Highland Park, New Jersey
Highland Park, New Jersey
|Borough of Highland Park|
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|Incorporated||March 15, 1905|
|• Body||Borough Council|
|• Mayor||Gayle Brill Mittler (D, term ends December 31, 2023)|
|• Administrator||Teri Jover|
|• Municipal clerk||Joan Hullings|
|• Total||1.83 sq mi (4.74 km2)|
|• Land||1.82 sq mi (4.72 km2)|
|• Water||0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2) 0.44%|
|Area rank||424th of 565 in state|
21st of 25 in county
|Elevation||75 ft (23 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Rank||176th of 566 in state|
16th of 25 in county
|• Density||7,728.1/sq mi (2,983.8/km2)|
|• Density rank||50th of 566 in state|
3rd of 25 in county
|Time zone||UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))|
|Area code(s)||732 / 908|
|GNIS feature ID||0885252|
Highland Park is a borough in Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States in the New York City metropolitan area. The borough is located on the northern banks of the Raritan River, in the Raritan Valley region. As of the 2020 United States Census, the borough's population was 15,072, reflecting an increase (7.28%) from the 2010 United States Census.
Highland Park was formed as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 15, 1905, when it broke away from what was then known as Raritan Township (present-day Edison). The borough was named for its location above the Raritan River.
The earliest settlers of the land that would become Highland Park were the Lenape Native Americans, who hunted in the hills along the Raritan River and had trails that crisscrossed the area, providing a link between the Delaware River and Hudson River areas. In 1685, John Inian bought land on both shores of the Raritan River and built two new landings downstream from the Assunpink Trail's fording place, which was later developed as Raritan Landing. He established a ferry service and the main road then was redirected to lead straight to the ferry landing. This river crossing was run by generations of different owners and a ferry house tavern operated for many years in the 18th century. A toll bridge replaced the ferry in 1795. The wood plank Albany Street Bridge was dismantled in 1848 and reconstructed in 1853. The present day seven-span stone arch road bridge was built in 1892 and stretches 595 feet (181 m) across the Raritan River to New Brunswick. It became the Lincoln Highway Bridge in 1914 and was widened in 1925.
In the late 17th century, Henry Greenland became one of the area's first European settlers; he owned nearly 400 acres (1.6 km2) of land on the Mill Brook section of the Assunpink Trail, where he operated an inn for travelers. Others early settlers included Captain Francis Drake and other members of the Drake family, relatives of the famous explorer. In the early 18th century, a few wealthy Europeans including the Van Horns and Merrills settled on large tracts of land establishing an isolated farmstead pattern of development that would continue for the next 150 years.
The Reverend John Henry Livingston of the famous Livingston family, newly chosen head of Queen's College (now Rutgers University), purchased a 150-acre (0.61 km2) plot of land in 1809, which would hereafter be known as the Livingston Manor. A gracious Greek Revival house built around 1843 by Robert and Louisa Livingston stands on this property, which remains Highland Park's most prominent historic house. The Livingston Homestead, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was owned by the Waldron family throughout most of the 20th century.
In the early 19th century, both the Delaware & Raritan Canal and a railroad were constructed largely to serve the commercial center of New Brunswick across the river. In 1836, the New Jersey Railroad and Transportation Company built a rail line that terminated on the Highland Park side of the Raritan River and established a station named "East New Brunswick." The Camden and Amboy Railroad built a wood, double-deck bridge which eliminated the station stop in 1838. It was destroyed by a suspicious fire in 1878. A replacement iron truss bridge was constructed on the existing enlarged stone piers, which in turn was replaced in 1902 by the current twelve-span stone arch bridge encased in concrete in the 1940s.
Despite the canal and the railroad, Highland Park's land continued to be used for agriculture. Residential development slowly began 30 years later, with several stately houses constructed on Adelaide Avenue and more modest houses constructed on Cedar, First, and Second Avenues and Magnolia, Benner, and Johnson Streets. In the 1870s, the small hamlet became better known as "Highland Park", a name derived from the suburban housing development although the area adjacent to the railroad tracks continued to be called "East New Brunswick." 1870 was also the year in which Highland Park was annexed to the newly formed township now called Edison, but at the time called Raritan Township.
Highland Park had its own school district and on March 15, 1905, the Borough of Highland Park was formed. Highland Park's drive for independence from Raritan Township arose over the issue of public schooling. Residents wanted an independent school system and there was a related dispute over school taxes. The fire department, which had formed in 1899, also wanted more local control over their affairs. The 1905 New Jersey census counted 147 dwellings in the new borough. In 1918, Robert Wood Johnson II was appointed to the Highland Park Council and became mayor in 1920. His summer house and estate was located on River Road, just north of the railroad tracks.
Over the past 100 years, Highland Park's lands have been parceled into ever-smaller suburban residential plots. Planned developments included Watson Whittlesey's Livingston Manor development begun in 1906; the Viehmann Tract, also on the north side; Riverview Terrace on the south side; Raritan Park Terrace in the triangle between Raritan and Woodbridge Avenues; and East New Brunswick Heights in the Orchard Heights neighborhood. It has taken years of continuously constructing houses and apartment buildings to create the largely residential borough.
Highland Park's industrial development in the 19th and 20th centuries included such businesses as a brewery, Johnson & Johnson, The John Waldron Machine Company, Turner Tubes, Flako Products, and the Janeway & Carpender Wallpaper factory. The borough is the birthplace of the Band-Aid. and Flako Products packaged mixes for baked goods. However, the industrial nature of the borough completely declined by the 1960s. The commercial zones along both Raritan and Woodbridge Avenues continue to thrive with "mom & pop" shops, many that have lasted for generations.
