Caldwell is a borough located in northwestern Essex County, New Jersey, about west of New York City and north-west of Newark. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 7,822, reflecting an increase of 238 (+3.1%) from the 7,584 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 35 (+0.5%) from the 7,549 counted in the 1990 Census.
Caldwell was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 10, 1892, from portions of Caldwell Township (now Fairfield Township), based on the results of a referendum held on the previous day. In 1981, the borough's name was changed to the "Township of the Borough of Caldwell", as one of seven Essex County municipalities to pass a referendum to become a township, joining four municipalities that had already made the change, of what would ultimately be more than a dozen Essex County municipalities to reclassify themselves as townships in order take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies that allocated townships a greater share of government aid to municipalities on a per capita basis. Effective January 26, 1995, it again became a borough.
Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, and the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms, was born in Caldwell on March 18, 1837. His father, Rev. Richard Falley Cleveland, was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. The Grover Cleveland birthplace—the church's former manse—is now a museum and is open to the public.
Though today the Caldwell area is considered to be a suburb of both Newark and New York City, the area originally developed as its own individual, self-contained community and economy rather than as urban sprawl from a larger city. When it was formed, miles of woods separated downtown Caldwell from Newark or any of its developing suburbs.
New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Caldwell as its third-best place to live in its 2010 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey.
In 1702, settlers purchased the Horseneck Tract from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans for goods equal to $325. This purchase encompassed much of western Essex County, from the First Mountain to the Passaic River at Pine Brook. Caldwell is located in the center of the Horseneck Tract. Settlement began about 1740 by Thomas Gould and Saunders Sanders.
The Horseneck Tract consisted of modern-day Caldwell, West Caldwell, North Caldwell, Fairfield, Verona, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Roseland, and portions of Livingston and West Orange. This land was part of the larger purchase and had been referred to as the Horse Neck Tract until February 17, 1787, when the town congregation voted to change the name to Caldwell, in honor of the Reverend James Caldwell who pushed for their organization's creation.
Caldwell Township contained what is today the towns of West Caldwell and Caldwell. Soon after, the area of Caldwell Township just to the east of Caldwell Borough between Caldwell Borough and Montclair (present-day Verona and Cedar Grove) decided to follow Caldwell's lead and incorporated itself as its own borough, Verona. Some of the already developed eastern neighborhoods of Caldwell Township chose to become part of Montclair, as it was a rapidly developing suburb of Newark and Paterson. At around the same time, the area north of Caldwell Borough became its own town, North Caldwell. The wooded area directly to the south of downtown Caldwell Borough became Essex Fells. Meanwhile, the farmland to the south of the western portion of Caldwell township attempted to become its own municipality known as South Caldwell. This failed, as much of developed sections of that area lied on its southernmost and easternmost borders, along the expanding Newark suburbs of Livingston and West Orange respectively. Those areas were engulfed by those two towns once they became incorporated municipalities of several small villages and developments.
This left only the most rural farmland south of Caldwell Borough and Essex Fells to become its own township, Roseland. At this point, all that remained of the original Caldwell Township was a large piece of undeveloped land in the northwesternmost part of Essex County. In 1963, Caldwell Township changed its name to Fairfield in order to avoid being confused with Caldwell Borough.
Immediately following the separation of the original Caldwell, the western part of Caldwell Borough generally remained less developed than downtown Caldwell Borough and contained several farms and a large area of undeveloped swampland known as Hatfield Swamp. However, two individual settlements, known as Franklin and Westville, soon formed in the western part of Caldwell Borough. As development increased and population grew in the western part of Caldwell, the town's more rural western population and more urban east often could not reconcile their differences. This led to the areas of Franklin and Westville consolidating into their own township known as West Caldwell in 1904, leaving only the one square mile of original downtown Horseneck development as the borough of Caldwell. Lewis G. Lockward was elected the first mayor of Caldwell. In 1929, an attempt to consolidate the three Caldwells into a single municipality was rejected by voters.
This borough was one of the filming locations for the Columbia Pictures 1994 comedy film North.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.18 square miles (3.05 km2), including 1.18 square miles (3.05 km2) of land and <0.01 square miles (<0.01 km2) of water (0.08%).
Caldwell is part of "The Caldwells", the group of three Essex County municipalities which all have the word Caldwell in their name. Together with North Caldwell and West Caldwell, these communities are named after the Reverend James Caldwell, a Patriot who played an active role supporting the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, most notably his actions at the Battle of Springfield, where he gave the soldiers pages from hymn books to use as wadding for their rifle bullets. While each community has its own independent government, and the three municipalities have no shared governance (other than Essex County), the term is often used to refer to the area, including on highway exit signs. Signage for Exit 47B and 52 on Interstate 80 refer to "The Caldwells" as a destination. Fairfield Township was known as Caldwell Township until it abandoned its original name in 1963 in an effort to avoid confusion of mail distribution in the various Caldwells.
The borough borders the Essex County municipalities of Essex Fells, North Caldwell and West Caldwell, New Jersey.
