Bridgeton, New Jersey

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Bridgeton, New Jersey
City
City of Bridgeton
Downtown Bridgeton
Downtown Bridgeton
Motto: "Come Celebrate!"
Bridgeton highlighted in Cumberland County. Inset map: Cumberland County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Bridgeton highlighted in Cumberland County. Inset map: Cumberland County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Bridgeton, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Bridgeton, New Jersey
Coordinates: 39°25′39″N 75°13′41″W / 39.427518°N 75.227954°W / 39.427518; -75.227954Coordinates: 39°25′39″N 75°13′41″W / 39.427518°N 75.227954°W / 39.427518; -75.227954[1][2]
Country  United States of America
State  New Jersey
County Cumberland
Incorporated March 1, 1865
Government[5]
 • Type Faulkner Act (Mayor-Council)
 • Mayor Albert B. Kelly (term ends June 30, 2014)[3]
 • Administrator Dale Goodreau[4]
 • Clerk Darlene Richmond[4]
Area[2]
 • Total 6.431 sq mi (16.656 km2)
 • Land 6.179 sq mi (16.003 km2)
 • Water 0.252 sq mi (0.653 km2)  3.92%
Area rank 249th of 566 in state
13th of 14 in county[2]
Elevation[6] 39 ft (12 m)
Population (2010 Census)[7][8][9]
 • Total 25,349
 • Estimate (2013[10]) 25,252
 • Rank 98th of 566 in state
3rd of 14 in county[11]
 • Density 4,102.5/sq mi (1,584.0/km2)
 • Density rank 149th of 566 in state
1st of 14 in county[11]
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP code 08302[12][13]
Area code(s) 856[14]
FIPS code 3401107600[15][2][16]
GNIS feature ID 0885169[17][2]
Website www.cityofbridgeton.com

Bridgeton is a city in Cumberland County, New Jersey, United States, in the south part of the state, on the Cohansey River, near Delaware Bay. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 25,349,[7][8][9] reflecting an increase of 2,578 (+11.3%) from the 22,771 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 3,829 (+20.2%) from the 18,942 counted in the 1990 Census.[18] It is the county seat of Cumberland County.[19][20] Bridgeton, Millville, and Vineland are the three principal cities of the Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses those cities and all of Cumberland County for statistical purposes and which constitutes a part of the Delaware Valley.

History[edit]

Similar to other areas near rivers and the bay, this area was inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples. At the time of European contact, Lenni-Lenape Native Americans lived in the area, following a seasonal pattern of cultivation and hunting and fishing. The state-recognized Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indians of New Jersey maintain a cultural center here, serving a community of 12,000 in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.[21]

The first recorded European settlement in what is now Bridgeton was made by 1686 when Richard Hancock established a sawmill here.[22] Settlers established a pioneer iron-works in 1814. Bridgeton was incorporated as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 3, 1845, from portions of Deerfield Township. Bridgeton city was incorporated on March 1, 1865, replacing both Bridgeton Township and Cohansey Township.[23] After the American Civil War, Bridgeton's industrial prowess and commercial centrality in this area of high agricultural production, along with its high profile as an educational center (it was home to the South Jersey Institute, the West Jersey Academy, and two notable academies for women), made it the most prosperous town in the state. Bridgeton was home to glass factories, sewing factories, metal and machine works and other manufacturers. The most notable of these was the Ferracute Machine Works, founded and operated by Oberlin Smith, an inventive genius and philanthropist credited with inventing the first device for magnetic recording, and now in the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame.[24]

Bridgeton Historic District — which covers a quarter of the city — includes more than 2,000 properties, ranging from the early Federal architecture to the 1920s, including many structures eligible for individual listing and some documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) during the 1930s, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and is the largest such district of any municipality in New Jersey.[25] Although it is visually dominated by large Victorian homes and a downtown area constructed from the 1880s to the 1920s, the district, besides many neighborhoods of gingerbreaded "doubles" that were essentially working-class housing, includes several notable structures dating from the 18th century and early Federal period. These include: Potter's Tavern, said to have been built in the 1750s, but restored to its appearance in 1776 when it was home to The Plain Dealer, considered New Jersey's first newspaper;[26] Brearley (Masonic) Lodge, founded by General James Giles in 1795, and still active; the so-called "Nail House" (c. 1815; second build c. 1855), administrative home of the Cumberland Nail & Iron Works that established Bridgeton's industrial prowess in the early nineteenth century; the first Cumberland National Bank building (1816), only the second bank chartered in New Jersey (now part of the Bridgeton Library);[27] and the David Sheppard House (1791), recently restored with assistance from the Garden State Historic Trust and home to the Cousteau Coastal Center of Rutgers University since 2008.[28]

