Montclair, meaning “clear mountain” or “bright mountain” in French, is nestled on the East side of the first Watchung mountains. First formed as a township (breaking off from the Bloomfield township) in 1858, Montclair was subsequently reincorporated as a town in 1894. In 1980, in order to take part in federal revenue sharing, Montclair changed its name to “Township of Montclair”.
Frog Hollow, Montclair Heights, South End, Upper Montclair and Watchung Plaza are named areas within Montclair as a whole. Montclair grew rapidly from the 1880s (5,147 people) to the 1930s (42,017). This easily accounts for the large percentage of housing units built in 1939 or earlier (56.7%).
There are seven rail stations that serve Montclair; Bay Street, Walnut Street, Watchung Avenue, Upper Montclair, Mountain Avenue, and Montclair Heights. It is important to note that while Montclair has many stations available, only the Bay Street station has weekend train service.
There are several commercial zones in Montclair that have a cluster of services available as an individual grouping and within walking distance from one another. Montclair Center (where the suburb meets the city… as it characterizes itself) has a variety of offerings, including a farmers market, fashion shows, and art walks. There are also 85 dining establishments.
Upper Montclair is a census designated place (CDP) that is a part of the same municipality as Montclair. Upper Montclair does have its own “main street” type of commercial zone as well as its own train stop. Watchung Plaza is another commercial zone that boasts 60 unique shops and offices. One can have a meal at a restaurant, shop for childhood trinkets, and purchase cocktail napkins, all within a walkable distance at the Watchung Plaza.
To get a closer look at Montclair, click on each green box below.