Glen Ridge was incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 13, 1895, from portions of Bloomfield Township, based on the results of a referendum held the previous day. In 1981, the official name was changed to the "Township of Glen Ridge Borough" to take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies. Effective May 1993, the borough's original name of "Glen Ridge Borough" was restored.
Of the many legacies left to the town by its founders, the one that has become its trademark is the gas lamps. With only 3,000 gaslights remaining in operation in the entire United States, Glen Ridge has 665 such lamps lighting its streets. In 1924, Glen Ridge became the first municipality in New Jersey to establish a zoning ordinance.
Glen Ridge is a maximum of six blocks wide and in "the Panhandle" north of Bay Avenue it is only three or two blocks wide.
Glen Ridge has a temperate climate, with warm / hot humid summers and cool / cold winters, according to the Köppen climate classificationhumid subtropical climate. The town gets an average of 49 inches of rain per year and 20 inches of snowfall, compared to the US averages of 37 and 25 inches. Glen Ridge has 124 days of measurable precipitation a year.
There are typically about 205 sunny days per year in Glen Ridge. The temperature ranges from a high around 86 degrees in July and a low around 21 degrees in January. The comfort index for the town is 47 out of 100, compared to a national average of 44 (with higher numbers being more comfortable).
There were 2,476 households of which 49.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.9% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.9% were non-families. 14.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.03 and the average family size was 3.39.
In the borough, 32.2% of the population were under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 22.3% from 25 to 44, 31.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.2 years. For every 100 females there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.0 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $160,511 (with a margin of error of +/- $11,073) and the median family income was $173,466 (+/- $25,554). Males had a median income of $111,968 (+/- $11,975) versus $85,938 (+/- $24,626) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $64,222 (+/- $8,487). About 1.1% of families and 2.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.9% of those under age 18 and 0.0% of those age 65 or over.
There were 2,458 households out of which 46.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.9% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.5% were non-families. 16.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the borough, the population was spread out with 30.7% under the age of 18, 4.5% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 24.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $105,638, and the median income for a family was $120,650. Males had a median income of $91,161 versus $51,444 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $48,456. About 1.9% of families and 3.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.3% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.
Glen Ridge is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The government consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at large. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year.
As of 2012[update], the mayor of Glen Ridge is Peter A. Hughes, whose term of office ends December 31, 2015. Members of the borough council (with their term-end year and committee chairmanship listed in parentheses) are Council President Stuart K. Patrick (2013; Finance & Administration), Elizabeth K. Baker (2015; Planning & Development), Arthur D. Dawson (2014; Public Works), David Lefkovits (2013; Community Affairs and Public Relations), Paul A. Lisovicz (2015; Public Safety) and Jeffrey Theodorou (2014; Parks and Recreation).
The Glen Ridge Civic Conference Committee, established in 1913, is made up of delegates from the community and from local civic organizations, provides a non-partisan method of candidate selection for Borough elections. The CCC endorsement is very significant; in most elections, the CCC's candidates are unopposed. The eight organizations currently sending delegates to the CCC are: The Democratic Club, Freeman Gardens Association, Friends of the Glen Ridge Library, The Glen Ridge Historical Society, The Northside Association, The Republican Club, The Golden Circle, The South End Association and the Women's Club of Glen Ridge.
Glen Ridge Borough Hall in autumn
In recent years, the CCC has been weakened both by changing attitudes in the borough, the actions of a number of community residents, and internal conflicts within the CCC itself. Mayor Carl Bergmanson was the first mayor since the establishment of the CCC to be elected without seeking (or receiving) the Committee's endorsement. A member of the council for three terms, he ran for mayor in 1999, losing to the CCC candidate Steven Plate. When Plate was selected as the CCC candidate again in 2003 (contradicting the committee's precedent of one term per mayor), Bergmanson ran again, and won, gaining the majority in all but one of the town's districts. However, the CCC is still firmly in control of the town's political structure - all 16 of the elected officials currently serving Glen Ridge were nominated by the CCC. Generally, when non-CCC candidates run, they run as independents. The Democratic and Republican parties are not forces in local elections.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 5,169 registered voters in Glen Ridge, of which 2,135 (41.3%) were registered as Democrats, 993 (19.2%) were registered as Republicans and 2,037 (39.4%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 4 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 62.9% of the vote here (2,583 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 35.2% (1,444 votes) and other candidates with 0.8% (33 votes), among the 4,104 ballots cast by the borough's 5,185 registered voters, for a turnout of 79.2%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 59.1% of the vote here (2,381 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 39.9% (1,608 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (35 votes), among the 4,031 ballots cast by the borough's 4,967 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 81.2.
