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Edison, NJ History

The History of Edison: Edison, NJ Local History

The township of Edison, NJ in Middlesex County is perfectly situated just south of the New York State border—making it an ideal place for those commuting to the big city. With a population of just over 100,000 residents, Edison takes the number four slot populous-wise in New Jersey.

With a rich history full of interesting facts and a booming economy where commercial real estate thrives, the development and establishment of this Raritan Valley community has come to fruition due to the presence of Native Americans and the ingenuity of the famous inventor Thomas Edison. And, of course, the individuals that keep it vibrant today!

The Early Settlers of Edison, NJ

The Lenape Native Americans First Settled Edison, NJThe Raritans of the Lenape Native Americans were the first settlers in the region, where Chief Matouchin, along with 1200 warriors, established their roots here in 1646. The tribal name is thought to mean 'forked river' or a place 'where the stream overflows' making it a suitable place for these early settlers. While life wasn't easy for the first arrivals on what would become Edison land, those who came were dedicated to preserving their culture and developing a strong local community.

Soon afterwards, Europeans discovered the bounties of the area, and the first village of Piscatawaytown was developed. Some landmarks amid this Middlesex community that commemorate its history lie within the Laing House of Plainfield Plantation, the Homestead Farm at Oak Ridge and the Benjamin Shotwell House.

The Laing House was constructed by one of the first sects of Scottish Quakers to call America home. After these early settlers found their roots, the true development of Raritan Township began and is still growing today.

The Founding of Raritan Township

Edison, NJ was Originally Named After the Raritan RiverThe city we now know and love as Edison Township was first incorporated in 1870 by the New Jersey legislature and was honored under the name of the original Raritan indigenous people. However, over the decades, Piscataway Township and neighboring Woodbridge began to form a bond around the 1900s along with Highland Park. In 1954, the community took on the name Edison in light of the inventor of the light bulb, Thomas Edison, who kept his primary laboratory in Menlo Park.

Officially Becoming Edison

Menlo Park in Edison, NJUpon Thomas Edison setting up his official research lab in Edison in the barely developed and largely unsuccessful real estate parchment of "Menlo Park" in Raritan Township, he quickly became the local 'genius' of the neighborhood. Of course, his notorious quirkiness and eccentric hobbies came to be some of the best conventions of the modern era—and are likely to continue serving our needs for generations to come.

The prolific inventor claimed almost 1100 patents on his inventions, which ranged from the phonograph to motion picture cameras and varied into the realms of electric cars and batteries. It is likely due to his fame that helped the community grown into what we know as Edison, NJ today—especially considering they named the official town of Edison after him.

How Edison Became the Vibrant City We Love Today

Today, Edison ranks as one of the most livable small cities and is considered a 'top place to live in the US by Money Magazine. Due to its proximity to the Big Apple and the friendly people here, living in this community has quite a few perks! A wide range of public and private schools, easy transportation options, and a booming economy are just a few reasons people choose to make a permanent move to Edison, NJ. Interested in joining this community? Edison is a vibrant city rich in history, with a culture of innovation and invention. Move to Edison to discover more of what this city has to offer, and you're sure to fall in love!