Essex Fells, New Jersey
|Borough of Essex Fells|
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|Incorporated||March 31, 1902|
|• Body||Borough Council|
|• Mayor||Edward A. Davis (R, term ends December 31, 2025)|
|• Administrator / Municipal clerk||Francine T. Paserchia|
|• Total||1.41 sq mi (3.66 km2)|
|• Land||1.41 sq mi (3.65 km2)|
|• Water||0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2) 0.43%|
|• Rank||460th of 565 in state|
20th of 22 in county
|Elevation||505 ft (154 m)|
|• Rank||484th of 566 in state|
22nd of 22 in county
|• Density||1,593.75/sq mi (615.21/km2)|
|• Rank||337th of 566 in state|
21st of 22 in county
|Time zone||UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))|
|Area code(s)||973 exchanges: 226, 228, 264, 403, 618|
|GNIS feature ID||2390558|
Essex Fells is a borough in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States census, the borough's population was 2,113, reflecting a decline of 49 (−2.3%) from the 2,162 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 23 (+1.1%) from the 2,139 counted in the 1990 Census.
Essex Fells was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 31, 1902, from portions of Caldwell Township (now Fairfield Township). The community's name was derived by taking "Essex" from the name of the county and adding "Fells" from the name of John F. Fell which also means hill or down.
New Jersey Family magazine ranked Essex Fells as the best town for families in its 2016 rankings of "New Jersey's Best Towns for Families". New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Essex Fells as its 10th best place to live in its 2008 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey. Niche.com ranked Essex Fells as the seventh best place to live in its 2019 rankings of the "Best Places to Live" in New Jersey.
Essex Fells was part of the Horseneck Tract, which was an area that consisted of what are now the municipalities of Caldwell, West Caldwell, North Caldwell, Fairfield, Verona, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Roseland, and portions of Livingston and West Orange.
In 1702, settlers purchased the 14,000 acres (57 km2) Horseneck Tract—so-called because of its irregular shape that suggested a horse's neck and head—from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans for goods equal to $325. This purchase encompassed much of western Essex County, from the Orange, or First Mountain in the Watchung Mountain range to the Passaic River.
In the late 1800s, Philadelphia developer Anthony S. Drexel realized the impact of train travel on residential development and sent Charles W. Leavitt to the northern New Jersey area near the end of the Caldwell line. Leavitt, Drexel and Drexel's son-in-law John F. Fell formed the Suburban Land Company and purchased 1,000 acres of land from the estate of Revolutionary War General William J. Gould. In order to create their residential development the group commissioned noted architect Ernest W. Bowditch. The community's name was derived by taking "Essex" from the name of the county and adding "Fells" from the name of John F. Fell which also means hill or down.
Based on an ordinance passed in 1928, commercial activity in the borough is limited to a single three-story building constructed to look like a house and two small workshops on a dead end. As of 2000[update], Essex Fells had 750 houses, most of which were custom built, with many occupying lots several acres in size. The borough has no apartment buildings, office buildings or traffic lights, and until recently, no condominiums. The only units available for rental are in carriage houses and other ancillary structures.
In 1981, the borough was one of seven Essex County municipalities to pass a referendum to become a township, joining four municipalities that had already made the change, of what would ultimately be more than a dozen Essex County municipalities to reclassify themselves as townships in order take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies that allocated townships a greater share of government aid to municipalities on a per capita basis. Effective January 1, 1992, it again became a borough.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.41 square miles (3.66 km2), including 1.41 square miles (3.65 km2) of land and 0.01 square miles (0.02 km2) of water (0.43%).
|Climate data for Essex Fells, New Jersey (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1903–present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||72
|Average high °F (°C)||38.3
|Daily mean °F (°C)||29.9
|Average low °F (°C)||21.4
|Record low °F (°C)||−14
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.64
The 2010 United States census counted 2,113 people, 728 households, and 598 families in the borough. The population density was 1,496.3 per square mile (577.7/km2). There were 758 housing units at an average density of 536.8 per square mile (207.3/km2). The racial makeup was 94.56% (1,998) White, 1.09% (23) Black or African American, 0.00% (0) Native American, 2.18% (46) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 0.24% (5) from other races, and 1.94% (41) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.99% (42) of the population.
