About Bridgewater, NJ
Bridgewater, NJ is the largest single “tenant” on NJ Route 22. About 9 miles.
Over time, Bridgewater, as a category – should have a decent representation on NJroute22.com.
Below is the “encyclopedia” entry:
Bridgewater Township, New Jersey
Bridgewater Township is a township in Somerset County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township’s population was 44,464, reflecting an increase of 1,524 (+3.5%) from the 42,940 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 10,431 (+32.1%) from the 32,509 counted in the 1990 Census.
Bridgewater Township was originally created by Royal charter on April 4, 1749, from portions of the Northern precinct. It was incorporated as one of New Jersey’s initial group of 104 townships by the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798, under the Township Act of 1798. During the nineteenth century, portions of the township were taken to form Warren Township (March 5, 1806), Branchburg Township (April 5, 1845), Somerville (March 25, 1863), Raritan (April 3, 1868) and Bound Brook (March 24, 1869).
Bridgewater is a relatively large, suburban township located in the center of Somerset County. The area of the present Township of Bridgewater was originally purchased from a local Lenape Native American tribe. Bridgewater was chartered by George II of Great Britain in 1749, and incorporated on February 21, 1798, as one of New Jersey’s 104 original townships. It is named after the town of Bridgwater in the English county of Somerset.
Tradition holds that it was at the Middlebrook encampment that the first official flag of the United States was unfurled, after a law to adopt a national flag had been passed by Congress on June 14, 1777. By special order of Congress, a Thirteen Star Flag is flown 24 hours a day at the Washington Camp Ground, part of the former Middlebrook encampment, in Bridgewater. Since 1889, the first hoisting of the flag is commemorated annually each July 4 with a changing of the flag, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, and the delivery of a historical address.
Until the 1960s, Bridgewater was largely known as a farming community. In the 1970s its population began to grow when residents of larger cities such as Plainfield and Newark started to migrate into Bridgewater as a result of the 1967 Plainfield Riots and 1967 Newark riots. Subsequently, Bridgewater started to receive an influx of residents who worked in the strong pharmaceutical, telecommunications and financial industries in Bridgewater and the Raritan Valley. More recently, there has also been growth as Bridgewater has become more popular with New York City commuters who use Bridgewater Station on New Jersey Transit’s Raritan Valley Line or Interstate 78 East to commute to New York City. Bridgewater is now a fairly developed suburban community, with only a few traces of its rural past still evident in the town (particularly in its northwestern section). Bridgewater is now Somerset County’s second-most populous municipality, after Franklin Township.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 32.510 square miles (84.200 km), including 32.037 square miles (82.974 km) of land and 0.473 square miles (1.226 km) of water (1.46%).
While much of Bridgewater has relatively flat terrain, the northeastern portion of the township is very hilly, with the First Ridge of the Watchung Mountains (sometimes known as the First Watchung Mountain) passing through the township. Additionally, the Second Ridge (Second Mountain) passes just north of the township border.
The Raritan River and its branches and tributaries form much of Bridgewater’s borders with other municipalities and a number of smaller rivers and streams run through Bridgewater. The Raritan itself runs along Bridgewater’s southern border (except where Somerville and Raritan were carved out as separate boroughs) and the North Branch of the Raritan River forms the township’s western border with Branchburg. The North Branch and South Branch of the Raritan River meet at the extreme southwestern corner of Bridgewater at the border with both Branchburg Township and Hillsborough Township, and this point known as the Raritan River Confluence was once intended to be a major reservoir.
Bradley Gardens (with a 2010 Census population of 14,206), Finderne (5,600), Green Knoll (6,200) and Martinsville (11,980) are census-designated places and unincorporated communities located within Bridgewater Township. Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Chimney Rock, Middle Brook Heights, Milltown and Sunset Lake.
Bridgewater borders 13 other municipalities. Its longest borders are with Branchburg Township, Bedminster Township, Bernards Township, Warren Township, Bound Brook, Somerville and Raritan. It also borders Green Brook (though connected only by Route 22), Middlesex (though connected only by one local street), South Bound Brook (a very short border in the middle of the Raritan River), Franklin Township (the only street connection is Interstate 287), Manville (the only street connection is Finderne Avenue, a county highway), and Hillsborough Township (no direct street connection).
Bridgewater Township’s ZIP Code is 08807, with 08836 used in the community of Martinsville, and 08805 used in the Thomae Park section (mailing address of Bound Brook). Bridgewater’s area codes are 908 and 732/848. Bridgewater is in Raritan Valley (a line of cities in Central New Jersey). Bridgewater lies in the western division of the Raritan Valley along with Branchburg and Raritan.
