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Sayreville, New Jersey
Borough in Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States
Sayreville was originally incorporated as a township on April 6, 1876, from portions of South Amboy Township. On April 2, 1919, the borough was reincorporated as the Borough of Sayreville and ratified by a referendum held on April 29, 1919.
Native Americans were the first settlers of Sayreville. Tribes of the Navesink lived along the South River where Jernee Mill Road is located today. This was noted on a 1656 New Netherland map by Adriaen van der Donck, a Dutch surveyor and map maker. Attempting to buy land from the Native Americans, European settlers travelled up the Raritan River in 1663. During the 20th century, amateur archaeologists found thousands of Indian artifacts at the location shown on the map.
Predating the incorporation of Sayreville, the Morgan Inn (later known as the Old Spye Inn) was established in 1703 in what is now the Morgan section of Sayreville. Charles Morgan III and his descendants, including Major General James Morgan and Lieutenant Nicholas Morgan, played significant roles in the Revolutionary War. The Morgan family lived in the area for over 200 years and many family members, including Evertsons, are buried in the privately owned Morgan Cemetery, which overlooks Raritan Bay. The Morgans were said to be related to the famous pirate, Captain Henry Morgan, who is said to have visited the Inn on more than one occasion, although this would have been impossible, considering Morgan died in Jamaica in 1688 and the Old Spye Inn wasn't built until 1703.
It was from an episode during the Revolutionary War that the Morgan Inn gained its new name, the Old Spye Inn. According to local legends, a local British loyalist, Abe Mussey, was captured by Continental Army troops in 1777 while signaling to British ships in Raritan Bay. He was tried as a spy at the Inn, convicted in a one-day trial, and sentenced to death by hanging. Mussey's execution was carried out using a tree near the Inn's entrance. Mussey was reported to be buried behind the Inn in an unmarked grave. The Inn was destroyed by fire in 1976, but its ruins remain on the National Register of Historic Places.
Originally known as Roundabout (for the river bends in the area) and then as Wood's Landing, the community was renamed in the 1860s for James R. Sayre Jr. of Newark, who co-founded Sayre and Fisher Brick Company in the 1850s together with Peter Fisher. It was one of the many companies that took advantage of the extensive clay deposits that supported the brick industry from the early 19th century until 1970. From its inception, Sayre & Fisher quickly grew into one of the largest brick-making companies in the world. Production grew from 54 million bricks annually in 1878, to 178 million bricks a year in 1913, and had reached a total of 6.2 billion bricks in the 100 years through its centennial in 1950.
In 1898, DuPont began production of gunpowder at its plant on Deerfield Road, and later off Washington Road. The company later built additional facilities in Sayreville for the production of paint and photo products.
At one time the Raritan River Railroad passed through Sayreville and had several spurs to service Sayre & Fisher and other local industries. A train running on the line was featured in "The Juggernaut," a 1914 episode of the silent movie serial The Perils of Pauline. The episode was staged on the line, including the construction of a bridge over Ducks Nest Pond in Sayreville. The fishing pond is located in the back of Bailey Park, near the DuPont and Hercules factories.
In 1918 during World War I, Sayreville was heavily damaged by TNT explosions at the Gillespie Shell Loading Plant. The disaster killed dozens and injured hundreds of local victims, damaged hundreds of buildings, required an emergency declaration of martial law, and scattered wide areas of ammunition remnants that continue to surface occasionally.
Sayreville's clay deposits have earned scientific notice as one of the world's major sources of museum-quality fossils found in amber (see New Jersey amber). This prehistoric tree resin managed to encase over a hundred species of insects and plants from approximately 90 million years ago, when Sayreville had a tropical climate. The fossils have been extensively researched and published by David Grimaldi, curator of invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 18.68 square miles (48.37 km2), including 15.83 square miles (41.00 km2) of land and 2.85 square miles (7.37 km2) of water (15.24%).
Sayreville uses four ZIP Codes. 08871 and 08872 are post offices located in the borough itself. 08879 is the South Amboy ZIP code serving the Morgan and Melrose sections of Sayreville, the City of South Amboy, and the Laurence Harbor neighborhood of Old Bridge Township. 08859 is the Parlin ZIP code, which serves adjoining portions of Sayreville and Old Bridge Township.
Of the 15,636 households, 33.0% had children under the age of 18; 55.7% were married couples living together; 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present and 27.0% were non-families. Of all households, 22.4% were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.22.
