Cranford, New Jersey
"The Venice of New Jersey"
"Friendship and Progress"
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|Incorporated||March 14, 1871|
|• Body||Township Committee|
|• Mayor||Kathleen Miller Prunty (D, term ends December 31, 2022)|
|• Administrator||Jamie Cryan|
|• Municipal clerk||Patty Donahue|
|• Total||4.87 sq mi (12.62 km2)|
|• Land||4.84 sq mi (12.52 km2)|
|• Water||0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2) 0.78%|
|• Rank||281st of 565 in state|
10th of 21 in county
|Elevation||82 ft (25 m)|
|• Rank||112th of 566 in state|
8th of 21 in county
|• Density||4,927.1/sq mi (1,902.4/km2)|
|• Rank||117th of 566 in state|
11th of 21 in county
|Time zone||UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))|
|GNIS feature ID||0882214|
Cranford is a township in Union County, in the U.S. state of New Jersey, located 18 miles (29 km) southwest of Manhattan. As of the 2020 United States census, the township's population was 23,847, an increase of 1,222 (+5.4%) from the 2010 census count of 22,625, which in turn reflected an increase of 47 (+0.2%) from the 22,578 counted in the 2000 census.
NJ Transit rail service is available at the Cranford station, along the Raritan Valley train line, with service to Newark Penn Station and to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan via Midtown Direct. It is part of the New York City metropolitan area.
Cranford was incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 14, 1871, from portions of the Townships of Clark, Linden, Springfield, Union and Westfield. Portions of the township were taken to form Garwood (in 1903) and Kenilworth (in 1907). The township's name is said to derive from the Crane family, including John Crane, who built a mill in 1720 along the Rahway River.
Historic sites in the township are overseen by the Cranford Historic Preservation Advisory Board.
The Cranford Historical Society, a private entity founded in 1927 and located in Hanson Park on Springfield Avenue, maintains the Crane-Phillips House (c. 1845), located at 124 North Union Avenue, as a museum.
Though no known Cranford residents died in the American Civil War, at least 22 were active in the Union Army at the time of General Robert E. Lee's surrender. Cranford's last surviving Civil War veteran died in 1935.
James E. Warner is a former sheriff of Union County who was the namesake of the James E. Warner Plaza at the Cranford Train Station. Concerned by the then-growing pollution of the Rahway given the cleaner waters of his youth, Warner advocated for the preservation of the Rahway River and Rahway River Parkway parkland. One of Sheriff Warner's successful targets in fighting Rahway River pollution was his battle against the discharge of paper makers; one such site is now the regional theater known as the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. The Cranford Canoe Club, built in 1908, continues to offer canoes and kayaks for rent on the river in town.
Charles Hansel was co-founder of the Union County Parks Commission that preserved parkland all along the Rahway River and its tributaries in the 1920s, a greenway now known as the Rahway River Parkway. He was an engineer for the Pennsylvania Railroad and Central Railroad of New Jersey. Hansel lived in the 300 block of North Union Avenue in a home that still stands today, later moving to what is now Gray's Funeral Home, near what is now called Hansel's Dam by Sperry Park. For his Rahway River preservation efforts, a memorial copper plaque was placed to Hansel in Echo Lake Park.
Joshua Bryant was Cranford's first Black law enforcement officer and the township's first Black elected official.
William P. Westervelt was credited with thwarting the Baltimore Plot, an unsuccessful assassination attempt against president-elect Abraham Lincoln. He did so by cutting telegraph wires that would have alerted assassins to Lincoln's arrival.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 4.87 square miles (12.62 km2), including 4.84 square miles (12.52 km2) of land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2) of water (0.78%).
There are nine municipalities bordering the township: Garwood and Westfield to the west, Springfield Township to the north, Kenilworth to the northeast, Roselle and Roselle Park to the east, Linden to the southeast, Winfield Township and Clark to the south.
Parks run by the township and overseen by the Cranford Recreation and Parks Department include:
- Adams Park – Adams Avenue and Lambert Street. Morses Creek dips into Cranford behind this park.
- Buchanan Park – Centennial Avenue and Buchanan Avenue
- Cranford Canoe Club – Springfield Avenue and Orange Avenue The Cranford Canoe Club rents canoes and kayaks for trips on the Rahway River in Cranford. The current structure was built as a private canoe club in 1908.
- Community Center – Walnut Avenue. The Cranford Community Center, adjacent to the Cranford Public Library, offers classes, sports, speaker series and other recreational activities.
- Josiah Crane Park – Springfield Avenue and North Union Avenue. In 1971, the Cranford Historical Society marked the farm and village home of Josiah Crane Sr. (1791–1873) in a park across from the First Presbyterian Church on the Rahway River. This park now features Cranford's 9/11 Memorial.
- Cranford West – Hope, N.J. Originally the home of the Cranford Boys Club on Silver Lake from the 1920s to the 1960s
- Girl Scout Park – Springfield Avenue and Orange Avenue. This was once the site of a canoe club, later the Neva Sykes Girl Scout House, demolished in the 1950s.
- Hampton Park – Eastman Street and Hampton Street
- Hanson Park – Springfield Avenue and Holly Street. Home of the Hanson Park Conservancy.
- Johnson Park – Johnson Avenue. The Johnson Avenue playground opened in July 1957.
- Lincoln Park – Lincoln Avenue at South Union. What is now Lincoln Park was the Cranford Golf Club in 1899, now moved to Westfield and called the Echo Lake Country Club. The Lincoln Avenue grounds were designed by Willie Dunn. Lincoln Park was also originally a former estate said to have supplied lumber to build the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides") in the 1700s. The grounds, at the corner of the Old York Road and Benjamin Street, also included the largest sour gum ever recorded in the Northeastern states, known as the Cranford Pepperidge Tree or "Old Peppy". The park has hosted bocce ball tournaments since the mid-1960s.
