Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Street scene in Basking Ridge
|• Total||13.46 sq mi (34.85 km2)|
|• Land||13.44 sq mi (34.81 km2)|
|Elevation||335 ft (102 m)|
|• Density||2,000/sq mi (770/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern (EDT))|
|GNIS feature ID||874531|
Basking Ridge is an unincorporated community located within Bernards Township in the Somerset Hills region of Somerset County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the population for the ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) 07920 was 26,747.
The area was settled during colonial times. It was home to the old AT&T Headquarters, now owned by Verizon. Basking Ridge is the current headquarters for Verizon Wireless, Vencore Labs, World Media Group, LLC, and Barnes & Noble College Booksellers.
Bernards Township was officially chartered on May 21, 1760 granted by King George II and granted to Sir Francis Bernard, first governor of the noted section which includes Basking Ridge.
The downtown area of Bernards Township known as Basking Ridge was added to the New Jersey and National Registries as a Historic District. on August 8, 1974.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 24,600 people, 9,300 households, and 6,517 families residing in the ZCTA. The population density was 1,137.1 people per square mile (1830.0/km²). There were 9,537 housing units at an average density of 440.8/sq mi (709.3/km²). The racial makeup of the ZCTA was 89.2% Caucasian, 1.4% African American, 0.1% Native American, 7.8% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. 2.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 9,300 households out of which 37.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.8% were married couples living together, 5.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.9% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.15.
In the ZCTA the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18 , 3.2% from 18 to 24 , 31.2% from 25 to 44 , 25.4% from 45 to 64 , and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.3 years.
The median income for a household in the ZCTA was $105,471, and the median income for a family was $131,618. Males had a median income of $93,436 versus $60,101 for females. The per capita income for the ZCTA was $54,753. 1.4% of the population and 0.6% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 1.2% of those under the age of 18 and 2.8% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
|Median Age||37.13 years||37.2 years|
|Median Household Income||$93,946||$51,144|
|% of Single Households||37.39%||30.22%|
|% of Married Households||62.61%||69.78%|
|Avg. Household Size||2.42 people||2.58 people|
|% College or Higher||59.76%||26.46%|
|% White Collar||82.53%||55.54%|
|Homes Owner Occupied||79.84%||57.72%|
|Avg. Dwelling Size||6 rooms||4.5 rooms|
Arts and culture
Basking Ridge has an annual event in May called Charter Day. Many rides are set up in the Oak Street field—a bounce house, inflatable race tracks, and spinning rides. Also, in the center of the town hundreds of stands are set up mostly promoting school sports, but there are also many kettle corn stands, which is a traditional food children eat during Charter Day. At night, the traditional Battle of the Bands takes place, which many teenagers sign up for to play their favorite songs.
- Basking Ridge is home to a 600-year-old White Oak, perhaps the oldest White Oak in the world. The tree is located on the historic graveyard of the local Presbyterian church. The tree is 97 feet (30 m) high and has a trunk circumference of 20 feet (6.1 m) and its lower branches are supported. In 2016 the tree showed signs of distress as its upper parts failed to sprout leaves. A big portion of the tree is set to be cut down due to decay in 2017. The tree has since been cut down as of April 26, 2017.
- The Bernards Township Municipal Hall was once owned by the Astors. The estate was built in 1912 by Samuel Owen of Newark, New Jersey.
- The Brick Academy was built in 1809 as the Basking Ridge Classical School; its function was to prepare young men for the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton University). It has also served as a public school, a union hall, a public library, and the municipal hall for Bernards Township. It now serves as a historic museum for Basking Ridge and as the home of The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills.
- The Van Dorn Mill was built in 1768 as a wooden structure; it was rebuilt in 1843 with foundations extending 20 feet (6.1 m) below ground level, using thousands of stones hauled from the hedgerows of nearby farms.
- The Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church is a Greek Revival church built in 1839 and expanded in 1869, that is listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 31, 1974.
- The Warren Kinney Memorial Oak Tree commemorates the life of a well-known dairy farmer and community leader from New Vernon, NJ. According to Mr. Kinney's 1975 obituary, he "helped lead a fight to prevent a jetport from being built on the Great Swamp Wildlife Refuge in Morris County," and was "a founding member of the Madison Square Club, and trustee of the New York Zoological Society."
- The Devil's Tree is a solitary oak with some dead limbs growing in an undeveloped field on Mountain Road, opposite Emerald Valley Lane. Local legend, documented in Weird NJ magazine and the book based on it, tells that the tree is cursed or the property of the Devil and has been a site of lynchings by the Ku Klux Klan in the past.
- Alward Farm House is a Colonial era farmhouse representing the simple lifestyle of early settlers. Built c.1740, it is one of the first structures in Bernards Township. Entered in State and National Registers, 1986.
National Register of Historic Places
- Alward Farmhouse, added March 13, 1986
- Basking Ridge Classical School, added July 21, 1976
- Coffee House, added November 7, 1977
- Presbyterian Church in Basking Ridge, added December 31, 1974
- Lord Stirling Manor Site, added June 22, 1978
- Basking Ridge Historic District, added August 8, 1974.
Parks and recreation
There are several parks within Basking Ridge. Four are county parks: Lord Stirling Park, Rebel Hill, Southard, and Harry Dunham. The fifth is Pleasant Valley Park which contains the town pool and miles of woodchip trails.
Bernards High School was founded by the Bernards Township Board of Education in 1924. When Bernardsville separated from Bernards Township, the schools still remained one system until 1947 when the original high school became the property of Bernardsville. From 1948, however, township students continued attending Bernards High School as tuition students. In 1960 a contract was issued for the construction of a new Ridge High School and Cedar Hill School which were built on approximately 60 acres (24 ha) of land.
William Annin Middle School was originally named after a colonial patriot who settled in Basking Ridge in 1722. Construction started in 1968 and the school was dedicated on September 28, 1969 as William Annin Junior High School and contained grades 5 through 8. It became a middle school in 1982. It currently contains grades 6 through 8. The school is one of the few in the United States to have a seismograph.
There are four elementary schools in Basking Ridge.
- Liberty Corner School, was built for a farming community in 1905. It is the oldest school in the district. Part of the original building still remains today. It is located in the Liberty Corner section of Bernards Township.
- Oak Street School was built in 1938, although it was completed late. It was dedicated on November 21, 1939 and opened on November 23, the day before Thanksgiving. Dr. Horatio Gates Whitnall originally owned the property on which Oak Street School was built. The land was used for farming and his home was what is now the Summit Bank. Over the years, the population rose rapidly. It serves downtown Basking Ridge which is the area around the Presbyterian Church and the Old Oak Tree.
- Cedar Hill School was built 1956. It is situated on land which was once the property of a succession of wealthy families: Owen, Lee, Bissell, and Astor. It was donated in the Mid 1950s by the Lees. It serves the area around William Annin Middle School and Ridge High School.
- Mount Prospect was built in 1999. The school was built because a new population rolled in by 2000. Basking Ridge was extended southward and a new subdivision was built: The Hills. Mount Prospect is the newest school in the district and serves the Hills.
- The former Maple Avenue School, a two-story, eight classroom structure, was demolished in the 1970s to make room for the current Basking Ridge Public Library.
- Enrollment Data (2016)
Ridge High School: 1,937| William Annin Middle: 1,489| Liberty Corner: ~600| Oak Street: ~600| Cedar Hill: ~600| Mount Prospect: ~700|
- Basking Ridge: Built in 1912 by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, it serves downtown and north Basking Ridge.
- Lyons: Built in 1931 by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, it serves the Hills, and south Basking Ridge in addition to Liberty Corner. Lyons gets more passengers than Basking Ridge.
Roads and highways
Two Interstates are located near Basking Ridge:
- Interstate 78: Travel west towards Pennsylvania or east towards New York City and Newark
- Interstate 287: Travel north towards upstate New York or south towards Edison.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Basking Ridge include:
- J. C. Chandor (born 1974), Academy award-nominated writer/director of the 2011 film Margin Call.
- Chris Daggett (born 1950), former regional administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection who ran for Governor of New Jersey in 2009 as an independent.
- Scott Fischer (1955–1996), climber and guide who was the first American to climb Lhotse, the fourth-highest mountain in the world. He died on May 11, 1996 in an attempt to climb Mount Everest in the 1996 Everest Disaster.
- Patricia Lee Gauch (born 1934), author of over 30 works of children's literature who was inducted into the New Jersey Literary Hall of Fame in 1993.
- Jeff Grace, comedian, screenwriter, film producer, film director and actor, who directed Folk Hero & Funny Guy.
- Jon Gutwillig (born 1974), guitarist of the Disco Biscuits.
- Tobin Heath (born 1988), World Cup Champion and 2x Olympic gold medalist soccer player with the United States women's national team.
- Peter Kuhn (1955-2009), race car driver who won both the USAC and SCCA Formula Super Vee championships in 1980.
- Philip Lindsley (1786–1855), Presbyterian minister, educator, and classicist who served as the acting president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) from 1822 to 1824.
- Page McConnell (born 1963), keyboardist best known for his work with Phish.
- Robert E. Mulcahy III (born 1932), former athletic director at Rutgers University.
- Akshay Nanavati (born 1984), United States Marine Corps veteran, speaker, entrepreneur, ultra runner and author of Fearvana.
- Samuel Lewis Southard (1787–1842), served as U.S. Senator, Secretary of the Navy, and the 10th Governor of New Jersey.
- LaDainian Tomlinson (born 1979), former NFL running back who played for the San Diego Chargers.
- The founding members of punk rock band The Bouncing Souls grew up in Basking Ridge.
- Johh Jacob Astor VI - Son of John Jacob Astor IV who lost his life on the Titanic in 1912 was a resident of Basking Ridge from 1950-1960 at what is known locally as the Astor Estate
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Basking Ridge, Geographic Names Information System. Accessed July 3, 2012.
- DP-1 - Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 from 2010 Demographic Profile Data for ZCTA5 07920, United States Census Bureau. Accessed August 27, 2013.
- Look Up a ZIP Code for Basking Ridge, NJ, United States Postal Service. Accessed July 3, 2012.
- Zip Codes, State of New Jersey. Accessed August 27, 2013.
- Locality Search Archived 2016-07-09 at the Wayback Machine, State of New Jersey. Accessed June 9, 2016.
- Cheslow, Jerry. "If You're Thinking of Living In: Basking Ridge, N.J.;A Rich Hamlet That Gobbled Up a Town", The New York Times, November 19, 1995. Accessed October 11, 2015. "The recorded history of Basking Ridge goes back to 1717, when John Harrison, an agent of King James III, bought most of what is now Bernards Township from Chief Nowenok of the Leni Lenape Indians for the equivalent of $50. According to Mrs. Kennedy, the first settlers were English and Scottish Presbyterians escaping religious persecution."
- Staff. "December 13 - This Day in History; 1776 -General Charles Lee leaves his troops for Widow White's tavern", History (U.S. TV channel). Accessed October 11, 2015. "On this day in 1776, American General Charles Lee leaves his army, riding in search of female sociability at Widow White's Tavern in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.... Lee rode to Widow White's tavern with a minimal guard and it was there that Banastre Tarleton and the 16th Queen's Light Dragoons captured him on the morning of December 15."
- American FactFinder, United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 4, 2014.
- DP-1 - Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000 from Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF 1) 100-Percent Data for ZCTA5 07920, United States Census Bureau. Accessed August 27, 2013.
- 2010 Census Briefs: Age and Sex Composition
- Household Income for States
- Hickey, Magee. "Basking Ridge rallies behind 600-year-old white oak tree", WPIX, June 29, 2016. Accessed July 2, 2016.
- A Walking Tour of Historic Basking Ridge Village, The Historic Society of the Somerset Hills. Accessed July 2, 2016. "Over the tombstones broods the ancient White Oak (Quercus alba), more than 600 years old. It stands tall at 97', with a spread of 156' and a circumference of 18'."
