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Kenilworth Borough

Kenilworth Borough Hall is located at 567 Kenilworth Boulevard, Kenilworth, NJ 07033; phone: 908-276-5800.

Beginnings [1]

Kenilworth's roots can be traced to a pre-Revolutionary farming community which was acquired in the late 1800s by a group of real estate developers who initially called the town New Orange. The area was renamed Kenilworth, after England's Kenilworth Castle and Sir Walter Scott's novel, Kenilworth, and in 1907 was incorporated as the Borough of Kenilworth.

Kenilworth was once home to such institutions as Upsala College and Kensington Riding Academy. Kenilworth has attracted a number of famous visitors over the years, including inventor Thomas A. Edison and renowned aviator Gen. James Doolittle, who crashed his experimental plane in Kenilworth in 1929 while attempting an emergency landing in foggy conditions. Doolittle credited the accident with reinforcing his commitment to developing blind-landing instrumentation for all-weather flying, one of his most significant aeronautical achievements.

The Oswald J. Nitschke House (c. 1880), one of Kenilworth's few remaining 19th-century farmhouses, is an important focal point for interpreting the community's rich history and serves as a significant venue for heritage tourism. The Kenilworth Historical Society saved the historic home of local pioneer and former Mayor Oswald Nitschke from demolition by relocating it in 2003 and undertaking its restoration and transformation into a living history museum and cultural arts center. The Nitschke House is listed in the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.

Kenilworth's growth and development over the years may be attributed in large part to the industrial strength and notable corporate citizenship of local businesses. The Borough currently is home to many thriving companies, including the worldwide pharmaceutical firm Merck (formerly Schering-Plough Corporation, which for many years was based in Kenilworth).

  1. Borough of Kenilworth, N. J., History of Kenilworth, Master Plan, February, 2011,, accessed June, 2012.
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