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What is now Nutley was originally incorporated as Franklin Township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 18, 1874, from portions of Belleville Township. Nutley was incorporated as a Town on March 5, 1902, replacing Franklin Township. In 1981, the town was one of seven Essex County municipalities to pass a referendum to become a township, joining four municipalities that had already made the change, of what would ultimately be more than a dozen Essex County municipalities to reclassify themselves as townships in order take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies that allocated townships a greater share of government aid to municipalities on a per capita basis.
Nutley derived its name from the estate of the Satterthwaite family, established in 1844, which stretched along the Passaic River and from an artist's colony in the area.
New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Nutley as its 38th best place to live in its 2008 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey.
Annie Oakley performing at an amateur circus at Nutley in 1894, to raise funds for the Red Cross
Nutley grew slowly as Newark developed. The first European settler in the area, recorded in the minutes of a Newark town meeting in 1693, was a Dutch painter named Bastian Van Giesen. His house, known as Vreeland Homestead, still stands today on Chestnut Street and is the location of the Nutley Women's Club. John Treat and Thomas Stagg purchased lots adjacent to Van Geisen's in 1695 and 1698 respectively. The Van Riper House is another building from the era.
The first brownstone quarry in Nutley is believed to have been in operation by the early 18th century and was the town's first major industry. Jobs at the brownstone quarry in the Avondale section of Nutley provided work for many Italian and Irish immigrants. Mills situated along the Third River in the area now known as Memorial Park I became Nutley's second major industry.
John and Thomas Speer, Joseph Kingsland, and Henry Duncan all operated mills in the town during the 1800s. Current streets in Nutley are named after these mill owners. Henry Duncan built several mills throughout the town and established the village of Franklinville consisting of 30 homes and a few small businesses which later became the center of Nutley. One of Duncan's buildings has been modified and now serves as the town hall. Kingsland Manor is a national historic place.
Nutley's current town historian, John Demmer, is the author of the book in the "Images of America" series titled Nutley; Demmer is also part of The Nutley Historical Society, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serve the educational, cultural and historical needs of the community. The Nutley Historical Society manages the operation of The Nutley Historical Museum, housed in a former town schoolhouse at 65 Church Street.
Several other historical works on Nutley have been written by local historians, notably the late Ann Troy's Nutley: Yesterday - Today; "Nutley" by Marilyn Peters and Richard O'Connor in the "Then and Now" series; and books about the Nutley Velodrome. Local resident Chris Economaki wrote extensively about the Nutley Velodrome in his autobiographical racing history Let Them All Go! as the Velodrome was the first racetrack he had visited as a child.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 3.428 square miles (8.878 km2), including 3.384 square miles (8.764 km2) of land and 0.044 square miles (0.114 km2) of water (1.28%).
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Avondale, Franklin, Glendale and Younticaw.
There were 11,314 households out of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.3% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.10.
In the township, the population was spread out with 20.7% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 28.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.7 years. For every 100 females there were 88.9 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 86.0 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $76,167 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,896) and the median family income was $98,042 (+/- $4,394). Males had a median income of $64,736 (+/- $4,840) versus $52,410 (+/- $3,558) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $37,706 (+/- $1,918). About 3.1% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.9% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 Census, 36.0% of town residents were of Italian ancestry, the 12th-highest percentage of any municipality in the United States, and fifth-highest in New Jersey, among all places with more than 1,000 residents identifying their ancestry.
There were 10,884 households out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.0% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.3% were non-families. 27.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the town the population was spread out with 21.8% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 31.6% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $59,634, and the median income for a family was $73,264. Males had a median income of $51,121 versus $37,100 for females. The per capita income for the township was $28,039. About 3.4% of families and 4.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.4% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.