Throughout the 20th century, Highland Park's religious institutions, educational facilities, and municipal governance have kept pace with the growth of the borough. The trends of local autonomy and control that shaped Highland Park in the past continue to this day.
In 2012, Highland Park became the first municipality in the state to contract a home performance company to help residents consume less energy. The program is a one-of-a-kind program that can offer up to a 30% energy savings for homeowners.
In 2016, Highland Park became the state's first registered HeartSafe community.
Livingston Manor Historic District
|Location||81 Harrison Avenue|
|Architectural style||Greek Revival|
|Part of||Livingston Manor Historic District (ID04000672)|
|NRHP reference No.||02000215|
|NJRHP No.||3950 |
|Added to NRHP||March 20, 2002|
|Designated CP||July 7, 2004|
|Designated NJRHP||December 20, 2001|
Livingston Manor Historic District
|Location||Parts of Cleveland, Grant, Harrison, Lawrence, Lincoln, Madison, and North Second Avenues and River Road|
|NRHP reference No.||04000672|
|NJRHP No.||4289 |
|Added to NRHP||July 7, 2004|
Livingston Manor was a subdivision built upon the lands surrounding the Livingston Homestead. This subdivision was the brainchild of Watson Whittlesey (1863–1914), a real estate developer born in Rochester, New York. Whittlesey was more than a typical land speculator; he was a community builder, which was noted by his residency in various Livingston Manor houses from 1906 to 1914, and by his active involvement in the municipal affairs of Highland Park. Instead of auctioning lots like his 19th century predecessors, Whittlesey sold subdivided lots with either a house completely built by his company or with the promise of providing a company-constructed house similar to those previously constructed.
The suburban development grew between 1906 and 1925, when Whittlesey's company, the Livingston Manor Corporation and its successor, the Highland Park Building Company, constructed single-family houses from plans produced by a select group of architects. While a variety of building types and styles are present on each block, the buildings in the district are distinguished by the use of specific building plans found nowhere else in Highland Park and by the embellishments that are typical of the Craftsman philosophy, which emphasized the value of the labor of skilled artisans who showed pride in their abilities.
In the first years of this development, the houses were constructed one entire block at a time beginning with the southeast side of Grant Avenue between Lawrence Avenue and North Second Avenue. The next block to be developed was the northwest side of Lincoln Avenue between Lawrence Avenue and North Second Avenue. Six stucco bungalows were then constructed on the southern side of Lawrence east of Lincoln Avenue. As the housing development grew in popularity, houses were constructed less systematically by block, and more often on lots that individual homeowners selected from the remaining available properties. Whittlesey used plans from architects George Edward Krug and Francis George Hasselman, as well as plans generated by several local architects including John Arthur Blish and William Boylan. Several of Livingston Manor's Tudor Revival houses were designed by Highland Park's eminent architect Alexander Merchant. Merchant created numerous buildings in New Brunswick and Highland Park (see list below). Like other early-20th century architects, he was active during the period of early American modernism, but, having trained at the firm of Carrère and Hastings, Merchant developed and maintained a classical design vocabulary.
Many workers in the building trades, such as Harvey E. Dodge, the carpenter Frederick Nietscke and the contractor Harold Richard Segoine, have also been identified as Livingston Manor Corporation employees as well as Livingston Manor residents. Whittlesey, with his wife Anna, also lived in several Livingston Manor houses, including the Spanish Colonial style house at 35 Harrison Avenue designed specifically for them.
On December 1, 1906, the first deeds were transferred to two individual homeowners. Many prominent New Brunswick and Highland Park residents bought houses in this new neighborhood. They included Rutgers College professors, school teachers, bank employees, factory owners, and store owners. Census data show that most of the women were housewives and mothers. There were many extended families. Some families took in boarders and several households included live-in servants. Sixty-two houses had been constructed in Livingston Manor by 1910.
In 1912, Watson Whittlesey hired a sales agent, John F. Green, and began selling bungalow lots. These properties were smaller and less expensive, and a set of plans for a bungalow was given to any purchaser. By 1913, 120 houses had been constructed in Livingston Manor.
Dubbed "Lord of the Manor", Whittlesey created a neighborhood spirit by giving receptions for the residents, by providing playgrounds for the children, and by encouraging the men to take a more active part in public affairs. After his death on April 8, 1914, Manor residents turned out in the hundreds to attend a memorial service at his house.
The Highland Park Building Company was incorporated in 1914 by long-standing members of his company including builder Robert Lufburrow and engineer Harold Richard Segoine. In 1916, Mrs. Whittlesey, who was president of the Livingston Manor Corporation, turned over the privately owned streets, sidewalks, and curbs to the borough. Remarkably, there were no provisions for the borough to accept public ownership of the sewers. That required an act of legislation at the statehouse in Trenton, which was accomplished by Senator Florance and Assemblyman Edgar and signed by Governor Walter Evans Edge the following year. Anna Wilcox Whittlesey, "Lady of the Manor", died on August 16, 1918. She was remembered as "a woman of rare refinement and culture, and the soul of hospitality."
Highland Park's identity as a streetcar suburb was transformed to that of an automobile suburb during the 1920s. By 1922, there had been 210 dwellings constructed in Livingston Manor. The Livingston Manor Corporation continued to have transactions into the 1960s, but the area's significant development had taken place by 1925.
