Cranford, New Jersey
Cranford, New Jersey
|Township of Cranford|
"The Venice of New Jersey"
"Friendship and Progress"
Map of Cranford Township in Union County. Inset: Location of Union County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Cranford, New Jersey
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|Incorporated||March 14, 1871|
|• Body||Township Committee|
|• Mayor||Kathleen Miller Prunty (Term ends December 31, 2021)|
|• Administrator||Jamie Cryan|
|• Municipal clerk||Patty Donahue|
|• Total||4.87 sq mi (12.62 km2)|
|• Land||4.84 sq mi (12.52 km2)|
|• Water||0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2) 0.78%|
|Area rank||281st of 565 in state|
10th of 21 in county
|Elevation||82 ft (25 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Rank||112th of 566 in state|
8th of 21 in county
|• Density||4,684.6/sq mi (1,808.7/km2)|
|• Density rank||117th of 566 in state|
11th of 21 in county
|Time zone||UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))|
|GNIS feature ID||0882214|
Cranford is a township in Union County, New Jersey, located 14 miles (23 km) southwest of Manhattan. In both 2018 and 2019, The Star-Ledger named Cranford the best downtown in New Jersey after an online vote, calling it "adorable [and] snowglobe-like." New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Cranford as its 34th best place to live in its 2010 rankings of the "Best Places To Live." It is part of the New York City metropolitan area.
As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 22,625, reflecting an increase of 47 (+0.2%) from the 22,578 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 55 (−0.2%) from the 22,633 counted in the 1990 Census.
Cranford was incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 14, 1871, from portions of the Townships of Clark, Linden, Springfield, Union and Westfield. Portions of the township were taken to form Garwood (in 1903) and Kenilworth (in 1907). The township's name is said to derive from the Crane family, including John Crane, who built a mill in 1720 along the Rahway River.
Though no known Cranford residents died in the American Civil War, at least 22 were active in the Union Army at the time of General Robert E. Lee's surrender. Cranford's last surviving Civil War veteran died in 1935.
Historic sites in the township are overseen by the Cranford Historic Preservation Advisory Board.
The Cranford Historical Society, a private entity founded in 1927 and located in Hanson Park on Springfield Avenue, maintains the Crane-Phillips House (c. 1845), located at 124 North Union Avenue, as a museum.
James E. Warner (1866–1933) is a former sheriff of Union County who was the namesake of the James E. Warner Plaza at the Cranford Train Station. Appalled by the then-growing pollution of the Rahway given the pristine waters of his youth, Sheriff Warner advocated for the preservation of the Rahway River and Rahway River Parkway parkland. One of Sheriff Warner's successful targets in fighting Rahway River pollution was his battle against the discharge of paper makers; one such site is now the regional theater known as the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. The Cranford Canoe Club, built in 1908, continues to offer canoes and kayaks for rent on the river in town.
Charles Hansel (1859–1936) was co-founder of the Union County Parks Commission that preserved parkland all along the Rahway River and its tributaries in the 1920s, a greenway now known as the Rahway River Parkway. He was an engineer for the Pennsylvania Railroad and Central Railroad of New Jersey. Hansel lived in the 300 block of North Union Avenue in a home that still stands today, later moving to what is now Gray's Funeral Home, near what is now called Hansel's Dam by Sperry Park. For his Rahway River preservation efforts, a memorial copper plaque was placed to Hansel in Echo Lake Park.
Joshua Bryant (1852–1898) was Cranford's first Black law enforcement officer and the township's first Black citizen to hold elective office.
William P. Westervelt was credited with thwarting the Baltimore Plot, an unsuccessful assassination attempt against president-elect Abraham Lincoln. He did so by cutting telegraph wires that would have alerted assassins to Lincoln's arrival.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 4.87 square miles (12.62 km2), including 4.84 square miles (12.52 km2) of land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2) of water (0.78%).
There are nine municipalities bordering the township: Garwood and Westfield to the west, Springfield Township to the north, Kenilworth to the northeast, Roselle and Roselle Park to the east, Linden to the southeast, Winfield Township and Clark to the south.
