Union County, New Jersey

Coordinates: 40°39′N 74°17′W / 40.65°N 74.29°W / 40.65; -74.29
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Union County
Downtown Westfield in July 2005
Downtown Westfield in July 2005
Flag of Union County
Official seal of Union County
Map of New Jersey highlighting Union County
Location within the U.S. state of New Jersey
Map of the United States highlighting New Jersey
New Jersey's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 40°39′N 74°17′W / 40.65°N 74.29°W / 40.65; -74.29
Country United States
State New Jersey
Named forUnion threatened by slavery dispute[2]
Largest cityElizabeth (population and area)
 • Commission ChairSergio Granados (D, term ends December 31, 2025)
 • Total105.41 sq mi (273.0 km2)
 • Land102.77 sq mi (266.2 km2)
 • Water2.64 sq mi (6.8 km2)  2.5%
 • Total575,345
 • Estimate 
 • Density5,593.5/sq mi (2,159.7/km2)
Congressional districts7th, 8th, 10th, 12th
Interactive map of Union County, New Jersey

Union County is a county in the northern part of the U.S. state of New Jersey. As of the 2020 United States census, the county was the state's seventh-most-populous county[8] with a population of 575,345,[5][6] its highest decennial count ever and an increase of 38,846 (+7.2%) from the 2010 census count of 536,499.[9] Its county seat is Elizabeth,[3] which is also the most populous municipality in the county, with a 2020 census population of 137,298,[6] and the largest by area, covering 13.46 square miles (34.9 km2).[10] The county serves as a transition point between the Central Jersey and North Jersey regions of the state.[11][12]

In 2015, the county had a per capita personal income of $60,089, the seventh-highest in New Jersey and ranked 152nd of 3,113 counties in the United States.[13][14] The Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked the county as having the 119th-highest per capita income of all 3,113 counties in the United States (and the eighth-highest in New Jersey) in 2009.[15] A study by Forbes.com determined that Union County residents pay the second-highest property taxes of all U.S. counties, based on 2007 data.[16]

With a population density of 4,955 inhabitants per square mile (1,913/km2) in 2000, Union County was the 15th-most densely populated county in the United States as of the 2010 Census, and third-densest in New Jersey, behind Hudson County (ranked 6th nationwide at 9,754 per square mile) and Essex County (ranked 11th at 6,126).[17][18]



Established in 1857 as the last county created in New Jersey, it was named after the Union threatened by slavery dispute during this period, which would erupt into civil war in 1861.


All of present-day Union County was part of the Elizabethtown Tract, which was purchased in 1664, by English colonists from the Lenape Native Americans that lived in the area of present-day Elizabeth, New Jersey. Union County was formed on March 19, 1857, from portions of Essex County; it was the last of New Jersey's 21 counties to be established.[1]

Many historic places and structures are to be found in the county, including on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Union County, New Jersey.[19]

In the fall, Union County holds its annual "Four Centuries in a Weekend" festival for the public, celebrating and touring historic buildings, museums and sites in the county.[20]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of the 2020 Census, the county had a total area of 105.41 square miles (273.0 km2), of which 102.77 square miles (266.2 km2) was land (97.5%) and 2.64 square miles (6.8 km2) was water (2.5%).[4]

Much of Union County is relatively flat and low-lying. Only in the northwestern corner does any significant relief appear as the Watchung Mountains cross the county. It is there that highest elevations, two areas approximately 560 feet (170 m) above sea level, are found in Berkeley Heights.[21] The lowest elevation is sea level along the eastern shore at the Arthur Kill.

Rivers, lakes and streams[edit]

Climate and weather[edit]

Elizabeth, New Jersey
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[22]
Metric conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm

In recent years,[when?] average temperatures in the county seat of Elizabeth have ranged from a low of 24 °F (−4 °C) in January to a high of 86 °F (30 °C) in July, although a record low of −14 °F (−26 °C) was recorded in February 1934 and a record high of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded in July 1993. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.99 inches (76 mm) in February to 4.76 inches (121 mm) in July.[22] In Berkeley Heights average monthly temperatures range from 29.4 °F in January to 74.7 °F in July. The climate in the county is hot-summer humid continental (Dfa) in the west and humid subtropical (Cfa) in the east. The hardiness zone is 7a west of the Garden State Parkway and 7b to the east. [2]


Historical population
2023 (est.)572,726[5][7]−0.5%
Historical sources: 1790–1990[23]
1970–2010[10] 2000[24]
2010[9] 2000–2010[25] 2010-2020[5][6]

