Essex Fells is a borough in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the borough population was 1,984. The borough has a total area of 1.4 square miles, all of it land.
Essex Fells is considered to be one of the premier boroughs in New Jersey. New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Essex Fells as its 10th best place to live in its 2008 rankings of the “Best Places To Live” in New Jersey.
The Essex Fells Water Company, a public elementary school, a post office, and a park lie within town boundaries. Based on an ordinance passed in 1928, commercial activity in the borough is limited to a single three-story building constructed to look like a house and two small workshops on a dead end. The borough has no apartment buildings, condos, office buildings or traffic lights. The only units available for rental are in carriage houses and other ancillary structures.
The Essex Fells School District serves public school students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Essex Fells School had an enrollment of 248 students as of the 2008-09 school year.
Students in public school for grades 7 – 12 attend the West Essex Regional School District, a regional school district serving students from four municipalities in western Essex County, New Jersey; communities served are Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell and Roseland. Schools in the district are West Essex Junior High School (grades 7-8) and West Essex High School (grades 9-12).
Caldwell College, an Independent college is located in nearby Caldwell (9 Ryerson Avenue).
Routes 46 and 10 to major thoroughfares and bus service to New York City and Livingston ensure a convenient lifestyle.
Points of Interest include–
– Essex Fells Country Club – New Jersey’s oldest Country Club. In addition to being one of the premier golf courses in the Tri-State area; located at 219 Devon Road.
– Grover Cleveland Park – the seventh largest park in the Essex County park system, is a heavily wooded park covering 41.48 acres in the western section of the county along the Caldwell-Essex Fells border.
– Memorial Garden – At Chestnut Lane, located on the site of the former Post Office and railway station.
– Bicentennial Garden – Found at Forest Way and Hawthorne Road, this garden were funded by town residents.
– The Glen – The area behind the Essex Fells School which contains native trees, shrubs, vines, and flowers.
– Skating Pond – Located at Forest Way and Fells Road. The pond is formed each autumn by damming a brook that runs through the meadow here; it is drained each spring.
– Trotter Tract – Enter at the end of Oak Lane. An 83-acre area contains many species of flora and fauns, to be seen on walks along the roads through the property. Several of the water wells operated by the borough are located here.
Historically, in 1702, settlers purchased the 14,000 acre Horseneck Tract from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans. This purchase encompassed much of western Essex County, from the Orange (or First Mountain in the Watchung Mountain range) to the Passaic River; an area of what are now the municipalities of Caldwell, West Caldwell, North Caldwell, Fairfield, Verona, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Roseland, and portions of Livingston and West Orange.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the wooded hills and valleys that now comprise the Borough of Essex Fells were sparsely settled. Farms were located along what is now Roseland Avenue. In 1889 the New York Suburban Land Company acquired 1000 acres of this unspoiled section of Second Mountain for development as a planned residential community called Essex Fells.
Essex Fells was incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature in 1902, from portions of Caldwell Township (now Fairfield Township). In 1981, Essex Fells became a township to take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies. Effective January 1, 1992, it again became a borough.