Debbie Rybka Howard NJ Realtor
Love WhereYou Live NJ

Community Information for
South Orange NJ Real Estate

South Orange is a perfect family destination and sister city to Maplewood. With a population of approximately 17,000 it is sought after for its openness to diversity and cultural activities. The downtown offers a multitude of restaurants, coffee shops, small retail shops and the new South Orange Performing Arts Center.

Located along the Midtown Direct Train route, South Orange is a mere 30 minute train ride to New York Penn Station. For commuters outside of walking distance, jitney service is provided to the train station.

The Baird center offers arts programs and jazz music all year with summer concerts in the park. Recreation at the Baird sponsors numerous programs year long for all ages. South Orange also provides lighted courts and fields for play as well as offering residents a community pool that opens in June. Flood’s Hill in the winter is traditionally one of the premier locations for sledding. For additional adventuring, South Mountain Reservation is located adjacent to South Orange and includes over 2000 acres including open space, park facilities and a dog run.

DEBBIE'S FEATURED PROPERTIES

South Orange shares a school district with neighboring Maplewood, NJ.

Additional information can be found at:

South Orange Maplewood Public School www.somsd.k12.nj.us
South Orange Town Website www.southorange.org
South Orange Village www.SouthOrangeVillage.com
NJ Transit www.njtransit.com

History for
South Orange New Jersey

What is now South Orange was part of a territory purchased from the Lenape Native Americans in 1666 by Robert Treat, who founded Newark that year on the banks of the Passaic River. The unsettled areas north and west of Newark were at first referred to as the uplands. South Orange was called the Chestnut Hills for a time.

There are two claimants to the first English settlement in present-day South Orange. In 1677 brothers Joseph and Thomas Brown began clearing land for a farm in the area northwest of the junction of two old trails that are now South Orange Avenue and Ridgewood Road. A survey made in 1686 states, "note this Land hath a House on it it, built by Joseph Brown and Thomas Brown, either of them having an equal share of it" located at the present southwest corner of Tillou Road and Ridgewood Road. Minutes of a Newark town meeting of September 27, 1680, record that "Nathaniel Wheeler, Edward Riggs, and Joseph Riggs, have a Grant to take up Land upon the Chesnut Hill by Raway River near the Stone House". The phrasing shows that a stone house already existed near (not on) the property. Joseph Riggs (seemingly the son of Edward Riggs) had a house just south of the Browns' house, at the northwest corner of South Orange Avenue and Ridgewood Road, according to a road survey of 1705. The same road survey locates Edward Riggs's residence near Millburn and Nathaniel Wheeler's residence in modern West Orange at the corner of Valley Road and Main Street.


GAS LAMPS ON VOSE AVE.

Wheeler's property in South Orange extended east of the Rahway River including the site of an old house now known as the "Stone House", standing on the north side of South Orange Avenue just to the west of Grove Park. By 1756 or earlier this property was owned by Samuel Pierson. A survey of adjoining property in 1767 mentions "Pierson's house" forming accidentally the earliest documentation of a house on the property, which may be much older. Bethuel Pierson, son of Samuel, lived in this house and when he inherited it in 1773/74 he was said to live "at the mountain plantation by a certain brook called Stone House Brook." Sometime during his ownership (he died in 1791) "Bethuel Pierson had a stone addition added to his dwelling-house, which he caused to be dedicated by religious ceremonies". This would appear to be the stone-walled portion of the "Stone House". Stone House Brook runs west along the north side of the east-west road, past the "Stone House" and joining the Rahway River at about the location of the Brown and Riggs houses already noted. The oldest parts of the Pierson house are the oldest surviving structure in South Orange.

A deed of 1800 locates a property as being in "the Township of Newark, in the Parish of Orange, at a place called South Orange", marking the end of the name Chestnut Hills. Orange had been named after the ruler of England, William of Orange. Most of modern South Orange became part of Orange Township in 1806, part of Clinton Township in 1834, and part of South Orange Township in 1861. Gordon's Gazetteer circa 1830 describes the settlement as having "about 30 dwellings, a tavern and store, a paper mill and Presbyterian church".

A country resort called the Orange Mountain House was established in 1847 just north of town. Guests could enjoy the "water cure" from natural spring water and walk in the grounds that extended up the slope of South Mountain. The main house was right on Ridgewood Road. The hotel burned down in 1890. The only remnants today are the names of Mountain Station and the Mountain House Road leading west from it to the site of the hotel.

South Orange could be reached by the Morris and Essex Railroad which opened in 1837 between Newark and Morristown. As of 1869, the M&E became part of the main line of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad which ran from Hoboken to Buffalo with through trains to Chicago.

The Montrose neighborhood was developed after the Civil War. Its large houses on generous lots attracted wealthy families from Newark and New York City during the decades from 1870 to 1900. The Orange Lawn Tennis Club was founded in 1880 at a location in Montrose, and in 1886 it was the location of the first US national tennis championships. The club moved to larger grounds on Ridgewood Road in 1916. Major tournament events were held at the club throughout the grass court era, and even into the mid-1980s professional events would occasionally be held there.

What is now the Baird Community House was up until about 1920 the clubhouse for a golf course that encompassed what is now Meadowlands Park. In fact, until regrading was performed during the 1970s, the outline of one of the course's sandtraps was still visible near the base of Flood's Hill, a spot that has historically been one of the favorite sleigh riding spots in Essex County.