Union County is ethnically diverse. Berkeley Heights, Clark, Roselle Park, Cranford, Kenilworth, Linden, New Providence, Scotch Plains, Springfield, Summit, Union and Westfield have high percentages of Italian American residents. Elizabeth, Plainfield, Rahway, Roselle and Union all have large African American communities. Roselle Park has a notably large Indian American community, while Roselle Park, Roselle, Linden, Rahway, Plainfield and particularly Elizabeth have fast-growing Hispanic and Portuguese populations.[citation needed]

The county's Jewish population was 35,000 as of 2004, with notable communities located in Cranford, Elizabeth, Hillside, Linden, Scotch Plains, Springfield, Union, and Westfield.[26]

2020 census[edit]

Union County, New Jersey – Racial and ethnic composition
Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos may be of any race.
Race / Ethnicity (NH = Non-Hispanic) Pop. 2010[27] Pop. 2020[28] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 243,312 211,245 45.35% 36.72%
Black or African American alone (NH) 111,705 112,261 20.82% 19.51%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 546 552 0.10% 0.10%
Asian alone (NH) 24,496 31,963 4.57% 5.56%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 107 78 0.02% 0.01%
Some other race alone (NH) 2,279 6,190 0.42% 1.08%
Mixed race or Multi-racial (NH) 7,350 17,537 1.37% 3.05%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 146,704 195,519 27.34% 33.98%
Total 536,499 575,345 100.00% 100.00%

2010 census[edit]

The 2010 United States census counted 536,499 people, 188,118 households, and 134,692 families in the county. The population density was 5,216.1 inhabitants per square mile (2,013.9/km2). There were 199,489 housing units at an average density of 1,939.5 per square mile (748.8/km2). The racial makeup was 61.33% (329,052) White, 22.05% (118,313) Black or African American, 0.39% (2,080) Native American, 4.63% (24,839) Asian, 0.03% (163) Pacific Islander, 8.48% (45,496) from other races, and 3.09% (16,556) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 27.34% (146,704) of the population.[9]

Of the 188,118 households, 34.4% had children under the age of 18; 50.1% were married couples living together; 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present and 28.4% were non-families. Of all households, 23.6% were made up of individuals and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82 and the average family size was 3.32.[9]

24.5% of the population were under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 26.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, the population had 94 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 90.7 males.[9]


County government[edit]

The Union County Courthouse prior to 1900
Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth

Union County is governed by a nine-member Board of County Commissioners. The members are elected at-large in partisan elections to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with three seats coming up for election each year. The board sets policies for the operation of the county. The Commissioners perform the county's legislative and executive functions. In their legislative role, they formulate and adopt a budget and set county policies and procedures. In their executive role, they oversee county spending and functioning. Many of the administrative duties are delegated by the Board of County Commissioners to the County Manager. Each of the commissioners serves on various committees and boards as a part of their duties. These include committees on Economic Development, Parks and Recreation, and Public Works and Policy. In addition, the board oversees the county's Open Space Trust Fund. Day-to-day operation of the county and its departments is supervised by an appointed County Manager, Edward Oatman.[29] In 2016, freeholders were paid $30,692, while the Freeholder vice chairman received $31,732 and the Freeholder chairman had an annual salary of $32,773.[30] The County Manager is Edward Oatman.[31] No Republican has been elected to countywide office since 1995.

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.[32] As of 2024, Union County's County Commissioners are (with terms for Chair and Vice-Chair ending every December 31):[33][34]

Commissioner Party, residence, term
Chair Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded D, Westfield, 2024[35]
Vice Chair Lourdes M. Leon D, Elizabeth, 2026[36]
James E. Baker Jr. D, Rahway, 2024[37]
Joseph Bodek D, Linden, 2026[38]
Michele Delisfort D, Union Township, 2026[39]
Sergio Granados D, Elizabeth, 2025[40]
Bette Jane Kowalski D, Cranford, 2025[41]
Alexander Mirabella D, Fanwood, 2024[42]
Rebecca Williams D, Plainfield, 2025[43]

Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are:

Office Party, residence, term
County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi D, Westfield, 2025[44][45]
Sheriff Peter Corvelli D, Kenilworth, 2026[46][47]
Surrogate Christopher E. Hudak D, Clark, 2027[48][49]