In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 51.0% of the vote here (1,388 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 39.3% (1,071 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 8.5% (231 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (19 votes), among the 2,722 ballots cast by the borough's 5,144 registered voters, yielding a 52.9% turnout.
Glen Ridge traces its beginning to 1666 when 64 Connecticut families led by Robert Treat bought land from the Lenni LenapeNative Americans and named it New Ark to reflect a covenant to worship freely without persecution. The territory included the future towns of Bloomfield, Montclair, Belleville and Nutley. When Bloomfield was established in 1812, Glen Ridge was a section "on the hill" composed mostly of farms and woodlands with the exception of a thriving industrial area along the Toney's brook in the Glen. For most of the nineteenth century, three water-powered mills produced lumber, calico, pasteboard boxes and brass fittings. A copper mine and a sandstonequarry were nearby.
With the arrival of the Newark and Bloomfield Railroad in 1856, and the construction of the Glen Ridge Train Station, and also the New York and Greenwood Lake Railway in 1872, Glen Ridge began its transition to a suburban residential community. Stately homes slowly replaced orchards and wooded fields.
Residents "on the hill" became unhappy with their representation on the Bloomfield Council. In spite of repeated requests to Bloomfield officials, roads remained unpaved, water and sewer systems were nonexistent, and schools were miles away. Area residents marked out the boundaries of a 1.45-square-mile (3.8 km2) area to secede from the adjoining town. At the election held on February 12, 1895, the decision to secede passed by only 23 votes. Robert Rudd was elected the first mayor of Glen Ridge.
In 1989, athletes from the high school were involved in the sexual assault of a mentally handicapped student. Three teenagers were found guilty of first-degree aggravated sexual assault; a fourth was convicted of third-degree conspiracy. Author Bernard Lefkowitz wrote about the incident in the 1997 book Our Guys: The Glen Ridge Rape and the Secret Life of the Perfect Suburb. Lefkowitz's book was adapted into the 1999 TV movie Our Guys: Outrage at Glen Ridge.
The high school was the 12th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 328 schools statewide in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2012 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", after being ranked 4th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.
Christ Church Episcopal
The median price for a house in Glen Ridge in 2014 is $580,000, which is double the national average. Out of the 2,549 houses in the borough, 84.7% of them were single units (detached) and had a median of 7.7 rooms. Glen Ridge is known for its old town charm, with 72.8% of its houses having been built before 1939. In 1895, when the town was chartered, Glen Ridge became one of the first communities to hire a town planner which caused the town to have late Victorian and Edwardian elements. The pristine condition of the town is due to the building codes that were established, the creation of the Building Department which included a Building Inspector, and a zoning ordinance (the first in the state of New Jersey).
The architecture of the town makes Glen Ridge very unique since there are houses representing every major style from the mid-nineteenth century onward. Some of the architecture styles witnessed include the Carpenter Gothic, the Medieval, the High Victorian Period, the “Queen Anne Cottage”, American Georgian and the Prairie Home Style. Notable architects that have left their legacy in the town include Frank Lloyd Wright, Stanford White, and John Russell Pope. To maintain the historical feel of the town and protect the architectural features, the town has created a Historic Preservation Commission which reviews construction on houses in the historic district.
The town also has a jitney service which provides transportation to and from the Glen Ridge Station for commuters. This service has a fee and is only available between certain hours in the day. The Freeman Parkway Bridge crosses over the railroad.
Notable current and former residents of Glen Ridge include:
^Read, Phillip. "In Glen Ridge, the future has a Manhattan flair and a French twist; Work begins on a big ratable: Luxury condos with the fancy name", The Star-Ledger, March 30, 2005.
^Peterson, Mary Jo; and Gebeloff, Mark. "WHERE HOUSES DEFY THE DECADES; It's no accident that most Glen Ridge homes are old: The town sees red if you defy the blueprints.", The Star-Ledger', December 27, 2002.
