West Orange is a 300-year-old multi-faceted, politically active, suburban community whose residents reflect wide variation in income, ethnic backgrounds, education and interest. It is centrally located in Essex County, New Jersey and is part of the metropolitan area surrounding the cities of Newark and New York. Its 12.15 square miles spread over two ridges and two valleys of the Watchung Mountains. This rolling terrain naturally provides variety to the township and is responsible for its division into several interesting neighborhoods.
About one-fifth of the land is open space, consisting of municipal and county parks and playgrounds, private and public golf courses and undeveloped acreage. In South Mountain and Eagle Rock Reservations one can find public areas, hiking trails, ball fields and bridle paths in the woods. Turtle Back Zoo and South Mountain Skating Arena are found in South Mountain Reservation. Eagle Rock Reservation provides a lookout where one can see the New York skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and both the George Washington and Verazzano bridges. On a clear night, the view is wonderful.
New Jersey Transit provides railroad service with stations nearby in Orange, South Orange and Montclair. Bus service to Newark and mid-town New York is available. The Township operates mini-buses for senior citizens.
Local news can be found daily in The Star Ledger, and weekly in The West Orange Chronicle. Comcast Cable usually telecasts local events, such as high school sports and League of Women Voters Candidates Nights.
The township is served by a part-time mayor and five part-time council members elected at large for four year terms. Council terms are staggered, and no party designations are permitted.
Llewellyn Park, the first residential park in the United States built according to plan in 1853 still covers over 400 acres and lies within West Orange’s borders.
Thomas Edison is West Orange’s most famous citizen. He lived in Llewellyn Park at Glemont (which one can visit today) and worked in West Orange from 1886 until his death in 1931. His laboratories now comprise the Edison Historical Site located on Main Street and administrated by the National Park Service.
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