Union County constitutes Vicinage 12 of the New Jersey Superior Court and is seated at the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth, with additional facilities also located in Elizabeth; the Assignment Judge for Vicinage 12 is Karen M. Cassidy.[50] Law enforcement at the county level includes the Union County Police Department, the Union County Sheriff's Office, and the Union County Prosecutor's Office. Union County's Acting Prosecutor is Michael A. Monahan.[51]

Notable events in county government[edit]

In 2023, Union County agreed to honor the site in North Jersey of what local activists described as the public execution by burning at the stake of three enslaved New Jerseyans in 1741.[52] In 2023, the county worked to revise its logo, which has had what has been described as the only county seal in the nation that depicts a woman being killed. The logo depicted Hannah Caldwell being shot by a British light infantryman during the Battle of Connecticut Farms.[53][54] In 2023, Union County moved to revise its county seal, asking residents to participate in an online poll to choose between two alternatives, both of which eliminate the depiction of Caldwell's death.[55] In 2022, controversy erupted over the county's deletion of negative social media comments made about the opening of Tëmike Park, an LGBTQ-inclusive playground, in Cedar Brook Park.[56][57][58] In 2022, a state court found the county illegally circumvented the public bidding process in awarding contracts for the construction of a proposed Union County government building in Elizabeth.[59][60]

In 2015, the county was forced to pay legal fees after losing a trademark claim it brought against a frequent county government critic who used the County of Union seal on her blog.[61] In 2011, an investigation found mismanagement of county funds in association with MusicFest, a free annual concert.[62] In 2009, following a First Amendment challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union, the county commissioners agreed to issue a public apology for cutting off speech by a resident who was addressing the board about possible nepotism on the county payroll.[63]

Federal representatives[edit]

Four Congressional Districts cover the county, including portions of the 7th, 8th, 10th and 12th districts.[64][65] For the 118th United States Congress, New Jersey's 7th congressional district is represented by Thomas Kean Jr. (R, Westfield).[66] For the 118th United States Congress, New Jersey's 8th congressional district is represented by Rob Menendez (D, Jersey City).[67][68] For the 118th United States Congress, New Jersey's 10th congressional district is represented by Donald Payne Jr. (D, Newark).[69][70] For the 118th United States Congress, New Jersey's 12th congressional district is represented by Bonnie Watson Coleman (D, Ewing Township).[71][72]

State representatives[edit]

The 21 municipalities of Union County are represented by four legislative districts.

District Senator[73] Assembly[73] Municipalities
20th Joseph Cryan (D) Reginald Atkins (D)

Annette Quijano (D)

Elizabeth, Kenilworth, Roselle, and Union Township.
21st Jon Bramnick (R) Michele Matsikoudis (R)

Nancy Munoz (R)

Berkeley Heights, Garwood, Mountainside, New Providence, Springfield Township, Summit, and Westfield. The remainder of this district covers portions of Morris County, Middlesex County, and Somerset County.
22nd Nicholas Scutari (D) James J. Kennedy (D)

Linda S. Carter (D)

Clark, Cranford, Fanwood, Linden, Plainfield, Rahway, Roselle Park, Scotch Plains, and Winfield. The remainder of this district covers portions of Somerset County.
28th Renee Burgess (D) Garnet Hall (D)

Cleopatra Tucker (D)

Hillside. The remainder of this district covers portions of Essex County.

Law enforcement[edit]

Union County Sheriff's Office

The Union County Sheriff's Office is located in Elizabeth, New Jersey. It is currently headed by Peter Corvelli. It was headed by Ralph Froehlich, a Union resident who was first elected in 1977 and served in office for 37 years, making him the longest-serving Sheriff in New Jersey history.[74] There are two top deputies, known as undersheriffs, and they are Dennis Burke and Amilcar Colon. A 1981 investigation of the Union County Jail reviewed issues relating to overcrowding, escapes, escape attempts and suicides in the detention facility.[75]

On July 1, 2021, the Sheriff's Office regained control of the Union County Jail and made it a division within the organization; the Division of Corrections. The New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association Local 108 is the official labor union and the collective bargaining agent for the Sheriff's Officers of Union County. This body is subdivided into Local 108 for the line officers and Local 108A for the supervisors (sergeants, lieutenants, and captains).