Of the 728 households, 42.6% had children under the age of 18; 73.4% were married couples living together; 6.2% had a female householder with no husband present and 17.9% were non-families. Of all households, 16.3% were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.26.
29.9% of the population were under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 18.0% from 25 to 44, 31.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.8 years. For every 100 females, the population had 94.6 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 95.6 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $182,031 (with a margin of error of +/− $16,894) and the median family income was $202,917 (+/− $46,038). Males had a median income of $120,417 (+/− $32,492) versus $72,500 (+/− $12,065) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $94,423 (+/− $11,353). About 0.9% of families and 0.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.9% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 2,162 people, 737 households, and 605 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,534.0 people per square mile (592.0/km2). There were 761 housing units at an average density of 540.0 per square mile (208.4/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 96.95% White, 0.46% African American, 0.19% Native American, 1.02% Asian, 0.14% from other races, and 1.25% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.20% of the population.
There were 737 households, out of which 40.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 75.3% were married couples living together, 5.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.9% were non-families. 15.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.93 and the average family size was 3.28.
In the borough the population was spread out, with 29.7% under the age of 18, 3.6% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 27.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.6 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $148,173, and the median income for a family was $175,000. Males had a median income of $100,000 versus $52,266 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $77,434. About 0.3% of families and 1.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.9% of those under age 18 and 0.6% of those age 65 or over.
Parks and recreation
Grover Cleveland Park, the seventh-largest park in the Essex County park system, is a heavily wooded park covering 41.48 acres (167,900 m2) in the western section of the county along the Caldwell-Essex Fells border.
Essex Fells Pond, or also known as "The Pond" by Essex Fells residents, is a popular destination in the winter. Located on Fells Road, "The Pond" attracts people of all ages, typically during the months of December through March. Popular activities include ice skating, pond hockey, and figure skating.
Essex Fells is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government, which is used in 218 municipalities (of the 564) statewide, making it the most common form of government in New Jersey. The governing body is comprised of the Mayor and the Borough Council, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. The Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council is comprised of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Essex Fells is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2022[update], the Mayor of Essex Fells is Republican Edward A. Davis, whose term of office ends December 31, 2025. Members of the Essex Fells Borough Council are Michael Cecere (R, 2024), Bernard J. D'Avella (R, 2023), Gregory J. Hindy (R, 2022), John A. King (R, 2023), Margaret D. O'Connor (R, 2022) and William B. Sullivan (R, 2024).
In November 2014, the Borough Council appointed Greg Hindy to fill the vacant seat expiring in December 2016 that had been held by Jane McWilliams, until she resigned from office. In the November 2015 general election, Hindy was elected to serve the balance of the term of office.
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 27th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Richard Codey (D, Roseland) and in the General Assembly by Mila Jasey (D, South Orange) and John F. McKeon (D, West Orange).
