Rutherford is located at
74.110644°W / 40.828922;
-74.110644 (40.828922, -74.110644).
According to the
United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 2.9 square
miles (7.6 km2), of which 2.8 square miles (7.3 km2) is
land and 0.3 km2 (0.1 sq mi or 4.11%) is water.
Rutherford is bounded by the
Passaic River bordering
Passaic to the west, the
East Rutherford to the north and east, the
Hackensack River bordering
Secaucus to the southeast, and
Creek, Wall Street West and Rutherford Avenue bordering
Lyndhurst to the south and southwest.
Population 1880 - 1990
As of the census
of 2000, there were 18,110 people, 7,055 households, and 4,670 families residing
in the borough. The
population density was 6,451.7 people per square mile (2,488.4/km2).
There were 7,214 housing units at an average density of 2,570.0/sq mi (991.2/km2).
The racial makeup of the borough was 81.99%
White, 2.70% African American, 0.04%
Native American, 11.34%
Pacific Islander, 1.86% from
other races, and 2.03% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any
race were 8.59% of the population.
There were 7,055 households out of which 28.8% had children under the age of
18 living with them, 53.5% were
living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and
33.8% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and
10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the borough the population was spread out with 20.8% under the age of 18,
7.4% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who were
65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females
there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3
The median income for a household in the borough was $63,820, and the median
income for a family was $78,120. Males had a median income of $51,376 versus
$39,950 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $30,495. About
2.3% of families and 3.7% of the population were below the
poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65
Rutherford 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 and only votes to break a tie. 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.
Council members receive committee assignments by the mayor annually and serve
as liaisons during the year between Borough departments and committees and the
governing body. The Borough operates with numerous committees to assist the
government in carrying out its responsibilities. In addition to statutory bodies
such as the planning board and zoning board of adjustment, dozens of volunteers
staff other committees appointed annually. These committees provide invaluable
assistance through their work and development of recommendations to the
governing body to improve the quality of live in the community. Residents are
encouraged to participate in this process.
state and county representation
Rutherford is in the Ninth Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's
36th Legislative District
As of April 1, 2006, out of a 2004 Census estimated population of 18,084 in
Rutherford, there were 10,441 registered voters (57.7% of the population, vs.
55.4% in all of Bergen County). Of registered voters, 2,150 (20.6% vs. 20.7%
countywide) were registered as
Democrats, 1,801 (17.2% vs. 19.2% countywide) were registered as
Republicans and 6,482 (62.1% vs. 60.1% countywide) were registered as
Undeclared. There were eight voters registered to other parties.
On the national level, Rutherford leans slightly toward the Democratic Party.
The ridge above the
New Jersey Meadowlands upon which Rutherford sits was settled by
Native Americans long before the arrival of
Walling Van Winkle in 1687. Union Avenue, which runs from the
Meadowlands to the
Passaic River, may have been an Indian trail, but was more likely a property
boundary line; it was referenced in the 1668 grant of land by proprietary
Philip Carteret to
During the early days of settlement, the land that is now Rutherford was part
New Barbadoes Township, as Berry had lived in
another English colony, before claiming his grant in New Jersey. New Barbadoes
was part of
Essex County from 1693 to 1710, when Bergen County was formed. In 1826, the
land became part of
Lodi Township (of which today's remaining portion is now
South Hackensack). When
Hudson County was formed in 1840, the area that is today
Lyndhurst, Rutherford and
East Rutherford became part of
Harrison Township (of which today's remaining portion is
Harrison town). However, the area reverted to Bergen County in 1852 and
became known as
Part of the region was known as Boiling Springs for a powerful and ceaseless
spring located in the vicinity. Contrary to some modern beliefs, the spring
actually consisted of cold groundwater seeps rather than hot springs.
Railroad built its Main Line from
Jersey City across the Meadowlands in the 1840s.
Daniel Van Winkle, a descendant of Walling, donated land in 1866 for a
train station at
Boiling Springs. Several resorts were built along the Passaic, with guests
Boiling Springs station and taking Union Avenue to the river. Later, the
railroad opened a station closer to the river, at
At the time, much of the property in Rutherford was farmland owned by the
John Rutherfurd, a former New Jersey legislator and
U.S. Senator, whose homestead was along the Passaic near present-day
Rutherford Avenue. Daniel Van Winkle opened a real estate office at Depot Square
Station Square) to sell the land of the Rutherfurd Park Association,
and began to lay out the area's street grid. The main roads were Orient Way, a
wide boulevard heading south-southwest from Station Square, and Park Avenue,
which headed west-southwest from Station Square to bring traffic to the new
Valley Brook Race Course in what is now Lyndhurst.
In the 1870s, the area began to be called Rutherford. The spelling change may
have been the result of name recognition of the
Rutherford B. Hayes, who was elected
President in 1876 or could have been because of a clerical error done by the
Post Office. The
U.S. Post Office opened a facility called Rutherford in 1876. On September
21, 1881, the Borough of Rutherford was formed by formal vote of secession from
Union Township. By then, the community had about 1,000 residents.
Thanks to its easy access to
York City by rail, Rutherford became an early
bedroom community. Following the initial wave of settlement in the late 19th
century, an additional building boom occurred in the 1920s, when the majority of
the borough's current housing stock was constructed.
Public Service Railway brought
trolley lines into
Rutherford around the turn of the century. The lines extended east to Jersey
City, south to
Newark, north to
Hackensack, and west to
Passaic. By the late 1940s, these were replaced by bus service.
After the opening of the
Lincoln Tunnel in 1937, the Inter-City Bus Company began
bus service direct
Paterson to New York City. The line was taken over by
New Jersey Transit in the early 1980s.
New Jersey Transit offers service to
Port Authority Bus Terminal
195 routes, while the
76 bus provides service between
Bergen County Line train stops at
Rutherford's 1898 depot en route from
Suffern, with connecting service at
Secaucus Junction to
New York Penn Station in
Midtown Manhattan and
The original Route 17, in the 1920s, came through downtown Rutherford.
1927 New Jersey State Highway renumbering, the new NJ 2 (later
NJ 17), was built in 1928, skirting the southeast edge of the borough,
between the residential area and the
New Jersey Meadowlands.
In 1948, a new bypass road along the southwest edge of the borough was built
to bring traffic from
Clifton and points west to the Lincoln Tunnel. The construction of the
highway spur Route S3 (now
NJ 3) caused the demolition or relocation of numerous borough homes. Plans
are being made to replace the Route 3 bridge over the Passaic River and to
improve the safety of the section of highway that passes through Rutherford.
Construction is slated to begin in 2010.
Police Department (RPD) provides emergency and protective services to the
borough of Rutherford. The RPD consists of 43 officers and is headed by a police
director. The RPD responds to approximately 11,000 calls per year and conducts
criminal investigations through its detective bureau.
The police department was originally organized in June 1879 as the Rutherford
Protective and Detective Association
The Rutherford Fire Department (RFD) is an
all-volunteer fire department. The RFD was organized in May 1871 and
consists of one
Chief, one deputy chief and three assistant chiefs. There are five fire
companies in three
houses. Each company has a
and a Lieutenant. The department is staffed by 75 fully-trained
firefighters. The RFD utilizes three
Ladder truck, a
Heavy Rescue, a Special Service Unit and a boat.
Two of Rutherford's firefighters (Edwin L. Ward in 1965 and Thomas E. Dunn in
1994) have died in the line of duty.
The Rutherford First Aid-Ambulance Corp is a volunteer ambulance service that
was organized in 1949. The corp consists of 40 members that operate under the
supervision of the Captain, First Lieutenant and Second Lieutenant. The corps
basic life support, and is staffed primarily by certified
Emergency Medical Technicians.
drivers are also sometimes on duty. They operate three
Type III ambulances.
Public education began in Rutherford prior to 1900, but the oldest
structure that is still standing is the former Park School, built in 1902. It is
currently the home of the Rutherford borough hall, on Park Avenue.
Today's public schools in the
Rutherford School District (with 206-07 enrollment data from the
National Center for Education Statistics)
Rutherford High School (817 students), built in 1922 and expanded in 1959
and 2005; and four
Lincoln (K-3; 357),
Washington (K-3; 322)
Pierrepont (4-8; 489),
Union (4-8; 471). As of 2005, the expansion work on Lincoln and Washington
was completed; work on Union and Pierrepont was not expected to be completed
until sometime in 2007.
Rutherford formerly had three "neighborhood" schools for grades K-5
(Washington, Lincoln, and Sylvan) which fed into two "magnet" schools for 6-8.
The magnet schools also served as elementary schools for their neighborhoods.
Sylvan School was closed at the end of the 2004-2005 school year and has become
a handicapped preschool, as well as office space for the special services
Roman Catholic Church was established in Rutherford in the 1890s and opened
a school shortly thereafter. St. Mary's offers both a
grammar school and
St. Mary High School.
Fairleigh Dickinson University was founded in Rutherford as a two-year
college, anchored by the
on Montross Avenue, which was built in the 1880s as a summer home by
David B. Ivison. After FDU expanded to a four-year college and then to
offering graduate programs, it acquired other, larger, campuses, and eventually
left Rutherford, offering the campus for sale due to financial difficulties. In
the fall of 1997, the Rutherford campus was purchased by
Felician College, an independent private
Roman Catholic institution, which often has cultural and community events.
William Carlos Williams, the
poet, was born in
Rutherford in 1883. For most of his adult life, he maintained a
office in the house in which he lived, at 9 Ridge Road, at the corner of Park
Avenue, even as he continued his artistic endeavors. He died in 1963.
The Rivoli Theatre was opened in 1922 as a
house but was quickly converted into a
movie palace. It
was known for a large crystal
suspended from the center of the
On January 9, 1977, the Rivoli was severely damaged in a fire. Soon
afterward, a plan was developed to restore the Rivoli and turn it into a
performing arts center. The
William Carlos Williams Center for the Performing Arts opened in 1981 and
contains three movie screens as well as two performance halls. Since 1995, the
Williams Center's primary focus has been on concerts, ballet, opera, and theater
Meadowlands Museum, which began as a project of parents of children in the
public schools in 1961 and was originally based in a room at Sylvan School,
moved to the
Yereance-Berry House at 91 Crane Avenue in 1974. Its focus is on local
The Nereid Boat Club occupies a former boat sales building on the
Passaic, at the foot of Newell Avenue. The
rowing club, established in
Nutley in 1875, relocated to Rutherford in 1996.
The GFWC Woman's Club of Rutherford is a non-profit volunteer
organization that was organized in 1889. The club is located in the former
Iviswold carriage house.
Rutherford Memorial Park, in the northwest corner of town along the Passaic,
was set aside as parkland by the voters in 1951. Its 30 acres (120,000 m2)
baseball diamonds, five
Little League Baseball field, a
football stadium, five
basketball courts, and three
It is also home to the borough's yearly Other active recreation parks include
Wall Field, near NJ 17, and Tamblyn Field, near NJ 3.
The borough also has several smaller passive parks, including Lincoln Park
across from borough hall, which was renovated in 2004. It includes a band shell
and several monuments, including a
Spanish-American War, and is home to the borough's
9/11 memorial, containing a piece of steel debris recovered from the site of
the attacks. Sunset Park is located just north of the intersection of Union and
Jackson Avenues and is on the western-facing side of a rather steep hill. A plan
to redesign the park is currently being developed.
Firefighters' Memorial Park is a
park located at the intersection of Park and Mortimer Avenue.
Lincoln Park has been a host to town events, concerts, and memorials for
decades. The Rutherford Community Band plays concerts during the summer. Other
concerts are sponsored by the borough, as well as several movie nights in the
park. All of which, occur during the Summer. In the Fall, it has been host to
The Bergen County Cultural festival which is funded and run by The Civil Rights
Rutherford holds an annual street fair on Labor Day which is the longest
running street fair in New Jersey and usually attracts 20,000 people.