Bradley Gardens: Located in southwestern Bridgewater, bordered on the east by Raritan and Branchburg to the west. This is one of Bridgewater’s older residential areas but also includes some newer developments as well as a commercial area along Old York Road.
- North Branch (eastern portion): Most of North Branch is in Branchburg, but a portion lies to the east of the North Branch of the Raritan River, in Bridgewater Township.
- Finderne: Located in southeastern Bridgewater between Bound Brook and Somerville. This is a diverse area with older neighborhoods bordering Foothill Road, newer developments, multi-unit housing near the Raritan River/Manville border, as well as commercial and industrial areas. The Middlebrook Crossing industrial park, the Promenade shopping center and TD Bank Ballpark, home to the Somerset Patriots, are located here.
- Thomae Park: In the extreme eastern portion of Bridgewater, bordering Bound Brook and Middlesex. Residents there have a Bound Brook ZIP code. One of their main attractions is Thomae Park, which has a playground, basketball court, baseball field, and hiking trail.
Green Knoll: Located in central Bridgewater, this is a residential area with many major commercial developments and government facilities, including the Bridgewater Commons Mall at the intersection of U.S. Route 22and U.S. Route 202–206, a large office park just west of the Commons across 202-206, the municipal building and police station, and Bridgewater-Raritan High School.
- Country Club/Meadow Road Area: This area is referred to by some as the “Country Club-Meadow Road area” or similar names, after the major north-south streets there. Some also refer to “the Van Holten area” after the elementary school located there. It borders Bedminster and Branchburg. It is Bridgewater’s most “rural” section, although it is comprised almost exclusively of residential communities.
- Milltown/Vanderveer Road Area: This area is known to some as the “Milltown-Vanderveer” area. The area is northeast of Bradley Gardens bordering Raritan and Branchburg. It is mainly a residential community with many new homes built in recent years.
- Martinsville: Located in northeastern Bridgewater near Warren Township and Bernards Township. This is an affluent, predominantly residential area, though it does have its own commercial center along Washington Valley Road, and its own post office and ZIP code. This also is a very hilly area as it is the portion of Bridgewater through which the Watchung Mountains pass.
- Sunset Lake: Built around a man-made lake in the extreme northern part of Bridgewater, near the interchange of Interstate 287 and Interstate 78. Some of the residents there have the Basking Ridge ZIP code 07920.
|* = Lost territory in previous decade.|
According to National Geographic magazine, Bridgewater has an unusually high number of twins and triplets.
At the 2010 United States Census, there were 44,464 people, 16,111 households, and 12,035 families residing in the township. The population density was 1,387.9 per square mile (535.9/km). There were 16,657 housing units at an average density of 519.9 per square mile (200.7/km). The racial makeup of the township was 76.46% (33,996) White, 2.38% (1,059) Black or African American, 0.10% (46) Native American, 17.83% (7,927) Asian, 0.00% (2) Pacific Islander, 1.46% (647) from other races, and 1.77% (787) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 6.76% (3,004) of the population.
There were 16,111 households, of which 38.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.1% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.3% were non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.21.
In the township, 25.5% of the population were under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 30.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.2 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.8 males.
The Census Bureau’s 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $108,680 (with a margin of error of +/- $5,095) and the median family income was $130,594 (+/- $6,507). Males had a median income of $90,875 (+/- $4,851) versus $65,501 (+/- $4,264) for females. The per capita income for the township was $46,994 (+/- $1,811). About 1.6% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.
National Starch and Chemical Company is based in the township.
Parks and recreation
Washington Camp Ground (also known as Middlebrook encampment), just north of Bound Brook, is a preserved portion of the land on which the army of George Washington encamped during the winter of 1778-79, though the general himself stayed in a house in Somerville.
The area also offers many parks and other recreational facilities, including Washington Valley Park.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010, the township had a total of 239.75 miles (385.84 km) of roadways, of which 189.03 miles (304.21 km) were maintained by the municipality, 23.49 miles (37.80 km) by Somerset County and 27.23 miles (43.82 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
The Raritan Valley Line of NJ Transit provides service at the Bridgewater station, located on the old American Cyanamid property. NJ Transit ended service at the Finderne station, off Finderne Avenue, as of October 2006.
Bridgewater Township is serviced by three local airports, Solberg-Hunterdon Airport to the west in Readington, Somerset Airport to the north in Bedminster Township, and Central Jersey Regional Airport to the south in Manville. These airports are open to the public and offer charter flight services as well as flight training and other aviation-related services. They operate in all weather conditions and have instrument approaches available for use by pilots in bad weather.
