Scotch Plains is a Township in Union County, New Jersey with a population of nearly 25,000 residents which encompasses just over 9 square miles at the base of the Watchung Reservation. The township is located on a ridge in northern-central New Jersey, within the Raritan Valley and Rahway Valley regions in the New York metropolitan area.
The area was first settled in 1684 and has a rich history with many Revolutionary War landmarks still standing.
The native people living in this area were the Raritans, of the Leni Lenape branch of the Delawares. The land was first claimed by the Dutch in 1609 as a result of Henry Hudson’s explorations. In 1684 and 1685, this area was settled by Scotch immigrants who landed at Perth Amboy under the leadership of George Scot, hence the name “Scot’s Plains”. In those early days Scot’s Plains was part of West Fields (later Westfield) which in turn was part of Elizabethtown. At the time, people traveled by horseback on Native American trails; later transport included stagecoaches and buggies pulled by horses. These paths became our present main streets: Front Street, Park Avenue, Martine Avenue, Raritan Road and Westfield Road.Scot’s Plains, which included what is now Fanwood, grew slowly in population, and was a farming community for 200 years.
By World War I, Scotch Plains was becoming modern as paved streets replaced mud roads. After World War I, Scotch Plains grew mostly in homes for commuters with construction of Route 22 in 1930, playing a part in the town’s development. City people began to move to Scotch Plains “to the country.” During World War II, we were still mainly a rural town of 4,500; the town’s most significant growth came after World War II in the 1950s and 1960s, especially on the south side where many big housing developments replaced tracts of farmland. By 2018, Scotch Plains had more than 24,405 residents with many commuting to Newark, New York City and other job centers via convenient rail, road and bus.
Scotch Plains has churches, two synagogues, a YMCA, Jewish Community Center, many banks, restaurants, professional service providers and shops, serving the latest generation of a bustling, multi-ethnic community. It’s walkable downtown is filled with historical landmarks due to its rich 300 year history.
Commute to NYC
There are 4 ways to get from New York City to Scotch Plains: bus, train, taxi or car. The train station is centrally located. By car, the drive is less than 1 hour.
Fanwood and Scotch Plains have always shared a school system which is highly regarded. Until 1925, high school students went to other towns. At that time, what is now Park Middle School was built as a high school and junior high. After the tremendous population growth after WWII, more public schools were built. Shackamaxon, Evergreen, Brunner, Coles, Terrill Middle School, Mc Ginn, and a new School #1 were added. In 1953, there were 10,000 people here and student enrollment in schools had doubled. A new high school was built, and the old one became Park Middle School.