- Mayor's Park – Springfield Avenue and North Union Avenue
- Memorial Park – Springfield Avenue and Central Avenue, in 2014, the Cranford Historical Society dedicated a civil war monument.
- Roosevelt Park – Orange Avenue and Pacific Avenue
- Sherman Park – Lincoln Avenue East. Former site of Sherman School and located on the Old York Road.
- Lenape Park in Cranford, Kenilworth, Springfield, Union and Westfield. Two tusks from an ancient American mastodon were found in 1936 north of Kenilworth Boulevard in what is now Lenape Park (other sources name the swampy area directly behind what is now the parking lot of Union College's main building).
- MacConnell Park (formerly known as Liberty Park and frequently misspelled as "McConnell Park") is named after the township's first physician, Joseph Kerr MacConnell. It is located on Eastman Street and was known as the Peninsula during the Victorian era due to its position nearly encircled by the Rahway River.
- Nomahegan Park (off Springfield Avenue across from Union College) is named for a tributary of the Rahway River that runs through it, to Lenape Park to Echo Lake Park in Westfield and Springfield, called Nomahegan Brook. The name "Nomahegan" has had many different spellings in the historical sources (such as "Normahiggins") and may mean "she-wolf" or "women Mohegans." According to the Federal Writers' Project, The WPA Guide to New Jersey: The Garden State (1939):
In 2019, the county purchased a long-abandoned house and demolished it, adding the land to the park's footprint.
"CRANFORD is an old residential town spread along the Rahway River Parkway, a link of nearly 7 miles joining a series of county parks and playgrounds with the Essex County park system. There are facilities for summer and winter sports, a rifle range, and picnic grove. The Fourth of July canoe regatta is an annual affair. Gardens of fine old Victorian houses line the edge of the parkway on the riverbank. A broadening of the river parkway at the northern end of Cranford is known as Nomahegan Park. The name Nomahegan is a variation of Noluns Mohegans, as the New Jersey Indians were called in the treaty ending the Indian troubles in 1758. It is translated as women Mohegans or she-wolves and was applied to them in scorn by the fighting Iroquois.
- Droescher's Mill Park, located near the dam at Droescher's Mill on High Street. Also called Squire Williams Park.
- Mohawk Park is located on Mohawk Drive in Cranford's Sunny Acres (aka Indian Village) section of town.
- Sperry Park (named after William Miller Sperry), located off North Union Avenue. Home of annual rubber duck derby as a fundraiser for Hanson Park further upstream on the Rahway River.
- Unami Park (located at Lexington and S. Union Avenue).
Rahway River Parkway – Cranford Section
The Rahway River Parkway is a greenway of parkland that hugs the Rahway River and its tributaries. It was designed in the 1920s by the Olmsted Brothers firm, who were the sons of the eminent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The Cranford section follows the banks of the meandering Rahway River as it flows south through Lenape Park, Nomahegan Park, Hampton Park, MacConnell Park, Hanson Park, Sperry Park, Crane's Park, Droescher's Mill Park, and Mohawk Park.
The Cranford Riverwalk and Heritage Corridor portion of the Rahway River Parkway begins at the parklands near where Orange Avenue meets Springfield at the Cranford Canoe Club and follows the Rahway River on its path southbound to the Williams-Droescher Mill from the early 18th century. At Heritage Plaza at the southwest corner of South Avenue and Centennial, the century-old stone walls and iconic stone columns winding through woodland to Droescher's Mill are still in place, but are in need of restoration and preservation. Future plans include repairing the Kaltenbach Estate skating pond, the Victorian footbridge and Squire Williams Picnic Grove at Droescher's Mill Park.
The 2010 United States census counted 22,625 people, 8,583 households, and 6,154 families in the township. The population density was 4,684.6 per square mile (1,808.7/km2). There were 8,816 housing units at an average density of 1,825.4 per square mile (704.8/km2). The racial makeup was 91.85% (20,781) White, 2.62% (592) Black or African American, 0.08% (18) Native American, 2.84% (643) Asian, 0.02% (4) Pacific Islander, 1.03% (234) from other races, and 1.56% (353) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.51% (1,474) of the population.
Of the 8,583 households, 33.4% had children under the age of 18; 60.2% were married couples living together; 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present and 28.3% were non-families. Of all households, 24.8% were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.15.
24.2% of the population were under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 23.6% from 25 to 44, 29.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.8 years. For every 100 females, the population had 91.7 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 87.2 males.
The total population saw an increase of 47 people, or a .21% increase, since the 2010 census.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $107,052 (with a margin of error of +/− $5,725) and the median family income was $128,534 (+/− $7,200). Males had a median income of $81,979 (+/− $7,672) versus $61,649 (+/− $4,965) for females. The per capita income for the township was $48,008 (+/− $2,581). About 2.1% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.9% of those under age 18 and 8.5% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States census there were 22,578 people, 8,397 households, and 6,222 families residing in the township. The population density was 4,684.2 people per square mile (1,808.6/km2). There were 8,560 housing units at an average density of 1,775.9 per square mile (685.7/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 93.70% White, 2.58% Black or African American, 0.04% Native American, 2.15% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.67% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. 3.89% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 8,397 households, out of which 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.0% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.9% were non-families. 21.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the township the population was spread out, with 23.3% under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.2 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $76,338, and the median income for a family was $86,624. Males had a median income of $60,757 versus $41,020 for females. The per capita income for the township was $33,283. About 1.0% of families and 2.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.5% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.
The Riverfront redevelopment project on South Avenue brought restaurants and housing into downtown Cranford.
