Nestled in the Watchung Mountains
Encompassing an area of approximately 12-square miles, West Orange, New Jersey is spread over two valleys and ridges of the Watchung Mountain Range. There is much open space with about 25% of the township consisting of county and municipal parks in addition to private and public golf courses. Originally part of Newark, NJ, West Orange was founded as a part of the Orange Township in November of 1806. It remained part of the Orange Township until 1863 when it became its own township and in 1900 re-established itself as a town.
With approximately 47,000 residents, West Orange is a large town. In the most recent niche.com survey, it was awarded an "A" rating with highlights being the public schools and its family-friendliness. It also is a diverse and trending community, ranked #21 in the same survey for Most Diverse Suburbs in New Jersey.
The New York Times has an excellent slideshow featuring the town, Living in West Orange.
With an overall A rating in Niche, West Orange was rated #27 in the list of Most Diverse Suburbs in New Jersey:
West Orange has excellent public schools and is home to several prestigious private schools. Residents who send their children to public school will find that there are seven elementary schools along with three middle schools and West Orange High School, the only high school in the township. Dedicated to their education, the township of West Orange invested several millions of dollars into upgrading the school campuses just a few short years ago. One of the most popular neighborhoods because of the schools, the Gregory section, was the topic of one of our recent blogs.
For complete information on the West Orange school district, visit the West Orange Public Schools website.
Commuting To and From West Orange
Many of the township’s 47,000 residents travel to New York City and Newark for work. Both of these areas are easily accessible through major connecting highways, excellent train and bus service as well as through adjacent towns. West Orange runs a free jitney bus service to both Orange Station and South Orange Station so residents can easily take the Midtown Direct into New York Penn Station.
For more specific information on commuting from West Orange, New Jersey, see our Commuting page.
Parks & Recreation
If you are looking for recreational activities, you will find several reservations – including South Mountain and Eagle Rock – in which you can hike to your heart’s content on the many trails. Ball fields are available for residents as are bridal paths. You can also fish, jog or even go horseback riding. The Turtle Back Zoo along with the South Mountain Ice Skating Area are part of the facilities of the South Mountain Reservation Complex.
The town is very proud of its theatrical nature and calls itself home to many actors, Broadway stars as well as artists and musicians. Many residents belong to one of the five country and golf clubs that exist within the township as well.
One very famous community is Llewellyn Park, best known as the first residential development that took place in America. It consists of 175 homes sprawled out on multi-acre lots. It is a prestigious retreat that envelopes the type of design that is famous throughout the architecture in West Orange, the European design.
Thomas Edison is undoubtedly the most famous citizen to ever live in West Orange. He resided in West Orange from 1887 through 1931 when he passed away at his estate, known as Glenmont. As a tribute, his laboratory and home have been preserved and are currently maintained by the National Park Service.
West Orange is also home to the very first movie studio that ever existed – Edison’s Black Maria. It remains, to this day, a media hub with several radio stations calling the town home and Verizon running a central office right on Prospect Avenue.
One very popular neighborhood, the Gregory neighborhood, has excellent schools and was the topic of one of our blogs, "West Orange's Gregory Neighborhood — Trending and Affordable."