In a report performed by the United Way of Northern New Jersey based on 2012 data, around 34% of Caldwell households were classified as "Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed" households (below a threshold of $50,000 for households below 65, below $35,000 for those over 65), struggling with basic necessities, such as housing, childcare, food, health care, and transportation, compared to 38% statewide and 47% in Essex County.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $76,354 (with a margin of error of +/− $7,683) and the median family income was $99,898 (+/− $10,668). Males had a median income of $75,026 (+/− $12,328) versus $61,667 (+/− $20,342) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $45,693 (+/− $4,350). About 1.1% of families and 2.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.7% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 7,584 people, 3,311 households, and 1,814 families residing in the borough. The population density was 6,396.4 people per square mile (2,460.7/km2). There were 3,396 housing units at an average density of 2,864.2 per square mile (1,101.9/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 91.22% White, 2.27% African American, 0.11% Native American, 4.06% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.20% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.64% of the population.
There were 3,311 households, out of which 23.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.2% were non-families. 38.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the borough the population was spread out, with 18.1% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.6 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $61,250, and the median income for a family was $81,989. Males had a median income of $53,548 versus $40,543 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $34,630. About 2.5% of families and 4.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.0% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.
Caldwell is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government, which is used in 218 municipalities (of the 565) statewide, making it the most common form of government in New Jersey. The governing body is comprised of a Mayor and a Borough Council, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council is comprised of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Caldwell is a "weak mayor/strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
, the Mayor of Caldwell is Democrat John Kelley, whose term of office ends December 31, 2022. Members of the Borough Council are Council President Jeffrey Gates (D, 2022), Rick Alonso (R, 2024), Barbara Z. Buechner (R, 2024), Henderson Cole (D, 2023), Frances DePalma-Iozzi (D, 2022) and Jonathan Lace (D, 2023).
Caldwell and West Caldwell share services including the Recreation Department and the school system. The Board of Recreation Commissioners of the Boroughs of Caldwell and West Caldwell was established in 1947.
Federal, state and county representation
Caldwell is located in the 11th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 27th state legislative district.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 5,035 registered voters in Caldwell, of which 1,585 (31.5%) were registered as Democrats, 1,118 (22.2%) were registered as Republicans and 2,331 (46.3%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There was one voter registered to another party.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 49.8% of the vote (1,814 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 49.4% (1,799 votes), and other candidates with 0.9% (31 votes), among the 3,672 ballots cast by the borough's 5,281 registered voters (28 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 69.5%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 48.4% of the vote (1,823 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 47.0% (1,770 votes) and other candidates with 1.1% (41 votes), among the 3,769 ballots cast by the borough's 4,973 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.8%. In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 52.2% of the vote (1,981 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry with 46.6% (1,767 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (33 votes), among the 3,794 ballots cast by the borough's 4,852 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 78.2.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 62.7% of the vote (1,485 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 36.2% (857 votes), and other candidates with 1.1% (25 votes), among the 2,417 ballots cast by the borough's 5,263 registered voters (50 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 45.9%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 50.5% of the vote (1,353 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 37.7% (1,008 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 9.4% (251 votes) and other candidates with 0.9% (24 votes), among the 2,677 ballots cast by the borough's 4,974 registered voters, yielding a 53.8% turnout.
The Caldwell-West Caldwell Public Schools is a public school district that serves students from Caldwell and West Caldwell. The roots of the district date back to 1872, though formal consolidation of the districts was established in 1904. As of the 2017–18 school year, the district, comprised of six schools, had an enrollment of 2,655 students and 218.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.1:1. Students are enrolled in an elementary school based on their home location, and students attend one middle school and one high school. Schools in the district (with 2017-18 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Harrison School (West Caldwell; 42 students; grades K-PreK), Jefferson Elementary School (West Caldwell; 274; K-5), Lincoln Elementary School (Caldwell; 247; K-5), Washington Elementary School (West Caldwell; 366; K-5), Wilson Elementary School (West Caldwell; 240; K-5), Grover Cleveland Middle School (Caldwell; 626; 6-8) and James Caldwell High School (West Caldwell; 812; 9-12).
The Essex County Vocational Technical Schools offers magnet school and vocational programs to students in eighth through twelfth grades from Caldwell and all of Essex County.
Private schools in Caldwell include Trinity Academy for grades PreK-8 which was founded in 1991 and Mount Saint Dominic Academy for grades 9–12, which both operate under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. In 2015, Trinity Academy was one of 15 schools in New Jersey, and one of six private schools, recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in the exemplary high performing category by the United States Department of Education.
The borough is home to Caldwell University, a catholic liberal arts college with 2,200 students. The West Essex Campus of Essex County College is located in West Caldwell.
Roads and highways
, the borough had a total of of roadways, of which were maintained by the municipality and by Essex County.
County Route 506 is the most significant roadway in Caldwell.
NJ Transit offers bus service to and from Caldwell on the 29 and 71 routes.
Commuter train service had been offered at Caldwell station on the Caldwell Branch, which ran from Great Notch to Essex Fells, with service offered starting in 1891. The borough of Caldwell bought the station in 1965 from the Erie Lackawanna Railway and demolished it later that year. Service at Caldwell station ended in October 1966, when Erie Lackawanna discontinued several commuter lines, in the face of unsuccessful legal action in the courts to keep the service operating. In 1979, the tracks on the Caldwell Branch were torn up.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Caldwell include:
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article Caldwell, NJ, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 4.0.