History of Highland Park, NJ

Highland Park is a residential community approximately 2 square miles in size and centrally located in Middlesex County between New Brunswick and Edison Township along the Raritan River. Settled about 1667 by a small group of dissident Baptists, it was originally a meeting point for several famous Indian trails extending to many directions across New Jersey to New York, Pennsylvania, and points north, west, and south.

During the American Revolution it was occupied by Hessian Troops who drove General Washington's army out of New Brunswick and forced him to retreat to Morristown. An artillery unit set up by the Hessians on a bluff overlooking the Raritan River, where the YM-YWHA now stands, fought a duel with units under the command of Col. Alexander Hamilton positioned on Seminary Hill in New Brunswick. Hamilton was fighting a rear guard action to protect Washington's retreat in Morristown. During the period of its early settlement up to 1905, Highland Park was politically united to Woodbridge Township, then Piscataway Township, and finally Raritan Township, now known as Edison.

By special act of the legislature adopted May 15, 1905, Highland Park was severed from Raritan Township and incorporated as a borough with the "Weak Mayor-Council" form of government. The governing body consists of 6 councilmen elected for 3 year terms and a mayor elected for a 4 year term. Highland Park is almost completely built up and consists of tree lined streets running perpendicular and parallel ro its main artery, Raritan Avenue (Route 27). Two county parks are located within its borders providing many recreational activities.

The population of the community, now estimated at 14,800, is a balanced proportion of blue collar, white collar, and professional people. Many are employed in various industries and businesses located throughout Middlesex County, as well as Rutgers University, with campuses in New Brunswick and Piscataway.


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