Rutherford At A Glance







Rutherford is located at 40°49′44″N 74°06′38″W / 40.828922°N 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 Clifton and Passaic to the west, the Erie Railroad bordering East Rutherford to the north and east, the Hackensack River bordering Secaucus to the southeast, and Berrys Creek, Wall Street West and Rutherford Avenue bordering Lyndhurst to the south and southwest.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1880 2,200  
1890 2,293 4.2%
1900 4,411 92.4%
1910 7,045 59.7%
1920 9,497 34.8%
1930 14,915 57.0%
1940 15,466 3.7%
1950 17,411 12.6%
1960 20,473 17.6%
1970 20,802 1.6%
1980 19,068 −8.3%
1990 17,790 −6.7%
2000 18,110 1.8%
Est. 2007 17,620 [3] −2.7%
Population 1880 - 1990[11][12][13]

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% Asian, 0.03% 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 married couples 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 males.

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 or over.


 Local government

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.

 Federal, 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.[29]

On the national level, Rutherford leans slightly toward the Democratic Party.


Bird's-eye-view of Rutherford in 1904.

The ridge above the New Jersey Meadowlands upon which Rutherford sits was settled by Lenape 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 Governor Philip Carteret to John Berry.

During the early days of settlement, the land that is now Rutherford was part of New Barbadoes Township, as Berry had lived in Barbados, 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 North Arlington, 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 Union Township.

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.

The Erie 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 disembarking at Boiling Springs station and taking Union Avenue to the river. Later, the railroad opened a station closer to the river, at Carlton Hill.

At the time, much of the property in Rutherford was farmland owned by the estate of 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 (now 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 Ohio politician 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.


 Public transportation

Thanks to its easy access to New 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 from Paterson to New York City. The line was taken over by New Jersey Transit in the early 1980s.

Today, New Jersey Transit offers service to New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal 163 (Limited), 190, 191, 192 and 195 routes, while the 76 bus provides service between Hackensack and Newark.[32] Meanwhile, the Bergen County Line train stops at Rutherford's 1898 depot en route from Hoboken to Suffern, with connecting service at Secaucus Junction to New York Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan and Newark Airport.


Intersection of Routes 3 and 17 in Rutherford

The original Route 17, in the 1920s, came through downtown Rutherford. Following the 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.[33]

 Emergency Services


The Rutherford 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 fire houses. Each company has a Captain and a Lieutenant. The department is staffed by 75 fully-trained firefighters. The RFD utilizes three Engines, a 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 provides basic life support, and is staffed primarily by certified Emergency Medical Technicians. CPR-trained drivers are also sometimes on duty. They operate three Type III ambulances.


Public education began in Rutherford prior to 1900, but the oldest school 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[39]) include Rutherford High School (817 students), built in 1922 and expanded in 1959 and 2005; and four elementary schools, 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 department.

Iviswold Castle located on the Felician College campus.

St. Mary's 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.

In 1942, Fairleigh Dickinson University was founded in Rutherford as a two-year college, anchored by the Iviswold Castle 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.

 Culture and recreation

William Carlos Williams, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, was born in Rutherford in 1883. For most of his adult life, he maintained a physician's 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 vaudeville house but was quickly converted into a movie palace. It was known for a large crystal chandelier suspended from the center of the auditorium.

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 for children.

The 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 history.

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) include two baseball diamonds, five softball diamonds, a Little League Baseball field, a football stadium, five tennis courts, two basketball courts, and three playgrounds. 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 cannon dating to the 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.[42] Firefighters' Memorial Park is a pocket 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 Commission.

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 Rutherford.

Boiling Springs Savings Bank's corporate headquarters are located in Rutherford.

Rutherford, together with Lyndhurst and 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, the 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 residents

Notable current and former residents of Rutherford include:

 Professional athletes

Rutherford is home to three current professional baseball players.

Name Position Team Name League MLB Affiliation Classification
Jack Egbert Pitcher Charlotte Knights International League Chicago White Sox Class AAA
Frank Herrmann Pitcher Cleveland Indians American League Major League Baseball MLB
Vin Mazzaro Pitcher Oakland Athletics American League Major League Baseball MLB

 Historic sites

Rutherford is home to the following locations on the National Register of Historic Places:

 Pictures of Rutherford

Victorian homes along a street in Rutherford.

The Ackerman house with the Yereance-Kettel house in the background.


 External links