Nutley had been the U.S. headquarters of Hoffmann-La Roche and was the site of the creations of the medications Valium and Librium, later becoming one of the major R&D sites for Roche, hosting major research areas in oncology, virology and inflammation. Roche announced in June 2012 that operations at the site would end in 2013, leading to the elimination of 1,000 positions at the company, and that the facility would be shuttered by year end 2015. Located in Nutley since 1929, the company had reached a peak of 10,000 employees on the site, and the $9 million paid by the company in local property taxes accounted for 9% of the township's tax revenues.
Parks and recreation
Nutley's parks include Booth Park, DeMuro Park, Father Glotzbach Park, Msgr Owens Park, Flora Louden Park, Kingsland Park, Memorial Park I, II, III, Nichols Park, and Rheinheimer Park. They offer fields for baseball, football, basketball, lacrosse, roller hockey, and soccer among other sports. The township hosts a weekly Market Walk and Talk beginning and ending at the township farmer's market where participants take a one-hour loop through the local scenic parks.
Nutley has operated a Commission form of government under the Walsh Act since 1912. Each of the five commissioners is elected on a nonpartisan basis to serve four-year concurrent terms. The commissioners also serve as department heads in addition to their legislative functions. The Commissioners elect one Commissioner as Mayor. Historically the Commissioner that receives the most votes is appointed Mayor. The mayor is only responsible for his or her departments and serves as the chair of the commission. The Nutley Police Department provides law enforcement services.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 18,833 registered voters in Nutley, of which 5,737 (30.5%) were registered as Democrats, 3,753 (19.9%) were registered as Republicans and 9,327 (49.5%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 142 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, incumbent Democrat Barack Obama received 50.33% of the vote (6,507 votes), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 48.52% (6,273 votes) and other candidates with 1.14% (148 votes), among the 12,928 ballots cast by the township's 19,623 registered voters, for a turnout of 65.88%. In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 52.4% of the vote (7,325 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 45.6% (6,374 votes) and other candidates with 1.2% (163 votes), among the 13,985 ballots cast by the township's 18,853 registered voters, for a turnout of 74.2%. In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 54.5% of the vote (7,579 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry with 43.8% (6,099 votes) and other candidates with 0.6% (106 votes), among the 13,914 ballots cast by the township's 18,087 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 76.9.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 57.4% of the vote (4,497 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 41.3% (3,234 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (100 votes), among the 7,950 ballots cast by the township's 19,559 registered voters (119 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 40.6%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 52.9% of the vote (4,684 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 38.6% (3,416 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 6.8% (601 votes) and other candidates with 1.0% (92 votes), among the 8,859 ballots cast by the township's 18,793 registered voters, yielding a 47.1% turnout.
The Nutley Public Schools serve students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's seven schools had an enrollment of 3,934 students and 288.4 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 13.64:1. Schools in the district (with 2011-12 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics), are five elementary schools for students in grades K-6 --
Lincoln Elementary School (470),
Radcliffe Elementary School (323),
Spring Garden Elementary School (367),
Washington Elementary School (401) and
Yantacaw Elementary School (466) --
John H. Walker Middle School for grades 7 and 8 (628) and
Nutley High School for grades 9-12 (1,279). John H. Walker Middle School, formerly Franklin Middle School, was renamed in 2009 to honor John H. Walker who was a beloved educator and principal in the township.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated the central gulf coast region on August 29, 2005, Mayor Joanne Cocchiola and Commissioner Carmen A. Orechio reached out to local residents who wanted to help victims of the devastation, and formed the Operation Nutley Cares Committee. A decision was made to adopt Bay St. Louis, Mississippi as a sister city, Bay St. Louis, population 8,500, which sits just northeast of New Orleans, and had at least 60% of the community completely destroyed by Katrina and another 20% condemned. Monetary donations are still being accepted to help fund efforts to assist Bay St. Louis.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Nutley include:
George Dorn, in The Illuminatus! Trilogy, is described as having grown up in Nutley, with references to his childhood illustrating that the authors had more than a passing familiarity with the town.