In the 1980s, Cranford founded the state's first special improvement district, which allows for the downtown district to have a special tax on building and business owners for downtown development and marketing which is managed by the Cranford Downtown Management Corporation. The DMC is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of business owners, property owners, and residents, members of which are appointed by the Township Committee.
Cranford was ranked the 7th safest municipality in New Jersey. In 2018 the Cranford crime rate was 28.47 per 100,000, which is lower than New Jersey's 208 crime rate, which is in turn lower than the United States' 381.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Cranford has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
|Climate data for Cranford, New Jersey.|
|Record high °F (°C)||73
|Average high °F (°C)||40.1
|Daily mean °F (°C)||30.8
|Average low °F (°C)||21.5
|Record low °F (°C)||−10
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.72
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||6.9
|Source: The Western Regional Climate Center|
Cranford is governed under the Township form of New Jersey municipal government, one of 141 municipalities (of the 564) statewide that use this form, the second-most commonly used form of government in the state. The Township Committee is comprised of five members, who are elected directly by the voters at-large in partisan elections to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election in a three-year cycle.
The Committee members elect a chairman of the committee who assumes the title of Mayor and another who is selected as Deputy Mayor. Both positions carry one-year terms. Four of the committee members take on departmental oversight assignments as Commissioner of Finance, Commissioner of Public Safety, Commissioner of Public Works and Engineering, and Commissioner of Public Affairs. The Mayor of Cranford does not take on a departmental assignment. The Township Committee is a part-time body and the township government is run day to day by the township administrator and various department heads. The chief of police is Ryan Greco, the township administrator is Jamie Cryan and the township clerk is Patty Donahue.
As of 2022[update], members of the Cranford Township Committee are Mayor Kathleen Miller Prunty (D, 2022), Brian Andrews (D, 2023), Gina Black (R, 2024), Jason Gareis (D, 2023), and Mary O'Connor (R, 2022).
Women in elected office
Through 2022, a total of 12 women have been elected to the Cranford Township Committee, and four women have served as Mayor of Cranford. Barbara Brande was the first woman elected to the Township Committee and the first woman mayor of the township. Mayor Brande was elected to the Township Committee in 1974 and reelected in 1977, serving a total of six years. She was Mayor of Cranford in 1977. Carolyn Vollero, who served the longest length of time for a woman on the Township Committee—nine years—was Cranford's second female Mayor in 1994. Barbara Bilger, the township's third female mayor in 2002 and 2004, was also the first woman to serve two terms as the township's mayor. Mayor Bilger is the first Republican woman to serve as a township commissioner and as mayor.
Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski is a Cranford resident and the first woman from Cranford to be elected to the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Freeholder Kowalski was an unsuccessful candidate for Cranford Township Committee in 1999 and served as Union County Freeholder Chairwoman in 2007 and 2019.
Female township commissioners include:
- Barbara Brande (Democrat) – 1975 to 1980 (Mayor in 1977)
- Sandy Weeks (Democrat) – 1982 to 1984
- Mary Lou Farmer (Democrat) – 1984 to 1986
- Carolyn Vollero (Democrat) – 1988 to 1996 (Mayor in 1994, Deputy Mayor in 1993)
- Barbara Bilger (Republican) – 1990 to 1992, 2002 to 2004 and Sept. 2015 to Nov. 2015 (Mayor in 2002 & 2004, Deputy Mayor in 1992 & 2003)
- Ann Darby (Republican) – 2003 to 2005 (Deputy Mayor in 2004)
- Martha Garcia (Republican) – 2008 to 2010 (Deputy Mayor in 2010)
- Lisa Adubato (Republican) – 2012 to Aug. 2015 (Deputy Mayor in 2014 and 2015 (part))
- Mary O'Connor (Republican) – 2014 to present (Deputy Mayor in 2015 (part) and 2016)
- Ann Dooley (Democrat) – 2016 to 2019 (Deputy Mayor in 2018 and 2019)
- Kathleen Miller Prunty (Democrat) – 2020 to present (Deputy Mayor in 2020, Mayor 2021 to present)
- Gina Black (Republican) – 2022 to present
Federal, state, and county representation
For the 118th United States Congress, New Jersey's Tenth Congressional District is represented by Donald Payne Jr. (D, Newark). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2027) and Bob Menendez (Harrison, term ends 2025).
For the 2022–2023 session, the 21st Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Jon Bramnick (R, Westfield) and in the General Assembly by Michele Matsikoudis (R, New Providence) and Nancy Munoz (R, Summit).
