The North Essex Chamber of Commerce is the official Chamber of Commerce for 9 towns in Essex County, New Jersey: Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Montclair, North Caldwell, Roseland, Verona and West Caldwell. The following provides an overview of schools in our area and a summary of each town.
Education in the North Essex County Region
Schools in North Essex consistently score an A+ for educational excellence. Five different school districts serve the area and rank among New Jersey’s most elite, due in large part to a challenging curriculum, state-of-the-art computer equipment, small class sizes, and top-notch educators. Parents tend to be very involved, demanding excellence from the school system and giving generously of their time on school boards, committees, projects and with classroom assistance. Schools are large enough to offer a full range of educational options and directions, and small enough so that students don’t get lost in the system.
The New Jersey Department of Education has awarded some of the area’s schools with “Star School” and “Best Practice” designations for their cutting-edge approach to effective teaching. In particular, Montclair schools have been singled out for such distinction, operating a series of magnet schools, designed to enhance curriculum as well as achieve racial and economic balance. In addition, private schools at the elementary and high school levels, offer fabulous educational opportunities.
Coined “University County,” the North Essex area is considered the largest center of higher education in the state, offering numerous opportunities for students of all ages who wish to take advantage of continuing education. The area does not disappoint at the collegiate level. Montclair State University is one of the largest universities in the state, with more than 13,000 students divided into five academic schools. Essex County College, with one of its campuses located in West Caldwell, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, offering students associate degrees in a number of subject areas that transfer to four-year colleges. They also offer customized training in state-of-the-art computer labs for interested individuals and businesses. Finally, Caldwell Univeristy is a Catholic liberal arts college offering 27 undergraduate majors and seven graduate majors.
Caldwell, now encompassing just 1.2 square miles, is a full-service community with small-town charm. Its population of 7,584 people enjoys a range of housing styles and sizes from early Victorian masterpieces to fully-modern condos and townhouse units. Caldwell boasts an abundance of local stores and shops that reflect the upscale mood of the community, a movie theater, as well as close proximity to the large Willowbrook and Livingston Malls.
An excellent school district serves the communities of Caldwell and West Caldwell with four elementary buildings, a middle school and a high school. With small class sizes, excellent teachers, computer access, and noteworthy student achievement, the district is rated among New Jersey’s “Top 50 Schools.” Caldwell is also home to a well-stocked public library. The 42-acre Grover Cleveland Homestead boasts a beautiful park designed by the firm of Frederick Law Olmstead with lighted tennis courts, baseball fields, a playground and a pond perfect for families to enjoy fishing or ice skating. A big draw to residents young and old is the new Caldwell Community Center, complete with a pool, gymnasium and fitness center.
Borough of Caldwell
Caldwell Public Library
268 Bloomfield Avenue
Caldwell, NJ 07006
Voice: (973) 226-2837
FAX: (973) 403-8606
Located between the first and second chain of the Watchung Mountains, Cedar Grove shares a similar history with Verona. Though it seceded from Caldwell Township as part of Verona, it later separated as continued growth took the communities in different directions. Residents within the 4.5 square miles of Cedar Grove enjoy the atmosphere and friendliness of a small town, and energy and cultural pleasures of nearby Montclair and New York City. Two-thirds residential, much of Cedar Grove reflects a mix of colonial, ranch and split-level homes, with a smaller number of townhomes and condo units.
New construction in the area has been mostly upscale, adding a “something for everyone” element to the community. Counting the new and larger homes, the average selling price for a single- family home in Cedar Grove is almost $400,000. A large industrial area and central commercial district provide a good economic base. Cedar Grove is home to many Essex County facilities, including the hospital center and police academy. Students receive an excellent education in the local Cedar Grove School System, which ranks among the state’s elite schools.
