About Branchburg, NJ
Branchburg as a town – is a fairly interesting mix. It’s been called “not quite rural, not quite suburban, but a decidedly middle-class town.”
Below is the “encyclopedia” entry:
Branchburg, New Jersey (Somerset Co.)
Branchburg is a township in Somerset County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township’s population was 14,459, reflecting a decline of 107 (−0.7%) from the 14,566 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 3,678 (+33.8%) from the 10,888 counted in the 1990 Census.
The area of today’s Branchburg has a history antedating the American Revolutionary War. The township was incorporated by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 5, 1845, from portions of Bridgewater Township. The township is named for its location at a point where branches of the Raritan River merge.
The land that is now known as Branchburg Township was originally inhabited by the Raritans, a tribe of the Lenni Lenape Native Americans. By 1686 most of the land was purchased from the Lenape by the Lords Proprietors of East Jersey, who sold the land in small parcels to numerous settlers, mostly of Dutch or English extraction. With the 1688 redrawing of the boundary between East and West Jersey, the Branchburg region was split between Essex County to the north and the newly formed Somerset County to the south. With Somerset’s acquisition of territory from Essex and Middlesex Counties in 1741, Branchburg lay entirely within Somerset County.
Bridgewater Township was chartered in 1749. The residents of the part of Bridgewater west of the Raritan River petitioned the New Jersey Legislature for incorporation as a separate township, which was granted by an act dated April 5, 1845. The first town meeting was held April 14, 1845, in White Oak Tavern, a stagecoach stop and local meeting place along the Old York Road.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 20.279 square miles (52.521 km), including 20.044 square miles (51.912 km) of land and 0.235 square miles (0.609 km) of water (1.16%).
The township is 11 miles (18 km) long and approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) across at its widest point. Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Burnt Mill, Centerville, Fox Hollow, Neshanic, Neshanic Station (ZIP code 08853) and North Branch (ZIP code 08876), North Branch Depot and Woodfern.
The main watercourses are the Lamington River on the north, the North Branch of the Raritan River on the east and the South Branch of the Raritan River on the east and south. These rivers along with small streams and brooks are excellent for fishermen who enjoy trout stocked streams and rivers. Branchburg is in the Raritan Valley, a line of cities in Central New Jersey. Branchburg lies in the western division of the Raritan Valley along with Bridgewater and Raritan.
At the 2010 United States Census, there were 14,459 people, 5,271 households, and 4,032 families residing in the township. The population density was 721.4 per square mile (278.5/km). There were 5,419 housing units at an average density of 270.4 per square mile (104.4/km). The racial makeup of the township was 86.80% (12,550) White, 2.25% (326) Black or African American, 0.15% (22) Native American, 8.40% (1,215) Asian, 0.03% (5) Pacific Islander, 0.59% (86) from other races, and 1.76% (255) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 4.45% (643) of the population.
There were 5,271 households, of which 38.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.6% were married couples living together, 6.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.5% were non-families. 18.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.17.
In the township, 26.1% of the population were under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 33.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.3 years. For every 100 females there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.4 males.
The Census Bureau’s 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $119,092 (with a margin of error of +/- $7,934) and the median family income was $136,310 (+/- $12,919). Males had a median income of $97,359 (+/- $7,041) versus $61,192 (+/- $8,826) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $51,387 (+/- $2,945). About 1.5% of families and 1.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.5% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.
Branchburg Township is the home to the 31 Tannery Project which serves as the corporate headquarters for Ferreira Construction, the Ferreira Group, and Noveda Technologies. The 42,000-square-foot (3,900 m) office and shop building was constructed in 2006 and is the 1st building in the state of New Jersey to meet New Jersey’s Executive Order 54. The building is also the first Net Zero electric commercial building in the United States.
Branchburg is home to the 2012 14U Babe Ruth World Series Championship baseball team, the first from the state since 1989. The underdog Bulldogs, consisting of players drawn from a tryout pool totaling only 16 players, competed and won against teams drawn from tryout pools as large as 500 players.
Branchburg Township is served by three major Emergency Services; a full-time Police Department, an all-volunteer Emergency Medical & Rescue Services Squad, and four all-volunteer Fire Departments.
The Branchburg Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Young, was established on June 16, 1980. The Department currently has 26 full-time sworn officers, two civilian employees, seven crossing guards, and 13 Emergency Management volunteers. The Department has specialized units of officers who have taken on duties in addition to their patrol or detective work. These include the Detective Bureau, Juvenile Officer, School Resources, Traffic Safety, Community Policing, Services, Bike Patrol, First-Aid, Explorers program and Emergency Management.
