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Maplewood is a township in Essex Countymarker, New Jerseymarker, United Statesmarker. As of the United States 2000 Census, the township population was 23,868.


When surveying the area now known as Maplewood, Robert Treat found several trails used by Lenape tribes of Algonquin Native Americans, though there was only sparse pre-European settlement. These paths form the basis for what are the town's main thoroughfares today.

The first European settlers arrived around 1675, primarily English, Dutch, and French Puritans who had earlier settled Hempsteadmarker, Long Islandmarker, and Stamford, Connecticutmarker, via Newarkmarker and Elizabethmarker. They had acquired most of today’s Essex County from the Native Americans and followed three trails that roughly correspond to South Orange Avenue, Springfield Avenue, and Ridgewood Road. These three routes resulted in three separate communities that merged into Maplewood and South Orange.

Those who came from Newark on the trail that now corresponds to South Orange Avenue settled the area that became South Orangemarker Village.

Six families (with last names of Smith, Brown, Pierson, Freeman, Ball, and Gildersleeve) came up today’s Ridgewood Road and established scattered farms around a center that became Jefferson Village, named after Thomas Jefferson. This village, which roughly corresponds to downtown Maplewood today, developed several mills and orchards. John Durand, the son of Hudson River school painter Asher Brown Durand (who was born in Maplewood in 1796), describes the place as a picturesque but slightly backwards community with close ties to Springfieldmarker. The apple harvest was apparently quite impressive and included “Harrison” and “Canfield” varieties. By 1815, there were approximately 30 families in the village. Although the residents of the area were predominantly Presbyterian, the first house of worship was a Baptist chapel in 1812. This was in use until 1846 and fell into disrepair until 1858, when it was taken into use as a Methodist Episcopal church.

Those who came up today’s Springfield Avenue settled on a hillcrest near today’s intersection between Tuscan and Springfield Avenue and established a hamlet known as North Farms. Over time, this community became known as the Hilton section. It became a stagecoach stop between Newark, Jersey Citymarker (then Paulus Hook), and Morristownmarker and thereby a center for trade and light manufacturing. The village changed its name from North Farms to Middleville in 1830, and then to Hilton in 1880 when it was granted a post office. In 1855, Seth Boyden settled in what was then Middleville to retire but innovated a number of agricultural products, especially berries. Boyden also built and put into operation the first steam engines to service the railroad through Maplewood.The area became known for its orchards and related industries, including cider mills and distilleries of rum, but also honey and some livestock.

In 1802, Jefferson Village and North Farms were named as districts under the Township of Newark.

The three communities operated independently, each establishing their own school associations: South Orange established the Columbian school in 1814, which would form the basis for today’s Columbia High Schoolmarker; North Farms established the North Farms Association in 1817; and Jefferson Village the Jefferson Association in 1818. In 1867, when the State of New Jersey established public education through the School Law, the newly appointed County Superintendent merged the three associations into one school district, which was formalized in 1894 as the South Orange-Maplewood School Districtmarker. James Ricalton, a teacher born in Waddington, New York of Scottish parents, set the high standard of education that persists in the school district to this day.

Maplewood was originally formed as South Orange Township, which was created on April 1, 1861, from portions of Clinton Township and what was then the Town of Orangemarker. The name of the township was changed to Maplewood on November 7, 1922.

View of Maplewood from South Mountain Reservation
the Morris and Essex Railroad from Newark was extended to the area in 1838, a land speculator by the name of John Shedden built a railroad station in Jefferson Village and named it Maplewood. This name came to comprise areas known as Hilton, Jefferson Village, and areas previously part of Springfield. In 1868, farms were divided into parcels for residential housing. The 1920s saw significant growth in new residents and structures, foreshadowing a complete suburb.


Maplewood is located at (40.728901, -74.268213).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 3.8 square miles (10.0 km2).A pond is in Memorial Park, the Rahway River runs through the town, and there is a municipal pool club with four manmade pools of water; the remainder of the area is land.


Maplewood has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa).

