830, and then to Hilton in 1880 when it was granted a post office. In 1855, Seth Boyden settled in what was then Middleville to retire but innovated a number of agricultural products, especially berries. Boyden also built and put into operation the first steam engines to service the railroad through Maplewood. The area became known for its orchards and related industries, including cider mills and rum distilleries, as well as honey and livestock.

In 1802, Jefferson Village and North Farms were named as districts within the Township of Newark.[22]

The three communities operated independently, each establishing their own school associations: South Orange established the Columbian School in 1814, which would form the basis of Columbia High School; North Farms established the North Farms Association in 1817; and Jefferson Village the Jefferson Association in 1818. In 1867, when the State of New Jersey established public education through the School Law, the newly appointed County Superintendent merged the three associations into one school district, which was formalized in 1894 as the South Orange-Maplewood School DistrictJames Ricalton, a teacher born in Waddington, New York of Scottish parents, set the high standard of education that persists in the school district to this day.

Maplewood was originally formed as South Orange Township, which was created on April 1, 1861, from portions of Clinton Township and what was then the Town of Orange. Portions of the township were taken to form South Orange village (established May 4, 1869, within the township and became fully independent on March 4, 1904) and Vailsburg borough (formed March 28, 1904, and annexed by Newark on January 1, 1905) The name of the township was changed to Maplewood on November 7, 1922.[23]

View of Maplewood from South Mountain Reservation

When the Morris and Essex Railroad from Newark was extended to the area in 1838, a land speculator by the name of John Shedden built a railroad station in Jefferson Village and named itMaplewood. This name came to comprise areas known as Hilton, Jefferson Village, and areas previously part of Springfield. In 1868, farms were divided into parcels for residential housing. The 1920s saw significant growth in new residents and structures.


A view of Maplewood from the Columbia High School clocktower

Maplewood is located at 40°43′58″N 74°16′16″W(40.732672, −74.271125). According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 3.879 square miles (10.048 km2), of which, 3.877 square miles (10.043 km2) of it is land and 0.002 square miles (0.006 km2) of it (0.06%) is water.[2][1] A pond is in Memorial Park, the Rahway River runs through the town, and there is a municipal pool club with four man-made pools of water; the remainder of the area is land.

The township shares a border with West Orange andSouth Orange to the north, Newark and Irvington to the east, Union to the south, and Millburn to the west.


Maplewood has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa).

[hide]Climate data for Maplewood
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 39
Average low °F (°C) 18
Precipitationinches (mm) 4.13
Source: [24]

Architecture and landscape[edit]

Many of the more recognizable buildings and spaces were the work of famous architects and landscape designers. Most of the schools and the Municipal Building were the work of Guilbert & Betelle. The center of town is dominated by Memorial Park, a design of the Olmsted Brothers.[25]The Olmsted firm was also responsible for the landscaping at Ward Homestead, designed by John Russell Pope, and now known as Winchester Gardens, located on Elmwood Avenue. On the opposite side of town is another Olmsted work, South Mountain Reservation. The Maplewood Theater, designed by William E. Lehman, was where Cheryl Crawford first revived Porgy and Bess.[26]

There are approximately 226 streets covering 60 miles (97 km) within Maplewood. Springfield Avenue, is a state highway (Route 124, from Irvington to Morristown), and four thoroughfares (Valley Street, Millburn Avenue, Irvington Avenue and Wyoming Avenue) are Essex County roads.

Development controversy[edit]

The Maplewood Township Committee is in negotiations to sell the former police station site at 125 Dunnell Road, which is across the street from, and overlooks, Memorial Park. Some residents are concerned that redeveloping the Police Station property with a residential use will significantly alter the Memorial Park area. The Township Committee has approved a plan that will allow a building with a maximum height of 50 feet (15 m) on the site. There have been some discussions about bringing greater density to the area around the park and Maplewood Village, and some residents are concerned by the possibility of additional density as well.[27]