A clerk called officers about a suspicious person at the Quick Chek store at 1296 Easton Turnpike in Branchburg on January 26, 2010. Officers arrested Lloyd Woodson, and found in his possession and in his motel room a large weapons cache that included illegal weapons and ammunition, a detailed map of Fort Drum, and a traditional red-and-white Middle Eastern headdress. He was charged on multiple state and federal weapons charges. The three officers who responded to the call received an Exceptional Duty Award for their actions.
EMS and rescue squad
Emergency Medical Services and Rescue Services are provided throughout the Township by the Branchburg Rescue Squad, which was formed in October 1955 and continues to serve the residents and business on an all-volunteer basis. 2013 officers include President Carol Waechter and Chief Matt Hoffman. The Branchburg volunteers rely solely on donations received from the community. Services provided include Basic Life Support, Emergency Medical Services (BLS/EMS), NFPA Technician Level: Vehicle Extrication, Water Rescue, Confined Space, Rope Rescue, High Angle Rescue NFPA Operations Level: Ice Rescue NFPA Awareness Level: Trench Collapse, Building & Structural Collapse. Operating out of Station 74 Rescue at 113 River Road are three BLS Ambulances, a Heavy Rescue Services Unit, one Rescue Services Unit, one First Responder/Command Unit and two Inflatable Rescue Boats.
The Township of Branchburg is covered by four volunteer fire departments: North Branch Volunteer Fire Company in the north, Readington Volunteer Fire Company to the west, Neshanic Volunteer Fire Department on the south and Country Hills Volunteer Fire Company covering the central portion of the township.
The Branchburg Township School District serves public school students in pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade. As of the 2011-12 school year, the district’s three schools had an enrollment of 1,707 students and 151.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.30:1. Schools in the district (with 2011-12 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are: Whiton Elementary School (728 students; in grades PreK-3), Stony Brook School (380; 4–5) Branchburg Central Middle School (599; 6–8).
The public secondary school serving Branchburg for ninth through twelfth grades is Somerville High School, which students attend as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Somerville Public Schools.
Midland School is a non-profit special education school serving the individual social, emotional, academic and career needs of children with developmental disabilities. The school serves 245 students, ranging in age from 5 to 21 years old, from central and northern New Jersey.
Branchburg Township is the home of the main campus of Raritan Valley Community College.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010, the township had a total of 113.08 miles (181.98 km) of roadways, of which 87.96 miles (141.56 km) were maintained by the municipality, 18.74 miles (30.16 km) by Somerset County and 6.38 miles (10.27 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Branchburg Township is centrally located with access to major roadways and highways. U.S. Route 202 and U.S. Route 22 travel through the township with easy passage to Interstate 78, Interstate 287 and Route 206, enabling residents to travel to New York City and Philadelphia within one hour.
New Jersey Transit train service between Clinton, New Jersey and New York City is available at the North Branch station (located on Station Road), which offers limited daily service and no weekend trains. The Raritan Valley Line has weekly service from North Branch Station to Newark Penn Station, where connections can be made to Pennsylvania Station in Midtown Manhattan.
Trans-Bridge Lines offers bus service between New Hope, Pennsylvania and New York City, with a stop at the Municipal Park-and-Ride facility on Route 202 North on a daily basis, with westbound service on the Doylestown route to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and eastbound to Newark Liberty International Airport and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.
Newark Liberty International Airport is located approximately 35 miles (56 km) northeast of Branchburg. Also within driving distance are Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE, formerly Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton International Airport) near Allentown, Pennsylvania, John F. Kennedy International Airport and La Guardia Airport in New York, as well as the Trenton-Mercer Airport near Trenton and Princeton in Mercer County.
Points of interest
The Little Red Schoolhouse, located on South Branch Road, is a one-room schoolhouse that was built in 1873, the last one-room school house in use in the county. Its purpose was to educate children in grades 1–8 from Branchburg and Hillsborough townships. It was closed down in 1965. In 2007 the schoolhouse was renovated to add the bell tower back onto the top of the building. The Little Red Schoolhouse is now owned by the township of Branchburg. Notable students at the Little Red Schoolhouse include opera star and Edison protégé Anna Case and Marion Van Fleet, the mother of actor Lee Van Cleef.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Branchburg include:
- Christopher Bateman (born 1957), member of the New Jersey Senate representing the 16th Legislative District, who served as mayor of Branchburg in 1986.
- Jeffrey Chiesa (born 1965), New Jersey Attorney General who was named to the United States Senate to fill Frank Lautenberg‘s vacant seat on an interim basis from June 2013 until the October 2013 special election, when Cory Booker took office.
- Denise Coyle (born 1953), member of the New Jersey General Assembly from 2008 to 2012 who served as mayor of Branchburg in 1993.