Union County

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Basic Information

Address: 10 Elizabethtown Plaza Elizabeth, NJ 07207
Phone Number: 908-527-4000
Fax Number: 908-527-4704
Person of Contact: Sebastian D'Elia
County Seat: Elizabeth

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Union County

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Additional Information

Year Organized: 1857
Square Miles: 105.4
Size of Board: 9
MSA: Newark-Union
Townships: Berkeley Heights, Clark, Cranford, Fanwood, Garwood, Hillside, Kenilworth, Linden, Mountainside, New Providence, Rahway, Roselle, Roselle Park, Scotch Plains, Springfield, Summit, Westfield, Winfield
Cites: Elizabeth, Plainfield, Union
Schools: Information about K-12 public education in Union County can be found at the Superintendent of School's webpage: http://ucnj.org/union-county-superintendent-of-schools/ Union Catholic Regional High School Union County Vocational Technical Schools: Academy for Allied Health Sciences, Academy for Information Technology, Academy for Performing Arts, Union County Magnet High School, Union County Career and Technical Institute, Union County Vocational Technical High School
School Districts: Scotch Plains-Fanwood Regional School District, Plainfield Public School District, Winfield Township School District, Linden Public Schools, Springfield Public Schools, Roselle Park School District, Garwood Public Schools, New Providence School District, Rahway Public Schools, Mountainside School District, Summit Public Schools, Kenilworth Public Schools, Union Public School District, Roselle Public Schools, Cranford Township Public Schools, Westfield Public Schools, Hillside Public Schools, Berkeley Heights Public Schools, Union County Vocational Technical Schools
Libraries: Union Public Library, Elizabeth Public Library, Summit Free Public Library, Clark Public Library, Roselle Public Library, Fanwood Memorial Library, Rahway Public Library, Hillside Public Library, Mountainside Public Library, Linden Free Public Library, Kenilworth Public Library, Cranford Public Library, Garwood Borough Public Library, Plainfield Public Library, Roselle Park Public Library, Scotch Plains Public Library, Springfield Public Library, Berkeley Heights Public Library, New Providence Memorial Library
Museums: Tomasulo Art Gallery, Kean University Art Galleries, Les Malamut Art Gallery, Freeholders Gallery, Pearl Street Gallery, Visual Arts Center of NJ, Osborn Cannonball House, Liberty Hall, Miller-Cory House, Trailside Nature and Science Center, Crane-Phillips House, Merchants and Drovers Tavern, Robinson Plantation House, Boxwood Hall, Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Deacon Andrew Hetfield House, Saltbox Museum, Belcher-Ogden House, Snyder Academy, Caldwell Parsonage
Parks: Ashbrook Reservation, Black Brook Park, Briant Park, Cedar Brook Park, Echo Lake Park, Elizabeth River Parkway, Esposito Park, Green Brook Park, Hidden Valley, Houdaille Quarry, Kawameeh Park, Lenape Park, Madison Avenue, Mattano Park, McConnell Park, Milton Lake Park, Nomahegan Park, Oak Ridge Park, Passaic River Park, Stanley Avenue Park, Snyder Avenue Park, Ponderosa Farm Park, Phil Rizzuto Park, Rahway River Park, Rahway River Parkway, Meisel Avenue Park, Washington Avenue Park, Sperry Park, Unami Park, Warinanco Park, Watchung Reservation, Wheeler Park
Population: 552,939

White - 61.33%
African American - 22.05%
Native American - 0.39%
Asian - 4.63%
Pacific Islander - 0.03%
Latino/Hispanic - 27.34%
Other - 8.48%
Two or more races - 3.09%

Medium Income: $55,339
County History:

From the 15th to 17th Centuries, the Dutch and English were drawn to this area -- then occupied by the Lenni Lenapi Indians (or Delaware tribe, as the Europeans called them) -- because of its incredibly easy access by sea. They developed the first colonial settlements in the area because of its natural beauty, vast abundance of fertile fields and natural resources, and offer of personal freedom.

The development of the area was greatly helped by the criss-cross network of Indian trails, which became colonial roads and, centuries later, major highways.

In the historic Elizabethtown Purchase of 1664 -- the Lenni Lanapi gave a group of English settlers title to an immense tract of land that extended from the Raritan to the Passaic Rivers, and westward for over thirty miles. (It is interesting to note that the Indians believed they were selling the rights to use the land for hunting, fishing, farming and such. The English concept of "owning" land was unknown to them at that time.) The purchase led to the first permanent English settlement in New Jersey. Elizabethtown was laid out along the Elizabeth River near the present Union County Courthouse. As the port of entry and first seat of New Jersey government, Elizabeth became a prominent and thriving economic center, and the leading settlement in the state. (It should also be noted that Warinanco and Matteo were two Indians whose names were later given to two County parks.)

In 1683, the General Assembly, meeting in Elizabethtown, divided East New Jersey into four counties: Bergen, Essex, Middlesex and Monmouth. What we know as Union County was originally a part of Essex County.

With the growth in population and continuous division and sale of land parcels, Elizabethtown's boundary lines continued to expand and divide. State legislature created the towns of Springfield (1793), Westfield (1794), Rahway (1804), Union (1808) and New Providence (1809).

The creation of Plainfield in 1847 fueled the movement to secede from Essex County, to create a new county better equipped to meet the needs of the southernmost towns. The animosities between Elizabethtown and Newark heightened in 1807 when Newark replaced Elizabethtown as Essex County's seat of justice, and gradually overcame Elizabethtown in economic importance. It accelerated when Elizabeth incorporated in 1855.