The Livingston Manor is an important neighborhood in Highland Park. The Livingston Manor Historic District was listed in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places on April 1, 2004 and in the National Register of Historic Places on July 7, 2004.
Buildings designed by Alexander Merchant
Alexander Merchant (1872–1952) designed the following buildings:
- 55 South Adelaide Avenue (1909)
- Lafayette School on South Second Avenue and Benner Street (original school-1907 and Second Avenue wing-1915. The third wing on Second Avenue was designed by Merchant's son Alexander Merchant Jr. in 1952). The Lafayette School is now condominiums and no longer a school.
- Reformed Church of Highland Park on South Second Avenue (original church-1897 and auditorium wing circa 1920)
- Irving School on Central Avenue (original building-1914)
- The Center School on North Third Avenue (formerly the Hamilton School–opened 1915)
- The Pomeranz Building on Raritan Avenue and South Third Avenue (1920)
- 82 Harrison Avenue (1913)
- Two houses on Cliff Court (1914)
- Several houses on South Adelaide Avenue near Cliff Court (1910–1914)
- The Highland Park High School (original building-1926)
- The Masonic Temple on Raritan Avenue at North Fourth Avenue (1923) It remains as a one-story commercial building after a fire on March 10, 1965 destroyed the upper levels of the auditorium and offices.
- The Brody House at corner of Raritan and North Adelaide Avenues (built 1911—demolished 1997)
- The former Police Station at 137 Raritan Avenue (demolished).
- Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple on Livingston Avenue in neighboring New Brunswick (1929)
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.83 square miles (4.74 km2), including 1.82 square miles (4.72 km2) of land and 0.01 square miles (0.02 km2) of water (0.44%).
The borough received its name for its "park-like" setting, on the "high land" of the banks of the Raritan River, overlooking New Brunswick. Highland Park borders the Middlesex County municipalities of Edison, New Brunswick, and Piscataway.
|Population sources: 1910-1920|
1930-1990 2000 2010
The 2010 United States census counted 13,982 people, 5,875 households, and 3,267 families in the borough. The population density was 7,728.1 per square mile (2,983.8/km2). There were 6,203 housing units at an average density of 3,428.5 per square mile (1,323.8/km2). The racial makeup was 68.26% (9,544) White, 7.83% (1,095) Black or African American, 0.14% (20) Native American, 17.84% (2,495) Asian, 0.03% (4) Pacific Islander, 3.28% (458) from other races, and 2.62% (366) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.95% (1,252) of the population.
Of the 5,875 households, 26.0% had children under the age of 18; 43.2% were married couples living together; 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present and 44.4% were non-families. Of all households, 31.4% were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.10.
21.1% of the population were under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.8 years. For every 100 females, the population had 92.0 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 91.0 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $78,821 (with a margin of error of +/- $8,312) and the median family income was $103,316 (+/- $6,807). Males had a median income of $72,533 (+/- $8,231) versus $55,591 (+/- $3,873) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $41,300 (+/- $3,714). About 5.4% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.4% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 13,999 people, 5,899 households, and 3,409 families residing in the borough. The population density was 7,614.1 people per square mile (2,937.5/km2). There were 6,071 housing units at an average density of 3,302.0 per square mile (1,273.9/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 72.06% White, 7.94% African American, 0.11% Native American, 13.63% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 3.59% from other races, and 2.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.18% of the population.
Of residents reporting their ancestry, 9.8% were of Italian, 9.1% Irish, 8.1% German, 7.8% Russian, 7.5% Polish. 66.2% spoke English, 7.2% Spanish, 6.4% Chinese, 2.2% Hebrew, 1.8% Russian, 1.2% Hungarian, 1.1% French and 1.1% Hindi as their language spoken at home.
There were 5,899 households, out of which 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.2% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.2% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the borough the population was spread out, with 21.7% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 37.1% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males age 18 and over.
The median income for a household in the borough was $53,250, and the median income for a family was $71,267. Males had a median income of $47,248 versus $36,829 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $28,767. About 5.3% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.7% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those age 65 or over.
Highland Park has at times been a bedroom community for nearby Rutgers University and Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, with a resulting academic flair to the community. Nobel laureate Selman Waksman (Medicine, 1952) lived in the borough until he moved to Piscataway in 1954, and laureate Arno Penzias (Physics, 1978) lived in the borough until the 1990s.
There is a new state-of-the-art environmental center on River Road, just a few hundred feet upstream from the Albany Street Bridge. The borough's Environmental Commission envisions this center as a stop along a riverbank walking trail that would link Johnson Park with Donaldson Park and beyond, to the Meadows environmental area on the Edison border.
In 1978, Highland Park was one of the first municipalities in New Jersey to have an eruv, a symbolic wall that allows Orthodox Jews to perform certain activities outdoors on the Sabbath that would be otherwise prohibited. Through an arrangement with New Jersey Bell (now Verizon), a continuous wire was strung from pole to pole around portions of the borough. Eventually this expanded and includes portions of Edison and connects with New Brunswick. The wires are inspected every Friday to ensure that the connections are complete. When intact, this Eruv satisfies most Orthodox Jewish religious requirements allowing residents to carry objects during the Sabbath.
Highland Park is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government, which is used in 218 municipalities statewide, making it the most common form of government in New Jersey. The governing body is comprised of a Mayor and a Borough Council, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A 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 Highland Park 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.
The borough operates through Committees of the Council: Administration, Finance, Public Works, Public Safety, Community Affairs, Public Utilities, and Health, Welfare and Recreation. The various departments, boards and commissions report to the Council through these committees. All elected positions are part-time; the mayor and council members typically hold outside jobs, and receive small salaries from their elected offices.