Bridgeton straddles the tidal Cohansey River and is located near the center of the Delaware Bay lowlands. It derives its name from the original movable bridge that offered the option of regular overland travel on the "King's Highway" across the Cohansey watershed region for the first time in 1716. It is said that its name went from Bridge-towne to Bridgeton in 1816-1817 owing to a printing error on documents published by the Cumberland Bank.

Bridgeton is home to numerous large municipal parks. The largest of these, consisting of pinelands, wetlands and lakes, as well as the original raceway system that provided waterpower to the mills, was formed out of the property owned and managed by the Cumberland Nail & Iron Works until 1899. Long considered a recreational area for the region even under ownership by the Iron Works, the property was finally purchased in 1902-3 by the City and preserved in perpetuity as the Bridgeton City Park. It includes three major lakes: Mary Elmer Lake, Sunset Lake, and East Lake.[29] Bridgeton Park encompasses about 1,500 acres (6.1 km2). It now includes the Cohanzick Zoo, New jersey's oldest zoo, which is free to the public.[30]

The city suffered an economic downturn in the 1980s with the loss of its remaining manufacturing sector jobs in glass and textiles. Agricultural employment, however, has continued to attract immigrant workers largely from Mexico but also Guatemala, creating new challenges and opportunities for revitalization. A significant minority of Bridgeton residents speak Zapoteco, either as their only language or alongside Spanish.{http://www.state.nj.us/education/pr/2013/11/110540030.pdf} Many immigrants work primarily in nurseries and in agricultural processing occupations near the city, which are among some of the most productive in New Jersey. Other local immigrants commute to landscaping and constructions occupations in more distant suburban counties. The downtown has been made more lively by Mexican-American and other businesses, which includes grocery stores, restaurants, stores that assist their customers with clothing and decoration for weddings, 15th birthday parties for girls, and other celebrations, plus a cell phone & electronics store. In downtown Bridgeton, one also finds an art gallery, a Native American post, second hand stores, and a budding coffee shop. With the collaboration of the Bridgeton Main Street Association (the oldest Main Street Association in the state, founded 1990) the City recently declared its downtown a Culinary Arts district and is highlighting downtown economic redevelopment through the food and cooking-related retail sector.

In 2008, Rutgers opened the Cousteau Coastal Center of its Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences in the former David Sheppard House, a base from which it coordinates cutting-edge ecological research and develops modules for environmental learning at all educational levels from elementary school upward.[31] South Woods State Prison, opened near Bridgeton in 1997, is the largest state prison in New Jersey and provides a range of employment.[32]

Geography[edit]

The Cohansey River in Bridgeton in 2006

Bridgeton is located about one hour away from Philadelphia, and 50 minutes away from Wilmington, Delaware. It is also about one hour away from Atlantic City and Cape May. Bridgeton is divided into three sections, Northside, Southside and Hillside.

Bridgeton is located at 39°25′39″N 75°13′41″W / 39.427518°N 75.227954°W / 39.427518; -75.227954 (39.427518,-75.227954). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 6.431 square miles (16.656 km2), of which, 6.179 square miles (16.003 km2) of it was land and 0.252 square miles (0.653 km2) of it (3.92%) was water.[1][2]

Bridgeton borders Upper Deerfield Township, Hopewell Township, and Fairfield Township.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 6,830
1880 8,722 27.7%
1890 11,424 31.0%
1900 13,913 21.8%
1910 14,209 2.1%
1920 14,323 0.8%
1930 15,699 9.6%
1940 15,992 1.9%
1950 18,378 14.9%
1960 20,966 14.1%
1970 20,435 −2.5%
1980 18,795 −8.0%
1990 18,942 0.8%
2000 22,771 20.2%
2010 25,349 11.3%
Est. 2013 25,252 [10] −0.4%
Population sources: 1870-2000[33]
1870-1920[34] 1870[35][36] 1880-1890[37]
1890-1910[38] 1870-1930[39]
1930-1990[40] 2000[41][42] 2010[7][8][9]