22.6% of the population were under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 28.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.6 years. For every 100 females, the population had 95.2 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 92.4 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $71,808 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,796) and the median family income was $84,929 (+/- $6,096). Males had a median income of $63,523 (+/- $3,061) versus $46,180 (+/- $3,434) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $32,259 (+/- $1,187). About 4.4% of families and 5.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.2% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.
There were 14,955 households, out of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.5% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.0% were non-families. 22.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.17.
In the borough the population was spread out, with 23.6% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 34.2% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.0 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $58,919, and the median income for a family was $66,266. Males had a median income of $47,427 versus $35,151 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $24,736. About 3.4% of families and 4.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.1% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.
Sayreville is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government, which is used in 218 municipalities (of the 565) statewide, making it the most common form of government in New Jersey. The governing body is comprised of the Mayor and the Borough Council, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. The Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council is comprised of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Sayreville is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2020[update], the Mayor of Sayreville is Democrat Victoria Kilpatrick, whose term of office ends December 31, 2023. Members of the Borough Council are Kevin Dalina (D, 2021), Damon Enriquez (D, 2021), Michelle Cassidy Maher (D, 2022), Dave McGill (D, 2020; appointed to an unexpired term), Mary J. Novak (D, 2020) and Donna Roberts (R, 2022).
In January 2020, Dave McGill was selected from a list of three candidates nominated by the Democratic municipal committee to complete the term expiring in December 2020 that had been held by Victoria Kilpatrick until she left office to take office as mayor.
In December 2018, the Borough Council selected former councilmember Dave McGill from a list of three candidates nominated by the Democratic municipal committee to fill the seat expiring in December 2019 that had been held by Ricci Melendez until he resigned from office to focus his time on his business.
Sayreville's EMS-Rescue System is operated by a combination paid-volunteer system. Coverage is split between Hackensack Meridian Health JFK EMS and an all-volunteer township membership. The Sayreville Emergency Squad was founded in 1936 and provides EMS-Rescue Service with its sister Squad, Morgan First Aid. Both squads provide Emergency medical services, Motor Vehicle Extrication, Boat and Water Rescue, Search and Rescue, and any other rescue function needed. As one of the few completely volunteer first aid squads remaining in central New Jersey, they provide these services free to the citizens of Sayreville.
Sayreville also has an all-volunteer fire department. It has four fire companies, Sayreville Engine Company #1, Melrose Hose Company #1, Morgan Hose & Chemical Company #1 and President Park Volunteer Fire Company, which respond to 900 calls per year.
Sayreville operates an all-volunteer auxiliary police, which assists the police department with night patrols, Sunday church crossings and various borough events. They are also called into action in the event of large-scale borough emergencies where the police department is stressed for manpower.
Federal, state and county representation
Sayreville is located in the 6th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 19th state legislative district.
Middlesex County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose seven members are elected at-large on a partisan basis to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization meeting held in January, the board selects from among its members a Freeholder Director and Deputy Director. As of 2015[update], Middlesex County's Freeholders (with party affiliation, term-end year, residence and committee chairmanship listed in parentheses) are
Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios (D, term ends December 31, 2015, Carteret; Ex-officio on all committees),
Freeholder Deputy Director Carol Barrett Bellante (D, 2017; Monmouth Junction, South Brunswick Township; County Administration),
Kenneth Armwood (D, 2016, Piscataway; Business Development and Education),
Charles Kenny ( D, 2016, Woodbridge Township; Finance),
H. James Polos (D, 2015, Highland Park; Public Safety and Health),
Charles E. Tomaro (D, 2017, Edison; Infrastructure Management) and
Blanquita B. Valenti (D, 2016, New Brunswick; Community Services). Constitutional officers are
County Clerk Elaine M. Flynn (D, Old Bridge Township),
Sheriff Mildred S. Scott (D, 2016, Piscataway) and Surrogate
Kevin J. Hoagland (D, 2017; New Brunswick).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 24,248 registered voters in Sayreville, of which 9,394 (38.7%) were registered as Democrats, 2,778 (11.5%) were registered as Republicans and 12,053 (49.7%) were registered as unaffiliated. There were 23 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 58.8% of the vote (9,362 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 40.2% (6,394 votes), and other candidates with 1.0% (167 votes), among the 16,040 ballots cast by the borough's 24,804 registered voters (117 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 64.7%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 53.3% of the vote (9,392 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 44.5% (7,839 votes) and other candidates with 1.3% (228 votes), among the 17,608 ballots cast by the borough's 24,673 registered voters, for a turnout of 71.4%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 51.0% of the vote (8,147 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 47.7% (7,614 votes) and other candidates with 0.6% (144 votes), among the 15,963 ballots cast by the borough's 22,510 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 70.9.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 64.4% of the vote (6,199 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 34.6% (3,328 votes), and other candidates with 1.1% (102 votes), among the 9,780 ballots cast by the borough's 25,151 registered voters (151 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 38.9%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 52.9% of the vote (5,952 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 37.9% (4,263 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 6.8% (766 votes) and other candidates with 1.3% (148 votes), among the 11,242 ballots cast by the borough's 24,033 registered voters, yielding a 46.8% turnout.