Township of Cedar Grove
525 Pompton Avenue
Cedar Grove, NJ 07009
Cedar Grove Public Library
One Municipal Plaza
Cedar Grove NJ 07009
The small community of Essex Fells covers only 1.41 square miles but is considered one of the premier boroughs in the state. Essex Fells is exclusively residential with a wide array of well-designed and spaciously located homes and estates. A drive down the rhododendron-lined streets in the spring is truly breathtaking and makes it easy to understand where the Garden State nickname gets its roots. Originally the estate of General William Gould, the land became part of a planned residential community conceived in the late 1800s by Anthony Drexel of the Philadelphia banking family.
Homes maintain a classic flavor, predominantly colonial in style, with some stately Tudors and Victorian gems to be seen. Essex Fells is part of the West Essex Regional School District that has received statewide acclaim for excellence. The community also maintains an extensive park system with a variety of native trees and shrubs. A peaceful oasis tucked into the New Jersey countryside, Essex Fells is only minutes from Interstate 280, and to the magnetism of the New York metropolitan area.
Borough of Essex Fells
The northernmost part of the original “Horseneck Tract,” Fairfield is also the most industrialized. In spite of its rich history of agriculture by Dutch settlers as early as 1669, Fairfield became the newest community in Essex County when it seceded from Caldwell in 1964. With a large commercial and industrial base, including the Essex County Airport, Fairfield provides plenty of employment opportunities and the most favorable property tax rates in the county.
Although it is located only 20 miles west of Manhattan, the 10.5 square-mile Fairfield Township was only recently “discovered” and remains relatively uncrowded. Bisected by Route 46 and bordered by Interstate 80 to the north, Fairfield is conveniently located for industry serving the entire northeast corridor, as well as for New York commuters who want the serenity of a suburban community.
Students are part of the noted West Essex Regional School District that boasts an impressive overall record. Fairfield’s recreational amenities include local parks, a community swimming pool and a public library, as well as soccer and baseball fields and a rock-climbing wall.
Township of Fairfield
Fairfield Public Library
261 Hollywood Avenue
Fairfield, NJ 07004
Voice: (973) 227-3575
Montclair, a vibrant community of almost 39,000 inhabitants, is home to hundreds of small shops, studios, restaurants and professional services. Within easy reach of New York City via modern transportation links, Montclair is considered the arts, entertainment and cultural capital of northern New Jersey.
Montclair’s colorful history includes early settlement by Lenape Indians, British farmers, and service as a Revolutionary war outpost. Closely linked with the growth of New York City, Montclair first came to prominence following the expansion of rail service in the late 1860s. The burgeoning area soon became a model “country town,” enlivened by a notable art colony that was attracted to the area in the 1870s by the renowned landscape painter George Inness. Montclair continued to grow as waves of African-Americans from the South, Irish, German and Scandinavian immigrants discovered its pleasures, creating a melting pot of culture. Great homes and estates, as well as modest dwellings, housed a richly diverse and expanding population. Areas of well-maintained homes, many of which reflect the area’s rich colonial heritage, have been called “quaint on a large scale.” Now, Montclair’s prosperity reflects the enviable mix of diverse cultures, commercial prosperity and upscale residential living.
Throughout its history, Montclair residents had the foresight to establish excellent schools, libraries, museums and churches that have educated and influenced generations of people. Montclair boasts a progressive and innovative school system, with magnet schools designed to enrich curriculum and provide specialized programs for all children.
Montclair has successfully faced the challenges of economic downturns and aging commercial structures, and its recent work to revitalize the town’s commercial center is evident. Taking advantage of a BID (Business Improvement District), the public and private sectors are working together to upgrade the downtown area and have had a visible impact on the central retail corridor. In addition, five other business centers offer convenient shopping and services for all areas of the Township.
Today, eclectic and exuberant Montclair embraces its diverse cultural heritage and still nourishes the rich artistic expressions that took root more than a century ago. Jazz clubs, theatrical companies, shops and boutiques, galleries, and trendy restaurants are among the amenities that attract residents and visitors alike.