As of 2020[update], the Mayor of Highland Park is Democrat Gayle Brill Mittler, whose term of office expires on December 31, 2023. Members of the Borough Council are Council President Philip George (D, 2022), Joshua Fine (D, 2020), Elsie Foster-Dublin (D, 2020), Matthew Hale (D, 2022), Stephany Kim-Choban (D, 2021) and Susan Welkovits (D, 2021).
In January 2017, the Borough Council selected Matthew Hersh to fill the seat expiring in December 2019 that became vacant following the death of Jon Erickson the previous October before Election Day; Erickson's name remained on the ballot and he was elected to serve the three-year term. Hersh had earlier been chosen to serve the balance of Erickson's previous term that expired in December 2016. In July 2018, Hersh resigned to accept a position with a state agency and was replaced by Matthew Hale.
The mayors are:
- James B. Archer (D), 1905–1907.
- Lorenz Volkert (R), 1908–1913.
- George White (D), 1914–1915.
- Russell E. Watson (R), 1916–1919.
- Robert Wood Johnson II (R), 1920–1921.
- Cornelius B. McCrelis, Jr. (R), 1922–1923.
- George F. Leonard (D), 1924–1925.
- Benjamin Erickson (R), 1926–1928.
- Edwin W. Eden (R), 1928–1929.
- Richard T. Parker (R), 1930–1931.
- Irving D. Buttler (R), 1932–1935.
- Russell C. Smalley (R), 1936–1937.
- Russell B. Howell, 1938–1939.
- Walter K. Wood, 1940–1941.
- Harold W. Drake (R), 1942–1946.
- George W. Miller (R), 1946–1948.
- Alvah H. Cole (R), 1948–1951.
- Joseph C. DeCoster (D), 1952–1953.
- William C. Campbell (D), 1954–1955.
- Luther H. Martin (D), 1956–1959.
- Samuel J. Kronman (D), 1960–1965.
- Herbert M. Tanzman (D), 1966–1969.
- Samuel J. Kronman (D), 1970–1971.
- Gasper Paul Beck (D), 1972–1975.
- Harold "Hesh" Berman (D), 1976–1979.
- Charles W. Muhollen (D), 1980–1983.
- Harold "Hesh" Berman (D), 1984–1987.
- Jeffrey M.Orbach (R), 1988–1991.
- H. James Polos (D), 1992–1999.
- Meryl L. Frank (D), 2000–2010 (resigned office).
- Steve Nolan (D), 2010–2012.
- Gary Minkoff (D), 2013–2014 (resigned office).
- Padraic Millet (D), 2014 (acting).
- Gayle Brill Mittler (D), 2014–present. Re-elected on November 5, 2019 to serve another 4-year term, which will expire on December 31, 2023.
Federal, state and county representation
Highland Park is located in the 6th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 18th state legislative district. Prior to the 2011 reapportionment following the 2010 Census, Highland Park had been in the 17th state legislative district.
For the 117th United States Congress, New Jersey's Sixth Congressional District is represented by Frank Pallone (D, Long Branch). 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 2020–2021 session, the 18th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Patrick J. Diegnan (D, South Plainfield) and in the General Assembly by Robert Karabinchak (D, Edison) and Sterley Stanley (D, East Brunswick).
Middlesex County is governed by a Board of Commissioners, whose seven members are elected at-large on a partisan basis to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization meeting held in January, the board selects from among its members a Commissioner Director and Deputy Director. As of 2021[update], Middlesex County's Commissioners (with party affiliation, term-end year, and residence listed in parentheses) are Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios (D, term ends December 31, 2021, Carteret; Ex-officio on all committees), Commissioner Deputy Director Shanti Narra (D, 2021; North Brunswick), Claribel A. Azcona-Barber (D, 2022, New Brunswick), Charles Kenny (D, 2022, Woodbridge Township), Leslie Koppel (D, 2023, Monroe), Charles E. Tomaro (D, 2023, Edison) and Chanelle Scott McCullum (D, 2021, Piscataway).
Constitutional officers are County Clerk Nancy J. Pinkin (D, 2025, East Brunswick), Sheriff Mildred S. Scott (D, 2022, Piscataway) and Surrogate Claribel Cortes (D, 2021; North Brunswick).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 8,506 registered voters in Highland Park, of which 5,082 (59.7%) were registered as Democrats, 634 (7.5%) were registered as Republicans and 2,776 (32.6%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 14 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 72.7% of the vote (4,470 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 24.9% (1,528 votes), and other candidates with 2.4% (148 votes), among the 6,191 ballots cast by the borough's 9,052 registered voters (45 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 68.4%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 72.1% of the vote (4,699 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 25.6% (1,667 votes) and other candidates with 1.5% (96 votes), among the 6,518 ballots cast by the borough's 9,072 registered voters, for a turnout of 71.8%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 72.0% of the vote here (4,550 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 26.4% (1,669 votes) and other candidates with 0.8% (70 votes), among the 6,319 ballots cast by the borough's 8,507 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 74.3.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 64.1% of the vote (2,449 cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 33.9% (1,294 votes), and other candidates with 2.1% (79 votes), among the 3,867 ballots cast by the borough's 9,065 registered voters (45 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 42.7%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon S. Corzine received 65.7% of the vote here (2,842 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 26.0% (1,125 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 6.5% (280 votes) and other candidates with 0.9% (39 votes), among the 4,329 ballots cast by the borough's 8,342 registered voters, yielding a 51.9% turnout.