Historical populations
Census Pop.  
1870 2,963  
1880 1,733 * −41.5%
1890 1,078 * −37.8%
1900 1,630   51.2%
1910 2,979   82.8%
1920 5,283   77.3%
1930 21,321   303.6%
1940 23,139   8.5%
1950 25,201   8.9%
1960 23,977   −4.9%
1970 24,932   4.0%
1980 22,950   −7.9%
1990 21,652   −5.7%
2000 23,868   10.2%
2010 23,867   0%
Est. 2012 24,115 [12] 1.0%
Population sources:
1870-1920[28] 1870[29][30] 1880-1890[31]
1890-1910[32] 1910-1930[33]
1930-1990[34] 2000[35][36] 2010[9][10][11]
* = Lost territory in previous decade.[23]
Maplewood in autumn

Census 2010[edit]

At the 2010 United States Census, there were 23,867 people, 8,240 households, and 6,287 families residing in the township. Thepopulation densitywas 6,155.3 inhabitants per square mile (2,376.6 /km2). There were 8,608 housing units at an average density of 2,220.0 per square mile (857.1 /km2). The racial makeup of the township was 56.27% (13,430) White, 35.30% (8,426) Black or African American, 0.18% (44) Native American, 3.04% (725) Asian, 0.03% (6) Pacific Islander, 1.82% (434) from other races, and 3.36% (802) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.68% (1,595) of the population.[9]

There were 8,240 households of which 42.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.8% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.7% were non-families. 19.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.89 and the average family size was 3.33.[9]

In the township, 28.3% of the population were under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 29.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.6 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.4 males.[9]

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $101,463 (with a margin of error of +/- $6,610) and the median family income was $122,102 (+/- $9,324). Males had a median income of $83,656 (+/- $10,885) versus $57,422 (+/- $5,551) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $47,404 (+/- $2,404). About 1.5% of families and 2.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.5% of those under age 18 and 3.1% of those age 65 or over.[37]

Census 2000[edit]

As of the 2000 United States Census[17] there were 23,868 people, 8,452 households, and 6,381 families residing in the township. The population density was 6,207.1 people per square mile (2,393.6/km2). There were 8,615 housing units at an average density of 2,240.4 per square mile (864.0/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 58.78% White, 32.63% African American, 0.13% Native American, 2.86% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.56% from other races, and 4.01% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.23% of the population.[35][36]

There were 8,452 households out of which 40.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.2% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were non-families. 20.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.27.[35][36]

In the township the population was spread out with 28.0% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.1 males.[35][36]

The median income for a household in the township was $79,637, and the median income for a family was $92,724. Males had a median income of $57,572 versus $41,899 for females. The per capita income for the township was $36,794. 4.4% of the population and 3.4% of families were below the poverty line. 4.9% of those under the and 6.0% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.[35][36]


Local government[edit]

Fire Headquarters

Maplewood is governed under the Township form of government with a five-member Township Committee. The Township Committee is elected directly by the voters in partisan elections to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with one or two seats coming up for election each year.[6] At an annual reorganization meeting, the Township Committee selects one of its members to serve as Mayor for a one year term, and another to serve as Vice Mayor. The Mayor has the responsibility of Chair for the Township Committee meetings with voice and vote. The Mayor is considered the head of the municipal government.

The Township Committee is the legislative body of the municipality and is responsible for enacting the township's laws. The Township Committee is also an executive body. Under this form of government, the elected Township Committee sets policy and overall direction for the Township. The Township staff, under the direction of the Township Administrator, carries out Committee policy and provides day to day services. The Township Administrator serves as the chief administrative officer and is accountable to the Township Committee.[38]

As of 2013, members of the Maplewood Township Committee are Mayor Victor DeLuca, Deputy Mayor Kathleen M. Leventhal, Marlon K. Brownlee, India R. Larrier and Gerard W. Ryan.[39][40]

Federal, state and county representation[edit]

Post Office

Maplewood is located in the 10th Congressional District[41] and is part of New Jersey's 27th state legislative district.[10][42][43]

New Jersey's Tenth Congressional District is represented by Donald Payne, Jr. (DNewark).[44] New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate byCory Booker (DNewark; took office on October 31, 2013, after winning a special election to fill the seat ofFrank Lautenberg)[45][46] and Bob Menendez (D, North Bergen).[47][48]

The 27th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate byRichard Codey (DRoseland) and in the General Assembly by Mila Jasey (D, South Orange) and John F. McKeon (D, West Orange).[49] TheGovernor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (RMendham Township).[50] The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).[51]

