History/Facts

 

History

The history of New Providence can be first traced back to 1664 when James, Duke of York and brother to King Charles II, purchased the land from Native Americans. Its first settlers were a Puritan colony that came to the area in 1720. The abundance of large flocks of wild turkeys led to the initial name for the area of “Turkey”. By 1737, the Presbyterian Church was formed and was the center of life in the small settlement. In 1759, a crowded church balcony collapsed. It was considered a miracle that no one was seriously injured in the disaster. The miracle was soon referred to as a divine act of “providence.” The small town thereafter became known as “New Providence” and included present-day Summit and Berkeley Heights.  According to legend, when British soldiers were marching to Morristown to engage the Revolutionary Army led by George Washington, colonists dumped salt (a precious commodity in those days) into the local brook to keep it undesirable to the soldiers.  That brook, depicted on the borough seal, became known thereafter as the Salt Brook.

In 1869 Summit seceded from New Providence Township over disagreement with town management and also because of its rapid increase in population and businesses due to its railroad facilities. New Providence Borough was formed in 1899 and present-day Berkeley Heights retained the name New Providence Township until 1952.

Location and Transportation

Nestled in the Watchung Mountains, approximately 28 miles west of New York City, New Providence is home to 12,000 residents and covers 3.6 square miles in northwestern Union County, connecting Summit to Berkeley Heights.  Traveling is made simple with two easily accessible train stations within the town, as well as its close proximity to I-78, the Garden State Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike and Newark International Airport.

Residential/Business/Corporate Community

New Providence is mostly a residential community consisting of owner occupied, single- family dwellings, along with garden apartments and condominiums, as well as a distinctive upscale senior living community.  A majority of New Providence’s residents hold professional, managerial or other executive positions in their business or industry with an above average salary.

The Borough boasts a friendly and vibrant business community with numerous retailers, restaurants, and professional offices representing the medical, legal, veterinary, accounting and consulting sectors, to name a few.  Corporate and non-profit businesses include companies with worldwide reputations in their field. Several banking institutions within the borough serve the financial needs of the business community, as well as local residents.

Recreation

The New Providence Recreation Department, which provides a wide variety of programs for children and adults, is run by a seven-person commission, who are appointed by the mayor for five year terms. New Providence owns three playgrounds, an ice-skating rink, eight ball fields, and eight public tennis courts. Two pools, which are approximately Olympic size, are also available through the New Providence Community Pool Corporation.

Education

There are two public K-6 schools, as well as one parochial elementary school. The middle school is adjacent to the high school, and consists of grades 7-8. New Providence High School has approximately 650 students enrolled. Students in the New Providence School District are known for their academic achievements and excellence in athletics.

Library

The New Providence Memorial Library was opened in 1921 and has greatly expanded over the years. The Memorial Library is home to over 70,000 volumes of books and reference material in addition to over 120 different periodicals.

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