Although the borough remains an industrial community, the addition of many technology companies and a growing residential population has changed the landscape of this central New Jersey town.
Randy Corman, Executive Director of the Sayreville Economic and Redevelopment Agency (SERA), has been heading up the development of the parcel of land commonly referred to as the National Lead Site / Amboy Cinemas lot since about 2000. This new development would clear woods, trees, and wetlands and install an entire city complete with commercial, industrial, residential, and recreational facilities, all near the Middlesex County Utilities Authority (Sewerage Authority) and the Middlesex County Fire Academy. There has also been much litigation as to the makeup of the members and public opinion about this project has never been put to a ballot. In addition, closed-door meetings have been accused of going against the Sunshine Open Meeting Act.
The master plan of the area was finalized in 2012, with plans to create a mixed-use development which includes a shopping center, luxury mall, apartments, town homes, offices, and multiple marinas. Phase 1 of the plan has begun construction as of 2013. Plans include a luxury mall with 1,200,000 square feet (110,000 m2) of space, 620,000 square feet (58,000 m2) of luxury shopping, entertainment, restaurants and groceries, a 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) Bass Pro Shops, a 700,000 square feet (65,000 m2) regional power center, 1,400 apartments and 600 homes, along with waterfront dining, hotels and office space.
Following extensive flooding near the river during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, many residents accepted an offer funded by the federal government in 2013 to buy out 250 houses in the floodplain.
Roads and highways
View north along the Garden State Parkway in Sayreville
Three highway bridges span the Raritan River from Sayreville. The Edison Bridge on U.S. 9 connects Woodbridge Township on the north with Sayreville on the south; originally constructed in 1940 as a single span with four lanes, the bridge was replaced in 2003 with a six-lane structure that was constructed at a cost of $48 million. The Driscoll Bridge on the Garden State Parkway also connects Woodbridge Township on the north with Sayreville on the south; while the original bridge was completed and opened in July 1954, a project completed in 2009 provides a total of 15 lanes on two spans, earning it a description as the "world's widest highway bridge". The Victory Bridge carries Route 35, connecting Sayreville with Perth Amboy; from the time of its construction in 1926 until the Edison Bridge was completed in 1939, all traffic heading across the Raritan River was funneled through the Victory Bridge, whose original single-span swing bridge was replaced under a project completed in 2005 that provides two spans of traffic, including a 134-metre (440 ft) main span that was the longest precast cantilever segmental construction in the United States at the time of its construction.
Academy Bus provides additional weekday rush-hour service for commuters to Manhattan.
The Raritan River Railroad provided passenger service to Sayreville's Parlin Station from 1888 through 1938. The railroad is now defunct along this part of the line. Proposals have been made to use the line as a light rail route.
^A Timeline of Sayreville History, Sayreville Historical Society. Accessed December 24, 2019. "Pre-Colonial: Leni Lenape inhabit the region, utilizing a series of established paths, or trails, through the area that would become Sayreville. These include the Matchaponix, Deerfield, and the Minisink Trails, which the Lenape used to cross the Raritan River each Spring and Fall at present-day River Road, a location they called Matokshegan.... 1663: In the Fall of this year, Dutch and English ships travel up the Raritan River for the first time, both with the intent of purchasing land from the Lenape."
^Harrison, Diane Norek. "Remembering the Past: Morgan History", NJToday.net, April 24, 2008. Accessed November 7, 2013. "The town of Morgan was probably not named after the famous pirate, Captain Henry Morgan, as many residents believe. In my research I have observed that Captain Henry Morgan was probably related to the original Morgan family that settles the town."