Union County is governed by a Board of County Commissioners, whose nine members are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis with three seats coming up for election each year, with an appointed County Manager overseeing the day-to-day operations of the county. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects a Chair and Vice Chair from among its members. As of 2022[update], Union County's County Commissioners are Chair Rebecca Williams (D, Plainfield, term as commissioner and as chair ends December 31, 2022), Vice Chair Christopher Hudak (D, Linden, term as commissioner ends 2023; term as vice chair ends 2022), James E. Baker Jr. (D, Rahway, 2024), Angela R. Garretson (D, Hillside, 2023), Sergio Granados (D, Elizabeth, 2022), Bette Jane Kowalski (D, Cranford, 2022), Lourdes M. Leon (D, Elizabeth, 2023), Alexander Mirabella (D, Fanwood, 2024) and Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded (D, Westfield, 2024). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi (D, Union Township, 2025), Sheriff Peter Corvelli (D, Kenilworth, 2023) and Surrogate Susan Dinardo (acting). The County Manager is Edward Oatman.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 15,649 registered voters in Cranford Township, of which 4,887 (31.2% vs. 41.8% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 3,701 (23.7% vs. 15.3%) were registered as Republicans and 7,046 (45.0% vs. 42.9%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 15 voters registered as Libertarians or Greens. Among the township's 2010 Census population, 69.2% (vs. 53.3% in Union County) were registered to vote, including 91.2% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 70.6% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 6,236 votes (51.0% vs. 66.0% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 5,772 votes (47.2% vs. 32.3%) and other candidates with 141 votes (1.2% vs. 0.8%), among the 12,223 ballots cast by the township's 16,332 registered voters, for a turnout of 74.8% (vs. 68.8% in Union County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 6,513 votes (49.6% vs. 63.1% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 6,371 votes (48.6% vs. 35.2%) and other candidates with 164 votes (1.3% vs. 0.9%), among the 13,120 ballots cast by the township's 16,145 registered voters, for a turnout of 81.3% (vs. 74.7% in Union County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 6,455 votes (50.4% vs. 40.3% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 6,160 votes (48.1% vs. 58.3%) and other candidates with 111 votes (0.9% vs. 0.7%), among the 12,795 ballots cast by the township's 15,822 registered voters, for a turnout of 80.9% (vs. 72.3% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 62.5% of the vote (4,926 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 35.9% (2,834 votes), and other candidates with 1.6% (124 votes), among the 8,017 ballots cast by the township's 16,108 registered voters (133 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 49.8%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 4,787 votes (52.3% vs. 41.7% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 3,421 votes (37.4% vs. 50.6%), Independent Chris Daggett with 793 votes (8.7% vs. 5.9%) and other candidates with 82 votes (0.9% vs. 0.8%), among the 9,146 ballots cast by the township's 15,871 registered voters, yielding a 57.6% turnout (vs. 46.5% in the county).
In the 2016 presidential election, Democrat Hillary Clinton received 6,244 votes (52.3% vs. 65.6% countywide) beating Donald Trump's 5,110 votes (42.8% vs. 30.9% countywide) and other candidates receiving a combined total of 593 votes (4.9% vs. 3.6% countywide). From Cranford, 11,947 ballots were cast out of 16,844 registered voters (70% voter turnout vs. 68.87% countywide).
The Cranford Township Public Schools is a comprehensive public school district serving students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of seven schools, had an enrollment of 3,853 students and 323.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.9:1. Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Bloomingdale Avenue School with 255 students in grades K–2, Brookside Place School with 365 students in grades K–5, Hillside Avenue School with 702 students in grades K–8, Livingston Avenue School with 251 students in grades 3–5, Orange Avenue School with 738 students in grades 3–8, Walnut Avenue School with 312 students in grades Pre-K–2 and Cranford High School with 1,233 students in grades 9–12. Cranford High School has a curriculum which has a strong push for technology in the schools, along with stressing service learning. The high school is recognized for its work in service learning and for being a national school of character. Cranford High School was ranked 51st among 328 public high schools in New Jersey in 2012 by New Jersey Monthly magazine after being ranked 13th in 2010 and was among the top-ranked high schools in the state in 2020. Lincoln School, which is the home of the district's administrative offices, also houses the district's two alternative education programs, CAP and CAMP.
Cranford hosts several religious and private schools. Saint Michael's School, located in downtown Cranford, is a Roman Catholic parochial school which serves students in Nursery through Grade 8 and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Elementary Schools, operating under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.
Helen K. Baldwin Nursery School at the First Presbyterian Church was founded in 1956.
The main campus of Union College—New Jersey's oldest community college, dating back to 1933—is located in Cranford. The Cranford campus, one of four county locations, covers 50 acres (20 ha) and was established in 1959.
Cranford media includes:
- The Westfield Leader. This locally published weekly newspaper covers all Cranford township committee meetings and offers other Cranford coverage.
- Union News Daily. A news outlet covering Union County news, it has a dedicated Cranford section. It is part of LocalSource and published by Worrall Community Newspapers of Union. The paper's Cranford coverage is also published on a monthly basis as Cranford Life.
- TAPInto Cranford is a local digital news site covering Cranford news exclusively, part of the TAPinto network of news in Central and Northern New Jersey. The Cranford edition reopened under new ownership in 2022.
- Cranford Patch is an online hyperlocal Cranford digital news site, part of the Patch local news network.
- Cranford Local magazine launched in April 2022.
- Cranford Radio is a long-running podcast on Cranford news hosted by Bernie Wagenblast.
- Remaining multi-community newspapers include the Courier News, a daily newspaper based in Bridgewater Township, and The Star-Ledger and the Suburban News based in Newark.
- Cranford Monthly is published by Renna Media, located on Walnut Street in Cranford, NJ. 9,800 newspapers are printed up each month and mailed free.
- TV-35. Cranford also has its own channel, TV-35, which airs township committee meetings live each week and is available to cable and Verizon FiOS television subscribers. The channel was founded in 1986.
- Emergency radio. The township operates a low-power AM radio station at 680 kHz. The station provides information during emergencies in the township.
The Cranford Chronicle (formerly the Cranford Citizen & Chronicle) closed in June 2015.
Arts and culture
- The Cranford Film Festival at the Cranford Theater is held annually.
- The Garden State Film Festival began holding festival screenings at the township's century-old film theater, the Cranford Theater, in 2021. A small performing arts stage, in front of one of the screens, opened at the film theater in 2022.
- The Cranford Dramatic Club is a local theatrical company founded in 1918 that puts on various annual productions. The company has its own small performing arts theater on the south side of town.
- PorchFest is an annual music festival in Cranford starting in 2017.
- Dreyer Farms, one of the last remaining farms in Union County, hosts art shows and performances in the offseason.
- The Roy W. Smith Theater and Tomasulo Art Gallery at Union College offer live performances and art shows.