Antiwar activist and Quaker Carl Hinke became the last American arrested for the Vietnam War draft Opposition to the Vietnam War on December 12, 1976. He had moved to Canada due to his pacifist convictions after being offered a one-way ticket to North Vietnam by Nutley's American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapters. Hinke was pardoned by Jimmy Carter on January 21, 1977, in his first official act as president.
Weird NJ runs regular features on past and present Nutley destinations such as Franklin Avenue beat coffee house, Angelo Nardi's Villa Capri which town council tried to close for decades and various Nutley "old man" bars such as the Old Canal Inn Nutley was also used as a shooting location for the 1999 film Weird N.J.
The courtroom in NBC's television show Ed was an exact replica of Nutley's municipal courtroom, and various locations in the township were used during filming, including the outside of the Public Safety building.
Celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart, has shared her childhood memories of Nutley on her television shows, and had a "Nutley Day" on her talk show Martha, in 2006.
Nutley was referenced in the Futurama episode #210 "Put Your Head on My Shoulders" as the destination of the bus stop where Bender found all of the undesirable Valentine's Day dates for his dating service customers ("Can't hon', I gotta catch my bus back to Nutley.", "Excuse me, did you say '10:15 to Nutley'?" and "Anybody else for Nutley?"), in "The Beast with a Billion Backs" ("This place makes Nutley look like crap.") and in "Into the Wild Green Yonder" ("Beats Nutley on a Saturday night.").
Nutley was frequently mentioned and featured in HBO's hit series The Sopranos, and Soprano family associate Furio Giunta purchased a home in Nutley.
Nutley was also referenced by Archie Bunker a number of times on the TV show All in the Family (it's where Edith's family is from)--as in "I don't want to take the bus all way to Nutley, NJ to see your ......Family", spoken in the Archie Bunker whine.
^"Removing Tiering From The Revenue Sharing Formula Would Eliminate Payment Inequities To Local Governments", Government Accountability Office, April 15, 1982. Accessed September 24, 2015. "In 1978, South Orange Village was the first municipality to change its name to the 'township' of South Orange Village effective beginning in entitlement period 10 (October 1978 to September 1979). The Borough of Fairfield in 1978 changed its designation by a majority vote of the electorate and became the 'Township of Fairfield' effective beginning entitlement period 11 (October 1979 to September 1980).... However, the Revenue Sharing Act was not changed and the actions taken by South Orange and Fairfield prompted the Town of Montclair and West Orange to change their designation by referendum in the November 4, 1980, election. The municipalities of Belleville, Verona, Bloomfield, Nutley, Essex Fells, Caldwell, and West Caldwell have since changed their classification from municipality to a township."
^Narvaez, Alfonso A. "New Jersey Journal", The New York Times, December 27, 1981. Accessed September 24, 2015. "Under the Federal system, New Jersey's portion of the revenue sharing funds is disbursed among the 21 counties to create three 'money pools.' One is for county governments, one for 'places' and a third for townships. By making the change, a community can use the 'township advantage' to get away from the category containing areas with low per capita incomes."
^ abRoman, Mark B. "IF YOU'RE THINKING OF LIVING IN: NUTLEY", The New York Times, September 18, 1983. Accessed June 1, 2012. "Industry is allowed only in the fringe areas, including parts of Kingsland Street, the headquarters of Hoffman-La Roche Inc., the pharmaceutical corporation, where the drugs Valium and Librium were invented."
^Demmer, John. "Nutley opinion: Trains come to Nutley", Nutley Sun, June 27, 2013. Accessed November 1, 2013. "The West Nutley, or Franklin Station, was the major focal point for one of Nutley's earliest and most popular real estate developers, William Lambert."
^Todd, Susan; and Jones, Stacy. "Roche will close Nutley plant, shed nearly 1,000 jobs", The Star-Ledger, June 27, 2012. Accessed July 4, 2012. "In Nutley, local officials called an emergency meeting to discuss the departure of the community's largest taxpayer -- and its impact on the township's finances. The drug maker pays $9 million in annual property taxes, which represents roughly 9 percent of what Nutley collects, Mayor Alphonse Petracco said."