- Barron, James. "A 600-Year-Old Oak Tree Finally Succumbs", The New York Times, October 16, 2016. Accessed February 22, 2017. "Basking Ridge, N.J. — The locals say that George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette — the Frenchman who bankrolled the American patriots with cold, hard cash — picnicked in the shade it provided. Rank-and-file soldiers are said to have rested under it, gathering strength before going on to beat the redcoats. It is a huge oak tree, now estimated to be 600 years old."
- The Brick Academy, The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills. Accessed November 20, 2017. "Known also as the original Basking Ridge Classical School, the 1809 Federal-style Brick Academy located in the center of the Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township has been a boys’ private preparatory school, a public school, a meeting hall for several fraternal and benevolent organizations, and the Bernards Township municipal building."
- Siegel, Alan A. Somerset County in Vintage Postcards, p. 14. Arcadia Publishing, 1999. ISBN 9780738500782. Accessed November 20, 2017. "Van Dorn's Mill, Basking Ridge, N, J. VAN DORN'S MILL, C. 1910. One of New Jersey's finest stone buildings, with foundations that extend 20 feet below ground and basement walls 4 feet thick, the mill was completed in 1843. Thousands of stone loads were hauled from farm hedgerows on Hardscrabble Road."
- History, Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church. Accessed November 30, 2017. "When this became too crowded, the building was sold and removed, and in 1839 a new church in classic Greek revival architecture, was constructed of brick. This structure was enlarged in 1869 and altered in 1908.... The sanctuary, church yard and oak tree are listed in the National Register of Historic Places."
- "Warren Kinney Obituary", Daytona Beach Morning Journal, February 19, 1975 (page 13B). Accessed July 31, 2013.
- "The Devil's Tree", Weird NJ. Accessed April 28, 2017.
- New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places - Somerset County, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Historic Preservation Office, updated November 20, 2017. Accessed November 30, 2017.
- team/Document/2011/ASSET_MAPPING_SUSTAINABLE_NJ.pdf Bernards Township Bikeway and Pedestrian Map, Bernards Township. Accessed November 20, 2017.
- Ridge High School, Bernards Township School District. Accessed March 27, 2011.
- William Annin Middle School History, Bernards Township School District. Accessed March 27, 2011
- Cooperative Seismographic Network, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Accessed October 17, 2012.
- Hayes, Edward. "School in Bernards tracks earthquakes", Courier News, January 21, 201. Accessed October 17, 2012. "There are several colleges and universities that maintain seismology equipment for studying, tracking and monitoring earthquakes. And along with them is William Annin Middle School, which maintains its own seismograph for Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York."
- Liberty Corner Elementary School History, Bernards Township School District. Accessed September 25, 2012.
- Oak Street Elementary School, Bernards Township School District. Accessed September 25, 2012.
- Cedar Hill Elementary School History, Bernards Township School District. Accessed September 25, 2012.
- Mount Prospect Elementary School, Bernards Township School District. Accessed September 25, 2012.
- History of the Library (Page 5), Bernards Township Library. Accessed January 24, 2015.
- Gladstone Branch, NJ Transit. Accessed November 30, 2017.
- Basking Ridge, NJ Transit. Accessed November 30, 2017.
- Lyons, NJ Transit. Accessed November 30, 2017.
- Route 78 - Eastbound to New York, Lakeland Bus Lines. Accessed November 20, 2017.
- Elstein, Aaron. "Capturing Wall Street on the silver screen; One reason Margin Call expertly captures how investment bankers and traders look, sound and see the world is that its writer and director, J.C. Chandor, is a son of Wall Street. He was also inspired by other movies about business.", Crain's New York Business, November 6, 2011. Accessed June 19, 2013. "As a youth growing up in Basking Ridge, N.J., Mr. Chandor hung out on the Merrill Lynch's trading floor in lower Manhattan while his father, an investment banker, worked the phones making deals."