- The Cranford Public Library began in 1910 as a Carnegie library.
Places of worship
- The Cranford United Methodist Church, at the corner of Walnut and Lincoln Avenue, was founded as Cranford's Methodist congregation in the 1850s. It is an LGBTQ-welcoming community, making a "reconciling commitment to intersectional LGBTQ justice." Its brick sanctuary was built in 1954.
- Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim, on Walnut Avenue in Cranford, has been a community of worship for over 100 years, serving the Cranford and Westfield area egalitarian-traditional Jewish community.
- Trinity Episcopal Church on Forest Avenue was founded in 1872. Its day school offers preschool, kindergarten, and elementary aftercare programs.
- First Presbyterian Church of Cranford on Springfield Avenue, home to Helen K. Baldwin Nursery School, was founded in 1850.
- The First Baptist Church on High Street was founded in June 1887. Its former minister, Cranford native Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe, was the first Black woman ordained by the American Baptist Church.
- St. Michael's Church on Alden Street was founded as the township's Roman Catholic parish in 1872.
- The Cranford Alliance Church that stands at the corner of Cherry and Retford was founded as a Bible study in 1898, and organized as a church under the teachings of Pastor A. B. Simpson in 1905. Its permanent location at 7 Cherry Street was dedicated in 1924. British suffragette Christabel Pankhurst spoke at the church in 1929.
- Calvary Lutheran Church on Eastman Street was founded in the 1920s. Its Calvary Nursery School opened in 1993.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010[update], the township had a total of 78.60 miles (126.49 km) of roadways, of which 67.25 miles (108.23 km) were maintained by the municipality, 7.77 miles (12.50 km) by Union County, 1.72 miles (2.77 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 1.86 miles (2.99 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
The Garden State Parkway passes through the township, connecting Clark in the south to Kenilworth in the north. The Parkway is accessible at interchange 136 to County Route 607 for Linden / Roselle / Winfield Park and at interchange 137 for Route 28. Interchange 136 is known as the "four corners", where Clark, Winfield, Cranford and Linden meet.
Cranford's Pace Car Program aims to make the township's roads safer roads by encouraging drivers to pledge to "drive within the posted speed limit", "stop at all stop signs", "stop at all red traffic lights", and "yield to pedestrians in crosswalks".
The Cranford station offers train service to Newark Penn Station in about 20 minutes, and to New York City Penn Station in about 49 minutes in total. The World Trade Center station on PATH can likewise be reached from Cranford in under 50 minutes (42 minutes on 6:52 am express).
Cranford Station also offers transit to other points east, along with Raritan, High Bridge and numerous points west on the NJ Transit Raritan Valley Line, formerly the mainline of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. Via Newark Penn Station, Secaucus Junction and NYC Penn Station, connections are possible to all other NJT rail lines (except Atlantic City,) PATH trains, AirTrain Newark to Newark Liberty International Airport, Amtrak regional and long-distance trains and the Long Island Rail Road.
An express bus route (the 113x) offers nonstop weekday travel from the north side of the Cranford Station, and other Cranford points on North Ave, to Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan in about 40 minutes. The private bus service Boxcar also provides direct commuter bus routes to midtown Manhattan in about 40 minutes.
NJ Transit also provides bus service on the 112 and 113 routes between Cranford and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City and on the 59 and 66 to Newark. The 56, 57 and 58 routes provide local service.
The southern section of the township is bisected by Conrail's freight-only Lehigh Line (jointly owned by CSX and Norfolk Southern) along the tracks of the former Lehigh Valley Railroad. The former Staten Island Railway connects with the Raritan Valley Line in Cranford, reaching the island via the Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge. That line has been rehabilitated and since 2007 between Port Newark and Howland Hook and transports containers from the Howland Hook Marine Terminal, an intermodal freight transport service known as ExpressRail.
In film and television
Several episodes in the third season of the 1990s Nickelodeon television show, The Adventures of Pete & Pete were filmed in Cranford. Episodes of the series were shot at various sites in Cranford, including Brookside Place School, Cranford High School, Orange Avenue Pool and Modern Barber Shop. Scenes for the home of the title characters were filmed at a house at 11 Willow Street. Cranford is the setting of the 2005 film Guess Who, starring Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher. Portions of the films Far from Heaven, Garden State, September 12 and HBO's miniseries The Plot Against America were shot in Cranford.
Billy Eichner's comedy Bros filmed a Pride parade scene in Downtown Cranford. Additional film shoots in town during the 2020s have included Maybe I Do, Mothers' Instinct, Dumb Money, Eileen, Daughter of the Bride, Sweethearts and Cat Person.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Cranford include:
- Frederick W. Beinecke (1887–1971), founder of Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- William Sperry Beinecke (1914–2018), founder of the Central Park Conservancy and former chairman of S&H Green Stamps
- Carol Blazejowski (born 1956), member of Basketball Hall of Fame
- Gordon Chalmers (1911–2000), swimmer, swimming coach, and college athletics administrator. He competed in the men's 100 meter backstroke at the 1932 Summer Olympics
- William A. Chatfield (born 1951), government executive and lobbyist who served as the 11th Director of the Selective Service System, from 2004 to 2009
- Curtis G. Culin (1915–1963), sergeant in the 2d Armored Division during World War II who developed the rhino tank to cut through hedgerows during the Battle of Normandy
- Howard "Dutch" Darrin (1897–1982), free-lance automotive stylist
- Hugh S. Delano (1933–2015), sports journalist for the New York Post and author honored by induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame with the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award
- Maria Dizzia (born 1974), actress who was nominated for the 2010 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)
- William C. Dudley (born 1952), economist who served as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Vice Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee
- Robert Ferro (1941–1988), LGBT author whose work included a gay coming-of-age novel describing a fictionalized version of Cranford centered around the Rahway River
- Charles N. Fowler (1852–1932), represented 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1895 to 1911
- Will Fries (born 1998), offensive guard for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League
- Albert M. Gessler (1919–2003), ExxonMobil research chemist known for the development of elastomeric thermoplastics
- Edward K. Gill (1917–1985), politician who served as Mayor of Cranford and was elected to two terms of office in the New Jersey General Assembly, where he represented the 21st Legislative District
- Karen Hummer (born 1962), former competitor in judo who became the youngest US National Champion in the sport when she won a title at the age of 12
- Gary Kott (born c. 1947), television and advertising writer, who was a writer and supervising producer of The Cosby Show
- Alice Lakey (1857–1935), pure foods activist
- Frank Townsend Lent (1855–1919), architect, painter and author
- Paul J. Lioy (1947–2015), specialist in the field of environmental health and specializing in exposure science who analyzed the effects of dust in the wake of the collapse of the World Trade Center after the September 11 terrorist attacks
- Greg Mankiw (born 1958), Harvard professor who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush
- Ralph J. Marra Jr. (born c. 1953), former Acting United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey
- Max Marston (1892–1949), winner of the 1923 United States Amateur Championship golf tournament
- Dean Mathey (1890–1972), tennis player and namesake of Mathey College at Princeton University
- John Moody (1868–1958), financial analyst and founder of Moody's Investors Service
- Bill Murphy (born 1989), professional baseball pitching coach for the Houston Astros
- Victoria Napolitano (née Spellman, born 1988), politician who was chosen as mayor of Moorestown, New Jersey, at age 26, making her the youngest female mayor in state history
- Nancy Salzman (born 1954), felon convicted for her role as the co-founder of NXIVM, a multi-level marketing company and cult
- David Silverman (born 1966), president of American Atheists
- Thomas Sperry (c. 1864–1913), co-founder (the "S") of S&H Green Stamps
- William Miller Sperry (1858–1927), president of S&H Green Stamps and namesake of the William Miller Sperry Observatory and Sperry Park, who moved to Cranford in 1898
- Joseph Striker (1898–1974), actor who appeared on film and in Broadway theatre
- John Coard Taylor (1901–1946), track and field athlete who placed fifth in the men's 400 meters at the 1924 Summer Olympics. He was national champion in the 220-yd low hurdles in 1922
- James Walter Thompson (1847–1928), namesake of the J. Walter Thompson Company advertising agency
- Walter F. Timpone (born 1950), former Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, who served from 2016 to 2020
- Bernie Wagenblast (born 1956), voiceover performer and former traffic reporter who is the founder and editor of the Transportation Communications Newsletter
- Jennifer Westhoven (born 1971), business and finance correspondent on HLN's Morning Express with Robin Meade
- Jordan White (born 1984), rock musician and American Idol contestant
- Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe (1916–2004), noted educator, Cranford native, and namesake of the Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe College of Education at New Jersey City University
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- Thomas, Shea. "Santas move in when TV's 'Pete and Pete' move out", Cranford Chronicle, November 27, 1997. Accessed September 28, 2022. "The house on willow Street is affectionately known as the 'Santa Claus' house and rightfully so – it has 'thousands of Santas' displayed inside... It was used in filming the Nickelodeon program Pete & Pete, as the home of the brothers with a shared name, but the show has been canceled."
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- Antonelli, Troiann. " Lights...Camera...Joanie's Cafe!Television crews visited a Cranford eatery on Aug. 29 to film a commercial.", Cranford Patch, August 29, 2012. Accessed August 3, 2016. "In addition, Cranford is the setting of the 2005 film, Guess Who starring the late Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher. Portions of the movie Garden State, Far From Heaven and September 12, as well as HBO's The Plot Against America were also shot in town."
- Lissner, Caren. "Groundbreaking Film 'Bros' Is Shooting In Cranford This Week", Cranford, NJ Patch, September 28, 2021. Accessed June 17, 2022. "A new film called "Bros" will be filming in Downtown Cranford on Wednesday and Thursday, the Downtown Cranford organization said in a Facebook post on Tuesday. The organization noted that the film represents a 'first' in Hollywood: Bros is also making history by having an entirely LGBTQ main cast, including for the straight characters, the first for a major studio film.""
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- Sacks, Benjamin. "Frederick W. Beinecke (1887–1971)", Immigrant Entrepreneurship, September 25, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2016. "In 1915 the family moved to a suburban house in Cranford, New Jersey, away from Manhattan's chaotic atmosphere."
- William Beinecke – 96, Old New York Stories, October 28, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2016. "My father and mother had a home on Prospect Street in Cranford. So we lived in Cranford, New Jersey, in a house, the address was 401 Prospect Street, Cranford, New Jersey and I even remember the phone number. The phone was 47."
- "Spotlight: Carol Blazejowski", SI for Women, May 28, 1999. Accessed May 4, 2007. "In 1974, while a student at Cranford High (NJ), Blazejowski told the school's athletic director (who was also the coach of the boys' basketball team) that she would play on boys' basketball team if no girls team was created. It wasn't long before Cranford had a girls' basketball team."
- Gordon Chalmers Archived August 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Sports-Reference.com. Accessed November 6, 2017.
- TopVet: Bill Chatfield, Veterans Advantage, June 25, 2005. Accessed November 17, 2022. "Born in a small town in the Catskill Mountains of New York, Bill spent his formative years 'off Exit 13' of the New Jersey Turnpike in the towns of Springfield and Cranford."
- Staff. "Curtis Culin 3d, Invented 'Rhino'; Creator of Tank Attachment at Normandy Is Dead", The New York Times, November 22, 1963. Accessed January 22, 2012.
- Donnelly, Jim. "Howard A. Darrin", Hemmings Motor News, July 2006. Accessed August 22, 2020. "Howard Darrin was born in 1897 in Cranford, New Jersey, along what would later become the route of the Garden State Parkway."
- Pitman, John. "Hugh Delano headed for the Hockey Hall of Fame" Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, The Cranford Chronicle, September 19, 1991. Accessed November 3, 2008.
- Reilly, James. "Cranford sportswriter honored for his career" Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, The Cranford Chronicle, May 25, 1994. Accessed November 3, 2008.
- Tropia, Joe. "Maria Dizzia", Broadway.com, June 14, 2007. Accessed September 19, 2019. "Hometown: Cranford, New Jersey"
- Murray, Leslie. "Cranford resident appointed president and CEO of the NY Federal Reserve", The Cranford Chronicle, February 4, 2009. Accessed February 7, 2009.
- Staff. "Robert Ferro, 46, Dies; Wrote Books on Family", The New York Times, July 12, 1988. Accessed December 17, 2016. "Born in Cranford, N.J., Mr. Ferro graduated from Rutgers University and earned a master's degree from the University of Iowa."
- Charles Newell Fowler, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed August 9, 2007.
- Gould, Brandon. "Will Fries of Cranford signs to play football at Penn State University of National Signing Day", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com,February 3, 2016, updated August 24, 2019. Accessed May 4, 2021. "After a storybook ending to his high school career, offensive tackle Will Fries signed his National Letter of Intent today with Penn State University at Cranford High School."
- "Recycling program sets new records", Cranford Citizen and Chronicle, April 25, 1974. Accessed September 4, 2022. "The Cranford Recycling Program Inc., which will conduct a recycling exposition Saturday afternoon at Orange Avenue Junior High School, announced today that in its collection year ending March 31 it surpassed all previous local records. Albert M. Gessler, chairman of the program, reported 514,860 pounds of paper had been collected, compared with 471,500 pounds in the 1972–73 collection year."
- "Edward K. Gill", The New York Times, February 13, 1985. Accessed September 19, 2019. "Edward K. Gill, who was elected to the New Jersey Assembly in 1981 at the age of 62 after a long career in business, died of a heart ailment Saturday in Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield, N.J. He was 66 years old and lived in Cranford. Mr. Gill was the Mayor of Cranford from 1967 to 1970 and served on several town boards."
- "Faces in the Crowd", Sports Illustrated, June 3, 1974. Accessed June 6, 2022. "Karen Hummer, 12, a third-degree brown belt from Cranford, N.J. who took up judo four years ago, became the youngest person to win a National Senior Championship when she defeated four opponents in the 105-pound competition, in Phoenix, Ariz."
- About, Gary Kott's Creative Warehouse. Accessed July 17, 2012. "I grew up in Cranford, New Jersey – exit 137 on the Garden State Parkway – twenty-one miles from the Lincoln Tunnel and New York City."
- Bernstein, Michele W. "Gary Kott Injects Cranford Memories into Cosby Show". Cranford Chronicle, June 4, 1987. Accessed September 28, 2022. "No wonder the Cougars won. Kott grew up in Cranford. He is the son of Marguerite Kott and the late Dr. Bernard Kott, and has enjoyed an almost storybook career since his graduation from Cranford High in 1965."
- Burstyn, Joan N. Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women, p. 161. Syracuse University Press, 1996. ISBN 9780815604181. Accessed October 28, 2016. "In 1896 the Lakeys moved to Cranford (Union County), NJ, a quiet town where Lakey could continue her recovery."
- Brule, M. "From a Home in the Suburbs to a Retreat in the Wilderness: The Domestic Architecture of Frank T. Lent." (2012).xii
- Fox, Margalit. "Paul Lioy, Scientist Who Analyzed 9/11 Dust and Its Health Effects, Dies at 68", The New York Times, July 11, 2015. Accessed July 12, 2015. "Paul James Lioy was born on May 27, 1947, in Passaic, N.J. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Montclair State College, as it was then known, followed by a master's degree in the field from Auburn University in Alabama and master's and doctoral degrees in environmental science from Rutgers.... From his home in Cranford, N.J., Dr. Lioy could see the plumes of dust that rose from the ruins of the trade center towers on Sept. 11, 2001."
- Andrews, Edmund L. "Economics Adviser Learns the Principles of Politics", The New York Times, February 26, 2004. Accessed September 19, 2019. "He describes himself as a lifelong Republican, which sets him apart from many Harvard colleagues. He distributed campaign literature for Richard Nixon in the early 1970s, and he grew up in Cranford, a fairly affluent suburb in New Jersey, the son of an engineer and a teacher."
- "Federal prosecutor Ralph Marra joins N.J. Sports and Exposition Authority as top lawyer", The Star-Ledger, February 18, 2010. Accessed July 17, 2012. "In a special meeting of the Sports Authority today morning, Marra, 56, of Cranford, was named senior vice president for legal and governmental affairs. He will be paid $190,000."
- "Marston Will Remain In New Jersey Game", Courier News, April 3, 1918. Max Marston, the Cranford golf star and former New Jersey champion, who was reported to have changed his abode in Cranford to a residence in Philadelphia, comes out with the statement that he has not sworn allegiance to the Quaker town."
- Dean Mathey (1891–1972) Archived November 9, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Princeton Area Community Foundation. Accessed November 8, 2016. "Dean Mathey was born in 1891 and raised in Cranford, N.J. where he attended the Pingry School."
