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Maplewood, New Jersey

Located in the suburbs of Essex County, New Jersey, the town of Maplewood had a population of 23,867 in the 2010 United States census. This figure was down by only one person since the census in the year 2000 and was up by 2,216 people when compared to the 1990 census.

Map of Maplewood, NJ

Maplewood was created on April 1, 1861, and was first known as South Orange Township, having been formed by taking land from the Clinton Township and the Town of Orange. Parts of the township were used to create South Orange Village and Vailsburg borough, in 1869 and 1904 respectively. The name of South Orange Township was changed to Maplewood in November 1922.

In 1675, European settlers from England, The Netherlands and France who had first arrived in Hempstead, Long Island came to Maplewood via Newark and Elizabeth. Taking much of the land that now forms modern day Essex County from the Native Americans, the settlers followed three trails to Springfield Avenue, Ridgewood Road and South Orange. These routes were the foundations of three separate communities that eventually formed Maplewood and South Orange. When surveying the area that is now Maplewood, Robert Treat found several additional trails believed to have been used by the Lenape tribes of Algonquian Native Americans. Today, these paths are essentially the main thoroughfares for the township.

Named after Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Village was formed by the creation of several farms that were built around Ridgewood Road. These farms were built by the Brown, Pierson, Freeman, Gildersleeve, Ball and Smith families. The settlement, which is believed to have covered practically all of downtown Maplewood, featured a number of orchards and many mills. Born in Maplewood in 1796, John Durand once described the town as picturesque but with a backward community.

Boasting an impressive apple harvest each year, with both Harrison and Canfield apples being popular featured varieties, by 1815 around 30 families were living in the somewhat thieving community. While the majority of the residents were Presbyterian, the first official place of worship was a Baptist chapel which opened its doors in 1812 and remained in regular use until 1846. 12 years later it became a Methodist Episcopal church after falling into severe disrepair.

Establishing a hamlet known as North Farms, located between Tuscan and Springfield Avenue, this area soon became known as Hilton and was a popular stop with passing stagecoaches en route to Newark and Jersey City. This transformed the community into a thriving center for trade and manufacturing. In 1830, the village changed its name to Middleville and then to Hilton, fifty years later when it also got its first post office. In 1802, both North Farms and Jefferson Village were listed as districts of the Township of Newark.

The intersection of Tuscan and Springfield Avenue:

In 1838 the Morris and Essex Railroad was extended into the area from Newark. John Shedden, a land speculator of the time, constructed a train station in Jefferson Village, calling it Maplewood. The same name later encapsulated Jefferson Village, Hilton and parts of Springfield. Within the space of thirty years, farms in the area had been subdivided for resident housing, making the area one of the early commuter suburbs and by the 1920s, the area started to see substantial growth and development in terms of infrastructure and new residents moving to the area.

Train station of Maplewood between Dunnell Rd. & Maplewood Ave:

In 1855, Seth Boyden moved to Middleville to retire from working life but instead found himself innovating a variety of agricultural products. One of these products was berries, which became very popular in an area known for its orchards, rum distilleries, honey production, livestock and even cider mills. Boyden also pioneered the first steam engine to service Maplewood via the railroad.

South Orange, North Farms and Jefferson Village worked to establish their own school associations and functioned as independently of one another as possible. Jefferson Village established the Jefferson Association in 1818. North Farms created the North Farms Association in 1817. South Orange created the Columbian School in 1814, later forming the basis of Columbia High School. By the time the state of New Jersey established public education in 1867, the County Superintendent merged the three, previously separate, associations into one. Forming one school district, the merger was formalised in 1894 and recognised as the South Orange Maplewood School District. The newly formed district’s first permanent teacher was James Ricalton, born to Scottish parents in New York, who helped lay the foundations for the high standard education that remains in place in the area today.

How to get to our office from the Maplewood train station

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