Bloomfield Township

Essex County, New Jersey

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Bloomfield Town Hall is located at 1 Municipal Plaza, Bloomfield, NJ 07003.
Phone: 973‑680‑4800.


Beginnings [1]

The Township of Bloomfield has a history that dates to the earliest period of colonial settlement in New Jersey and New York. The area now known as Bloomfield was part of Newark in 1666 when the Township was settled. The land was purchased from the Yantecaw, a sub-tribe of the Lenni-Lenape Indians and was first known as Wardessen ward. Early settlers such as the English came from Connecticut and the Dutch came from the Hudson River Valley. The Township separated from Newark in 1812 and was incorporated as the Township of Bloomfield, taking its name from the Presbyterian parish named for General Joseph Bloomfield in 1796. At the time Bloomfield, covered 20.52 square miles and included several villages that seceded during the 19th century. The Town Green, which was used as early as 1775 for a military parade ground, has remained the physical and historic center of the Township.

The earliest roads followed Indian trails leading to Newark, Newtown and Cranetown (now Montclair). The main occupation was farming and the area was predominantly rural in character. Three local waterways provided a reliable source of power for the first industries; sawmills and gristmills. They were followed by paper mills and tanneries. Sandstone was quarried locally and exported to New York City as early as 1765 for the construction of brownstone houses.

In the 19th century, the Township of Bloomfield experienced rapid growth and many significant changes. The Newark and Pompton Turnpike (now Bloomfield Avenue) started in 1806, fulfilling the need for better transportation and transforming the Township into a commercial center. By 1830 there were many factories, mills and other commercial enterprises. The Oakes Woolen Mill was founded in 1830 and remained in operation until the 1940's. At one time it was the largest industry in the Township. The Morris Canal connecting the Delaware River to the Hudson River was constructed through the Township and began operation in 1831. The Canal was the catalyst for further commercial, industrial and residential development. Other significant transportation improvements during this period were the first railroad to Newark in 1856, the construction of the first streetcar line in 1867 and the arrival of the New York/Montclair/Greenwood Lake Railroad in 1872. The opening of the Morris Canal and the construction of the railroads precipitated the rapid residential growth and industrial development of the 19th century that transformed Bloomfield from a small farming community into a bustling suburb of Newark.

The population of Bloomfield increased significantly in the late 19th century due to the arrival of new immigrants from Europe, especially Italy, Poland and Germany. The new immigrants found work in the growing industries that were located in the Township. Their arrival spurred further development that transformed Bloomfield into a prosperous community with many new houses, apartment buildings and hotels. A number of schools, churches and cultural organizations were founded during this period to serve the new residents of the Township.

  1. Township of Bloomfield, Master Plan: Historic Preservation Element, 2002,, accessed November, 2013.

Nearby Towns: Clifton City • East Orange City • Glen Ridge Boro • Montclair Twp • Newark City • Nutley Twp • Passaic City • Rutherford Boro • Totowa Boro • Township of South Orange Vlg • Verona Township • Wallington Boro • West Orange Twp •

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