Essex County is governed by a directly-elected County Executive, with legislative functions performed by the Board of Chosen Freeholders.[52] As of 2013, the County Executive is Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.[53] The county's Board of Chosen Freeholders consists of nine members, four elected on an at-large basis and one from each of five wards, who serve three-year terms of office on a concurrent basis, all of which end in 2014.[52][54][55] Essex County's Freeholders are Freeholder President Blonnie R. Watson (at large; Newark)[56], Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold (at large; Livingston)[57], Rufus I. Johnson (at large; Newark)[58], Gerald M. Owens (At large; South Orange, filling the vacant seat after the resignation of Donald Payne, Jr.)[59] Rolando Bobadilla (District 1 - Newark's North and East Wards, parts of Central and West Wards; Newark)[60], D. Bilal Beasley (District 2 - IrvingtonMaplewood and Newark's South Ward and parts of West Ward; Irvington)[61], Carol Y. Clark (District 3 - East Orange, Newark's West and Central Wards, Orange and South Orange; East Orange)[62] and Leonard M. Luciano (District 4 -CaldwellCedar GroveEssex FellsFairfieldLivingstonMillburnNorth CaldwellRoseland,VeronaWest Caldwell and West Orange; West Caldwell),[63] and Brendan W. Gill (District 5 -BellevilleBloomfieldGlen RidgeMontclair and Nutley; Montclair).[64][65][66] Constitutional elected countywide are County Clerk Christopher J. Durkin (West Caldwell, 2015),[67] Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura (2015)[68] and Surrogate Thomas N. Stephen, II (2016).[69][54][70]


As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 16,399 registered voters in Maplewood, of which 9,306 (56.7%) were registered as Democrats, 1,439 (8.8%) were registered as Republicans and 5,645 (34.4%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 9 voters registered to other parties.[71]

In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 81.9% of the vote here (10,649 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 16.6% (2,156 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (90 votes), among the 13,003 ballots cast by the township's 16,523 registered voters, for a turnout of 78.7%.[72] In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 76.3% of the vote here (9,113 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 22.7% (2,709 votes) and other candidates with 0.6% (90 votes), among the 11,943 ballots cast by the township's 15,289 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 78.1.[73]

In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 72.2% of the vote here (5,871 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 20.3% (1,650 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 6.2% (507 votes) and other candidates with 0.8% (65 votes), among the 8,135 ballots cast by the township's 16,202 registered voters, yielding a 50.2% turnout.[74]


Maplewood Village

Maplewood prides itself on being a diverse and family-friendly community. The township has a downtown area alternatively known as "the village" or "Maplewood Center" with a movie theater, several upscale and mid-scale restaurants, a small supermarket, independent café, two liquor stores, a toy store and a small bookstore. Maplewood is served by a New Jersey Transit rail station which is named for it. The structure of the village is largely unchanged since the 1950s.


Maplewood Middle School

Maplewood schools are part of the unified South Orange-Maplewood School District, together with the neighboring community of South Orange. Schools in the district (with 2010-11 school enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[75]) are six elementary schools serving grades K-5 — Seth Boyden Elementary School[76] (grades K-5, 493 students), Clinton Elementary School[77] (K-5, 513), Jefferson Elementary School[78] (3–5, 467), Marshall Elementary School[79] (K-2, 491), South Mountain Elementary School[80] (K-5, 623) and Tuscan Elementary School[81](K-5, 616) — Maplewood Middle School[82] (716) and South Orange Middle School[83] (668) for grades 6–8 and Columbia High School[84] (1,797 students) for grades 9–12.[85][86]

Public Library

Entertainment and performing arts[edit]

Performance venues[edit]

The township owns and operates the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts at 10 Durand Road. The Center, a former Christian Science Church, was donated to the town by Jean Burgdorff, a local real estate entrepreneur.[87] The building was transferred to the town on October 15, 1988.[88] In 2008, the township committed to a $130,000 plan to improve the building.[89]


Every year, during the weekend following the weekend closest to July 4, there is a concert in town called Maplewoodstock. The free concert consists of local and national bands performing alongside various stalls showcasing local businesses.[90]

Popular culture[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Notable current and former residents of Maplewood include: