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About South Orange

The history of South Orange dates back to May 21, 1666, when Connecticut settlers landed on the shores of the Passaic River. Guided by Captain Robert Treat and Lieutenant Samuel Swaine, the group purchased land, now known as Newark, from the Lenni Lenape Indians on July 11, 1666. Those families wishing to farm moved westward into South Orange and surrounding areas. In 1678, the Lenapes sold the settlers a second parcel of land running from the East Branch of the Rahway River to the mountain top.

South Orange Avenue, an Indian trail, served as the main thoroughfare. But in 1705, road statutes required landowners to maintain the first primitive highways. These included Main Street and Valley and Ridgewood roads. Washington and his troops often traversed the latter during the American Revolution.

The transition of South Orange from vast farm lands to a prestigious residential community is due in large part to the vision of one man, New York attorney John Gorham Vose. Taken with the rich mountain scenery, he purchased a home on Scotland Road in 1858. In 1862, he began to buy large plots of land to begin his conversion. As building got underway, Villagers took great interest in the development of each magnificent home. In just a few years, 175 acres between Scotland Road and Center Street were complete. Vose christened the area Montrose. Other successful businessmen, Turrell, Kingman, Connett, Mead, Speir, and Mayhew, also bought farms, carved out streets, and helped change the face of the community.

South Orange was part of Newark until 1806, when what is now the Oranges and Maplewood were set off as "Orange Township." The name Orange came into use in the second half of the 18th century, and was officially adopted by a meeting of the inhabitants in 1780. The name South Orange first appeared in print in a newspaper ad in 1793 in "Wood's Gazette." It replaced such old names as Chestnut Hill and the Mountain Plantation. In November, 1977, South Orange voters passed a new Charter for South Orange and changed its name to The Township of South Orange Village.

Education

South Orange shares a quality school system with Maplewood. There are six elementary schools two middle schools and one high school and a reputation for academic excellence. Columbia high School offers advanced placement, college prep and vocational courses, as well as classes in filmmaking and journalism. Columbia offers 25 clubs, from astronomy to chess and 23 varsity sports. Click here to read more about South Orange Schools.

Cultural Activities

The Village of South Orange has always been involved in the Arts. The Baird Community Center is host to a variety of cultural events. We also have the Village Players, South Orange Symphony, plus free out door jazz concerts during the summer in the park. In addition, there is an annual sidewalk art show. Many nationally known artists, writers, actors, and musicians make the Village home because it is so close to the City and Millburn's Papermill Playhouse. 

Demographics

Population (year 2000): 16,964
Males: 8,142 (48.0%), Females: 8,822 (52.0%)

County: Essex

Land area: 2.9 square miles

Zip code: 07079

Median resident age: 34.7 years
Median household income: $83,611 (year 2000)
Median house value: $274,600 (year 2000)

Hospitals/Medical Centers near South Orange

HOSPITAL CENTER AT ORANGE (about 3 miles; ORANGE, NJ)

IRVINGTON GENERAL HOSPITAL (about 3 miles; IRVINGTON, NJ)

EAST ORANGE GENERAL HOSPITAL (about 3 miles; EAST ORANGE, NJ)

Colleges nearest to South Orange

SETON HALL UNIVERSITY (Full-time enrollment: 7,509; Location: 400 S ORANGE AVE; Private, not-for-profit; Website: www.shu.edu; Offers Doctor's degree)

KEAN UNIVERSITY (about 4 miles; UNION, NJ; Full-time enrollment: 8,627)

UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE AND DENTISTRY OF NEW JERSEY (about 5 miles; NEWARK, NJ; FT enrollment: 4,134)

RUTGERS UNIVERSITY-NEWARK (about 6 miles; NEWARK, NJ; FT enrollment: 6,878)

NEW JERSEY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (about 6 miles; NEWARK, NJ; FT enrollment: 6,565)

ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE (about 6 miles; NEWARK, NJ; FT enrollment: 5,893)

UNION COUNTY COLLEGE (about 8 miles; CRANFORD, NJ; FT enrollment: 5,856)

MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY (about 8 miles; UPPER MONTCLAIR, NJ; FT enrollment: 10,226)