- Nutt, Amy Ellis. "Chris Daggett, ever the policy wonk, concentrates on the details", The Star-Ledger, October 11, 2009. Accessed May 15, 2011. "As an independent, Daggett straddles more than just political parties. He's a child of the free-thinking, authority-mocking 1960s — and a buttoned-down, plow-ahead grinder. The life-long Basking Ridge resident graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he says his college thesis was 'something out of the '60s, like the study of personhood.'"
- Powers, Phil. "Scott Style: Adventure Student Makes Good", The Leader of the National Outdoor Leadership School, Winter 1992. Accessed May 15, 2011. "Fischer's mountaineering background began at the young age of 14 when he took a NOLS Adventure Course. His father was an outdoor enthusiast who called Scott in to watch a television program one night at their home in Basking Ridge, New Jersey."
- Horner, Shirley. "About Books", The New York Times, October 3, 1993. Accessed December 19, 2007. "The other inductees are Patricia Lee Gauch of Basking Ridge, who has written more than 30 children's books"
- Grace, Jeff. "Tribeca Film Festival 2016 Diary: Director Jeff Grace of Folk Hero & Funny Guy", MovieMaker, April 22, 2016. Accessed May 19, 2016. "I grew up outside the city in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, so NYC was the stomping grounds of my teen years."
- Spelling, Ian. "The Disco Biscuits will play the Nokia Theatre in Manhattan", The Record (Bergen County), December 23, 2009. Accessed December 4, 2011. "Gutwillig – who grew up in Morristown/Basking Ridge — and the boys are actually several bands."
- Giase, Frank. "Basking Ridge native Tobin Heath selected No. 1 overall in WPS Draft", The Star-Ledger, January 15, 2010. Accessed December 4, 2011. "Basking Ridge native Tobin Heath was selected with the first pick in the Women's Professional Soccer Draft today at the Philadelphia Convention Center."
- Staff. "Peter H. Kuhn, accomplished race car driver", Hunterdon County Democrat, June 29, 2009. Accessed August 15, 2016. "Born in Summit, April 14, 1955, he was a son of Jean Henry and Elizabeth 'Lib' Dowd Kuhn. Mr. Kuhn had resided in Franklin Township since 1995, having formerly lived in Basking Ridge and Chatham Township."
- Harwell, Sara. Philip Lindsley", Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Accessed October 11, 2015. "Philip Lindsley, an educator, Presbyterian minister, and classical scholar, was born in Basking Ridge, New Jersey."
- Page McConnell Archived 2008-11-25 at the Wayback Machine, Legacy Recordings. Accessed November 11, 2008.
- Caldwell, Dave. "In Person; Renaissance Man", The New York Times, December 4, 2005. Accessed January 24, 2008. "The taciturn Mulcahy, who graduated from Millburn High School and lives in Basking Ridge, did much of the groundwork that let Schiano, after a few tough seasons, become a success in his home state -- their home state."
- Cerasaro, Ashley J. "Ice Road Trekker For this Basking Ridge resident, a 342-mile trek on skis across Greenland's enormous ice cap is just a walk in the park.", New Jersey Monthly, January 16, 2012. Accessed September 13, 2018. "'I want to experience a bit of everything because each experience presents its own challenges and forces you to face different fears,' says Nanavati, a native of India who moved to Basking Ridge with his wife, Shruthi, just over a year ago to be near her family."
- Samuel Lewis Southard, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed July 29, 2007.
- Bishop, Greg. "Tomlinson Relishes New Home, and New Opportunity", The New York Times, June 8, 2010. Accessed January 24, 2015.
- Mehta, Manish. "New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson reborn with birth of son Daylen Oliver", Daily News (New York), August 8, 2010. Accessed January 24, 2015.
- Rockland, Kate. "The Band They All Ache To Become", The New York Times, December 5, 2004. Accessed January 24, 2015. "THE Bouncing Souls are true sons of New Jersey and have the tattoos to prove it.... And on a dark, foggy November night straight out of a Goth girl's dream, the boys, who grew up in Basking Ridge, were back home."
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