Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Rutherford, New Jersey
Rutherford is located at 40°49'44" North, 74°6'38" West (40.828922, -74.110644).
Rutherford is bounded by the Passaic River bordering Clifton and Passaic to the west, the Erie Railroad bordering East Rutherford to the north and east, the Hackensack River bordering Secaucus to the southeast, and Berrys Creek and Rutherford Avenue bordering Lyndhurst to the south and southwest.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 18,110 people, 7,055 households, and 4,670 families residing in the borough. The population density is 2,488.4/km² (6,451.7/mi²). There are 7,214 housing units at an average density of 991.2/km² (2,570.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the borough is 81.99% White, 2.70% African American, 0.04% Native American, 11.34% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.86% from other races, and 2.03% from two or more races. 8.59% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 7,055 households out of which 28.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.5% are married couples living together, 9.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% are non-families. 28.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.52 and the average family size is 3.16.
In the borough the population is spread out with 20.8% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females there are 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.3 males.
The median income for a household in the borough is $63,820, and the median income for a family is $78,120. Males have a median income of $51,376 versus $39,950 for females. The per capita income for the borough is $30,495. 3.7% of the population and 2.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 3.1% of those under the age of 18 and 6.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
The ridge above the New Jersey Meadowlands upon which Rutherford sits was settled by Native Americans long before the arrival of Walling Van Winkle in 1687. Union Avenue, which runs from the Meadowlands to the Passaic River, may have been an Indian trail; it was referenced in the 1668 grant of land by proprietary Governor Philip Carteret to John Berry .
During the early days of settlement, the land that is now Rutherford was part of New Barbadoes Township, as Berry had lived in Barbados, another English colony, before claiming his grant in New Jersey. New Barbadoes was part of Essex County from 1693 to 1710, when Bergen County was formed. In 1826, the land became part of Lodi Township (of which today's remaining portion is Lodi borough). When Hudson County was formed in 1840, the area that is today North Arlington, Lyndhurst, Rutherford and East Rutherford became part of Harrison Township (of which today's remaining portion is Harrison town). However, the area reverted to Bergen County in 1852 and became known as Union Township.
Part of the region was known as Boiling Springs, for the many hot springs in the vicinity.
The Erie Railroad built its Main Line from Jersey City across the Meadowlands in the 1840s. Daniel Van Winkle, a descendant of Walling, donated land in 1866 for a train station at Boiling Springs. Several resorts were built along the Passaic, with guests disembarking at Boiling Springs station and taking Union Avenue to the river. Later, the railroad opened a station closer to the river, at Carlton Hill.
At the time, much of the property in Rutherford was farmland owned by the estate of John Rutherfurd , a former New Jersey legislator and U.S. Senator, whose homestead was along the Passaic near present-day Rutherford Avenue. Van Winkle opened a real estate office at Depot Square (now Station Square) to sell the land of the Rutherfurd Park Association, and began to lay out the area's street grid. The main roads were Orient Way, a wide boulevard heading south-southwest from the station, and Park Avenue, which headed west-southwest to bring traffic to the new Valley Brook Race Course in what is now Lyndhurst.
In the 1870s, the area began to be called Rutherford. The spelling change may have been the result of name recognition of the Ohio politician Rutherford B. Hayes, who was elected President in 1876. The U.S. Post Office opened a facility called Rutherford in 1876. On September 21, 1881, the Borough of Rutherford was formed by formal vote of secession from Union Township. By then, the community had about 1,000 residents.
Thanks to its easy access to New York City by rail, Rutherford became an early bedroom community. Following the initial wave of settlement in the late 19th century, an additional building boom occurred in the 1920s, when the majority of the borough's current housing stock was constructed.
Public Service brought trolley lines into Rutherford around the turn of the century. The lines extended east to Jersey City, south to Newark, north to Hackensack, and west to Passaic. By the late 1940s, these were replaced by bus service.
Today, the NJ Transit #190 bus offers frequent service to New York, while the #76 bus between Hackensack and Newark also serves Rutherford. Meanwhile, the Bergen County Line train stops at Rutherford's 1898 depot en route from Hoboken to Suffern, with connecting service at Secaucus Junction to Penn Station and Newark Airport.
The original New Jersey state highway 17, in the 1920s, came through downtown Rutherford. Following the 1927 reorganization of state highways, the new NJ 2 (later NJ 17), built starting in 1928, skirted the southeast edge of the borough, between the residential area and the Meadowlands.
In 1948, a new bypass road along the southwest edge of the borough was built to bring traffic from Clifton and points west to the Lincoln Tunnel. The construction of the highway spur S-3 (now NJ 3) caused the demolition or relocation of numerous borough homes.
Public schools began in Rutherford prior to 1900, but the oldest permanent school structure was the Park School, built in 1902. It is currently the home of the Rutherford borough hall, on Park Avenue.
Today's public schools include Rutherford High School, built in 1922 and expanded in 1959 and 2005; and five elementary schools, Lincoln, Pierrepont, Sylvan, Union, and Washington. Pierrepont and Union serve students from kindergarten through grade 8, while the other three are K-5 schools. As of 2005, Lincoln and Washington schools are being expanded, while Sylvan School is to be decommissioned.
In 1942, Fairleigh Dickinson University was founded in Rutherford as a two-year college, anchored by the Iviswold Castle on Montross Avenue, which was built in the 1880s as a summer home by David W. Ivison. After FDU expanded to a four-year college and then to offering graduate programs, it acquired other campuses. In the fall of 1997, the Rutherford campus was purchased by Felician College, an independent private Catholic institution.
Culture and recreation
William Carlos Williams, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, was born in Rutherford in 1883. For most of his adult life, he maintained a physician's office at 9 Ridge Road, at the corner of Park Avenue, even as he continued his artistic endeavors. He died in 1963.
On January 9, 1977, the Rivoli was severely damaged in a fire. Soon afterward, a plan was developed to restore the Rivoli and turn it into a performing arts center. The William Carlos Williams Center for the Performing Arts opened in 1981 and contains three movie screens as well as two performance halls. Since 1995, the Williams Center's primary focus has been on concerts, ballet, opera, and theater for children.
The Meadowlands Museum, which began as a project of parents of children in the public schools in 1961 and was originally based in a room at Sylvan School, moved to the Yereance-Berry house at 91 Crane Avenue in 1974. Its focus is on local history.
Rutherford Memorial Park, in the northwest corner of town along the Passaic, was set aside as parkland by the voters in 1951. Its 30 acres include two baseball diamonds, five softball diamonds, a Little League Baseball field, a football stadium, five tennis courts, two basketball courts, and three playgrounds. Other active recreation parks include Wall Field, near NJ 17, and Tamblyn Field, near NJ 3.
The borough also has several smaller passive parks, including Lincoln Park across from borough hall, which was renovated in 2004. It includes a band shell and several monuments, including a cannon dating to the Spanish-American War, and will soon be the home to the borough's 9/11 memorial.
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