South Orange, officially speaking the Township of South Orange Village, was formed in 1869. This ‘village’ form of local government is unusual in New Jersey; there are only three other towns in New Jersey that use this type of local government; Loch Arbour, Ridgefield, and Ridgefield Park
What we now know as the Township of South Orange Village (South Orange Village in 1869) came from what was then known as South Orange Township. The town formerly known as South Orange Township (1869) is now known as Maplewood. It’s a bit convoluted really… South Orange Village changed its name to the Township of South Orange Village in 1978 (along with a dozen other Essex county municipalities) in order to take advance of federal revenue sharing.
The transportation that allowed citizens to travel easily to Newark and New York along with a robust economy made for a big transformation by 1930. The population of South Orange grew steadily from 1869 to 1920 (20% to 40% a year), but had an explosion (87%) between 1920 and 1930. In 1930, there were 13,630 people living in South Orange. There are 16,198 people living in South Orange as of the 2010 census. The opening of the midtown direct train service in 1996 (cutting travel from 50 to 35 minutes), really solidified the viability of living in South Orange and working in NYC. It is important to note that parking near the train station can prove challenging and that the waiting list for a parking spot at the train station itself has been, at times, up to five years.
South Orange shares a school district with its old friend Maplewood with success.
Another unusual component to life in South Orange is that it maintains a gas light system for its street lights. While there have been talks about converting to electric street lights, at this point, there are more gas lights in South Orange than any other city in the United States.
South Orange has a community pool that’s use is restricted to South Orange residents. It is located at the Cameron Field Complex. The South Orange Performing Arts Center opened in 2006 in partnership with Seton Hall University as part a redevelopment plan for South Orange and as a way to serve the South Orange community with world class performances in a top notch venue. Maceo Parker, Indigo Girls, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Taylor Hicks, and David Crosby are just some of the recent artists to perform there, in addition to performances of The Nutcracker and a staging of The Little Mermaid.
To get a closer look at South Orange, click on each green box below.