Architecture and landscape

Many of the most recognizable buildings and spaces were the work of famous architects and landscape designers. Most of the schools and the Municipal Building were the work of Guilbert & Betelle. The center of town is dominated by Memorial Park, a design of the Olmsted Brothers. The Olmsted firm was also responsible for the landscaping at Ward Homestead, designed by John Russell Pope, and now known as Winchester Gardens, located on Elmwood Avenue. On the opposite side of town is another Olmsted work, South Mountain Reservationmarker. The Maplewood Theater, where Cheryl Crawford first revived Porgy and Bess, was designed by William E. Lehman.

There are approximately 226 streets covering 60 miles within Maplewood. One thoroughfare, Springfield Avenue, is a state highway (Route 124, from Irvingtonmarker to Morristownmarker), and four thoroughfares (Valley Street, Millburn Avenue, Irvington Avenue and Wyoming Avenue), are Essex County roads.

Development Controversy

The Township Committee in Maplewood is now considering a major redevelopment plan that many residents believe will significantly alter the Memorial Park area. The Township Committee is expected to approve a plan that will allow a 50-foot, 50-unit rental building on the site of the old Police Station at 125 Dunnell Road, which will overlook the park and become the second highest building in the town. A group of residents have formed a committee to oppose the project and more information is available on this issue, including all government reports,at [18936].


As of the census of 2000, there were 23,868 people, 8,452 households, and 6,381 families residing in the township. The population density was 6,207.1 people per square mile (2,393.6/km2). There were 8,615 housing units at an average density of 2,240.4/sq mi (864.0/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 58.78% Caucasian, 32.63% African American, 0.13% Native American, 2.86% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.56% from other races, and 4.01% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.23% of the population.

Estimated median house/condo value in 2005: $399,700 (it was $222,700 in 2000).

There were 8,452 households out of which 40.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.2% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were non-families. 20.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.27.

In the township the population was spread out with 28.0% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.1 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the township was $94,253, and the median income for a family was $111,725. Males had a median income of $57,572 versus $41,899 for females. The per capita income for the township was $36,794. 4.4% of the population and 3.4% of families were below the poverty line. 4.9% of those under the and 6.0% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.


Local government

Maplewood is governed under the Township form of government with a five-member Township Committee. The Township Committee is elected directly by the voters in partisan elections to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with one or two seats coming up for election each year. At an annual reorganization meeting, the Township Committee selects one of its members to serve as Mayor for a one year term, and another to serve as Vice Mayor. The Mayor has the responsibility of Chair for the Township Committee meetings with voice and vote. The Mayor is considered the head of the municipal government.

The Township Committee is the legislative body of the municipality. It is under these powers that the Township Committee has the responsibility for passing laws that effect the Township. The Township Committee is also an executive body.
Fire Headquarters

Under this form of government, the elected Township Committee sets policy and overall direction for the Township. The Township staff, under the direction of the Township Administrator, carries out Committee policy and provides day to day services. The Township Administrator serves as the chief administrative officer and is accountable to the Township Committee.

Members of the Maplewood Township Committee areMayor Victor Deluca,Vice Mayor Kathleen M. Leventhal,Lester Lewis-Powder,Fred R. Profeta Jr. and Gerard W. Ryan.

Federal, state and county representation

Post Office
Maplewood is in the Tenth Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 27th Legislative District.


On the national level, Maplewood leans strongly toward the Democratic Party. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry received 76% of the vote, defeating Republican George W. Bush, who received around 23%.

In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama received 82% (9,130 ballots) of the vote and Republican John McCain 17% (1,927).


Maplewood Village
Maplewood prides itself on being a diverse and family-friendly community. In a number of surveys it is ranked among the most desirable places to live in the United States. The township has a downtown area alternatively known as "the village" or "Maplewood Center" with its own movie theater, several upscale and midscale restaurants, a small supermarket, independent café, two liquor stores, a toy store and a small bookstore. The structure of the village is largely unchanged since the 1950s.


