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. Scotch Plains is home to the house 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 to Scotch Plains as of 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.
Scotch Plains is located at 40°38′18″N 74°22′26″W (40.638252, −74.373914).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 9.1 square miles (23.5 km2), of which, 9.1 square miles (23.5 km2) of it is land and 0.11% is water.
[As of the census of 2000, there are 22,732 people, 8,349 households, and 6,295 families residing in the township . The population density is 2,503.3 inhabitants per square mile (966.6/km2). There are 8,479 housing units at an average density of 933.7 per square mile (360.5/km2). The racial makeup of the township is 78.88% White, 11.30% African American, 0.09% Native American, 7.25% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.95% from other races, and 1.52% from two or more races. 3.94% of the populatio are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 8,349 households out of which 36.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.4% are married couples living together, 8.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 24.6% are non-families. 20.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.71 and the average family size is 3.16.
In the township the population is distributed with 25.4% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 31.8% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females there are 92.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 88.8 males.
According to a 2007 estimate the median income for a household in the township is $99,214, and the median income for a family is $111,970. Males have a median income of $63,648 versus $43,714 for females. The per capita income for the township is $39,913. 3.0% of the population and 2.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 2.0% of those under the age of 18 and 7.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
According to BusinessWeek, Scotch Plains is the most affordable suburb in New Jersey for 2009.
Scotch Plains is governed under the Faulkner Act (Mayor-Council) 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. The Mayor and the Councilmembers are the only elected officials in the Township government. The Chief of Police is Brian Mahoney.
As of 2011, members of the Scotch Plains Township Council are Mayor Nancy M. Malool, Deputy Mayor Mary DePaola, Kevin Glover, Michael "Mickey" Marcus and William "Bo" Vastine.
Federal, state and county representation
Scotch Plains is in the 7th Congressional district and is part of New Jersey's 22nd state legislative district.
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).
22nd Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature, which is represented in the New Jersey Senate by Nicholas Scutari (D, Linden) and in the New Jersey General Assembly by Jerry Green (D, Plainfield) and Linda Stender (D, Fanwood). The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham). 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. As of 2011, Union County's Freeholders are Chairman Deborah P. Scanlon (Union, term ends December 31, 2012), Vice Chairman Alexander Mirabella (Fanwood, 2012), Linda Carter (Plainfield, 2013), Angel G. Estrada (Elizabeth, 2011), Christopher Hudak (Linden, 2011), Mohamed S. Jalloh (Roselle, 2012), Bette Jane Kowalski (Cranford, 2013), Daniel P. Sullivan (Elizabeth, 2013) and Nancy Ward (Linden, 2011).
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 2008-09 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are five elementary schools — Howard B. Brunner Elementary School (PreK-4; 463 students), J. Ackerman Coles School (K-4; 519), Evergreen School (PreK-4; 405), William J. McGinn School (474) and School One (389) — Park Middle School (823) and Terrill Middle School (847) for grades 6-8, along with Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School (1,468) 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 the far reaches of Union County and even some parts of Essex and Middlesex counties. A large number of students come from the Woodbridge/Colonia area, where the school had erected a billboard advertisement, now removed.
Union County College has a facility in Scotch Plains.
There is also a Catholic school, St. Bartholomew Academy, which offers education from Pre-Kindergarten to 8th grade.
Scotch Plains is bisected by NJ Transit's Raritan Valley Line, formerly the mainline of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. A passenger station is located in Fanwood. NJ Transit also provides bus service to New York City and New Jersey points. Another rail line, the Lehigh Line, carries freight trains through the southernmost tip of the township.
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 nearby Linden, New Jersey. Newark Liberty International Airport is also easily accessible via New Jersey Transit train.
This article uses material from the Scotch Plains Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.