Township of Montclair
Montclair Public Library
50 South Fullerton Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042
Once part of the “Horseneck Tract,” North Caldwell separated from Caldwell in 1898 and has grown into a sophisticated and upscale residential community. Wonderfully situated on the highest point of land in Essex County, the 2.9 square-mile Borough of North Caldwell is graced with beautiful single-family homes set into the rolling hills and forested land. Large estates and well-maintained homes easily blend into comfortable neighborhoods on winding, tree-lined streets. Two small collections of shops on either end of the town provide amenities, services and convenience to local residents.
North Caldwell is part of the West Essex Regional School District, serving the contiguous communities of Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell and Roseland. Due to consistently high test scores, small class size, modern technology and challenging curriculum, West Essex Regional Schools have earned a reputation as one of the state’s top 75 school districts. After school, and during the summertime, families can enjoy North Caldwell’s community pool, athletic fields and tennis courts.
Borough of North Caldwell
The Borough of Roseland, originally known as the Centerville section of Livingston, covers 3.6 square miles at the southern boundaries, alongside Interstate 280. Roseland is a unique blend of residential areas and executive office parks. No history of Roseland is complete without mention of the Becker Dairy Farm, which encompassed nearly half of Roseland and operated from 1880 to 1964. In more recent days, much of this beautiful property forms the centerpiece of several extensive and well-planned executive office complexes that add commerce to the community without changing the underlying residential atmosphere. Children in Roseland are well-served by the West Essex Regional School District. Roseland also boasts beautiful recreation areas with baseball fields, tennis, basketball and volleyball facilities.
Borough of Roseland
Roseland Free Public Library
20 Roseland Avenue
Roseland, NJ 07068
Voice: (973) 226-8636
FAX: (973) 226-6429
Verona is located to the east of the Caldwells and was also part of the legendary “Horseneck Tract.” Known locally as the Vernon Valley, the name was officially changed to Verona when it applied for a U.S. Post Office site in the late 1800s. With the growing population pushing for control of its own schools, water supply and essential services, Verona seceded from Caldwell in 1892. The community has continued to grow, primarily as an upscale residential community. Due to its natural beauty and proximity to New York, Verona has appeal as an affordable residential community with a mix of single-family homes, town-houses and garden apartments.
Verona also has some areas set aside for commercial and industrial use. Verona is home to the Annin Flag Company, the largest flag manufacturer in the world. Annin flags were planted on both the North and South Poles during the expeditions of Perry and Byrd, as well as atop Mt. Everest and the moon from the Apollo 11 and 12 space explorations!
The Verona School District serves students in grades Kindergarten through 12 and ranks near the very top of the excellent public educational institutions in the state. Residents also enjoy a new community center and the four-season splendors of beautiful Verona Lake and Park. The lush and wonderfully maintained park sits in the heart of Verona and is host to many arts and craft shows throughout the year.
Township of Verona
Verona Public Library
17 Gould St
Verona , NJ 07044
Voice: (973) 857-4848
The Township of West Caldwell, formerly called “Franklin and Westville,” now shares the Caldwell name but maintains its own unique character. By the early 1900s, Caldwell Township had grown and diversified so much that residents at each end of town could not always agree on community issues. In 1904, Caldwell divided and West Caldwell was incorporated as an individual Borough. Almost 80 years later in 1982, West Caldwell took advantage of favorable state tax incentives to become a Township.
An area of predominantly single-family homes, West Caldwell covers 5.28 square miles. Its winding residential streets are filled with colonial, split-level, ranch and Cape homes. Creative options for seniors who no longer wish to live in larger homes are available at Crane’s Mill, a 300-unit continuing care, assisted living, and retirement center for seniors. West Caldwell’s comfortable suburban nature is well-balanced by commercial and industrial growth, that provide a strong economic base. Three main industrial parks and four shopping areas are well-placed in town, as are local retail businesses.
Township of West Caldwell
West Caldwell Public Library
West Caldwell, NJ 07006
Voice: (973) 226-5441
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