Parks run by the township and overseen by the Cranford Recreation and Parks Department include:
- Adams Park – Adams Avenue and Lambert Street. Morses Creek dips into Cranford behind this park.
- Buchanan Park – Centennial Avenue and Buchanan Avenue
- Cranford Canoe Club – Springfield Avenue and Orange Avenue The Cranford Canoe Club rents canoes and kayaks for trips on the Rahway River in Cranford. The current structure was built as a private canoe club in 1908.
- Community Center – Walnut Avenue. The Cranford Community Center, adjacent to the Cranford Public Library, offers classes, sports, speaker series and other recreational activities.
- Josiah Crane Park – Springfield Avenue and North Union Avenue. In 1971, the Cranford Historical Society marked the farm and village home of Josiah Crane Sr. (1791–1873) in a park across from the First Presbyterian Church on the Rahway River. This park now features Cranford's 9/11 Memorial.
- Cranford West – Hope, N.J. Originally the home of the Cranford Boys Club on Silver Lake from the 1920s to the 1960s
- Girl Scout Park – Springfield Avenue and Orange Avenue. This was once the site of a canoe club, later the Neva Sykes Girl Scout House, demolished in the 1950s.
- Hampton Park – Eastman Street and Hampton Street
- Hanson Park – Springfield Avenue and Holly Street. Home of the Hanson Park Conservancy.
- Johnson Park – Johnson Avenue. The Johnson Avenue playground opened in July 1957.
- Lincoln Park – Lincoln Avenue at South Union. What is now Lincoln Park was the Cranford Golf Club in 1899, now moved to Westfield and called the Echo Lake Country Club. The Lincoln Avenue grounds were designed by Willie Dunn. Lincoln Park was also originally a former estate said to have supplied lumber to build the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides") in the 1700s. The grounds, at the corner of the Old York Road and Benjamin Street, also included the largest sour gum ever recorded in the Northeastern states, known as the Cranford Pepperidge Tree or "Old Peppy." The park has hosted bocce ball tournaments since the mid-1960s.
- Mayor's Park – Springfield Avenue and North Union Avenue
- Memorial Park – Springfield Avenue and Central Avenue, in 2014, the Cranford Historical Society dedicated a civil war monument.
- Roosevelt Park – Orange Avenue and Pacific Avenue
- Sherman Park – Lincoln Avenue East. Former site of Sherman School and located on the Old York Road.
- Lenape Park in Cranford, Kenilworth, Springfield, Union and Westfield. Two tusks from an ancient American mastodon were found in 1936 north of Kenilworth Boulevard in what is now Lenape Park (other sources name the swampy area directly behind what is now the parking lot of Union County College's main building).
- MacConnell Park (formerly known as Liberty Park and frequently misspelled as "McConnell Park") is named after the town's first physician, Joseph Kerr MacConnell. It is located on Eastman Street and was known as the Peninsula during the Victorian era due to its position nearly encircled by the Rahway River.
- Nomahegan Park (off Springfield Avenue across from Union County College) is named for a tributary of the Rahway River that runs through it, to Lenape Park to Echo Lake Park in Westfield and Springfield, called Nomahegan Brook. The name "Nomahegan" has had many different spellings in the historical sources (such as "Normahiggins") and may mean "she-wolf" or "women Mohegans." Federal Writers' Project, The WPA Guide to New Jersey: The Garden State (1939) ("CRANFORD is an old residential town spread along the RAHWAY RIVER PARKWAY, a link of nearly 7 miles joining a series of county parks and playgrounds with the Essex County park system. There are facilities for summer and winter sports, a rifle range, and picnic grove. The Fourth of July canoe regatta is an annual affair. Gardens of fine old Victorian houses line the edge of the parkway on the riverbank. A broadening of the river parkway at the northern end of Cranford is known as NOMAHEGAN PARK. The name Nomahegan is a variation of Noluns Mohegans, as the New Jersey Indians were called in the treaty ending the Indian troubles in 1758. It is translated as women Mohegans or she-wolves and was applied to them in scorn by the fighting Iroquois."). In 2019, the county purchased a long-abadonned house with the intent to demolish it and to add the land to the park's footprint.
