South Orange, NJ

downtown South Orange

The Township of South Orange Village is a vibrant, active community

South Orange is a suburban community that encompasses approximately 2.8 square miles. Located in Essex County and just East of New Jersey’s South Mountain, it is well-known for its gas street lighting. With its history dating back to 1869, this village enjoys an active lifestyle with a large business district and several restaurants. South Orange is also conveniently located close to Manhattan – only 35 minutes away by NJ Transit or by bus.

South Orange is steeped in history

South Orange was originally called The Chestnut Hills. Part of the territory known today as Newark, South Orange was purchased from Lenape Native Americans in 1666 by a group of settlers known as Captain Robert Treat and Lieutenant Samuel Swaine. It was not until 1678 that the settlers purchased the second parcel from the Native Americans covering the area between East of the Rahway River to the Mountain Top.

Progress was slow to come but in early 1700 South Orange developed its first primitive highway converted from an Indian trail. Eventually, these highways were traveled during the American Revolution by Washington and his troops.  During this century and into the early 1800’s things began to change rapidly. Horseback became a thing of the past and was replaced with Oxcarts. Soon after that Oxcarts were replaced by the stage coach. It was not until 1836 that the Morris and Essex railroad was created using a single track between the village and Orange, using a horse-drawn cart.

parks in south orange njA short time after, just a year, the train began to take shape with the addition of two cars pulled by what we now know as a locomotive. This put South Orange on the map as a suburb of Newark. In 1868 South Orange was transformed from farmland and mills to a residential suburb of New York and Newark. The late 1890’s pushed South Orange into the modern world with the addition of gas and electricity. The first post office was established in 1841.

Population changes sparked government changes and in 1904, the village and township separated as South Orange agreed to remain as part of the school district. In 1977 voters of South Orange overwhelmingly passed a new Charter for South Orange changing its name to The Township of South Orange Village.

Popular Landmarks

Rich in history, South Orange has many historical landmarks that are maintained to this date including: 

  • The Stone House is the oldest building in the village, built in 1680.
  • The Colonial House was built in 1774 by Henry Squier. Sold several times it was eventually leased to Flood, a dairyman, who used the facility to pasture his cows. This place is currently known as Meadowland Park.
  • The Brownstone mansion built by William Redmond is now used by the Orange Lawn Tennis Club. 

Recreational Activities abound

With 62 acres of parkland, South Orange contains many facilities that provide an outlet for its residents such as baseball fields, tennis courts, soccer field, duck pond, outdoor pool, playgrounds and a community center. There is also a sledding hill for all to enjoy during the winter months.

Columbia High School Maplewood NJ

South Orange, NJ Schools are highly-rated

If you are considering South Orange, New Jersey as a place to live, the schools are enticing. Shared with nearby Maplewood, South Orange is home to six elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. For the family seeking a school that is geared towards higher education, Columbia High School comes highly recommended with many advanced classes that are guaranteed to prepare your child for college. It also contains many extracurricular clubs, which includes chess and astronomy as well as varsity sports.

For complete information on the South Orange public schools, visit the School District of South Orange & Maplewood website

Interested in learning more about the town and homes of South Orange, NJ? Call Victoria on (973) 220-3050 or email: victoria@victoriacarter.com.

 

Get a glimpse of this wonderful community by watching our South Orange video.

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Columbia High School photo credit: Joel Weinberger / Metromoxie at en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons