Edison – Article – About Edison
About Edison NJ
About Edison, NJ
Edison, New Jersey, is one of America’s Best Places to live according to Money Magazine. The 32-square-mile township with more than 100,000 residents is the home of Thomas Edison’s famed Menlo Park laboratory in which the incandescent light bulb was perfected, and the sound was first recorded.
Edison, once known as Raritan Township, was established in the late 1600’s. The first families included the Bonhams, Martins, Dunhams, Hulls, and FitzRandolphs, to which land was given.
Most of these names live on in the form of street and section names. But people lived in the Edison area since prehistoric times. Skull and bone fragments all the way from the Stone Age have been discovered around the Piscatawaytown area, and arrowheads and cooking implements, attributed to Native Americans living in the area, were found in an archeological excavation in the Dismal Swamp.
Old Post Road, an earliest public road in eastern New Jersey, passes straight through Edison and has been used by President George Washington as he traveled through on the way to his inauguration in New York City during April 1789.
A re-enactment of that exact journey took place in Edison during April 13, 1989, as a part of the bicentennial celebration of Washington’s first inauguration. Washington’s route was retraced, and a special ceremony was held at the historic St. James Church on Woodbridge Avenue.
Bonhamtown area in Edison, on Old Post Road, was named after Nicholas Bonham, a freeholder from 1682 till 1683. The hamlet is said to have been a site of an ancient Native American village and later a Continental Army camp and front line during the Revolutionary War.
During late 1600’s, Bonhamtown served as the seat of justice for Middlesex & Somerset counties. By 1834, the village featured ten to twelve dwellings, two taverns, a store and one schoolhouse.
Revolutionary War skirmishes took place around Bonhamtown, Piscatawaytown and along today’s Woodbridge Avenue. In fact, the St. James Episcopal Church building was used as a hospital for British soldiers wounded during the war. Six British soldiers that were killed in one of the area’s encounters are buried in the cemetery near the church.
Edison is home to more than 100,000 inhabitants and is a hub of rail and highway networks used for the distribution of various goods and services.
However, the history of Edison is more than a collection of figures and facts, chronologies of events and even a relatively rich inventory of historic buildings and sites. Edison is a rich and varied legacy of the groups, institutions, and organizations that have helped form this community making it what it is today.
For years, Central Jersey was a hub for production in the eastern US. Numerous industrial corporations had major production plants in and around the area, including Edison Assembly, Ford Motor Company’s production factory for Rangers, Mustangs, and others.
Major production started to flee Central Jersey, and most plants closed and moved abroad. The Ford factory was destroyed by 2008 and proposals were created for retail and hotel development. You can read more about things to do in Edison NJ here.
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