- Droescher's Mill Park, located near the dam at Droescher's Mill on High Street. Also called Squire Williams Park.
- Mohawk Park is located on Mohawk Drive in Cranford's Sunny Acres (aka Indian Village) section of town.
- Sperry Park (named after William Miller Sperry), located off North Union Avenue. Home of annual rubber duck derby as a fundraiser for Hanson Park further upstream on the Rahway River.
- Unami Park (located at Lexington and S. Union Avenue).
Rahway River Parkway – Cranford Section
The Rahway River Parkway is a greenway of parkland that hugs the Rahway River and its tributaries. It was designed in the 1920s by the Olmsted Brothers firm, who were the sons of the eminent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The Cranford section follows the banks of the meandering Rahway River as it flows south through Lenape Park, Nomahegan Park, Hampton Park, MacConnell Park, Hanson Park, Sperry Park, Crane's Park, Droescher's Mill Park, and Mohawk Park.
The Cranford Riverwalk and Heritage Corridor portion of the Rahway River Parkway begins at the parklands near where Orange Avenue meets Springfield at the Cranford Canoe Club and follows the Rahway River on its path southbound to the Williams-Droescher Mill from the early 18th century. At Heritage Plaza at the southwest corner of South Avenue and Centennial, the century-old stone walls and iconic stone columns winding through woodland to Droescher's Mill are still in place, but are in need of restoration and preservation. Future plans include repairing the Kaltenbach Estate skating pond, the Victorian footbridge and Squire Williams Picnic Grove at Droescher's Mill Park.
1930–1990 2000 2010
The 2010 United States census counted 22,625 people, 8,583 households, and 6,154 families in the township. The population density was 4,684.6 per square mile (1,808.7/km2). There were 8,816 housing units at an average density of 1,825.4 per square mile (704.8/km2). The racial makeup was 91.85% (20,781) White, 2.62% (592) Black or African American, 0.08% (18) Native American, 2.84% (643) Asian, 0.02% (4) Pacific Islander, 1.03% (234) from other races, and 1.56% (353) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.51% (1,474) of the population.
Of the 8,583 households, 33.4% had children under the age of 18; 60.2% were married couples living together; 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present and 28.3% were non-families. Of all households, 24.8% were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.15.
24.2% of the population were under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 23.6% from 25 to 44, 29.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.8 years. For every 100 females, the population had 91.7 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 87.2 males.
The total population saw an increase of 47 people, or a .21% increase, since the 2010 census.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $107,052 (with a margin of error of +/- $5,725) and the median family income was $128,534 (+/- $7,200). Males had a median income of $81,979 (+/- $7,672) versus $61,649 (+/- $4,965) for females. The per capita income for the township was $48,008 (+/- $2,581). About 2.1% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.9% of those under age 18 and 8.5% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 22,578 people, 8,397 households, and 6,222 families residing in the township. The population density was 4,684.2 people per square mile (1,808.6/km2). There were 8,560 housing units at an average density of 1,775.9 per square mile (685.7/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 93.70% White, 2.58% Black or African American, 0.04% Native American, 2.15% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.67% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. 3.89% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 8,397 households, out of which 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.0% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.9% were non-families. 21.9% 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 2.62 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the township the population was spread out, with 23.3% under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.2 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $76,338, and the median income for a family was $86,624. Males had a median income of $60,757 versus $41,020 for females. The per capita income for the township was $33,283. About 1.0% of families and 2.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.5% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.
Cranford has long been considered a center of commerce. The Cranford Business Park on the south side of the township consists of a complex of office buildings housing a variety of major corporations and small businesses. Along North Avenue are a variety of buildings housing doctors and other businesses. Law offices predominate in small buildings around town. Banks are also extremely common throughout the township, which hosts at least half a dozen.
Downtown Cranford is the main retail business district for the township. Consisting of a variety of small family-owned businesses on both sides of the railroad tracks, there has been a debate in the community over the direction of the downtown. With neighboring communities seeing downtown development and a focus on either recruiting chain store or upscale small stores, Cranford has been debating the issue. On the south side of town, the Centennial Avenue Business District is a small shopping district with a mix of neighborhood stores. There is a push to redevelop this business district.