^Kukaj, Hasime. "Nutley mayor: Like father, like son", Nutley Sun, May 17, 2016. Accessed May 22, 2016. "Joseph P. Scarpelli, reelected May 10, was sworn in for another four years as Nutley Public Works commissioner.As this election's top vote-getter, he also became Nutley's 18th mayor, an honor once bestowed on his father Peter C. Scrapelli, also on hand for Tuesday's reorganization meeting.... On Tuesday, each commissioner was reappointed to his department - Thomas Evans, Revenue and Finance; Alphonse Petracco, Public Safety; Steven Rogers, Public Affairs; and Mauro Tucci, Parks and Recreation."
^ abGeneral Information, Essex County, New Jersey. Accessed June 10, 2018. "The County Executive, elected from the County at-large, for a four-year term, is the chief political and administrative officer of the County.... The Board of Chosen Freeholders consists of nine members, five of whom are elected from districts and four of whom are elected at-large. They are elected for three-year concurrent terms and may be re-elected to successive terms at the annual election in November."
^Master Plan for the Township of Nutley, Essex County, NJ, Township of Nutley, December 19, 2012. Accessed August 26, 2018. "Freight rail service is provided along the former Erie-Lackawanna (Newark Branch) passenger line. The line is currently owned by and operated by the Norfolk Southern Corporation."
^Fox, Ron. "Nutley proud to call Fraser a native son, The Record (Bergen County), August 2, 1992. Accessed May 3, 2007. "Three years ago, the first induction ceremony for the Nutley High School Sports Hall of Fame was being planned. Word got around school that Ron Fraser, the University of Miami baseball coach, would be the guest speaker."
^Burnap, Campbell. "Obituary: Jackie Paris", The Independent, June 25, 2004. Accessed May 3, 2007. "Jackie Paris was born in Nutley, New Jersey, to an Italian family rather more interested in professional boxing than music. He graduated from the local high school two years ahead of the pianist Al Haig, but had already taken his first showbiz steps, as a juvenile song-and-dance act in vaudeville."
^Du Bois, William Pène, Encyclopædia Britannica, accessed April 5, 2007. "Du Bois, the son of noted painter and art critic Guy Pène du Bois, was born on May 9, 1916, in Nutley, N.J. His family moved to France when he was 8..."
^Staff. "Ryan sworn in as assemblyman", Nutley Sun, January 7, 2011. Accessed June 1, 2012. "Nutley resident Kevin J. Ryan was sworn in Thursday as the newest member of the New Jersey General Assembly."
^Staff. "Contest for 36th begins to heat up", The Star-Ledger, August 25, 2009. Accessed October 28, 2013. "Democrats Frederick Scalera of Nutley and Schaer, of Passaic, will try to beat back GOP challengers Carmen Pio Costa and Don Dioro in a rematch of a very close 2007 campaign."
^Jongsma, Joshua. "Sopranos actor Frank Vincent of Nutley dies", The Record (Bergen County), September 13, 2017. Accessed September 15, 2017. "Actor Frank Vincent of The Sopranos and Goodfellas fame -- a Nutley resident -- died Wednesday at the age of 80.... In the summer of 2016, Vincent performed on the drums during Nutley's concert in Memorial Park. Scarpelli said it was a 'spur of the moment thing' when Vincent joined the concert."
^Aerosmith, Davis, Stephen. Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith, p. 42. HarperCollins, 2003. ISBN0-06-051580-5. "We played a lot of proms: New Rochelle, Eastchester, West Point, Nutley High in New Jersey on June 17, the week after Steven got arrested, and he's still very upset. Nutley is a wealthy, conservative town and their prom was very formal, uptight. We walked in, they took one look at us, and I knew we were in trouble."
^Fortenbaugh, Rick. "Who's On Top, The Trentonian, February 2, 2010. Accessed January 20, 2013. "Nutley? The only wrestler we ever heard of that came from Nutley was former ECW superstar Balls Mahoney."