The Highland Park Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2017–18 school year, the district, comprised of four schools, had an enrollment of 1,644 students and 144.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.4:1. Schools in the district (with 2017-18 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Irving Primary School (310 students; in PreK-1), Bartle Elementary School (463; 2-5), Highland Park Middle School (358; 6-8) and Highland Park High School (475; 9-12).
The community is also served by the Greater Brunswick Charter School, a K-8 charter school serving students from Highland Park, Edison, Milltown and New Brunswick. As of the 2017–18 school year, the school had an enrollment of 395 students and 33.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.0:1.
Eighth grade students from all of Middlesex County are eligible to apply to attend the high school programs offered by the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools, a county-wide vocational school district that offers full-time career and technical education at Middlesex County Academy in Edison, the Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences in Woodbridge Township and at its East Brunswick, Perth Amboy and Piscataway technical high schools, with no tuition charged to students for attendance.
The Center School serves students with learning and emotional challenges in grades K-12. Founded in 1971 in Bound Brook, the school moved in 1989 to a former public school building in Highland Park. A fire in the school's building in February 2012 forced the school to relocate to Branchburg Township on an interim basis.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010[update], the borough had a total of 31.46 miles (50.63 km) of roadways, of which 27.85 miles (44.82 km) were maintained by the municipality, 2.22 miles (3.57 km) by Middlesex County, and 1.39 miles (2.24 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
There are five main roads in Highland Park:
- New Jersey Route 27 – Known as Raritan Avenue, it traverses for about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) through downtown and the outskirts of Highland Park. The section between Adelaide and Fifth Avenues runs virtually east to west and divides the town into the north and south sides.
- County Route 514 – Enters Highland Park concurrent with Route 27, then heads eastward on Woodbridge Avenue at South Sixth Avenue. It runs through the southeast region of the borough.
- Middlesex County Route 622 – River Road in Highland Park, stretches for over 1 mile (1.6 km) in the western region of the borough following the curving bank of the Raritan River.
- Middlesex County Route 676 – This is Duclos Lane and it forms a portion of Highland Park's eastern border with Edison. Road spends 0.49 miles (0.79 km) in Highland Park.
- Middlesex County Route 692 – Cedar Lane in the northern section of the borough intersects with River Road.
NJ Transit northbound trains to Penn Station New York, and southbound to the Trenton Transit Center via the Northeast Corridor Line can be found in neighboring New Brunswick station and Edison station.
White-tailed deer are common enough in and around Highland Park to be seen as a problem. A deer population survey which includes Highland Park was conducted by Raritan Valley Community College in December 2019; the borough's government was using this survey in 2020 as it made plans for deer management.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Highland Park include:
- Adele Astaire (1896–1981), acclaimed vaudeville and musical theater dancer, actress.
- Fred Astaire (1899–1987), dancer, singer, actor, recipient of three Emmy and three Golden Globe Awards and an honorary Academy Award.
- Jim Axelrod (born 1963), CBS news correspondent.
- Harvey Jerome Brudner (1931–2009), engineer and inventor.
- David Clewell (1955-2020), poet and creative writing instructor at Webster University who served as the Poet Laureate of Missouri.
- Earle Dickson (1892–1961), inventor of the Band-Aid.
- Kirk Douglas (born Issur Danielovitch; 1916 – 2020), actor, producer, director, philanthropist and writer.
- Michael Douglas (born 1944), actor, director and producer.
- Samuel G. Freedman, author and columnist for The New York Times.
- Willie Garson (1964-2021), actor best known for his role as Stanford Blatch in Sex and the City.
- Israel Gelfand (1913–2009), renowned mathematician.
- Rebecca Goldstein (born 1950), author, philosopher, and 1996 MacArthur "Genius Award" winner.
- Alan Guth (born 1947), physicist and cosmologist.
- Dwayne Haskins (born 1997), American football quarterback
- John Hulme (born 1987), author of the book series The Seems and director of the documentary Blood, Sweat & Tears: A Basketball Exorcism.
- John Seward Johnson II (born 1930), sculptor and founder of the Johnson Atelier in Hamilton Township, Mercer County, New Jersey.
- Robert Wood Johnson II (1893–1968), Johnson & Johnson President, general and philanthropist, who served as mayor of Highland Park from 1920 to 1922.
- Soterios Johnson, WNYC radio host.
- Seth Kaper-Dale, Protestant pastor who was a Green Party candidate in the New Jersey gubernatorial election, 2017.
- Sacha Killeya-Jones (born 1988), professional basketball player for Kalev/Cramo of the Latvian-Estonian Basketball League.
- Sheldon Lavin (born 1932), CEO and chairman of meat processor OSI Group.
- Roy Lichtenstein (1923–1997), pop artist who moved to a home at 66 South Adelaide Avenue in 1960.
- Seth Mandel (born 1982), conservative author who is editor of The Washington Examiner.
- Tomás Eloy Martínez (1934–2010), journalist and writer, professor and director of the department of Latin American Studies at Rutgers, author of Santa Evita and The Peron Novel.
- Suzy Parker (1932–2003), fashion model and actress who lived in Highland Park in her youth (circa 1930s).
- Arno Allan Penzias (born 1933), physicist and a co-winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize in physics.
- George T. Reynolds (1917-2005), physicist best known for his accomplishments in particle physics, biophysics and environmental science.
- Susana Rotker (1954-2000), Venezuelan journalist, columnist, essayist and writer.