The focus of downtown Cranford has been to recruit more restaurants into the downtown and allow for a nightlife to flourish. On the south side of the community, the Cranford Crossing redevelopment project featured retail space, apartments, and a parking deck. The Riverfront redevelopment project on South Avenue brought in more restaurants and housing into downtown Cranford.
In the 1980s the downtown was renovated to take on a Victorian feel. This included the installation of new light fixtures and brick sidewalks, along with decorative planters and benches. A Victorian street clock was installed in the center of town, allowing for the creation of a small pocket park in the center of the downtown. The clock park has become a popular hangout for teenagers who are walking to and from school.
In the 1980s, Cranford founded the state's first special improvement district, which allows for the downtown district to have a special tax on building and business owners for downtown development and marketing which is managed by the Cranford Downtown Management Corporation. The DMC has used its budget for development projects, events, to recruit new businesses and to market shopping in Cranford. Various downtown events are administered by the DMC, including the Scarecrow Stroll, Lego Night, sidewalk sales, and more. The DMC is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of business owners, property owners, and residents, members of which are appointed by the Township Committee.
Cranford is considered a safe town to live in. In 2019, it was ranked the 7th safest city in New Jersey. In 2018 the Cranford crime rate was 28.47 per 100,000, which is lower than New Jersey's 208 crime rate, which is in turn lower than the United States' 381.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Cranford has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
|Climate data for Cranford, New Jersey.|
|Record high °F (°C)||73
|Average high °F (°C)||40.1
|Daily mean °F (°C)||30.8
|Average low °F (°C)||21.5
|Record low °F (°C)||−10
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.72
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||6.9
|Source: The Western Regional Climate Center|
Cranford is governed under the Township form of New Jersey municipal government, one of 141 municipalities (of the 565) statewide that use this form, the second-most commonly used form of government in the state. The Township Committee is comprised of five members, who are elected directly by the voters at-large in partisan elections to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election in a three-year cycle.
The Committee members elect a chairman of the committee who assumes the title of Mayor and another who is selected as Deputy Mayor. Both positions carry one-year terms. Four of the committee members take on departmental oversight assignments as Commissioner of Finance, Commissioner of Public Safety, Commissioner of Public Works and Engineering, and Commissioner of Public Affairs. The Mayor of Cranford does not take on a departmental assignment. The Township Committee is a part-time body and the township government is run day to day by the Township Administrator and various department heads. The Chief of Police is Ryan Greco, the Township Administrator is Jamie Cryan and the Township Clerk is Patty Donahue.
As of 2020[update], members of the Cranford Township Committee are Mayor Patrick Giblin (D, 2020), Deputy Mayor Kathleen Miller Prunty (D, 2022), Thomas H. Hannen Jr. (D, 2021), Jean-Albert Maisonneuve (D, 2020) and Mary O'Connor (R, 2022).
Women in elected office
As of 2020, eleven women have been elected to the Cranford Township Committee and three women have served as Mayor of Cranford. Barbara Brande was the first woman elected to the Township Committee and the first woman mayor of the township. Mayor Brande was elected to the Township Committee in 1974 and reelected in 1977, serving a total of six years. She was Mayor of Cranford in 1977. Carolyn Vollero, who served the longest length of time for a woman on the Township Committee – nine years – was Cranford's second female Mayor in 1994. Barbara Bilger, the township's third female mayor in 2002 and 2004, was also the first woman to serve two terms as the township's mayor. Mayor Bilger is the first Republican woman to serve as a Township Commissioner and as mayor.
Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski is a Cranford resident and the first woman from Cranford to be elected to the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Freeholder Kowalski was an unsuccessful candidate for Cranford Township Committee in 1999 and served as Union County Freeholder Chairwoman in 2007 and 2019.