^Hatala, Greg. "Glimpse of History: A safe haven for raiders in Sayreville", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, November 26, 2015, updated January 17, 2019. Accessed December 24, 2019. "The name was changed in 1777 following the capture, trial and hanging of a traitor named Abe Mussey, who was signaling to British ships in the bay. Ye Olde Spye Inn burned down in 1976; curiously, the fire took place one year after a reenactment of Mussey's trial."
^Cheslow, Jerry. "If You're Thinking of Living in Sayreville", The New York Times, August 16, 1992. Accessed October 1, 2015. "Named for James Sayre Jr. who, together with Peter Fisher, built the Sayre & Fisher Brick Works along the Raritan River in the 1850s, the Middlesex County borough remains primarily a blue collar community, although its white collar population has been growing recently, according to Mayor John B. McCormack."
^A Timeline of Sayreville History, Sayreville Historical Society. Accessed October 1, 2015. "1860: The first post office is established by Sayre & Fisher at Roundabout. Though still a part of South Amboy, the name 'Sayreville' begins to enter into usage, identifying the area once known as Roundabout."
^D. Grimaldi, A. Shedrinsky, T. Wampler (2000). "A remarkable deposit of fossiliferous amber from the Cretaceous (Turonian) of New Jersey". In David Grimaldi (ed.). Studies on Fossils in Amber. Leiden: Backhuys. pp. 1-76.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
^ abLehmann, Evan. "Risk: N.J. town, flood-soaked and weary, tries to back away from the water", ClimateWire, May 7, 2013. Accessed October 1, 2015. "Sayreville unfolds along the edge of a wide river plain. During big storms, the Raritan stops giving water to the Atlantic Ocean and begins taking it in. Sections of Sayreville have been dunked three years in a row as tides and storm surge soak the plain like a sponge."
^Sayreville Fire Department, Borough of Sayreville. Accessed March 5, 2020. "The Sayreville Fire Department is an all-volunteer fire department comprised of four stations with about one hundred members. The fire department protects approximately 45,000 residents in an area of 17 square miles. The fire department responds to roughly 900 requests for service annually."
^About Us, Sayreville Police Auxiliary. Accessed December 24, 2019.
^Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, Sayreville Public Schools. Accessed March 5, 2020. "Wilson Elementary School is a K-3 school, comprised of approximately 360 students and 52 faculty, staff and administrators."
^Heyboer, Kelly. "How to get your kid a seat in one of N.J.'s hardest-to-get-into high schools", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, May 2017. Accessed November 18, 2019. "Middlesex County has two stand-alone career academies for high-achieving students: the Academy for Science, Math and Engineering Technology, located on the campus of Middlesex County College in Edison, and the Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences in Woodbridge. How to apply: Students must attend a mandatory information session and submit an application by November of their 8th grade year."
^School Facts, Our Lady of Victories School. Accessed December 24, 2019. "Our Lady of Victories is a Catholic School founded in 1890 located in Sayreville, New Jersey. OLV School begins with the Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 Early Childhood Education programs and goes on to Kindegarten through 8th grades."
^Our School History, St. Stanislaus Kostka School. Accessed December 24, 2019. "The church, in Sayreville, was completed in 1914 and the school itself was opened in September of 1915 under the supervision and instructional guidance of Felician sisters. The school occupied the bottom two floors of the actual church."
^Epstein, Sue. "Driscoll Bridge work is on pace for 2009 finish", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, July 26, 2008, updated April 2, 2019. Accessed December 24, 2019. "The Driscoll Bridge serves as the main gateway for residents and visitors flocking to the Jersey Shore every summer, but at peak travel times, many spend hours crawling over the bridge that spans the Raritan River between Woodbridge and Sayreville."
^Victory Bridge, Preservation New Jersey. Accessed December 24, 2019. "Until the completion of the Thomas Edison Bridge in 1939, the Victory Bridge served as the sole north-south crossing of the Raritan River on the eastern side of the state and carried all of the automobile traffic for what are the present-day routes 9, 34, and 35."
^Lettiere announces completion of Route 35 Victory Bridge and Victory Circle Project, New Jersey Department of Transportation press release dated October 27, 2005. Accessed December 24, 2019. "The original Route 35 Victory Bridge was built in 1926, connecting the municipalities of Perth Amboy City and Sayreville Borough in Middlesex County. The 360-foot structure was the longest swing span bridge in New Jersey at the time it was built.... The Route 35 Victory Bridge provides a vital highway link over the Raritan River in Middlesex County. Its traffic volume currently exceeds 20,000 vehicles per day and is projected to exceed 25,000 vehicles per day by 2015. A combined 350,000 cars travel over the Raritan River each day via the Parkway, Route 35 and Route 9."
