Berkeley Heights Township Website: www.BerkeleyHeightsTwpNJ.gov
Berkeley Heights, with its “small-town charm,” is located in Union County, New Jersey, with a population of approximately 13,000. Nestled in the Watchung Mountains, with Morris County to the North and Somerset County to the West and South, Berkeley Heights is a community of comfortable homes and quiet tree lined streets, which provides the ideal setting for enjoying life.
Berkeley Heights has a robust history. The Lenape Native Americans inhabited the area dating back to 1524. The earliest construction began in the area currently known as the Watchung Reservation. The first European settlers arrived in the area in the mid to late 17th century, and purchased the land from the Lenape Native Americans, and it quickly became an agricultural community. During the late 18th century, many residents went off to fight for freedom in the American Revolution. Many battles took place in and around the area.
In the late 18th century, a regional government was formed, which established Springfield Township. Growth continued in the area, with saw mills and sarsaparilla manufacturers, and by the early 19th century Springfield Township divided into Springfield Township and New Providence Township, which included the areas known today as Summit, New Providence, and Berkeley Heights. In the late 19th century, the New Jersey Legislature made it economically advantageous for the large regional governments to split up into smaller locally governed communities. In March of 1869, Summit Township (City of Summit) seceded from New Providence Township, then in March of 1899, the Borough of New Providence seceded from the Township of New Providence. Two local communities having the same name was confusing to other municipalities, and in 1952 New Providence Township voted to change their name to Berkeley Heights Township.
Berkeley Heights was home to the invention of the transistor, solar cell, and laser at Bell Labs in Murray Hill. Free Acres an early Berkeley Heights community, established in 1910 by Bolton Hall, a New York entrepreneur, who followed the teachings of the economist Henry George. Henry George believed in single taxation, where residents pay taxes to the community, and then a lump sum payment from the community is made to the municipality. Free Acres for the most part follows the same principles today, and is home to many residents of Berkeley Heights. The actor James Cagney and his wife, Billie were among the earliest residents of Free Acres.
Berkeley Heights was named as one of the best towns by NJ Monthly Magazine in its September 2011 issue, and was ranked #7 out of 566 towns. CNN/Money Magazine ranked Berkeley Heights as one of the top “50 Best Places to Live in America”, ranking #6 in it’s September 2013 issue. The New York Times described Berkeley Heights as “Suburbia, But Not the Cookie-Cutter kind” in its June 17, 2011 issue.
Berkeley Heights boasts a great school system consisting of 4 elementary schools, 1 middle school and 1 High School. Governor Livingston Regional High School was listed in Newsweek’s “America’s Best High Schools of 2011”, in its June 2011 issue.
Residents enjoy spacious parks and outstanding recreational programs for all ages. Having an ideal location, Berkeley Heights is located within one hour from the mountains, the shore or New York City. It is also located within 20 miles of Newark Liberty International Airport, and has easy commuting by train or bus to New York City for work or play. Berkeley Heights also provides access to other locations by nearby major highways.
Berkeley Heights offers a variety of everyday shopping needs ranging from grocery stores, drug stores, post offices, pet shops and more. Area highlights include fine restaurants, local downtown shopping in addition to being in close proximity to the renowned Mall at Short Hills. There is something for everyone in and around Berkeley Heights.