- Rudy Rucker (born 1946), mathematician, computer scientist and science fiction author, best known for the novels in the Ware Tetralogy.
- Neil Sloane (born 1939), mathematician, creator and maintainer of the On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences.
- L. J. Smith (born 1980), former NFL tight end.
- Joan Snyder (born 1940), pioneering neo-expressionist feminist artist and 2007 MacArthur "Genius Award" winner.
- Darrell K. Sweet (born 1934), illustrator best known for cover art for science fiction and fantasy novels.
- Endre Szemerédi (born 1940), mathematician who was the 2012 winner of the Abel Prize.
- Norman Tanzman (1918–2004), politician who served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1962 to 1968 and in the New Jersey Senate from 1968 to 1974.
- Olga Von Till (1897–1996), classical pianist and piano teacher.
- Alan Voorhees (1922–2005), engineer and urban planner.
- Selman Waksman (1888–1973), biochemist and microbiologist who won the Nobel Prize for his work on antibiotics including Streptomycin for treating tuberculosis.
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- Staff. "Political Science Prof Hale Now a Highland Park Councilman", Insider NJ, July 18, 2018. Accessed December 4, 2019. "Seton Hall University Political Science Professor Matt Hale – who writes a column for this website – last night assumed a seat on the Highland Park Borough Council.... Hale, a Democrat, accepted the appointment to replace Councilman Matthew Hersh, who congratulated his successor. 'I did resign from the Council last month for an incredible opportunity with Gov. Murphy's administration as director of communications at the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, working on an inspiring and ambitious environmental policy agenda,' Hersh wrote on Facebook."
- Staff. "Robert Wood Johnson, 74, Dies. Chairman of Johnson & Johnson. Founder's Son Led Company Until 1963. No. 2 Man on War Production Board", The New York Times, January 31, 1968. Accessed August 12, 2018. "He had served from 1920 to 1922 as Mayor of Highland Park, and contended that his experience in small-town politics taught him more about psychology than all the books he had read."
- Mayors of Highland Park, New Jersey, Political Graveyard. Accessed October 6, 2014. "Robert Wood Johnson Jr. 1920-22 Cornelius McCrelis 1922-24 Edwin W. Eden 1928-30 Alvah H. Cole 1948-51 Joseph C. DeCoster 1952-53 Meryl L. Frank 2007"
- Johnson, Brett. "Former councilman Stephen Nolan takes oath as interim mayor of Highland Park", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, January 21, 2010. Accessed December 5, 2016. "Shortly after Stephen Nolan was sworn in as Highland Park's interim mayor tonight, former mayor Meryl Frank presented him with a set of keys."
- "Mayor of Highland Park is Affirmed", Leoraw, January 5, 2012. Accessed December 5, 2016. "Gary Minkoff is Affirmed as the new Mayor of Highland Park.... Outgoing mayor Steve Nolan is pictured on the right."
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- Heyboer, Kelly. "How to get your kid a seat in one of N.J.'s hardest-to-get-into high schools", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, May 2017. Accessed November 18, 2019. "Middlesex County has two stand-alone career academies for high-achieving students: the Academy for Science, Math and Engineering Technology, located on the campus of Middlesex County College in Edison, and the Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences in Woodbridge. How to apply: Students must attend a mandatory information session and submit an application by November of their 8th grade year."
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- Cooper, Warren. "Displaced from Highland Park by a fire, the Center School settles in at Branchburg's Old York School", Somerset Messenger-Gazette, March 5, 2012. Accessed July 4, 2012. "The school 'reopened' unexpectedly on Feb. 22 to accommodate 112 students and 52 staffers of a private, special-needs school in Highland Park that was shuttered a week earlier by a fire. Classes at The Center School on Madison Avenue had ended for the day when a fire broke out about 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 14, according to Executive Director and Principal Marcie Fiorentino."
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- Adele appeared in ten Broadway musicals from 1917 to 1931 with her brother Fred, who credited her with initiating his career in show business. After birth as Adele Austerlitz in Omaha, she enrolled in Chambers’ Dancing Academy, relocated to New York City in 1904, participated in Claude Alvienne's dancing school, attended public school at Highland Park, New Jersey for two years, enrolled in Ned Wayburn's dancing school in 1910, then began acting career. See Consult Annual Obituary 1981 (St. Martin's Press, 1982) 66-68 and Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Vol 1 (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998) 20-22 and American National Biography, Vol 1 (1999) 692-693."
- Donnelly, Marea. "Fred Astaire's sister was the real dance and vaudeville star", The Daily Telegraph, September 10, 2016. Accessed November 8, 2020. "When bookings dropped off from 1910 as they lost their cute appeal and Adele shot up over Fred, they attended classes at New Jersey's Highland Park public school for two years."
- After birth as Fred Austerlitz in Omaha, he enrolled in Chambers’ Dancing Academy, relocated to New York City in 1904, participated in Claude Alvienne's dancing school, attended public school at Highland Park, New Jersey for two years, enrolled with his sister Adele in Ned Wayburn's dancing school in 1910, then began his acting career. See Consult Current Biography (1964) 13-14 and Lincoln Journal Star, May 9, 1999, pp. E-1, E-2 and American National Biography, Vol 1 (1999) 693-695 and Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Vol 2 (1999) 36-38."
- Granieri, Laurie. "Actor, journalists honored as alumni", Home News Tribune, May 6, 2005."On May 14, the borough high school will honor alumni Willie Garson, best known as Stanford Blatch on the former HBO series Sex and the City, CBS news correspondent Jim Axelrod and WNYC Public Radio news anchor and Morning Edition host Soterios Johnson."
- Makin, Bob. "Levinson Axelrod celebrates 70 years of service", Home News Tribune, November 12, 2009. Accessed August 17, 2012. "His son is with CBS News as their Washington reporter. He's writing a book that is out soon about his relationship with his father. His name is Jim Axelrod. He's well known. They're Highland Park people. Jim went to Highland Park High School."
- Staff. "Harvey J. Brudner: Obituary", The Record (North Jersey), September 16, 2009. Accessed February 2, 2015. "He was born and raised in New York City and lived for many years in Highland Park, NJ."
- "Interview with Former Poet Laureate of Missouri, David Clewell", Geosi Reads, October 16, 2016. Accessed February 7, 2020. "Shortly after the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, Bob Stephens read every word of Thoreau's Civil Disobedience out loud to his 8 a.m. Freshman English class at Highland Park High because he honestly believed that words, used well, had the power to change lives. Small wonder, then, that he was the person to show me the first poems I actually cared about in mine."
- The Mayor's Viewpoint: Celebrating a century of progress, Highland Park Chamber of Commerce, backed up by the Internet Archive as of May 22, 2001. Accessed April 9, 2011.
- Jordan, Chris. "Remembering Kirk Douglas: His three greatest fight scenes and his Jersey connection", Asbury Park Press, February 5, 2020. Accessed February 7, 2020. "We also note that Douglas was a Jersey guy — sort of. His first wife Diana Dill, whom Douglas married in 1943, had a connection to the Johnson family of New Brunswick's Johnson & Johnson fame. Douglas and Dill lived briefly in the Johnson-built Merriwold Castle on River Road in Highland Park. Son Michael, also a noted actor, was born in New Brunswick in 1944."
- Dzielak, Kathy. "Michael Douglas comes home to New Jersey", Asbury Park Press, May 15, 2014. Accessed February 7, 2020. "Born: Michael Kirk Douglas in St. Peter's Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., the son of actors Kirk and Diana Douglas. Lived the first six weeks of his life in Highland Park, N.J. at Merriewold, the former estate of the late J. Seward Johnson (Sr.), the Johnson & Johnson heir."
- Groner, Jonathan. "This Is Not Your Father's World: An Interview with Samuel G. Freedman" Archived May 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine. Accessed April 16, 2008. "Freedman himself grew up in Highland Park, New Jersey in a family that was, in his words, 'totally secular.'"
- Kochman, Marilyn. "In Person; An Equation for Success", The New York Times, October 5, 2003. Accessed April 9, 2011. "Dr. Gelfand, who lives in Highland Park, has made an indelible impact in such areas as functional analysis, representation theory, geometry and integrable systems."
- "Goldstein and Howard Receive MacArthur 'Genius' Fellowships", Columbia University Record, September 6, 1996. Accessed July 22, 2007. "Her works include The Mind-Body Problem (1983), The Late-Summer Passion of a Woman of Mind (1989), The Dark Sister (1991), Strange Attractors (1993) and Mazel (1995). She lives in Highland Park, N.J."
- Alan H. Guth, Victor F. Weisskopf Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Accessed June 11, 2007. "Professor Alan Guth was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1947. He grew up and attended the public schools in Highland Park, NJ, but skipped his senior year of high school to begin studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology."
- Hunt, Todderick. "Dwayne Haskins Jr., one of the top quarterbacks in the country, recaps recent Rutgers visit", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, May 29, 2014. Accessed September 17, 2018. "Dwayne Haskins, the Bullis School (Potomac, Md.) sophomore quarterback, has been one of the hottest recruits throughout the entire country during the spring evaluation period. The 6-3, 185-pounder has multiple ties to the Scarlet Knights program as he grew up in Highland Park, N.J."
- Makin, Bob. "Makin Waves with Highland Park filmmaker John Hulme", Courier News, January 12, 2017. Accessed June 7, 2017. "Longtime borough resident, filmmaker and former basketball star John Hulme chronicles the intense feelings that accompanied the Owls' Rocky-like game against New Brunswick's Zebras in the 1987 Central Jersey Group I championship basketball game in his new documentary Blood, Sweat & Tears: A Basketball Exorcism.... At first, the local filmmaker focuses on the lifelong pain he has felt about New Brunswick freshman Cassius 'Money' Hargrove swishing the game-winning jump shot and snuffing victory from the underdogs as the ball cascaded just out of the reach of Hulme's long arms into the basket."
- Horner, Shirley. "About Books", The New York Times, February 15, 1987. Accessed June 11, 2015. "After J. Seward's 1937 divorce from their mother ended a 13-year marriage, the four children of that marriage were forced by necessity to live in a garage next to the chicken coop of a spacious estate, their former home in Highland Park. J. Seward's second child, J. Seward Johnson Jr., founder of the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture in Princeton, told the author that 'since the age of 7, I'd felt disenfranchised.'"
- Gardner, Joel R. and Harrison, Andrew R. "The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: The Early Years" Archived October 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2005, p. 2. Accessed July 22, 2007. "Johnson married Elizabeth Dixon Ross, of New Brunswick, in 1916, and their wedding was the social event of the year. They moved into Bellevue, an estate in Highland Park, and their son, Robert Wood Johnson III, was born in 1920. While living in Highland Park, Johnson became involved in local politics and served a term as mayor while he was still in his twenties."
