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Dunellen Borough

Dunellen Borough Hall is located at 355 North Avenue, Dunellen, NJ 08812; phone: 732-968-3033.

Beginnings [1]

Dunellen was originally part of Piscataway Township and at one time the personal property of William Dockwa, secretary of the Board of proprietors of East Jersey. In the 1830's the first railroad track was built level to North Avenue traversing land that would become the Borough. The second and third railroad tracks were not laid until 1855 and 1869 respectively.

In 1847 the New Jersey Central Railroad Company was chartered, headed by prominent New York investor John Taylor Johnston. The company took control over the railroad and the main road. Later in 1867 an act of legislature incorporated the Central New Jersey Land Improvement Company and the parcels along the railroad were deeded to the newly created company, which John Taylor Johnston helped incorporate. It was Johnston's idea to create residential communities along the railroad right of way.

The real estate boom created by Johnston's vision built the Borough of Dunellen. During that time of real estate development, the existing railroad station named "New Market" was abandoned and a new station, with living quarters for the station master was erected and named "Dunellen." The company not only laid out the village, but it presented land for churches, schools and a central park space, known today as Washington Park.

Dunellen officially came into existence in 1886 when it was set up as a Borough commission. A Borough commission, now an extinct type of municipal government in New Jersey, granted the community limited powers while it remained under the jurisdiction of Piscataway Township. As years passed the Borough commission type of government was slowly provided more powers through legislative amendments. Finally in 1895 a referendum by Dunellen citizens along with legislative acts resulted in the transformation of the Borough commission type of government into a Borough government completely separate from Piscataway Township.

In 1896 Dunellen acquired its first Borough hall containing a council meeting room, a two-cell jail, a court room and police headquarters. Although established as a Borough in 1895, confusion regarding this new form of government remained and it was not until 1914 that another act of legislature officially confirmed Dunellen a Borough as it is known today.

  1. Borough of Dunellen, NJ with CME Associates, Borough of Dunellen Master Plan, 2011,, accessed August, 2015.
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