Census 2010[edit]

At the 2010 United States Census, there were 25,349 people, 6,265 households, and 4,304 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,102.5 per square mile (1,584.0 /km2). There were 6,782 housing units at an average density of 1,097.6 per square mile (423.8 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 32.64% (8,274) White, 35.49% (8,996) Black or African American, 1.38% (350) Native American, 0.60% (153) Asian, 0.05% (12) Pacific Islander, 25.71% (6,518) from other races, and 4.13% (1,046) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 43.58% (11,046) of the population.[7]

There were 6,265 households, of which 40.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.7% were married couples living together, 27.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 25.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.36 and the average family size was 3.85.[7]

In the city, 27.9% of the population were under the age of 18, 12.2% from 18 to 24, 34.6% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29.7 years. For every 100 females there were 135.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 151.6 males.[7]

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $31,044 (with a margin of error of +/- $2,412) and the median family income was $38,750 (+/- $2,233). Males had a median income of $31,202 (+/- $3,369) versus $31,031 (+/- $2,158) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $12,418 (+/- $1,023). About 26.3% of families and 27.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.4% of those under age 18 and 15.6% of those age 65 or over.[43]

Census 2000[edit]

As of the 2000 United States Census[15] there were 22,771 people, 6,182 households, and 4,179 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,659.8 people per square mile (1,413.5/km2). There were 6,795 housing units at an average density of 1,092.1 per square mile (421.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 38.88% White, 41.84% African American, 1.19% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 13.67% from other races, and 3.63% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24.49% of the population.[41][42]

There were 6,182 households out of which 36.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.3% were married couples living together, 26.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.96 and the average family size was 3.49.[41][42]

In the city the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 36.0% from 25 to 44, 15.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 130.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 139.1 males.[41][42]

The median income for a household in the city was $26,923, and the median income for a family was $30,502. Males had a median income of $28,858 versus $22,722 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,917. About 22.7% of families and 26.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.3% of those under age 18 and 17.8% of those age 65 or over.[41][42]

Residents in the town include numerous immigrants from Mexico, whose Amerindian languages include Zapotec, Nahuatl, and Mixtec.[citation needed]

Government[edit]

The Cumberland County Courthouse in Bridgeton in 2006

Local government[edit]

The City of Bridgeton is governed under Faulkner Act system of municipal government under Mayor-Council plan A, as implemented on July 1, 1970, based on the recommendations of a Charter Study Commission.[44] Voters elect a Mayor and five City Council members. Council members are elected at-large in non-partisan elections and serve four-year concurrent terms.[5]

The Mayor exercises executive power of the municipality and appoints department heads with Council approval. The Mayor may remove department heads subject to Council disapproval by ⅔ of all members, prepares the budget. The Mayor has veto over ordinances subject to override by ⅔ of all members of Council.

The City Council exercises legislative power of municipality and approves appointment of department heads. The Council may disapprove removal of department heads by ⅔ vote of all members and can override the Mayor's veto by ⅔ of all members. The Council elects one of its own members to serve as Council President

The Mayor exercises executive power of the municipality. Up to 10 departments may be created under the Mayor's direction. A Business Administrator assists the Mayor in budget preparation and administers purchasing and personnel systems. By ordinance, the Business Administrator may supervise administration of departments, subject to Mayor's direction.

As of 2013, the Mayor of Bridgeton is Albert B. Kelly, whose term of office ends on December 31, 2014. Members of the City Council are Council President Gladys Lugardo-Hemple, William D. Spence, Jack Surrency, Dennis Thompson, and Michael Zapolski.[45][46]

Federal, state and county representation[edit]

Bridgeton is located in the 2nd Congressional District[47] and is part of New Jersey's 3rd state legislative district.[8][48][49]

New Jersey's Second Congressional District is represented by Frank LoBiondo (R, Ventnor City).[50] New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark; took office on October 31, 2013, after winning a special election to fill the seat of Frank Lautenberg)[51][52] and Bob Menendez (D, North Bergen).[53][54]

The 3rd Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Stephen M. Sweeney (D, West Deptford Township) and in the General Assembly by John J. Burzichelli (D, Paulsboro) and Celeste Riley (D, Bridgeton).[55] The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township).[56] The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).[57]

Cumberland County is governed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, who are elected at-large in partisan elections to serve staggered three-year terms in office, with two or three seats coming up for election each year. At an annual reorganization meeting held each January, the freeholders select one member to serve as Freeholder Director and another as Deputy Director.[58][59] As of 2014, Cumberland County's Freeholders (with committee liaison assignments, political party, residence and term-end dates listed in parentheses) are Freeholder Director Joseph Derella (Administration / Public Safety; D, Millville, term ends December 31, 2015),[60] Freeholder Deputy Director Douglas M. Long (NA; D, Upper Deerfield Township, 2015),[61] Darlene Barber (Education; D, 2016, Upper Deerfield Township),[62] Carol Musso (Community Services; D, Deerfield Township, 2014),[63] James Sauro (Agriculture; R, Vineland, 2014),[64] Thomas Sheppard (Health; R, Lawrence Township, 2016)[65] and Tony Surace (Public Works; D, Millville, 2014).[66][67][68][69] The county's constitutional officers are County Clerk Gloria Noto (Vineland, 2014),[70] Sheriff Robert A. Austino (Vineland, 2014)[71] and Surrogate Douglas M. Rainear (Bridgeton, 2018).[72]

The New Jersey Department of Corrections South Woods State Prison is located in Bridgeton. When officials from the City of Bridgeton heard of a state report proposing to move over 1,000 prisoners from Riverfront State Prison in Camden to South Woods, Bridgeton officials opposed the plans.[73]

Politics[edit]

As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 8,699 registered voters in Bridgeton, of which 2,816 (32.4%) were registered as Democrats, 772 (8.9%) were registered as Republicans and 5,104 (58.7%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 7 voters registered to other parties.[74]

In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 77.9% of the vote here (4,238 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain, who received 20.4% (1,111 votes), with 5,440 ballots cast among the city's 8,986 registered voters, for a turnout of 60.5%.[75] In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 66.0% of the vote here (3,044 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush, who received 33.6% (1,552 votes), with 4,615 ballots cast among the city's 7,978 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 57.8.[76]

In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 67.2% of the vote here (1,806 ballots cast), ahead of both Republican Chris Christie with 24.1% (647 votes) and Independent Chris Daggett with 4.4% (118 votes), with 2,687 ballots cast among the city's 8,524 registered voters, yielding a 31.5% turnout.[77]

Education[edit]

Bridgeton's public schools are operated by Bridgeton Public Schools, which serve students in preschool through twelfth grade. The district is one of 31 Abbott districts statewide,[78] which are now referred to as "SDA Districts" based on the requirement for the state to cover all costs for school building and renovation projects in these districts under the supervision of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.[79][80] Schools in the district (with 2010-11 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[81]) are the Geraldyn O. Foster Early Childhood Center[82] (492 students), six K-8 elementary schools — Broad Street School[83] (996), Buckshutem Road School[84] (385), Cherry Street School[85] (480), Indian Avenue School[86] (604), Quarter Mile Lane School[87] (282) and West Avenue School[88] (762) — and Bridgeton High School[89] for grades 9-12 (1,135).[90] Students from Downe Township and some students from Lawrence Township attend the high school as part of sending/receiving relationships.[91]

Commerce[edit]

Portions of Bridgeton are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3½% sales tax rate (versus the 7% rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants.[92]

Transportation[edit]

Airports[edit]

The following public-use airports are located in Bridgeton:

Places of interest[edit]

Old Broad Street Presbyterian

Notable people[edit]

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Bridgeton include:

See also[edit]

Climate[edit]

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Bridgeton has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[119]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c d e f Gazetteer of New Jersey Places, United States Census Bureau. Accessed June 6, 2013.
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  4. ^ a b Contact, City of Bridgeton. Accessed June 7, 2011.
  5. ^ a b 2012 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book, Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, March 2013, p. 19.
  6. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: City of Bridgeton, Geographic Names Information System. Accessed March 4, 2013.
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  25. ^ Staff. "BRIDGETON HISTORIC DISTRICT / Managing the past", The Press of Atlantic City, November 6, 2007. Accessed July 8, 2012. "Funkhouser's story mirrors the problems facing the entire historic district in Bridgeton. Drawn up in 1982, the district covers almost a quarter of the city and is the largest contiguous historic district in the state."
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