- "N.J. pastor ready to take on the establishment in run for governor". NJ.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
- Sacha Killeya-Jones, Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball. Accessed March 22, 2020. "Born Aug. 10 in Highland Park, New Jersey"
- #278 Sheldon Lavin, Forbes. Accessed November 8, 2020. "Residence: Highland Park, New Jersey"
- Chronology, Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. Accessed April 3, 2017. "1960:... Moves into a house at 66 S. Adelaide Avenue, Highland Park, New Jersey, where he sets up his studio in the bedroom."
- Amato, Jennifer. "Parents celebrate baby's birth at body shop", CentralJersey.com, May 2, 2017. Accessed September 28, 2018. "Little did Seth Mandel know that 10 years after leaving Greater Media Newspapers, a precursor of Newspaper Media Group, that his family would make its own headlines. Seth and his wife Bethany thought their third child was going to arrive on April 27, a day after Bethany's due date, so they headed from their home in Highland Park to the hospital in Princeton."
- Ojito, Mirta. "Author didn't seek tie-in to Madonna", The Tampa Tribune, January 10, 1997. Accessed April 9, 2011. "Soon after, Martinez began work on the book, which he completed in his new home in Highland Park, NJ..."
- Horner, Shirley. "About Books", The New York Times, October 3, 1993. Accessed December 19, 2007. "Previous recipients of the award, which has come to be known as the Michael, include Mary Higgins Clark of Saddle River, Belva Plain of Short Hills, Wende and Harry Devlin of Mountainside, the Nobel laureate Dr. Arno Penzias of Highland Park and Gay Talese of Ocean City."
- George Reynolds, Rutgers University Oral History Archives, October 29, 1999. Accessed June 28, 2019. "I was born in 1917, in Trenton. Soon after that, I guess I was two years old, we moved to Highland Park, New Jersey, and that's where I lived my early life."
- Saxon, Wolfgang. "Susana Rotker-Martinez, 46, Language Professor at Rutgers", The New York Times, December 2, 2000. Accessed August 12, 2018. "Dr. Susana Rotker-Martinez, director of the Rutgers Center for Hemispheric Studies, was hit by a truck and fatally injured Monday while crossing a road in Piscataway, N.J. She was 46 and lived in Highland Park."
- Rucker, Rudy van Bitter. All the visions, p. 102. Ocean View Books, 1991. ISBN 9780938075097. Accessed February 28, 2018. "Audrey and I were newlyweds there in Highland Park, and we used to watch The Newlywed Game on TV every week."
- Home Page, Neil J. A. Sloane. Accessed May 30, 2015.
- L.J. Smith profile Archived January 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Philadelphia Eagles. Accessed June 9, 2007. "Growing up in the small town of Highland Park, NJ (2 square miles, population 14,500), Smith graduated from the local high school as part of a 115-person class.
- Ronnen, Meir. "Joan Snyder at the Jewish Museum; New York's Jewish Museum is currently presenting Joan Snyder: A Painting Survey, 1969-2005 through October 23.", The Jerusalem Post, February 18, 2010. Accessed August 12, 2018. "Born in Highland Park, New Jersey in 1940, Snyder was the middle child of Jewish parents who never lost a sense of their immigrant heritage."
- Gray, Kristy. "Peek into the imagination of Cody sci-fi artist Darrel K. Sweet: Mind Traveler", Casper Star-Tribune, January 21, 2007. Accessed April 9, 2011. "Sweet was drawing at age 3½ growing up in Highland Park, N.J. His mother still has some of these pictures, nearly seven decades old."
- Staff. "Math drives this Rutgers professor" Archived February 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, copy of article from The Star-Ledger, March 23, 2008. Accessed July 4, 2012. "Endre Szemeredi 67, Highland Park "
- "Norman Tanzman, 85, once Middlesex state senator". Home News Tribune, June 7, 2004. Accessed March 1, 2021, via Newspapers.com. "Born in New York City, Mr. Tanzman moved to New Brunswick when he was 4, and then to Highland Park."
- "Hugh Kormos, Publisher, Dies; Funeral Will Be Held Tomorrow", The Central Jersey Home News, December 3, 1951. Accessed May 31, 2020. "Born in Zsambek, Hungary, Mr. Kormos came to the community in 1921, shortly after his marriage to Miss Olga Von Till of Highland Park, whom he met in Budapest while she was studying music abroad."
- Greats go down - Alan Voorhees, Rand Brown Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Tollroadsnews. December 24, 2005. Accessed July 22, 2007. "Born in Highland Park NJ, he was a distinguished Navy Seal in World War II, part of a team that regularly reconnoitered enemy occupied shores mapping beaches for good landing sites - for which he was awarded a Silver Star."
- Cheslow, Jerry. "If You're Thinking of Living in/Highland Park; Well-Established, but Unpretentious", The New York Times, November 21, 1993. Accessed September 8, 2014. "Highland Park has been home to two Nobel laureates. The late Selman A. Waksman was awarded the prize in medicine and physiology in 1952 for his work with antibiotics and Dr. Arno A. Penzias, who shared the 1978 prize in physics for his work related to the big bang theory, still lives there."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Highland Park, New Jersey.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Highland Park (New Jersey).|
- Borough of Highland Park website
- Highland Park Public Schools
- Highland Park Public Schools's 2015–16 School Report Card from the New Jersey Department of Education
- Highland Park Volunteer Fire Department
- School Data for the Highland Park Public Schools, National Center for Education Statistics
- Historical Maps of Highland Park, Rutgers Special Collection
- Highland Park Environmental Commission