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Rutherford Borough

Rutherford Borough Hall is located at 176 Park Avenue, Rutherford, NJ 07070; phone: 201-460-3000.

Beginnings [1]

"Newark, alias Milford (also called New Work) lies on a river called Newark (Passaic) River. Opposite to the Town on the North side of the River layeth a great tract of land belonging to Mr. Kingsland and Captain Sandlord, the quit rents whereof are purchased. There is another tract of land taken up higher on the River by Captain Berry, who hath disposed of part of it. There are several plantations there ..." (The Model of Government of East Jersey, circa 1670-1680).

Modern Rutherford covers part of both the Kingsland and Berry patents, Union Avenue once called "The Old Indian Trail" is a rough approximation of the boundary line dividing New Barbados and New Barbados Neck, as Berry and Kingsland grants were called in old deeds and maps.

The beginning of modern Rutherford, which was then known as Boiling Springs, a part of Union Township, can be marked by the arrival here in 1857 of Floyd Tomkins, a land developer who purchased hundreds of acres of farmland for building purposes. Soon afterwards several land companies were formed, The Rutherford Park Association and the Mount Rutherford Land Company among them. The Rutherford Park Association was organized in the 1860's by several wealthy New York businessmen and purchased with other tracts, part of the John Rutherfurd estate, Edgerston Manor.

John Rutherfurd had bought a large property in this section in 1808 and built a manor house. He named his estate after the family ancestral home in Scotland, a wealthy and prominent man, he was on terms of friendship with the elite of post-Revolutionary society and a United States Senator from New Jersey. When he died in 1840, he was one of the largest landholders in New Jersey and left his estate Edgerton Manor, to his daughters.

By the 1860's and 1870's, this rural village, lying between two lovely rivers, had become a favored summer resort for New Yorkers. In fact the Passaic River at that time was compared for beauty to the Rhine River in Germany. Many who came for a summer holiday returned to live — it was but a short ride on the Erie Railroad and ferry to New York — and thus, commuting became a way of life. In 1867 the old name Boiling Springs was dropped and the post office was called Rutherfurd Park.

But the real growth of Rutherford, as one of the most modern and progressive residential towns in Bergen County dates from 1883, when the Rutherford Heights Association was reorganized and offered extraordinary inducements to home seekers. By then "Park" had been dropped from the name and Rutherfurd was spelled Rutherford.

And by now, too, the inhabitants, nearly a thousand of them, wanted to separate from Union Township. A bitter election to test public felling for an against a borough form of government, was held on the 20th of September 1881, and on September 21, 1881 the petition for borough government was filed in Hackensack. (Excerpted from A Brief History of the Rutherford Area by Kathleen Hoagland.)

Trees have always played a prominent role in the Borough of Rutherford and many of the street trees today were planted shortly after formation of the Borough.

  1. Borough of Rutherford, N,J., Community Overview, Rutherford History, in "Community Forestry Management Plan: 2007-2011", adopted July, 2007,, accessed June, 2011.
**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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