Union County Sheriff's Office - Division of Corrections
Union County Park Police

The Union County Police Department operates independently of the Sheriff's office. The Union County Police Department originally began as the Union County Park Police. The Union County Police are tasked with patrolling Union County's properties. They also supplement the local municipalities with police presence and patrol when requested.[76] Martin Mogensen has been the Chief of Police since February 2023.[77]

The Union County Police have several divisions and are relied upon for their multiple services. Currently assigned are Patrol, Detective Bureau, Emergency Services Unit, and the Marine Unit. Union County Regional 911 and Dispatch is one of the many services that the County Police provide. They are the primary PSAP for multiple municipalities, provide police/fire/EMS dispatch, dispatch medics, and Union County Fire Mutual Aid. The PD belongs to the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association, Local 73.[citation needed]


Union County is a reliable state bellwether, having voted for New Jersey's statewide winner in every presidential election since 1964, the longest such streak in the state. As of October 1, 2021, there were a total of 362,501 registered voters in Union County, of whom 178,449 (49.2%) were registered as Democrats, 57,878 (16.0%) were registered as Republicans and 121,478 (33.5%) were registered as unaffiliated. There were 4,696 voters (1.3%) registered to other parties.[78] Among the county's 2010 Census population, 53.3% were registered to vote, including 70.6% of those ages 18 and over.[79][80]

In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 141,417 votes here (63.1%), ahead of Republican John McCain with 78,768 votes (35.2%) and other candidates with 1,912 votes (0.9%), among the 223,951 ballots cast by the county's 299,762 registered voters, for a turnout of 74.7%.[81] In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 139,752 votes here (66.0%), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 68,314 votes (32.3%) and other candidates with 1,765 votes (0.8%), among the 211,597 ballots cast by the county's 307,628 registered voters, for a turnout of 68.8%.[82][83] In the 2016 election, Democrat Hillary Clinton won by a slightly wider margin than Barack Obama in 2012, even as the nation shifted to the right. In the 2020 election, Democrat Joe Biden received the highest share of the vote for a Democrat in the county's history.

United States presidential election results for Union County, New Jersey[84]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 80,002 31.49% 170,245 67.01% 3,794 1.49%
2016 68,114 30.47% 147,414 65.94% 8,042 3.60%
2012 68,314 32.52% 139,752 66.52% 2,022 0.96%
2008 78,768 35.41% 141,417 63.58% 2,241 1.01%
2004 82,517 40.55% 119,372 58.66% 1,613 0.79%
2000 68,554 36.78% 112,003 60.10% 5,816 3.12%
1996 65,912 34.65% 108,102 56.82% 16,227 8.53%
1992 87,742 41.76% 96,671 46.01% 25,699 12.23%
1988 112,967 54.27% 93,158 44.75% 2,028 0.97%
1984 135,446 59.11% 92,056 40.17% 1,638 0.71%
1980 112,288 51.66% 86,074 39.60% 18,977 8.73%
1976 118,019 51.56% 106,267 46.42% 4,616 2.02%
1972 148,290 61.03% 90,482 37.24% 4,201 1.73%
1968 110,309 45.72% 109,674 45.46% 21,273 8.82%
1964 82,999 33.29% 164,989 66.17% 1,359 0.55%
1960 123,224 50.29% 119,986 48.97% 1,798 0.73%
1956 146,228 67.57% 67,540 31.21% 2,646 1.22%
1952 122,885 60.46% 78,336 38.54% 2,024 1.00%
1948 87,402 53.89% 66,759 41.16% 8,019 4.94%
1944 86,543 52.57% 75,969 46.15% 2,113 1.28%
1940 79,962 52.50% 70,737 46.45% 1,597 1.05%
1936 59,553 45.08% 70,813 53.61% 1,731 1.31%
1932 67,512 54.91% 51,357 41.77% 4,092 3.33%
1928 68,119 64.21% 37,476 35.32% 497 0.47%
1924 50,356 67.99% 14,738 19.90% 8,966 12.11%
1920 39,409 72.57% 12,103 22.29% 2,791 5.14%
1916 16,705 59.21% 10,328 36.61% 1,181 4.19%
1912 5,421 21.55% 9,695 38.54% 10,040 39.91%
1908 15,920 60.90% 8,809 33.70% 1,414 5.41%
1904 13,906 58.92% 8,574 36.33% 1,120 4.75%
1900 12,533 58.95% 7,667 36.06% 1,061 4.99%
1896 11,707 61.58% 6,073 31.95% 1,230 6.47%

In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 68,867 ballots cast (50.6%), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 56,769 votes (41.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 7,999 votes (5.9%) and other candidates with 1,058 votes (0.8%), among the 136,110 ballots cast by the county's 292,490 registered voters, yielding a 46.5% turnout.[85] In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Governor Chris Christie narrowly won the county 51.2% (58,135 votes) to 47.4% (53,869 votes) over Democrat Barbara Buono, marking the only time the county voted Republican in the 21st century. In the 2017 gubernatorial election, Republican Kim Guadagno received 32.6% of the vote (39,552 ballots cast) to Democrat Phil Murphy with 65.2% (79,113 votes).[86] In the 2021 gubernatorial election, Republican Jack Ciattarelli received 37.6% of the vote (51,279 ballots cast) to Democrat Phil Murphy's 61.6% (83,913 votes).