The construction of Village Hall in 1894 and the "old" library building in 1896 indicate how the village was growing by that date. Horsecar service from Newark started in 1865, running via South Orange Avenue to the station. Electric trolley cars began running the line in 1893 and by about 1900 a branch of this line also ran down Valley Street into Maplewood. Another separate trolley line, eventually dubbed the "Swamp Line", ran from the the west side of the station north through what is now park land and along Meadowbrook Lane into West Orange where it ended at Main St.[9] An old postcard photo shows a station shelter at Montrose Ave. The DL&W rebuilt the railroad through town in 1914-1916, raising the tracks above street level and opening new station buildings at South Orange and Mountain Station. In September 1930, a frail Thomas Edison (he would die about a year later) inaugurated electric train service on the M&E between Hoboken and South Orange, with further extensions of service to Morristown and Dover being initiated over the coming months.

The South Orange Library Association was organized by William Beebe, president of the Republican Club, where on November 14, 1864, a group of men and women met. Books were donated and the library was established in a corner room on the second floor of the Republican Club where it remained until 1867 when it was moved to a second floor room of the building next door on South Orange Avenue, near Sloan Street. It stayed there until 1884, when the building, with the library still on its second floor, was moved by horses up South Orange Avenue to the northwest corner of Scotland Road. Although supported as yet only by members' dues and a few gifts of money which were put into an endowment fund, in 1886 a new association was formed to establish a free circulating library and reading room which took over the loan books and other property of the old association. It was during this period, before Village Hall was built, that Village Trustees met in the Library's room. On May 1, 1889, the library was moved to a ground floor space at 59 South Orange Avenue.

At an annual meeting in 1895, Library Trustees considered the question of obtaining a library building and Eugene V. Connett's offer of a library site on the corner of Scotland Road and Taylor Place, with condition that $7,500 be subscribed, was accepted and the subscription was met. On May 8, 1896, the library was moved into the building on that corner. A referendum held on April 27, 1926, showed that citizens had voted ten to one in favor of the town taking over full support of the library. It thereupon became "The South Orange Public Library." In February, 1929, the Village Trustees passed an ordinance providing funds to construct a rear wing on the library and to provide a Children's Room in the basement, book stacks and a balcony on the floor above, together with rehabilitation work on the older part of the building. In November of 1968, the new library building on the corner of Scotland Road and Comstock Place was dedicated.

Part of the village as viewed from the South Orange station platformGood transportation and a booming economy caused South Orange and neighboring towns to begin a major transformation in the 1920s into bedroom communities for Newark and New York City. Large houses were built in the blocks around the Orange Lawn Tennis club, while in other areas, especially south of South Orange Avenue, more modest foursquare houses were put up for the growing American middle class. The only large area not developed by 1930 was the high ground west of Wyoming Avenue.

There were at one time two rock quarries within the village supplying trap rock for construction. Kernan's operated as late as the 1980s at the top of Tillou Road. The town's other larger businesses were lumber and coal yards clustered around the railroad station that supplied them. The town's business district is still located in the blocks just east of the station.

The old Morris and Essex Railroad is still operated today by NJ Transit. Midtown Direct, initiated in 1996, offers service directly into Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan, and has since caused a surge in real estate prices as the commute time to midtown dropped from about 50 minutes to 30, as the service eliminated the need for passengers to transfer to PATH trains at Hoboken. As a result, demand for commuter parking permits in lots adjoining the train and bus stations is extremely high.

Demographic Information for
South Orange New Jersey

As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 16,964 people, 5,522 households, and 3,766 families residing in the township. The population density was 2,298.2/km² (5,945.3/mi²). There were 5,671 housing units at an average density of 768.3/km² (1,987.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the township was 60.41% White, 31.30% African American, 0.09% Native American, 3.89% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.57% from other races, and 2.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.93% of the population.

There were 5,522 households out of which 33.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.2% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.8% were non-families. 25.2% 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 2.69 and the average family size was 3.26.

PARK IN SOUTH ORANGE

In the village the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 17.5% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.1 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $83,611, and the median income for a family was $107,641. Males had a median income of $61,809 versus $42,238 for females. The per capita income for the township was $41,035. About 1.9% of families and 5.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.6% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.

Local Character
South Orange New Jersey

The town is one of only a few in New Jersey to retain gas light street illumination (others include Riverton, Palmyra, Glen Ridge and some parts of Orange). The gaslight has long been the symbol of South Orange (together with the distinctive Village Hall); a local tavern, the Gaslight, is named for them. Many of the major roads in town do have modern mercury vapor streetlights (built into gaslight frames), but most of the residential sections of the town are still gaslit. A proposal to replace all the gaslights in town with electric streetlights was explored as both a cost-saving and security measure during the 1970s. And although the changeover to electric was rejected at the time, the light output of the lamps was subsequently increased to address the concern that the streets of South Orange were too dimly lit. Be that as it may, there have been claims that South Orange has more operating gaslights than any other community in the United States.

FLOOD HILL IN SOUTH ORANGE

Architecture is extremely varied. Most of the town is single-family wood framed houses, but there are a few apartment buildings from various eras as well as townhouse-style condominiums of mostly more recent vintage. Houses cover a range that includes every common style of the Mid-Atlantic United States since the late nineteenth century, and in sizes that range from brick English Cottages to giant Mansard-roofed mansions. Tudor, Victorian, Colonial, Ranch, Modern, and many others are all to be found. Most municipal government structures date from the 1920s, with a few being of more modern construction.

Many residents commute to New York City, but others work locally or in other parts of New Jersey. South Orange has a central business district with restaurants, banks, and other retail and professional services. There are a few small office buildings, but no large-scale enterprise other than Seton Hall University.

Some of this text is available under the terms of
the GNU Free Documentation License at Wikipedia.
(See Wikipedia Copyrights for details.)

 

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