- Celebrating Cranford (2021) – Page 31 ("John Moody lived in Cranford from 1893 until 1913, first on Miln Street")
- "Astros World Series Team Has a Rutgers Alumnus in the Bullpen", Rutgers University. Accessed November 9,2022. "A native of Cranford, New Jersey, Murphy was a standout shortstop and relief pitcher at Roselle Catholic High School before signing a national letter of intent to attend Rutgers and play baseball for Hall of Fame Head Coach Fred 'Moose' Hill."
- "National Merit", The Westfield Leader, November 24, 2005. Accessed January 22, 2018. "Union Catholic students Amy Dooley of Carteret, Thomas Fitzgibbon of Fanwood, Bradley Gelles of Edison, Katherine McGhee of Edison and Victoria Spellman of Cranford, have been named Commended Students in the 2006 National Merit Scholarship Program. Each student will be presented with a letter of commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation."
- Gavin, Robert. "Unsealed letters show Keith Raniere's cruelty to top NXIVM ally", Times Union, October 12, 2021. Accessed February 5, 2022. "Nancy Salzman, a native of Cranford, N.J, known in NXIVM as 'Prefect,' co-founded the purported self-empowerment company with Raniere in 1998."
- Woods, Don E. "NJ woman's rejected atheist license plate violates First Amendment, lawsuit argues", South Jersey Times, April 17, 2014. Accessed October 15, 2014. "The Motor Vehicle Commission went through a similar battle last August when David Silverman, president of American Atheists and Cranford resident, attempted to get 'ATHE1ST' as a license plate — with a numeral '1' instead of the letter 'I'."
- Millar, Will. "'8THEIST' License Plate Sparks Federal Lawsuit", Inquisitr, April 19, 2014. Accessed September 19, 2019. "Last August, Cranford resident David Silverman, the president of an organization called American Atheists, attempted to get 'ATHE1ST' as a license plate — with a numeral '1' instead of the letter 'I'. Silverman was denied his vanity plate after it was deemed offensive by a Motor Vehicle Commission clerk, only to have the decision reversed later that same month."
- "Sperrys Flee From Flames By Ladder; Their Country Home at Cranford, N.J., with Its Valuable Paintings, Destroyed.", The New York Times, June 8, 1912. Accessed October 29, 2008.
- "Gift of $100,000 to Make UJC Campus Site Of William M. Sperry Memorial Observatory", Cranford Citizen and Chronicle, February 29, 1964. Accessed September 28, 2022. "A long-time Cranford resident, the late William Miller Sperry was the father of Mrs. F. W. Beinecke and grandfather of William S. Beinecke, now president of the Sperry and Hutchinson Co., distributors of S&H Green Stamps."
- "William M. Sperry (1839–1927) Archived November 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Amateur Astronomers. Accessed November 4, 2016. "William Miller Sperry who came to Cranford in 1898, and two of his brothers Thomas Alexander Sperry and Joseph Austin Sperry, had much to do with the development of the Cranford community as all three maintained a sincere and continuing interest in the civic growth of the area."
- "Joseph Striker, Actor, 74, Played in King of Kings", The New York Times, February 27, 1974. Accessed September 19, 2019. "Joseph Striker, a film and stage actor in the nineteentwenties and early thirties, died Sunday in St. Barnabas Hospital, Livingston, N. J. He was 74 years old and lived at 4 Riverside Drive in Cranford, N.J."
- "J. Coard Taylor, Official Of Ethyl; Vice President in Charge of Sales for Oil Firm Dies-- Track Star at Princeton", The New York Times, June 26, 1946. Accessed September 19, 2019. "Born in Cranford, N. J., a son of George Franklin Taylor and the former Mabel Voorhees, Mr. Taylor was a descendent of Stephen Coerte Van Voorhees, who migrated from Holland to Flatlands, L. I."
- Antonelli, Toniann. " Township Marks 100th Anniversary of 'Cranford's Great Fire';nA century ago, an entire row of businesses known as The Opera House Block was destroyed in a massive fire downtown.", Cranford Patch, February 3, 2012. Accessed November 5, 2016.
- Ensslin, John C."Breath of fresh air' for N.J.’s high court; colleagues praise nominee", The Record, April 15, 2016. Accessed May 7, 2021. "Timpone, a 65-year-old Cranford resident and former assistant U.S. attorney, has the judicial demeanor and knack for collegiality, they said, to build consensus on a court that by tradition is split between Democratic and Republican justices."
- "Cranford Resident, Radio Announcer, AirTrain Voiceover – Bernie Wagenblast's Boyhood Dream a Fruitful Career", TAP into Cranford, April 18, 2015. Accessed November 19, 2017. "Bernie Wagenblast might not be a household name, but the lifetime Cranford resident's voice is heard by hundreds of thousands of people everyday. Wagenblast is the announcer voice on many New York subway lines and throughout the Newark and JFK Airport AirTrain systems."
- Jennifer Westhoven Archived March 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, HLN. Accessed March 28, 2013. "Westhoven earned a bachelor of arts degree in history and political science from Bryn Mawr College and grew up in Cranford, NJ."
- Ragonese, Dana. "Cranford native Jordan White featured at Rev It Up concert starring Crystal Bowersox", Cranford Chronicle, August 4, 2011. Accessed February 20, 2013. "At least half of the profits from the concert will go towards juvenile diabetes. The benefit concert will also feature Hawthorne Heights, Carmen Magro, and Cranford, native Jordan White."
- "Meet Jordan White" Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, The Valley Beat. Accessed July 17, 2012. "Jordan White was born in Cranford, New Jersey, but raised in Nazareth where he learned to play guitar and classical piano. At age 19, White first began writing songs, by the age of 28 he has landed a song with a national label."
- Ramirez, Robert. "Cranford High School Library Renamed After African American Trailblazer", TAP into Cranford, February 7, 2020. Accessed September 28, 2022.