^Nutt, Amy Ellis (October 31, 2013). "Booker is officially a U.S. senator after being sworn in". NJ.com/Associated Press. Accessed October 31, 2013. "Former Newark Mayor Cory Booker was sworn in as a Democratic senator from New Jersey today, taking the oath of office, exchanging hugs with Vice President Joe Biden and acknowledging the applause of friends and family members seated in the visitor's gallery that rings the chamber.... Booker, 44, was elected to fill out the term of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died earlier this year."
^ abGeneral Information, Essex County, New Jersey. Accessed January 9, 2013. "The Board of Chosen Freeholders consists of nine members, five of whom are elected from districts and four of whom are elected at-large. They are elected for three-year concurrent terms and may be re-elected to successive terms at the annual election in November."
^Lee, Eunice. "Labor leader from South Orange tapped as new Essex County freeholder", The Star-Ledger, December 19, 2012. Accessed January 9, 2013. "A longtime labor union leader from South Orange was sworn in this afternoon as the newest Essex County freeholder.Gerald Owens, 74, is a general organizer for the International Longshoremen's Association.... Owens is filling the seat vacated by former at-large freeholder Donald Payne Jr., who stepped down from the post last month after securing the 10th Congressional District seat left open by his late father."
^Aldrin, Buzz; and Warga, Wayne. Return to Earth, p. 87. Random House, 1973. ISBN 0-394-48832-6. Accessed March 1, 2012. "On January 30, 1930, I was born in a somewhat gerrymandered hospital. When my mother entered the hospital, she entered via Montclair, but when she arrived in the maternity ward she was in Glen Ridge, a city listed appropriately on my birth certificate."
^via Associated Press. "Dale Berra Is Indicted", The New York Times, August 25, 1989. Accessed March 1, 2012. "Berra of Glen Ridge, N.J., was arrested April 20 after a six-month investigation into a drug operation that allegedly distributed $15,000 to $20,000 worth of cocaine each week in Essex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Union counties."
^"KERRY BISHÉ CONTINUES HER JOURNEY IN 'ARGO'", The Star Ledger, September, 2012. Accessed January 28, 2013. "Bishé, 28, who grew up in Glen Ridge, plays a diplomat who poses as a set designer in the film based on the true story of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, in which the CIA concocted a fake movie shoot to smuggle six American diplomats out of the country."
^Biography, Senator Mike Doherty. Accessed November 27, 2011. "Mike Doherty was born in Point Pleasant, New Jersey on May 24, 1963. Doherty grew up in Glen Ridge, New Jersey and graduated from Glen Ridge High School in 1981."
^ abLustig, Jay. "Two sons of Glen Ridge perform at The Wellmont", The Star-Ledger, December 9, 2008. Accessed December 9, 2008. Accessed August 30, 2011. "Ezra Koenig and Wes Miles grew up a few blocks away from each other in Glen Ridge. They became friends and, sharing a love of music, played together in bands, but ended up attending different colleges. At Columbia University in 2006, Koenig co-founded the alt-rock band Vampire Weekend. At Syracuse University in 2006, Miles did the same with Ra Ra Riot."
^Staff. "Gerry Niewood: one year later...", Glen Ridge Voice, February 11, 2010. Accessed August 30, 2011. "The shock and sorrow caused by the accident hit very close to home for Glen Ridge, as 65 year-old Gerry Niewood, a longtime backing musician for Chuck Mangione and a Bay Avenue resident of over 30 years, was among the passengers."
^Biography, GeorgeSteinmetz.com. Accessed August 30, 2011. "George lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, with his wife, Wall Street Journal editor Lisa Bannon, their daughter, Nell, and twin sons John and Nicholas."
^Smith, Jim. "Not Just Another Game for Thomas", Newsday, December 2, 1995. Accessed April 21, 2012. "Steve Thomas was one of the most popular Islanders the past four years. Tonight at Nassau Coliseum, he plays his first game against them since the three-way Oct. 3 deal that sent him to the Devils and brought Wendel Clark to the Islanders. 'I've been on three other teams,' Thomas said yesterday from Glen Ridge, N.J., where he recently moved into a new home with his family."
^Tom Verducci Archive, Sports Illustrated. Accessed October 7, 2007. "Born in East Orange, New Jersey, and raised in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, Verducci led his high school football team to a state championship, calling his catch of the winning touchdown pass in the title game as the defining sports moment of his life."