Essex County is governed by a directly-elected County Executive, with legislative functions performed by the Board of County Commissioners. As of 2022[update], the County Executive is Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. (D, Roseland), whose four-year term of office ends December 31, 2022. The county's Board of County Commissioners is comprised of nine members, five of whom are elected from districts and four of whom are elected on an at-large basis. They are elected for three-year concurrent terms and may be re-elected to successive terms at the annual election in November. Essex County's Commissioners are Commissioner President Wayne L. Richardson (D, District 2 – Irvington, Maplewood and parts of Newark's South and West Wards; Newark), Commissioner Vice President Carlos M. Pomares (D, District 5 – Belleville, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Montclair and Nutley; Bloomfield), Tyshammie L. Cooper (D, District 3 - Newark: Part of West Ward; East Orange, Orange and South Orange; East Orange), Brendan W. Gill (D, at large; Montclair), Romaine Graham (D, at large; Irvington), Rufus I. Johnson (D, at large; Newark), Leonard M. Luciano (D, District 4 – Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Livingston, Millburn, North Caldwell, Roseland, Verona, West Caldwell and West Orange; West Caldwell), Robert Mercado (D, District 1 – Newark's North and East Wards, parts of Central, South, and West Wards; Newark), Patricia Sebold (D, at-large; Livingston). Constitutional officers elected countywide are: County Clerk Christopher J. Durkin (West Caldwell; D, 2025), Register of Deeds Juan M. Rivera Jr. (Newark; D, 2025), Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura (Fairfield; D, 2024), and Surrogate Alturrick Kenney (D, 2023).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 1,696 registered voters in Essex Fells, of which 347 (20.5%) were registered as Democrats, 847 (49.9%) were registered as Republicans and 499 (29.4%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 3 voters registered as Libertarians or Greens.
Essex Fells has supported Republican presidential candidates in each of the last five presidential elections, though the margins of victory have decreased.
|2020||45.37% 695||51.96% 796||2.68% 41|
|2016||39.27% 507||55.46% 716||5.27% 68|
|2012||29.31% 347||70.02% 829||0.68% 8|
|2008||34.22% 437||64.92% 829||0.86% 11|
|2004||29.99% 392||68.86% 900||1.15% 15|
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 81.3% of the vote (590 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 18.6% (135 votes), and other candidates with 0.1% (1 vote), among the 736 ballots cast by the borough's 1,789 registered voters (10 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 41.1%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 68.5% of the vote (688 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 22.3% (224 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 7.9% (79 votes) and other candidates with 0.5% (5 votes), among the 1,005 ballots cast by the borough's 1,682 registered voters, yielding a 59.8% turnout.
On a local level, Essex Fells has elected a Republican mayor in every vote held since becoming a borough in 1902.
The Essex Fells School District serves public school students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade at Essex Fells School. As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of one school, had an enrollment of 252 students and 32.4 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 7.8:1. In 2016, the school was one of ten schools in New Jersey recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education, a recognition celebrating excellence in academics.
Students in public school for seventh through twelfth grades attend the West Essex Regional School District, a regional school district serving students from Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell and Roseland. Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are West Essex Middle School with 564 students in grades 7–8 and West Essex High School with 1,123 students in grades 9–12. Seats on the nine-member board of education of the high school district are allocated based on population, with one seat assigned to Essex Fells.
As of May 2010[update], the borough had a total of 16.99 miles (27.34 km) of roadways, of which 15.31 miles (24.64 km) were maintained by the municipality and 1.68 miles (2.70 km) by Essex County.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Essex Fells include:
- Bob Bradley (born 1958), former coach of the United States men's national soccer team
- Jeremy Brodeur (born 1996), professional ice hockey goalie
- Willis Carrier (1876–1950), known as the "father of the modern day air conditioner"
- Don Criqui (born 1940), sportscaster for CBS Sports
- Ian Eagle (born 1969), sports announcer
- Noah Eagle (born 1997), sporscaster for Fox Sports and the Tennis Channel.
- Connie Francis (born 1937), singer
- Justin Gimelstob (born 1977), retired professional tennis player
- Anne Steele Marsh (1901–1995), painter and printmaker whose watercolors, oil paintings and wood engravings were widely exhibited
- James Randall Marsh (1896–1965), artist
- Henry G. Morse (1884–1934), architect
- Elizabeth Parr-Johnston (born 1939), Canadian business woman
- Brian Rafalski (born 1973), former NHL defenseman who played for the New Jersey Devils
- Scott Stevens (born 1964), former NHL defenseman who played for the New Jersey Devils during his career
- Bo Sullivan (1937–2000), chairman of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and a Republican Party politician who sought the nomination for Governor of New Jersey in the 1981 primary
- Johnny Sylvester (1915–1990), lived here when he was visited on October 11, 1926, by Babe Ruth, who promised that he would hit a home run on his behalf during the 1926 World Series
- John C. Whitehead (born 1922), former Chairman of Goldman Sachs who also served as the 9th United States Deputy Secretary of State
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- Albanese, Laurie Lico. "Gliding Through the Winter Freeze", Baristanet, February 10, 2011. Accessed May 26, 2015. "Essex Fells' outdoor ice skating rink – known as The Pond – is a favorite, picturesque spot for winter skating. Never heard of it? That's because the Pond has been Essex County's best-kept winterland secret…until now."