Gubernatorial elections results
Gubernatorial elections results[87]
Year Republican Democratic
2021 37.6% 51,279 61.6% 83,913
2017 32.6% 39,552 65.2% 79,113
2013 51.2% 58,135 47.4% 53,869
2009 42.2% 56,769 51.1% 68,867
2005 38.0% 50,036 59.2% 77,982
2001 38.4% 50,780 60.3% 79,682
1997 46.5% 68,721 47.2% 69,673
1993 48.7% 48.8%
1989 36.7% 53,636 65.7% 89,419
1985 73.3% 102,411 25.1% 35,060
1981 53.3% 91,940 45.5% 78,251
1977 45.9% 77,695 48.5% 82,130
1973 29.1% 50,010 66.1% 113,678


Tertiary education[edit]

Kean University, a co-educational, public research university dating back to 1855 is located in Union and Hillside, serving nearly 13,000 undergraduates. Kean University educates its students in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions; it is best known for its programs in the humanities and social sciences and in education, graduating the most teachers in the state of New Jersey annually, along with a physical therapy program which it holds in conjunction with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.[88]

Union College is the two-year community college for Union County, one of a network of 19 county colleges in New Jersey. Union College was founded in 1933 as Union County College and has campuses in Cranford, Elizabeth, Plainfield and Scotch Plains.[89]

School districts[edit]

Most municipalities have their own public high schools, exceptions being Garwood, whose students attend Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark; Winfield, whose students attend David Brearley High School in Kenilworth; and Mountainside, whose students attend Governor Livingston High School in Berkeley Heights. Fanwood is mostly merged with Scotch Plains educationally and the two towns have one high school.

The county has the following school districts:[90][91][92]

Elementary (K-8)

The county also has Union County Vocational Technical Schools, which has both full-time magnet programs that students must apply to, and split-time vocational programs.


The Bureau of Economic Analysis calculated that the county's gross domestic product was $34.4 billion in 2021, which was ranked eighth in the state and was a 2.4% increase from the prior year.[93]

The top employers in 2011, according to the Union County Economic Development Corporation, were:[94]

# Employer # of employees
1 Merck & Co. 10,000
2 New England Motor Freight 3,900
3 USI Services Group 3,200
4 Overlook Medical Center 2,961
5 Maher Terminals 1,700
6 Trinitas Hospital 1,674
7 Children's Specialized Hospital 1,440
8 Alcatel-Lucent 1,300
9 ConocoPhillips 1,000


The county is served by rail, air, highways and ports.

Roads and highways[edit]

Garden State Parkway northbound entering Union County

As of 2010, the county had a total of 1,418.31 miles (2,282.55 km) of roadways, of which 1,158.45 miles (1,864.34 km) were maintained by the local municipality, 176.32 miles (283.76 km) by Union County and 66.22 miles (106.57 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, 16.22 miles (26.10 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and 1.10 miles (1.77 km) by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.[95][96]

Major highways which traverse the county include the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95), the Garden State Parkway, I-78, I-278, Route 1/9, Route 22, Route 24. Route 27, Route 28, Route 35 (only in Rahway), Route 82, Route 124, Route 439, and the Goethals Bridge. At 0.15 miles, Route 59, located entirely in Union County, is the shortest state highway in New Jersey.[97]

Public transportation[edit]

Passenger rail service is provide by NJ Transit via the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line, Raritan Valley Line, the Morristown Line and the Gladstone Branch.[98][99][100][101][102] Freight service is provided by on Conrail's Lehigh Line and Chemical Coast Branch. Freight and passenger rail service was provided by the Rahway Valley Railroad from 1897 until 1992 when the short line closed due to lack of customers.[103]

NJ Transit provides bus service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, as well as service to major cities in New Jersey and within Union County.[104]

The Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal is part of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.[105]

The southern portion of Newark Liberty International Airport is located in Elizabeth, within Union County.[106]

Potential rail-to-trails[edit]

Union County Park Line rail trail is a proposed walking and/or biking trail proposed on old railroad tracks. Two abandoned rails exist in the county.[107]

The City of Summit and the Summit Park Line Foundation are working on turning the line from Morris Avenue to Briant Park in Summit into a rail trail that will be approximately one mile long. This rail trail, potentially called the Summit Park Line, could provide a greenway to connect several county parks, akin to a Summit High Line.[108] A path could run directly from Summit to the Arthur Kill in Linden, New Jersey on the Rahway Valley Railroad and the Staten Island Rapid Transit line.