The first annual Rutherford West End Festival was held October 3, 2009 in the
West End section of town.
The Borough also has more than 30
amateur radio stations.
Architectural Window Manufacturing Corporation's plant is located in
Boiling Springs Savings Bank's corporate headquarters are located in
Rutherford, together with
North Arlington, was the site of the
EnCap project, an
effort to remediate landfills on the 785-acre (3.18 km2) site and
construct homes and golf courses on top of the cleaned up site. On May 27, 2008,
New Jersey Meadowlands Commission terminated its agreement with EnCap Golf
Holdings, the company that had the contract to redevelop the site, after the
company had missed targets to cleanup the landfills as part of the project.
A proposed project called the Highland Cross Development is being
planned for Rutherford. The project will consist of 800 units of housing which
will included 160 affordable units, two hotels and a large retail component.
Construction has already begun on one of the hotels.
Notable current and former residents of Rutherford include:
Alfred Andriola (1912–1983), an American cartoonist.
Maxwell Becton (1868–1951), co-founder of
Howard Crook (b.1947), an American
George Dayton (1827-?), represented Bergen County in the
New Jersey Senate from 1875-1877
Fairleigh S. Dickinson (1866–1948), co-founder of
Becton Dickinson and the named benefactor of
Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Fairleigh Dickinson, Jr. (1920–1996), member of the
New Jersey Senate in 1968.
Kathleen Donovan (b.1952),
County Clerk of
Bergen County, New Jersey, and a former member of the
New Jersey General Assembly.
John Dull, folk music artist and promoter.
William H. J. Ely (1891–1942), district judge in New Jersey
from 1924–1928 and represented Bergen County in the
New Jersey Senate from 1932-1934.
Charles Evered (b.1964), Playwright, Director
Beth Fowler (b.1940), actress
Louis Frey, Jr. (b.1934), Republican Politician and former
member of the US House of Representatives from Florida
Daniel Holsman, represented Bergen County in the
New Jersey Senate from 1863-1865
William Labov (b.1927), an American linguist.
John Cridland Latham (1888–1975),
Medal of Honor recipient
Robert Leckie (1920–2001), author
John Marin (1870–1953), early modernist artist
Bernie McInerney (b.1936), an American film/television/stage
Peggy Noonan (b.1950), author of seven books and was Special
Assistant to former President
Thomas R. Pickering (b.1931),
United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 1989 to
John Rutherfurd (1760–1840), U. S. Senator.
Walter H. Stockmayer (1914–2004), internationally known
chemist and university teacher.
Winant Van Winkle (1879–1943), represented Bergen County in
New Jersey Senate from 1935-1940
Walker Whiting Vick (1878–1926), an aid to
Alexander Russell Webb (1846–1916), was an American writer
William Carlos Williams (1883–1963), Poet.
Chris Wragge, (b.1970), a
news anchor for
Jim Garrett (b.1930), College football coach and
professional Football player.
Bill Hands (b.1940), Former professional baseball pitcher.
Hands was a 20 game winner for the
Bobby Jones (b.1972), Former professional baseball pitcher.
Rodney Leinhardt (b.1970), An
Vin Mazzaro (born 1986), pitcher for the
Shaun O'Hara (b.1977), Center for the
New York Giants. Former center for Rutgers University.
Leo Paquin (1910–1993) former American football player.
- Eddy Rolon, a professional mixed martial artist and
submission grappler, has lived in Rutherford since 1996. Rolon
is one of the first state licensed MMA competitors in New Jersey
as well as the 2001 IFC Battleground Heavyweight champion.
Michael Strahan (b.1971), former defensive end for the
New York Giants
Stan Walters (b.1948), former professional
American football player.
Corey Wootton (b.1987), current
Rutherford is home to three current professional baseball players.
Rutherford is home to the following locations on the
National Register of Historic Places: