If you like a town with plenty of parkland, historic Victorian, Tudor and Colonial homes, great restaurants and a manageable sized downtown then South Orange maybe the town for you.
The town was first settled back in 1666 when farm-minded settlers from Connecticut came ashore from the Passaic River and bought land from the Lenape Indians. For many years the Indian trial continued to serve as the main thoroughfare along what’s now become South Orange Avenue.
In 1836 the Morris & Essex railroad line came to the area linking the town with Newark. The railroad was extended to Hoboken in 1868. Through making the area more accessible, South Orange became a summer resort for New Yorkers wishing to escape the summer heat. It also brought the change from a farming based community to the residential town it is today.
During the 1890’s much was done to develop the towns infrastructure and change the land use from draining swamps to reclaim land, adding a sewage system, gas and electric lines and roadways.
The town has always attracted an interesting mix of people. Thomas Edison had his factory nearby that brought in engineers and inventors as well as many artists and industry figures to the community.
The towns creative residents include many theatre professionals as well as musicians. There is a local “Giants of Jazz” program in the town’s park in the summer.
A History of Residential living
The towns proximity to New York and the ease in which residents and visitors alike were able to travel to South Orange endowed the town some truly stunning historic architecture. South Orange has 7 distinct historic neighborhoods. Perhaps the most distinctive would be arguably Montrose Park .
The developers were told by the town that they could only build residential homes in this neighborhood, and large houses on large lots was the rule. Some of these lots where subdivided in the early 20th Century but there was still plenty of room for large houses on these reduced lots.
In the mid 1920’s some smaller houses on smaller lots where built between Center Street and Grove Park, north of South Orange Avenue.
Streets such as Ralston, Raymond and Turrell typify Montrose Park. Mountain Station serves the area. A walk through the shady tree lined streets brings you on to a wonderful home on seemingly every corner.
The Victorian and revival homes dating between 1870 and 1930 have never fallen out of favor. They have always been well loved and well maintained with the community harmoniously handling the towns preservation as an architectural gem..
The pride and pleasure that people clearly have in their homes, coupled with the proximity to working in Newark and New York has in the past always guaranteed the vibrant real estate market in the area.