The Summit city council applied for a $1 million grant toward the Summit Park Line project in November 2016.[109] "If Summit is able to complete the project, it might help other parts of the greenway come through," said Union County Public Relations Coordinator, Sebastian Delia.[110]

The Rahway Valley Railroad runs from Summit to Roselle Park. Beginning in Hidden Valley Park, the railroad right-of-way continues by connecting Houdaille Quarry, Briant Park, Meisel Park, Rahway River Parkway, Galloping Hill Golf Course and Black Brook Park. The ending of the railway is on Westfield Avenue in Roselle Park. The Staten Island Rapid Transit runs from Cranford to Staten Island, although the project would only include the section that runs from Cranford to Linden.[110] The possible inception in Cranford would be a lot on South Avenue East. The ending of this trail would be in Linden at an empty lot. A boardwalk would run over the existing tracks to ease line reactivation.


Index map of Union County municipalities (click to see index key)
Interactive map of municipalities in Union County.

The 21 municipalities in Union County (with 2010 Census data for population, housing units and area) are:[111]

(with map key)
Map key Municipal
Population Housing
Berkeley Heights 21 township 13,183 4,596 6.27 0.05 6.21 2,122.4 739.9 Murray Hill (part)
Clark 14 township 14,756 5,751 4.49 0.19 4.30 3,430.5 1,337.0
Cranford 16 township 22,625 8,816 4.87 0.04 4.83 4,684.6 1,825.4
Elizabeth 11 city 124,969 45,516 13.46 1.15 12.32 10,144.1 3,694.7
Fanwood 6 borough 7,318 2,686 1.34 0.00 1.34 5,454.1 2,001.9
Garwood 5 borough 4,226 1,870 0.66 0.00 0.66 6,362.7 2,815.5
Hillside 19 township 21,404 7,536 2.76 0.01 2.75 7,784.0 2,740.6
Kenilworth 8 borough 7,914 2,924 2.16 0.00 2.16 3,668.3 1,355.3
Linden 12 city 40,499 15,872 11.41 0.73 10.68 3,793.8 1,486.8
Mountainside 3 borough 6,685 2,558 4.05 0.04 4.01 1,668.0 638.3
New Providence 2 borough 12,171 4,537 3.66 0.02 3.64 3,343.4 1,246.3 Murray Hill (part)
Plainfield 7 city 49,808 16,621 6.03 0.01 6.02 8,270.1 2,759.8
Rahway 13 city 27,346 11,300 4.03 0.13 3.90 7,016.8 2,899.5
Roselle 10 borough 21,085 7,939 2.66 0.01 2.65 7,953.5 2,994.7
Roselle Park 9 borough 13,297 5,231 1.23 0.00 1.23 10,792.7 4,245.8
Scotch Plains 20 township 23,510 8,896 9.05 0.03 9.02 2,606.9 986.4
Springfield 17 township 15,817 6,736 5.19 0.02 5.17 3,057.2 1,302.0
Summit 1 city 21,457 8,190 6.05 0.05 6.00 3,578.9 1,366.0
Union 18 township 56,642 20,250 9.09 0.02 9.07 6,244.3 2,232.4
Westfield 4 town 30,316 10,950 6.74 0.02 6.72 4,512.2 1,629.8
Winfield 15 township 1,471 714 0.18 0.00 0.18 8,320.1 4,038.5
Union County county 536,499 199,489 105.40 2.55 102.85 5,216.1 1,939.5

Parks and recreation[edit]

Warinanco Park in Roselle

County parks are maintained and operated by the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation, the successor agency to the Union County Park Commission.

