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About Berkeley Heights
When The New York Times recently published a story about the benefits of living in Berkeley Heights, they noted that homes here are “architecturally eclectic,” and gave the article a headline that read “Suburbia, but Not the Cookie-Cutter Kind.” This is a fair assessment, as a walk through any Berkeley Heights neighborhood will confirm.
Being recognized by major media outlets is something local residents have come to expect. In 2011, New Jersey Monthly magazine placed Berkeley Heights at number seven on its list of 566 New Jersey towns. Newsweek magazine’s 2011 list of America’s Best High Schools ranked Berkeley Heights’ Governor Livingston High School at 155 on a review of over 1,100 high schools across the country. CNN/Money magazine ranked Berkeley Heights number 45 in the Top 100 Best Places to Live nationwide in 2007, an impressive statistic considering there were 2,800 potential locations.
This small Union County community was incorporated in 1809 and currently has a population of about 13,000. Residents of the picturesque 6.3 square-mile town appreciate the serene feeling that comes from the their town’s quiet streets and verdant parkland. Another noteworthy feature is a central location less than 30 miles from New York City.
Partially located on the ridge of the second Watchung Mountain, Berkeley Heights is bordered by Summit, New Providence, Scotch Plains, Chatham, Warren Township, Watchung and Long Hill Township.
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Littell-Lord Farmstead Museum at 31 Horseshoe Road chronicles early life in Berkeley Heights. Its 18 acres include two houses, one of which was built by Andrew Littell in the 1750s, and the other near the turn of the last century. The Lord family purchased the property in 1867, and their descendants lived on the property until 1975 when Berkeley Heights acquired the land and buildings under New Jersey’s Green Acres program. Today the museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Watchung Reservation measures 1,945 acres, making it the largest park in Union County. The reservation is situated along the upper valley of Blue Brook, between the ridges of the first and second Watchung Mountains. A dam near the headwaters of the creek creates Lake Surprise for kayaking, canoeing and fishing. Park amenities include playgrounds, golf courses, horse stables, hiking and equestrian trails, and a nature center. Much of the land is densely wooded to protect the natural resources and habitats.
The Deserted Village of Feltville at 2 Cataract Hollow Road in Watchung Reservation is part of the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal. In 1845, David Felt bought 750 acres of farmland and built a large mill to produce paper products for his paper business in New York City. Within two years, Felt had created the thriving town of “Feltville.” By 1850, 175 people lived and worked there as it continued to prosper.After 15 years Felt sold the property, and several successive businesses failed. The place then became known as “the deserted village.” In 1882, it was transformed into a summer resort called Glenside Park. Interest dwindled, however, as more people chose to spend their summers on New Jersey’s ocean beaches instead. After the place was deserted once again, the Union County Park Commission purchased the property and included it in the Watchung Reservation.
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