Free Acres, New Jersey

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Free Acres, New Jersey
Unincorporated community
Free Acres, New Jersey is located in Union County, New Jersey
Free Acres, New Jersey
Free Acres, New Jersey
Free Acres's location in Union County (Inset: Union County in New Jersey)
Coordinates: 40°39′38″N 74°26′38″W / 40.66056°N 74.44389°W / 40.66056; -74.44389Coordinates: 40°39′38″N 74°26′38″W / 40.66056°N 74.44389°W / 40.66056; -74.44389
Country United States
state New Jersey
County Union
Township Berkeley Heights
Elevation 440 ft (134 m)
ZIP code 07922
GNIS feature ID 0876502[1]

Free Acres is an unincorporated community located within Berkeley Heights and Watchung, New Jersey, United States. Free Acres was created in 1910 as a social experiment by Bolton Hall, an Irish-born New York entrepreneur, reformer and follower of Leo Tolstoy.[2] Hall believed in the idea of economist Henry George of single taxation, under which residents pay a land value tax to the community based on the value of the land alone, and in turn, the community pays a lump sum to the municipality.

The 75-acre (300,000 m2) wooded community of 85 households is located about 33 miles (53 km) west of New York City. Residents own their houses, but pay a lease for the land, which is owned collectively by the community. Free Acres also consists of a farmhouse and a spring-fed pool. To this day, residents of Free Acres pay tax to the Free Acres Association, which is now a more common version of the property tax, based on the value of the land and any improvements. The Association maintains the community's streets and swimming pool, approves architectural changes to homes and pays a lump sum in taxes to the Berkeley Heights municipality.

Among the early residents of Free Acres were author Thorne Smith and his wife Celia, and actor James Cagney and his wife, Billie.


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