County-run parks[edit]


Shakespeare Garden at Cedar Brook Park, Plainfield
  • Cedar Brook Park, Plainfield
    • Home to the Shakespeare Garden.
  • Echo Lake Park, Westfield and Mountainside
    • The privately owned Echo Lake Country Club donated the parkland for this park in the 1920s. The name arises from the echo heard off the high bluff on the far side of the lake. Echo Lake itself was created by damning when mills were established on Nomahegan Brook, a tributary of the Rahway River. The Great Minisink Trail passed by Echo Lake Park.
  • Elizabeth River Parkway
  • Esposito Park, Clark
    • Features a 1/2-mile path with exercise equipment and a skate park
  • Green Brook Park, Plainfield (partial)
  • Hidden Valley Park, Springfield and Summit[116][115]
    • Eastern border is adjacent to the now-closed Houdaille Quarry.
  • Houdaille Quarry, Springfield (closed to public)
  • Kawameeh Park, Union
  • Lenape Park, Cranford, Westfield, and Kenilworth
    • In the 1930s, workers digging Lenape Lake found mastodon bones here.
  • Madison Avenue Park, Rahway
    • Adjacent to Rahway 7th and 8th Grade Academy
Mattano Park
  • Clark Reservoir Recreation Area
  • Mattano Park, Elizabeth
    • Named for a Lenape tribal leader, whose name was recorded by colonists as Mattano. In 1664, a group called the Elizabethtown Associates bought land in the Union County area from Mattano and another Lenape leader named Warinanco.
  • McConnell Park, Cranford
    • Named for the first town doctor in Cranford
  • Milton Lake Park, Clark and Rahway
  • Mindowaskin Park, Westfield
  • Nomahegan Park, Cranford
  • Oak Ridge Park, Clark
  • Passaic River Parkway,[117][115] Berkeley Heights, New Providence, and Summit
  • Phil Rizzuto Park, Elizabeth
  • Ponderosa Farm Park, Scotch Plains
  • Rahway River Park, Rahway
    • Environmental groups protested at the building of a stadium here in 2016. The movement gave birth to Friends of Rahway River Parkway.[118]
  • Rahway River Parkway
  • Snyder Avenue Park, Berkeley Heights
  • Sperry Park, Cranford
  • Stanley Avenue Park, Summit
  • Tamaques Park, Scotch Plains
  • Unami Park, Cranford, Garwood, and Westfield
  • Washington Avenue Park, Springfield
  • Watchung Reservation, Mountainside and Scotch Plains
  • Warinanco Park, Elizabeth and Roselle
    • Named for the Native American known as "Warinanco." Designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm.
  • Wheeler Park, Linden

Other notable parks[edit]

Parks that are not managed by the county government include:

Rahway River Parkway[edit]

The Rahway River Parkway is a greenway of parkland that hugs the Rahway River and its tributaries, such as Nomahegan Brook. It was the inaugural project of the Union County Parks Commission designed in the 1920s by the Olmsted Brothers firm, who were the sons of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Several county and municipal parks run along the Rahway River.[124][125]

Elizabeth River Parkway[edit]

The Elizabeth River Parkway is a greenway of parkland alongside the Elizabeth River and its tributaries. It runs through Kean University and Liberty Hall Museum on the river's way to the Arthur Kill. The Elizabeth River Parkway is broken down into separate sections.

  • Chatfield/Zimmerman - Hillside and Union Township[126]
  • Lightning Brook - Hillside and Union[127]
  • Galloping Hill Golf Course in November 2022
    Galloping Hill Golf Course in November 2022
    Pruden/Pearl Oval - Elizabeth[128]
  • Salem/Rutgers/Liberty - Hillside and Union[129]
  • Woodruff/Conant Street - Hillside and Union[130]
  • Ursino - Hillside and Union Township[131]

Public golf courses[edit]

Union County's Division of Golf Operations runs two golf courses, which offer golf lessons and practice areas.[132]

  • Ash Brook Golf Course in Scotch Plains.
  • Galloping Hill Golf Course and Golf Learning Center in Kenilworth.[133] The facility, which hosts the headquarters of the New Jersey State Golf Association, hosted the 2016 New Jersey State Open golf tournament, the first public golf course to host the tournament since it was established in 1921.[134]

Another notable course

  • Shady Rest Country Club [135] in Scotch Plains is recognized as the first African-American owned and operated golf clubhouse in the United States. As such, Shady Rest is the home course of the first African-American golf professional to play in the U.S. Open, John Matthew Shippen, Jr. (1879-1968), who is considered a pioneer of the sport.[136] Originally a private club and center for African-American social life, the township acquired and renamed it in the 1930s as the 'Scotch Hills Country Club' and made it open to the public. The history and significance of the course and clubhouse has not always been promoted as a place of national historic interest. Thankfully, the National Park Service has listed the Shady Rest Golf and Country Club (_100007869) in the National Registry of Historic Places, in large part due to the efforts of the Preserve Shady Rest Committee.[137] The committee continues working to further solidify Shady Rest as a local, state, and national landmark given its historical significance.[138][139][135]

Private golf courses[edit]

Other recreational facilities[edit]

Deserted Village of Feltville
  • Clark Community Pool[142]
  • Centennial Avenue Pool in Cranford, NJ
  • Oak Ridge Archery Range
  • Orange Avenue Pool in Cranford, NJ
  • Trailside Nature and Science Center at Watchung Reservation
  • Warinanco Ice Skating Rink
  • Wheeler Park
  • Westfield Memorial Pool
  • Spray Pool – Wheeler Park (Linden)
  • County Pool – Rahway River Park (Rahway)

Arts and culture[edit]

  • The Union County Performing Arts Center, located in the Rahway Arts District, offers professional productions in music and theater as well as training in the performing arts.[143]
  • Kean Stage is the professional performing arts arm of Kean University. It is home to Wilkins Theatre on the Kean Main Campus in Union, Enlow Recital Hall directly across the Elizabeth River in East Campus in Hillside, as well as Premiere Stages, the professional equity theater company in residence at Kean University.[144][145]
  • The Cranford Dramatic Club is New Jersey's oldest continually producing theater and has been putting on theatrical productions since its establishment in 1919.[146]
  • Tomasulo Art Gallery is in the MacKay Library at Union County College's Cranford campus.[147]
  • The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, located in Berkeley Heights and New Providence, is a center for music training and other training in performing arts, particularly aimed at children. It consists of the Performing Arts School (formerly Wharton Music Center), New Jersey Youth Symphony, and Paterson Music Project.[148]
  • The Plainfield Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1919, making it the state's oldest community orchestra.[149]
  • The duCret School of Art in Plainfield was founded in 1926.[150]
  • The Swain Gallery, in Plainfield, was founded in 1868 and is the oldest privately owned art gallery in the state.[151]

Union County Historical Society[edit]

In 1869, the Union County Historical Society of New Jersey was incorporated. The society meets at the Hanson House in Cranford.[152]

Municipal historical societies[edit]

  • Berkeley Heights - The Berkeley Heights Historical Society.[153]
  • Clark - The Clark Historical Society was founded in 1970. It operates the Dr. William Robinson Plantation House Museum, built in 1690 by a doctor from Scotland.[154]
  • Cranford - The Cranford Historic Preservation Advisory Board is an official township committee body, while the Cranford Historical Society itself is citizen-run. It is located in the Hanson House in Hanson Park on Springfield Avenue and maintains the Crane-Phillips House (c. 1845) a couple of blocks south on North Union Avenue as a museum.[155]
  • Garwood - Garwood Historical Committee.[156]
  • Hillside - The Hillside Historical Society, founded in 1975, meets at the Woodruff House.[157]
  • Kenilworth - The Kenilworth Historical Society dates to 1974. It runs the Oswald J. Nitschke House (c. 1880).[158]
  • Linden - The Linden Society for Historical Preservation is an offshoot of an official cultural board in the city.[159]
  • Mountainside - The Mountainside Restoration Committee, Inc. is also called the Mountainside Historic Committee, founded in 1984.[160]
  • Plainfield - The Historical Society of Plainfield is headquartered at the Nathaniel Drake House Museum, built in 1746 on the Old York Road.[161][162]
  • Rahway - The Rahway Historical Society is now called the Merchants' and Drovers' Tavern Museum Association.[163]
  • Scotch Plains and Fanwood - The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Historical Society runs the Osborn Cannonball House.[164]
  • Springfield - The Historic Cannon Ball House serves as the home of the Springfield Historical Society.[165]
  • Westfield - The Westfield Historical Society is in the Reeve History & Cultural Resource Center, a structure from the 1870s. The Society also runs the Miller-Cory House Museum, in a home that dates back to the 1740s.[166]
  • Union - Union Township Historical Society is located in the 1782 historic Caldwell Parsonage. The Society's mission is to preserve and promote the rich and diverse history of the Township of Union.

Other historical preservation groups[edit]

  • Friends of Rahway River Parkway is dedicated to preserving Olmsted design principles and features of county parkland along the Rahway River as it flows to the Arthur Kill.[167]

Sister city[edit]

The county has a sister city relationship with Wenzhou in Zhejiang, China.[168][169]

See also[edit]


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