New Providence Borough, New Jersey, is an established residential community graced by gentle the hills and winding roads of the western slope of Second Watchung Mountain. New Providence is bordered to the north by Chatham Township, across the Passaic River Berkeley Heights lies to the southwest and south, and Summit to the east. Much of the unincorporated area of Murray Hill lies in New Providence, with the remainder in Berkeley Heights.
Residents can relax in the evenings by strolling along miles of scenic paths. The borough’s serene neighborhoods consist primarily of older, well-kept homes along tree-shaded streets. Some newer construction including multi-family developments ensure a wide variety of housing choices. Leisure hours are spent enjoying local parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, tennis courts, swimming pools, private clubs, and outdoor ice-skating rinks.
New Providence Schools
The New Providence School District serves students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. Schools in the district are Allen W. Roberts Elementary School (grades K-6), Salt Brook Elementary School (grades K-6), New Providence Middle School (grades 7-8) and New Providence High School (grades 9-12). The high school has moved into the Top Ten of NJ of several school rankings in 2010.
New Providence is also home to a private Catholic elementary school in the Archdiocese of Newark, The Academy of Our Lady of Peace. Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, The Academy has students in PreK-3 through Grade 8.
New Providence Transportation
Transportation service on the New Jersey Transit Gladstone Branch of the Morris & Essex Lines is available at the New Providence Station, offering service to Hoboken Terminal and to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan. All other rail service is to or from Hoboken. These trains connect at Summit or Newark Broad Street with Manhattan-bound trains.
Lakeland Bus Lines offers weekday rush hour service from stops along Springfield Avenue to New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal. Newark Liberty International Airport is approximately sixteen miles east of New Providence.
New Providence Points of Interest
- The Presbyterian Church is a historic church in the center of town.
- The Village Shopping Center is a shopping center in the middle of downtown.
- Just outside of New Providence is Alcatel-Lucent, in Murray Hill. The transistor and laser were invented in this Bell Laboratories when it was part of AT&T.
- Our Lady of Peace is a Roman Catholic church and school located on South Street. Once every spring, for three days, the parking lot at OLP becomes the home of the town’s OLP fair.
- Baxter Pharmaceutical Products has a facility in town, located at 95 Spring Street, New Providence.
- Passaic River Parks provide open space and woods along the serene river.
- Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in nearby Basking Ridge, established in 1960 and provides eight miles to hike or watch birds in this wooded wetland.
- Watchung Reservation in nearby Mountainside NJ, Watchung Reservation is the largest park in neighboring Union County.
- Feltville Historic District (Houses in Deserted Village, Watchung Reservation), S of New Providence.
History of New Providence
The written history of New Providence begins in 1664 when James, Duke of York and brother to King Charles II, purchased the land from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans. This acquisition was known as the Elizabethtown Tract.
Its first European settlers were members of a Puritan colony established in 1720, which was the first permanent settlement of its type. The settlement was originally called Turkeytown, due to the presence of wild turkeys in the area.
By 1737, the Presbyterian Church was formed and became the center of this growing community. In 1759, the balcony of the Presbyterian Church in the town collapsed. The lack of serious injuries was declared by Divine Providence, and the town was renamed to New Providence.
According to local tradition, George Washington spent the night in a local home, which still stands to this day. Supposedly, the local stream, Salt Brook, is named for an incident when the salt supply of the colonial village was dumped into the brook to prevent passing British soldiers from taking it. Ironically, the British Army never crossed the Watchung Mountains into this region. Salt Brook winds through town, starting near the eponymous Salt Brook Elementary School.
In 1794, Springfield Township was formed, which included the present-day township, along with the towns of Summit, New Providence, and Berkeley Heights.
Growth continued in the area, and in 1809, New Providence Township was formed from within Springfield Township. It included what is now Summit, New Providence, and Berkeley Heights. In 1869, Summit withdrew from the New Providence Township and reincorporated as a township without any other town. It remained under a township form of government until 1899, when Summit reincorporated as a city.
In 1899, New Providence also withdrew from the New Providence Township and was reincorporated as a borough. Due to acts of the New Jersey Legislature that made it economically advantageous for communities so do so, many communities within townships were reverting to small, locally-governed communities at that time.