Maplewood schools are part of the unified South Orange-Maplewood School Districtmarker, together with the neighboring community of South Orangemarker. Schools in the district (with 2005-06 school enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are six K-5 elementary schools — Clinton Elementary School (K-5, 467 students), Jefferson Elementary School (3-5, 351 students), Marshall Elementary School (K-2, 422 students), Seth Boyden Elementary School (K-5, 500 students), South Mountain Elementary (2-5) / South Mountain Elementary Annex (K-1; 513 students combined) and Tuscan Elementary School (K-5, 594 students) — and both Maplewood Middle School (703 students) and South Orange Middle School (700 students) for grades 6-8. The combined district features one public high school, Columbia High Schoolmarker, with 1,999 students.
Public Library

Entertainment and Performing Arts

Performance Venues

The township owns and operates the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts at 10 Durand Road. The Center, a former Christian Science Church, was donated to the town by Jean Burgdorff, a local real estate entrepreneur. The building was transferred to the town on October 15, 1988. The township recently committed to a $130,000 plan to improve the building.

Performing Arts Organizations

Maplewood is the home of the The Strollers, a community theatre organization in continuous operation since 1932. The Strollers are the resident theatre company of the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts.

Local media

The News-Record is Maplewood's weekly printed newspaper. NYTimes Local is a local news blog serving Maplewood, NJ. It has sister sites in South Orange and Millburn. All three sites were launched in February 2009 by The New York Times. Maplewood Patch is a news and information site serving Maplewood. It has sister sites in next door South Orange and Millburn. All three sites were launched in February 2009 by Patch Media. Maplewood Dispatch is a local news service introduced in early March 2009.

Current events

On the ballot for the November 7, 2006, general election was the issue on whether to commission a study on the benefits of merging some public services of Maplewood and the adjacent Village of South Orange (which had separated in 1904), as a cost savings measure. The residents of Maplewood voted down the proposed creation of an investigative committee.

Popular culture

  • Ultimate Frisbee (now called simply "Ultimate") was invented in Maplewood in 1968 by students at Columbia High School. A plaque commemorating the birthplace of Ultimate Frisbee is located in the student parking lot.
  • Maplewood is the birthplace of the wooden golf tee, invented by William Lowell at the Maplewood Golf Club in 1921.
  • Maplewood has been the site for several films, including I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Garden State, "Gracie", One True Thing, and Stepmom.
  • In the 2004 film The Polar Express, Maplewood is mentioned as the place where "Steven" lives.
  • Zach Braff, a Columbia High Schoolmarker alumnus, filmed a scene in his 2004 film, Garden State, where he and Natalie Portman drive by the front of Columbia High School.
  • In the second episode of the television series House, "Paternity", a patient from Maplewood drives all the way to the city of Plainsboromarker in New Jersey for medical treatment because, as House puts it, he "sued half the doctors in Maplewood, and the rest are now refusing to treat [him]". [18937]
  • In the 2007 film Gracie, the plot is set in and partially filmed in Maplewood and Columbia High School. Producer Andrew Shue and actress Elisabeth Shue both attended Columbia, and the plot is loosely based on their lives during high school.

  • Novelist Philip Roth, who grew up in neighboring Newarkmarker refers to Maplewood in several of his novels, including Goodbye, Columbus.

Notable residents

Notable current and former residents of Maplewood include:


  • League of Women Voters: Maplewood – More than a Train Stop, published privately
  • Bates, Helen B. (ed): Maplewood Past and Present – A Miscellany, Maplewood: 1948, Princeton University Pressmarker
  • Beatrice P. Herman: The Trail to the Upland Plantations, 1976, published privately


