Scotch Plains|Fanwood


The History of Scotch Plains

The area known as Scotch Plains was first settled by Europeans, including many Scottish Quakers as early as 1684. It later served as a stop on the stage coach line between New York and Philadelphia. The Ash Swamp in Scotch Plains was the scene of a key action in the Battle of Short Hills, on June 26, 1777, which included skirmishes as Washington’s forces moved along Rahway Road in Scotch Plains toward the Watchung Mountains. An ancient house in Scotch Plains recalls those skirmishes and, with the acreage adjoining the house, presents a vista of that decade, the 1770s. This is the home of Aunt Betty Frazee, whose retort to Lord Cornwallis led the British to find their bread from friendlier bakers in the same battle. The simple farmstead of Betty and Gershom Frazee, a type of structure that rarely survives the centuries, is today the object of a restoration effort by local organizations.

What is now Scotch Plains was originally incorporated as Fanwood Township on March 6, 1878, by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature from portions of Plainfield Township and Westfield Township. Portions of the township were taken to form Fanwood Borough on October 2, 1895. Fanwood Township was renamed as Scotch Plains on March 29, 1917, based on the results of a referendum held that same day.

Scotch Plains was home to the Shady Rest Country Club, the nation’s first African-American country club, and its pro, John Shippen, the first African-American golf professional, who led the 1892 U.S. Open in the final round before finishing fifth.  The Shady Rest clubhouse hosted Cab Calloway and other greats as a local center for African-American culture in the 1920s and 1930s. It is preserved today as the Scotch Hills Municipal course.

A much more complete history of the town can be found on pp. 4–6 of the PDF version of Our Towns: Scotch Plains-Fanwood (2nd Annual), (Oct. 28, 1999, produced by the town’s newspaper of record at the time) as well as on the town’s website.


Scotch Plains township is located at 40°37′59″N 74°22′22″W (40.633026,-74.372905). According to the United States CensusBureau, Scotch Plains township had a total area of 9.050 square miles (23.440 km2), of which, 9.018 square miles (23.358 km2) of it is land and 0.032 square miles (0.082 km2) of it (0.35%) is water.


2010 Census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 23,510 people, 8,595 households, and 6,429 families residing in the township. The population density was 2,606.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,006.5 /km2). There were 8,896 housing units at an average density of 986.4 per square mile (380.9 /km2). The racial makeup of the township was 77.43% (18,203) White, 11.08% (2,605) Black or African American, 0.12% (29) Native American, 7.65% (1,799) Asian, 0.01% (2) Pacific Islander, 1.39% (327) from other races, and 2.32% (545) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.73% (1,582) of the population.

There were 8,595 households out of which 37.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.6% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.2% were non-families. 21.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the township the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 29.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.9 years. For every 100 females there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.3 males.

The Census Bureau’s 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $104,873 (with a margin of error of +/- $6,397) and the median family income was $126,138 (+/- $7,410). Males had a median income of $90,016 (+/- $11,033) versus $66,022 (+/- $5,055) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $52,488 (+/- $3,094). About 1.3% of families and 3.0% of the population were below thepoverty line, including 2.7% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or over.


Local government

Scotch Plains is governed under the Faulkner Act (Council-Manager) form of New Jersey municipal government. The government consists of a Mayor and a four-member Township Council. Council members are elected at-large in partisan elections to serve four-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with the Mayor and one of the council members elected in years divisible by four and the three other council seats coming up for election two years later. The Mayor and the Councilmembers are the only elected officials in the Township government. The Mayor and Council then appoint a Township Manager, who serves as the chief executive officer of the Township, with the authority to appoint most subordinate personnel. The Chief of Police is Brian Mahoney.

As of 2012, members of the Scotch Plains Township Council are Mayor Nancy M. Malool (R, term ends December 31, 2012), Deputy Mayor Mary DePaola (R, 2012), Kevin Glover (D, 2014), Michael “Mickey” Marcus (D, 2014) and William “Bo” Vastine (R, 2014).

In the 2008 General Election, Nancy Malool won a four-year term as Mayor, while Mary DePaola was elected to the Township Council. In the 2010 General Rlection, the winners of four-yer council seats where Kevin Glover, Michael “Mickey” Marcus and William “Bo” Vastine.

Federal, state and county representation

Scotch Plains is split between the 7th and 12th Congressional Districts and is part of New Jersey’s 22nd state legislative district.  Prior to the 2010 Census, all of Scotch Plains had been part of the 7th Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections.  The redistricting plan that went into effect in 2013 put 1,091 residents from the extreme northernmost portion of the township into the 7th District, with the remaining 22,419 put into the 12th District.

New Jersey’s Twelfth Congressional District is represented by Rush D. Holt, Jr. (D, Hopewell Township). New Jersey’s Seventh Congressional District is represented by Leonard Lance (R,Clinton Township).  New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Frank Lautenberg (D, Cliffside Park) and Bob Menendez (D, Hoboken).