The township’s Communications Center handles all emergency calls with 11 full-time dispatchers and five part-time dispatchers, ensuring that all calls are directed to the appropriate department. The Bridgewater emergency dispatch is being transitioned to Somerset County at an unknown time frame, joining nine other county municipalities that have emergency calls handled centrally and dispatched to each individual police department. The move is expected to save the township $4.5 million over 10 years, saving $4.50 on the average tax bill.
Bridgewater has 75 officers who are a part of the Bridgewater Township Police Department, which includes a patrol division, a detective bureau, a traffic unit, a communications bureau, a youth services bureau and many other divisions.
Bridgewater has six all-volunteer fire companies, which provide fire suppression and assist in vehicle extrication and rescue attempts:
- Country Hills Fire Company (District 3)
- Green Knoll Fire Company (District 3)
- North Branch Fire Company (District 3)
- Bradley Gardens Fire Company (District 2)
- Finderne Fire Company (District 4)
- Martinsville Fire Company (District 1)
Bridgewater is served by five volunteer BLS rescue squads, which provide EMS coverage as well as vehicle extrication, water rescue, and other rescue services. ALS (paramedics) are dispatched from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – Somerset. During daytime hours, RWJ – Somerset also provides Basic Life Support coverage for a portion of the township.
- Martinsville Rescue Squad
- Green Knoll Rescue Squad
- Finderne First Aid & Rescue Squad
- Bradley Gardens First Aid & Rescue Squad
- Bound Brook First Aid Squad
- Bridgewater is the setting for a concept album by the band The World/Inferno Friendship Society. Titled The True Story of the Bridgewater Astral League, the album talks about a gang of young people who like to get together and create all sorts of mischief.
- It was one the filming locations for the Columbia Pictures 1994 comedy film North, which used the Bridgewater Commons Mall as the setting for a discussion between characters.
Superfund cleanup site
In August 2011, Hurricane Irene submerged the former American Cyanamid Superfund site, causing chemicals to leak into the nearby Raritan River. It could cost Pfizer up to $205 million and take a decade to clean up nearly all of the contaminated American Cyanamid site in Bridgewater—of which 560 acres (230 ha) are in the township and 10 acres (4.0 ha) are in Bound Brook—according to a company study awaiting federal approval.
In early 2011, application was made to turn the former inn/reception center, the Redwood Inn, into a mosque, the town’s first. The township council passed an ordinance that required houses of worship, country clubs and other such businesses only be built on locations with access to major roads, which would directly impact the application by the mosque. The planning board then immediately dismissed the application, averting state statute that would become effective on May 5 that would have made rejection much more difficult. The applicant, Al Falah Center, then filed a lawsuit against the township.
In December 2014, the case was settled out of court, with the township agreeing to purchase a 15-acre (6.1 ha) lot between Routes 202-206 and Route 287 for $2.75 million and give it to the organization to build a mosque, as well as provide $5 million paid by its insurer for reimbursement for legal fees and alleged damages. In return, the case was dropped and the township was given ownership of the original Mountaintop Road property, with the zoning ordinance law left intact.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Bridgewater Township include:
- Hank Beenders (1916–2003), early professional basketball player.
- Herman Carr (1924-2008), physicist who was an inventor and early pioneer of magnetic resonance imaging.
- Frank DiPascali (born 1956), CFO of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC and key lieutenant of Bernard Madoff.
- Paul Heck (born 1967), music producer and artist liaison for the Red Hot Organization, also an independent sound manager.
- Andrea Kane, author of romance novels.
- Matt Kassel (born 1989), soccer player for the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer.
- Paul Laird (born 1958), musicologist at the University of Kansas who has published several books, on Leonard Bernstein, American musicals and other classical music topics.
- Eric Murdock (born 1968), former professional basketball player. Star point guard at Bridgewater-Raritan High School West, and later Providence College. Played nine seasons in the NBA.
- Varun Sandesh (born 1989), actor in Telugu cinema.
- Scott Schwartz (born 1968), former child actor who appeared in 1980s films The Toy and A Christmas Story, the latter as Flick, the boy who gets his tongue stuck to a telephone pole.
- Adam Small, composer, producer and instrumentalist with film and television credits.
- Jack Terricloth (born 1970), pseudonym of Pete Ventantonio, frontman of the band The World/Inferno Friendship Society.
- David Wiesner (born 1956), author and illustrator of children’s books and publications. His work has won several honors, including three Caldecott Medals.