  1. "The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968", John P. Snyder, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 128 re Maplewood, p. 132 re South Orange Township.
  3. 2005 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book, Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, April 2005, p. 103.
  4. Township Committee Form of Government, Township of Maplewood. Accessed July 15, 2008.
  5. Township Committee Members, Township of Maplewood. Accessed January 14, 2009.
  6. 2008 New Jersey Citizen's Guide to Government, New Jersey League of Women Voters, p. 60. Accessed September 30, 2009.
  7. Election returns at the municipality web site
  8. Data for the South Orange-Maplewood School District, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed July 13, 2008.
  9. Realty Royalty
  10. Maplewood Township Ordinance 2553-08
  11. Burgdorff Center gets $130K face-lift
  12. The Strollers website
  13. Too Many Fire Engines in New Jersey May Help Corzine Cut Taxes, Bloomberg L.P., November 1, 2006.
  14. Scottish Golf History: Derivation of Golf Tee, accessed December 13, 2006.
  15. Chira, Susan. "HARRIET ADAMS DIES; NANCY DREW AUTHOR WROTE 200 NOVELS", The New York Times, March 29, 1982. Accessed October 7, 2007. "Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, who wrote nearly 200 children's books including many of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, died Saturday evening. She was 89 years old, and lived in Pottersville and Maplewood, N.J."
  16. 'BYE' GEORGE | Bye Bye Birdie (TV Movie - 1995) | Television News | TV | Entertainment Weekly | 1
  17. Seth Boyden Statue, accessed December 19, 2006.
  18. "Why America loves Zach Braff", Los Angeles Daily News by Bob Strauss, September 12, 2006. "But the fact Braff didn't enter the family business might have something to do with growing up in Maplewood, New JerseyN.J., and attending Columbia High School there. "
  19. "Oldest Brooklyn Dodgers' alumnus dies", The San Diego Union-Tribune, March 12, 2003. Accessed March 27, 2008.
  20. New Jersey Landscape Artists, accessed December 19, 2006.
  21. Channeling the Grey Ghosts: Christine Ebersole chats about—and with—Little Edie Beale., New York Magazine, Fall 2006 Preview Guide, accessed December 13, 2006.
  22. Lovenheim, Barbara. "'REAL MAN' LIMNS SINGLES LIFE", The New York Times, October 5, 1986. Accessed December 1, 2007. "Born in Maplewood, N.J., he began writing parodies in the eighth grade, but he didn't know what to do with his wit."
  23. Meoli, Daria. "That’s Entertainment", New Jersey Monthly, October 2005. Accessed December 26. "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart is still the best fake newscast on TV, thanks to Lawrenceville native Stewart and head writer and Maplewood native David Javerbaum."
  24. Daniels, Lee A. "W. G. McLoughlin, Professor of History At Brown, Dies at 70", The New York Times, January 6, 1993. Accessed March 6, 2008.
  25. Curtiss, Richard H. Dr. Mohammad T. Mehdi (1928-1998), Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 1998. Accessed August 27, 2007. "Subsequently they had three daughters, Anisa, who now lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, Janan Chandler of Mississauga, Ontario, and Laila Hilfinger of Seattle."
  26. Paul John Moore biography, United States Congress. Accessed July 11, 2007.
  27. Davie, Valerie. "World Traveler, Explorer, Photographer", Maplewood Matters. Accessed December 14, 2007.
  28. Jonas, Gerald. "Robert Sheckley, 77, Writer of Satirical Science Fiction, Is Dead", The New York Times, December 10, 2005. Accessed November 20, 2007. "Born in Brooklyn and raised in Maplewood, N.J., Robert Sheckley joined the Army in 1946 after graduating from high school, and served in Korea."
  29. Waggoner, Walter H. "AGNES TURNBULL, NOVELIST, 93, DIES", The New York Times, February 2, 1982. Accessed October 24, 2007. "Agnes Sligh Turnbull, a popular and prolific novelist and shortstory writer, died Sunday at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J. She was 93 years old and had lived in Maplewood, N.J., for 60 years."
  30. George Marvin Wallhauser, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed December 13, 2007.
  31. Thomas, Bob. "Teresa Wright "Pride of the Yankees" co-star dies", copy of item from Associated Press, March 8, 2005. Accessed May 15, 2007. "Wright was born in New York City on Oct. 27, 1918, and grew up in Maplewood, N.J., where she showed promise in theatricals at Columbia High School."

External links

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