The 22nd Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Nicholas Scutari (D, Linden) and in the General Assembly by Jerry Green (D, Plainfield) andLinda Stender (D, Scotch Plains).  The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township).The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).

Union County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose nine members are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis with three seats coming up for election each year, with an appointed County Manager overseeing the day-to-day operations of the county. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects a Chairman and Vice Chairman from among its members. As of 2013, Union County’s Freeholders are Chairman Linda Carter (D, Plainfield, term ends December 31, 2013), Vice Chairman Christopher Hudak (D, Linden, 2014), Bruce Bergen (D, Springfield Township, 2015), Angel G. Estrada (D, Elizabeth, 2014),  Mohamed S. Jalloh (D, Roselle, 2015), Bette Jane Kowalski (D, Cranford, 2013),  Alexander Mirabella (D, Fanwood, 2015), Daniel P. Sullivan (D, Elizabeth, 2013) and Vernell Wright (D, Union Township, 2014).  Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi (D, Union Township, 2015),Sheriff Ralph Froehlich (D, Union Township, 2013)and Surrogate James S. LaCorte (D, Springfield Township, 2014).   The County Manager is Alfred Faella.


All of the schools of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Regional School District, which is shared with the Borough of Fanwood, are located in Scotch Plains. Schools in the district (with 2009-10 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[62]) are five elementary schools — Howard B. Brunner Elementary School (PreK-4; 407 students), J. Ackerman Coles School (PreK-4; 552), Evergreen School (PreK-4; 420), William J. McGinn School (K-4; 494) and School One (K-4; 392) — Park Middle School (875) and Terrill Middle School (858) for grades 5-8, along with Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School (1,444) for grades 9-12.

Students from School One, Evergreen and Brunner pool into Park Middle School, whereas students from Coles and McGinn feed into Terrill. School One is the only elementary school that teaches English as a second language.

Another elementary school, Shackamaxon School, was built in 1951 (the same year as Evergreen School) and operated until 1981, when it was leased to the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey as their Jewish Community Center and offices. The Federation bought the building outright five years later. A more complete history of the schools of Scotch Plains-Fanwood can be found on pp. 7–9 of the PDF version of Our Towns: Scotch Plains-Fanwood (2nd Annual), Oct. 28, 1999.

The Union County Vocational Technical Schools includes the Union County Magnet High School, the Academy for Information Technology, the Union County Academy for Allied Health Sciences, the Union County Academy for Performing Arts, and the Vocational-Technical School. The grouping of different schools is for vocational as well as gifted students, publicly funded by the combined taxes of Union County municipalities.

Union Catholic Regional High School (often abbreviated UC), a private Roman Catholic school, brings in students from Union County and parts of Essex and Middlesex counties and operates under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.  The Newark Archdiocese also supervises operation of the K-8 St. Bartholomew Academy.

Union County College has a facility in Scotch Plains.


Scotch Plains is bisected by New Jersey Transit’s Raritan Valley Line, formerly the mainline of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. A passenger station is located in Fanwood. Another rail line, the Lehigh Line, carries freight trains through the southernmost tip of the township.

New Jersey Transit offers service on the 112, 113, 114 and 117 routes to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, and service to Newark on the 59, 65 and 66 (Limited) routes.

Newark Liberty International Airport is approximately 14 miles (23 km) east of Scotch Plains, most conveniently reached via Route 22, and Linden Airport, a general aviation facility is in nearbyLinden, New Jersey. Newark Liberty International Airport is also easily accessible via New Jersey Transit train.

The only two major roads that pass through are Route 28 for a brief stretch in the central part and U.S. Route 22 in the north.

The township is accessible from limited access in neighboring communities, such as Interstate 78 in both Watchung and Berkeley Heights, the Garden State Parkway in Clark and Interstate 287in Edison Township.

News coverage

The town falls in the New York media market, with daily news being based in New York City. Its weekly newspaper of record is the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times, also publisher of the neighboring town’s newspaper of record, the Westfield Leader.

Housing developments

The following housing developments exist in Scotch Plains
Stirling Chase

  • New development located off Martine Avenue by Union Catholic.
  • Erected in the early 1990s, it used to be a cow farm.
  • It has its own tennis courts for residents.

Berwyck Chase

  • Located behind Coles School, it was built by the same development company that built Stirling Chase to be a more affordable place to live than Stirling.
  • It has its own swimming pool and two tennis courts for residents.


  • A small and quiet neighborhood located north of Route 22 completely isolated from the rest of Scotch Plains.

Goodman’s Crossing

  • Complex of townhouses between Scotch Plains and Clark.
  • Robinson’s Creek runs through it and has been tested by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and confirmed to be toxic.


  • Built in the 1940s, a development of several unique Cape-Cod style homes on the border of Westfield, many of which have been knocked down with newer and larger homes rebuilt.

The Reserve

  • K. Hovnanian recently built townhomes ranging from 2,000–2,500 square feet in size, located behind US 22, originally selling for up to $500,000.

Points of interest

  • The Aunt Betty Frazee House is a rare historic treasure, the simple farmhouse of a colonial-era couple Gershom and Elizabeth Frazee, the latter of whom was approached by British generals in 1777 who sought to buy bread she’d been baking that day. Aunt Betty’s famous retort (“I offer this bread not in love but in fear”—whereupon the generals courteously abandoned their effort to buy) puts her in company with Betsy Ross, Molly Pitcher and other women who distinguished themselves in the American Revolution. Her house is on state and national historic registers, and many in the community are seeking a way of restoring the house (at 1451 Raritan Road) to honor Betty’s story and secure it in American history.
  • Shackamaxon Country Club is a private golf course, swimming and tennis facility also hosting celebrations, founded in 1916 and is located on Shackamaxon Drive in Scotch Plains. Some of its 130+ acres occupy land in Westfield, New Jersey. (more complete history of The Shack)
  • Scotch Hills Municipal Golf Course, at one time the only African-American country club in the United States (see History above).
  • Hillside Cemetery is the burial site of Dudley Moore and Senator James Edgar Martine.
  • Bowcraft Amusement Park is an amusement park located in Scotch Plains on Route 22 West.
  • The Scotchwood Diner is a diner located on Route 22 West.
  • John’s Meat Market is the site of Mr. T’s reality TV show for TV Land.
  • Osborn-Cannonball House Museum is a historic home located at 1840 Front Street in Scotch Plains.
  • Snuffy’s Pantagis Renaissance is a restaurant also often used for wedding celebrations on Park Avenue in Scotch Plains.
  • John H. Stamler Police Academy trains officers and volunteers throughout Union County and is located on Raritan Road.
  • The Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey has its Jewish Community Center and offices on Martine Avenue.
  • Highland Swimming Club is a private swimming facility with a large L shaped main pool and a smaller kiddie pool, a BBQ area, a small “Snack Shack”, and play area named “The Grove”. Its highly ranked swim team competes against other private swim clubs in the area in meets held mostly in July. It also hosts an annual swim meet with a club from Derry, Northern Ireland.

Notable people

Notable current and former resident of Scotch Plains include:

  • Audrey Assad (born 1983), contemporary Christian music artist with Sparrow Records.
  • Hank Beenders (1916–2003), early professional basketball player.
  • Judy Blume (born 1938), author, lived in Scotch Plains while writing the classic “Fudge” series of children’s books.
  • Derrick Caracter (born 1988), power forward/center for the University of Texas-El Paso Miners team who was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 NBA Draft.
  • Donald DiFrancesco (born 1944), former Governor of New Jersey and Senate President.
  • Pat DiNizio (born 1955), singer/songwriter for The Smithereens.
  • John Gano (1727–1804), chaplain who baptized George Washington.
  • Ashton Gibbs (born 1990), starting point-guard for the Pittsburgh Panthers men’s basketball team.
  • Scott Goldblatt (born 1979), swimmer who won a Gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and a Silver medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, with both medals earned in the 4 x 200 m Freestyle Relay.
  • Jeffrey Hammonds (born 1971), Stanford University baseball star and Olympian, one all star appearance in 13 MLB seasons.
  • Jerome Hines (1921–2003), opera singer.
  • Carolyn Hougan (1943-2007), author, who wrote both under her name and with her husband under the name John Case.
  • Nathan Jones (born 1982), cornerback for the Denver Broncos.
  • Bryan Meredith (born 1989), All-American goalkeeper at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, now a goalkeeper with the Seattle Sounders FC of the MLS.
  • Renaldo Nehemiah (born 1959), track star who set world record in the 110 meter hurdles, NFL wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers and the only four time winner of ABC’s Superstar competition.
  • Thomas W. Osborn (1833–98), Union Army officer who represented Florida in the United States Senate.
  • Joe J. Plumeri (born 1944), Chairman & CEO of Willis Group and owner of the Trenton Thunder.
  • John F. Rague (1799-1877) architect who designed and built the 1837 Old Capitol of Illinois and the 1840 Territorial Capitol of Iowa.
  • Cynthia Sayer, jazz banjoist.
  • Joe Scarpati (born 1943), holder for Tom Dempsey’s record 63-yard (58 m) field goal in 1970.
  • Marc Shaiman (born 1959), composer and arranger who has worked on the musical Hairspray and the film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.
  • Enzo Stuarti (1919–2005), tenor, musical theater performer.
  • Lance Thomas (born 1988), power forward/center for the Duke University basketball team and 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion.
  • Frank Thorne (born 1930), comic book artist and writer best known for popularizing the Marvel Comics character Red Sonja.
  • David S. Ware (born 1949), jazz musician.  
  • Amy Lee (born 1989) Better known by her stage name “Ailee”, is a Korean-American pop singer who grew up in Scotch Plains.

All information about Scotch Plains|Fanwood Edison courtesy of Wikipedia.

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