^Figg, Linda; and Pate, W. Denney. "Precast Concrete Segmental Bridges -- America's Beautiful and Affordable Icons", PCI Journal, September-October 2004. Accessed December 24, 2019. "In 2004, the record for a balanced cantilever span length in America was broken again. With a fully match-cast, precast concrete main span of 440 ft (134.1 in), the current record holder is the new twin-span Victory Bridge in northern New Jersey. The 3971 ft (1210 m), $109 million precast concrete segmental bridge will carry traffic 110 ft (33.5 m) above the Raritan River between Perth Amboy and Sayreville, replacing a 1927 steel swing bridge."
^Stations of the Raritan River Railroad, Tom's Raritan River Railroad Page. Accessed April 30, 2015. "The line ran from South Amboy to New Brunswick, via Sayreville, Parlin, South River, East Brunswick, and North Brunswick."
^Preserving Rail Rights of Way in Middlesex County, Middlesex County, New Jersey. Accessed December 3, 2019. "On this basis the following rail lines may merit future investigation on their feasibility for accommodating a light rail and/or busway type of passenger service. Raritan River Railroad. South Amboy, Sayreville, South River, East Brunswick, Milltown, North Brunswick, New Brunswick - This corridor could address some of the east-west travel needs in the central area of the County providing a transit way that would link the City of South Amboy and the City of New Brunswick. This could also provide a viable commuter travel alternative to the heavily used Route 18 Corridor."
^Corinne, Victoria. "Starland Ballroom The Rock Palace That Refuses To Die", Enjoy New Jersey, October 31, 2014. Accessed October 1, 2015. "Ever since opening on December 7, 2003 with a special performance by David Lee Roth of Van Halen, the venue has seen the likes of many different musicians from many different genres:"
^Staff. "Meet a NALL Player", InLacrosseWeTrust.com, November 4, 2012. Accessed April 3, 2014. "Originally from Sayreville, New Jersey I grew up playing ice hockey my entire life."
^"Bob Dustal", Baseball-Reference.com, Accessed October 24, 2014.
^Dencker, Martha. "Picking berries, making bricks: Memories of old-time Sayreville.", The Star-Ledger, April 15, 1999. "Among other indigenous pieces of Sayreville in the museum are memorabilia from two native sons: the rock star Jon Bon Jovi and actor Greg Evigan, who had leads in the television shows 'BJ and the Bear' and 'My Two Dads'."
^Jehyve Floyd, ESPN. Accessed May 13, 2020. "Hometown: Parlin, N.J.; School: Sayreville War Memorial High"
^Beckerman, Jim. "It Was Slow Going at the Quick Stop: 'Clerks' Stars Kept Waiting", The Record, November 4, 1994. Accessed August 15, 2007. "A 20-year Sayreville resident, she plays Veronica, girlfriend of the hapless clerk Dante (O'Halloran).... A graduate of Sayreville High School and a friend of O'Halloran's for several years, Ghigliotti has acted opposite him in theater productions of Wait Until Dark and the off-off Broadway production Sabona."
^Burkard, Tom. "Mulvey Promoted To Twins", The South Amboy - Sayreville Times, July 25, 2009. Accessed April 30, 2015. "On July 15th, Parlin's Kevin Mulvey got the biggest call in his lifetime when he was promoted to the Minnesota Twins Major League Baseball Club."
^Staff. "Red Sox Shift Minor Pilots", The New York Times, December 13, 1947. Accessed February 15, 2011. "The signing of Eddie Popowski of Sayreville, NJ, as 1948 manager was announced today by the Lynn Red Sox of the Class B New England League."
^Olivio, Andrea. "Public invited to meet local authors at library"Archived 2013-01-24 at Archive.today, Old Bridge Suburban, April 7, 2005. Accessed February 15, 2011. "Expected to attend are Sayreville authors Daniel Gary Holderman, Lea Bayers Rapp and Helen Boehm, as well as South Amboy authors Jerry Smith, Chelle Martin, Flo Fitzpatrick, Jim Carney, George Francy and Tom Burkard."
^Makin, Robert. "Kiss it Goodbye", Courier News (New Jersey), June 8, 2000. Accessed December 18, 2014. "Lifelong members of the Kiss Army, such as guitarist Dave 'Snake' Sabo of Sayreville and music writer Jeff Kitts of Scotch Plains..."