West Orange is a bustling township in Essex County, New Jersey. With a population of approximately 46,000, it is one of the more populous municipalities in the state.
The community is known for its diversity, with no single race or ethnicity making up more than 50% of residents. There are sizable African American, Hispanic, and Asian populations that contribute to West Orange’s rich cultural tapestry.
The Lenni Lenape Native Americans were the original inhabitants of the area now known as West Orange. European settlers began arriving in the 18th century, establishing farms and homesteads.
The township was formally incorporated in 1863. West Orange grew rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as land developers took advantage of its proximity to Newark and New York City.
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Quality of Life
West Orange offers residents a high quality of life with beautiful parks, excellent schools, and a vibrant downtown.
The community takes pride in its many amenities for families, including an aquatic center, ice skating rink, and active recreation programs. New businesses and development continue to invigorate the township.
Residents have access to high-quality healthcare services. The two main medical facilities are St. Barnabas Medical Center and the VA NJ Healthcare System. St. Barnabas is a full-service hospital and Level I trauma center.
The VA hospital provides care to veterans in the region. There are also many private practice doctors, dentists, and specialists throughout West Orange.
Overall, West Orange is considered a safe community thanks to diligent policing and active neighborhood watch programs. However, some areas contend with higher property crime rates. The West Orange Police Department works closely with residents to prevent and solve crimes through community-oriented initiatives.
West Orange benefits from an excellent transportation infrastructure. It is located along major highways including Interstate 280, the Garden State Parkway, and Route 10. NJ Transit provides rail service at two train stations in town.
Local bus routes also enable convenient travel within West Orange and to neighboring areas.
Shopping and Dining
The downtown area along Main Street offers a mix of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Here you’ll find casual eateries, fine-dining restaurants, boutique shops, and movie theaters.
Big box stores and national chains are found elsewhere in West Orange along Route 10 and Prospect Avenue. The township also hosts a farmers market during warmer months.
The West Orange Public School District oversees 12 schools serving grades K-12. High-performing options include West Orange High School, Mount Pleasant Elementary, and Roosevelt Middle School.
There are also several private school alternatives. Higher education can be pursued locally at Seton Hall University’s campus in West Orange.
Points of Interest
- Thomas Edison National Historical Park – The inventor’s home, laboratory, and gardens preserve his legacy.
- Turtle Back Zoo – Family-friendly zoo with endangered species, a petting zoo, and mini golf.
- Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center – State-of-the-art theater hosting musicals, plays, and concerts.
- Pleasant Valley Park – Recreation hub with sports fields, playgrounds, and an aquatic center.
- Rock Spring Golf Course – Scenic public golf course with 18 challenging holes.
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