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- District information for Essex Fells School District, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed April 1, 2020.
- 2016 National Blue Ribbon Schools All Public and Non‐Public, National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. Accessed November 13, 2016.
- Clark, Adam. "These 10 N.J. schools earn Blue Ribbon honors", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, September 28, 2016. Accessed November 13, 2016. "The U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday announced that 10 New Jersey schools have been named National Blue Ribbon Schools, a recognition celebrating excellence in academics."
- West Essex Regional School District Bylaw 0110 - Identification, West Essex Regional School District. Accessed September 2, 2020. "Purpose The Board of Education exists for the purpose of providing a thorough and efficient system of free public education in grades seven through twelve in the West Essex Regional School District. Composition: The West Essex Regional School District is comprised of all the area within the municipal boundaries of Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell and Roseland."
- West Essex Regional School District 2015 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed June 4, 2016. "The West Essex Regional School District is a comprehensive high school serving the communities of Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell, and Roseland in northern New Jersey."
- School History, West Essex Regional School District. Accessed September 3, 2020. "The first comprehensive study was submitted in 1956, and it recommended the consolidation of the five school districts and all grades from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The communities, however, were reluctant to carry the recommendation into effect. Heeding the communities’ hesitance, the Rutgers educators suggested the formation of a regional school district for grades 7-12 for Caldwell Township, Essex Fells, North Caldwell and Roseland.... Dr. Twichell and the State Education Department approved the move, and by December 1957, the referendum was passed by voters.".
- School Data for the West Essex Regional School District, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed April 1, 2020.
- West Essex Middle School, West Essex Regional School District. Accessed September 2, 2020.
- West Essex High School, West Essex Regional School District. Accessed September 2, 2020.
- New Jersey School Directory for the West Essex Regional School District, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed December 24, 2016.
- Board of Education, West Essex Regional School District. Accessed March 29, 2020.
- Essex County Mileage by Municipality and Jurisdiction, New Jersey Department of Transportation, May 2010. Accessed July 18, 2014.
- Essex County Bus / Rail Connections, NJ Transit, backed up by the Internet Archive as of May 22, 2009. Accessed March 10, 2012.
- Essex County System Map, NJ Transit. Accessed November 2, 2019.
- Fensom, Michael J. "More new stadiums: New Jersey sports in 2010", The Star-Ledger, December 30, 2009. Accessed May 8, 2012. "Accompanying Howard to the competition in South Africa will be national team coach and Essex Fells native Bob Bradley, along with his son, Michael, from Princeton, and Livingston's Jozy Altidore."
- Mahiban, Dhiren. "Son of Brodeur having big year in the crease for OHL’s Generals; Martin Brodeur’s son is having a big year for the Oshawa Generals", The Hamilton Spectator, March 3, 2017. Accessed February 1, 2018. "Three years ago Jeremy Brodeur made the decision to play junior hockey in Oshawa with the hopes it would help him earn a professional contract.... The six-foot-one, 186-pound native of Essex Fells, N.J., has drawn favourable reviews from scouts in his solid third season with the Generals."
- Lurie, Maxine N.; and Mappen, Marc. Contributing author Charles A. Poekel Jr. "Willis Haviland Carrier", Encyclopedia of New Jersey, p. 123. Rutgers University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8135-3325-2. Accessed January 9, 2010.
- Don Criqui Archived 2013-12-30 at the Wayback Machine, CBS Sports. Accessed May 8, 2012. "He was born in Buffalo, N.Y., and lives with his wife, Molly, in Essex Fells, N.J."
- Ian Eagle, CBS Sports. Accessed November 9, 2012. "A 1990 graduate of Syracuse University, Eagle was the play-by-play voice of the Orangemen for football, basketball and lacrosse, and was awarded the Bob Costas Award for Outstanding Sportscasting. He lives in Essex Fells, N.J., with his wife, Alisa, and two children."
- Rosensein, Mike. "Who is Ian Eagle? CBS tabs N.J. resident to replace Jim Nantz on NCAA Tournament coverage", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, October 27, 2022. Accessed December 19, 2022. "Eagle, who calls Essex Fells, N.J. home, has been with CBS since 1998."
- via Associated Press. "Connie Francis is Bride", The New York Times, January 17, 1971. Accessed September 28, 2012. "The wedding took place at St. Aloysius Church and was followed by a reception at the bride's home in Essex Fells."
- Staff. "Goldstein Wins 18s, Open Spot", The Washington Post, August 16, 1993. Accessed August 28, 2017. "In the 16s, top-seeded Justin Gimelstob of Essex Fells, N.J., beat No. 4 Ryan Wolters of San Jose. 6-3, 6-1."
- James Randall Marsh (1896 - 1965), Askart. Accessed July 30, 2019. "In 1925 he married Anne Steele, the daughter of the prominent illustrator Frederic Dorr Steele and his wife Mary Thyng. The couple lived in Essex Fells, NJ where he had a large forge and, working with architects, designed and fabricated lighting fixtures and railings for both commercial and residential use."
- Staff. "Henry G. Morse.; New York Architect Dies in Essex Fells, New Jersey.", The New York Times, May 29, 1934. Accessed August 14, 2018. "Henry G. Morse, New York architect, died in his home here tonight following a five month's illness."
- "Essex Fells Social Notes", Verona-Cedar Grove Times, June 24, 1954. Accessed January 12, 2022, via Newspapers.com. "Recent hostesses at a party for their classmates at Grover Cleveland High School held at the Essex Fells Auditorium were Elizabeth Parr, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. V. S. Parr of Forest Way..."
- D'Amato, Gary. "Turin Winter Games Wisconsin Connection", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 9, 2006. Accessed June 2, 2013. "Brian Rafalski Sport: Hockey. Age: 32. Wisconsin tie: Attended Wisconsin. Residence: Essex Fells, NJ"
- Carroll, Maurice. "A Candidate For Governor Shuns Jersey's Financing", The New York Times, March 26, 1981. Accessed December 30, 2017. "But the money question came up as Mr. Sullivan, a 44-year-old businessman with little background in public life outside his home town of Essex Fells, sat outside the gym, puffing on a cigarette and talking about his campaign. "
- Poekel, Charlie. Babe & the Kid: The Legendary Story of Babe Ruth and Johnny Sylvester, The History Press, 2007, ISBN 1596292679. Accessed September 28, 2012.
- Thomas Jr., Robert McG. "Johnny Sylvester, the Inspiration For Babe Ruth Heroics, Is Dead", The New York Times, January 11, 1990. Accessed September 28, 2012. "According to his son, John D. Sylvester Jr., and at least one contemporary account, the ailment was an infection of the forehead caused by a kick from a horse after the youngster fell while riding, in Essex Fells, N.J. His father, Horace C. Sylvester Jr., a vice president of the National City Bank in New York, maintained an estate there."
- Board of Directors, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Accessed September 28, 2012. "John C. Whitehead was born in Evanston, Illinois. He grew up in Montclair, New Jersey, attended public schools there and graduated from Montclair High School. He lived in nearby Essex Fells until 1985 and has resided in Manhattan since 1989."