Female township commissioners include:
- Barbara Brande (Democrat) – 1975 to 1980 (Mayor in 1977)
- Sandy Weeks (Democrat) – 1982 to 1984
- Mary Lou Farmer (Democrat) – 1984 to 1986
- Carolyn Vollero (Democrat) – 1988 to 1996 (Mayor in 1994, Deputy Mayor in 1993)
- Barbara Bilger (Republican) – 1990 to 1992, 2002 to 2004 and Sept. 2015 to Nov. 2015 (Mayor in 2002 & 2004, Deputy Mayor in 1992 & 2003)
- Ann Darby (Republican) – 2003 to 2005 (Deputy Mayor in 2004)
- Martha Garcia (Republican) – 2008 to 2010 (Deputy Mayor in 2010)
- Lisa Adubato (Republican) – 2012 to Aug. 2015 (Deputy Mayor in 2014 and 2015 (part))
- Mary O'Connor (Republican) – 2014 to present (Deputy Mayor in 2015 (part) and 2016)
- Ann Dooley (Democrat) - 2016 to 2019 (Deputy Mayor in 2018 and 2019)
- Kathleen Miller Prunty (Democrat) - 2020 to present (Deputy Mayor in 2020)
Federal, state and county representation
For the 117th United States Congress. New Jersey's Seventh Congressional District is represented by Tom Malinowski (D, East Amwell Township). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2027) and Bob Menendez (Harrison, term ends 2025).
For the 2018–2019 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 21st Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Thomas Kean Jr. (R, Westfield) and in the General Assembly by Jon Bramnick (R, Westfield) and Nancy Munoz (R, Summit).
Union County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose nine members are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis with three seats coming up for election each year, with an appointed County Manager overseeing the day-to-day operations of the county. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects a Chair and Vice Chair from among its members. As of 2019[update], Union County's Freeholders are Chair Bette Jane Kowalski (D, Cranford, term ends December 31, 2019), Vice Chair Alexander Mirabella (D, Fanwood, 2021) Angel G. Estrada (D, Elizabeth, 2020), Angela R. Garretson (D, Hillside Township, 2020), Sergio Granados (D, Elizabeth, 2019), Christopher Hudak (D, Linden, term ends December 31, 2020), Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded (D, Westfield, 2021), Andrea Staten (D, Roselle, 2021), and Rebecca Williams (D, Plainfield, 2019). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi (D, Union, 2020), Sheriff Peter Corvelli (D, Kenilworth, 2020) and Surrogate James S. LaCorte (D, Springfield Township, 2019). The County Manager is Edward Oatman.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 15,649 registered voters in Cranford Township, of which 4,887 (31.2% vs. 41.8% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 3,701 (23.7% vs. 15.3%) were registered as Republicans and 7,046 (45.0% vs. 42.9%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 15 voters registered to other parties. Among the township's 2010 Census population, 69.2% (vs. 53.3% in Union County) were registered to vote, including 91.2% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 70.6% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 6,236 votes (51.0% vs. 66.0% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 5,772 votes (47.2% vs. 32.3%) and other candidates with 141 votes (1.2% vs. 0.8%), among the 12,223 ballots cast by the township's 16,332 registered voters, for a turnout of 74.8% (vs. 68.8% in Union County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 6,513 votes (49.6% vs. 63.1% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 6,371 votes (48.6% vs. 35.2%) and other candidates with 164 votes (1.3% vs. 0.9%), among the 13,120 ballots cast by the township's 16,145 registered voters, for a turnout of 81.3% (vs. 74.7% in Union County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 6,455 votes (50.4% vs. 40.3% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 6,160 votes (48.1% vs. 58.3%) and other candidates with 111 votes (0.9% vs. 0.7%), among the 12,795 ballots cast by the township's 15,822 registered voters, for a turnout of 80.9% (vs. 72.3% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 62.5% of the vote (4,926 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 35.9% (2,834 votes), and other candidates with 1.6% (124 votes), among the 8,017 ballots cast by the township's 16,108 registered voters (133 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 49.8%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 4,787 votes (52.3% vs. 41.7% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 3,421 votes (37.4% vs. 50.6%), Independent Chris Daggett with 793 votes (8.7% vs. 5.9%) and other candidates with 82 votes (0.9% vs. 0.8%), among the 9,146 ballots cast by the township's 15,871 registered voters, yielding a 57.6% turnout (vs. 46.5% in the county).
In the 2016 presidential election, Democrat Hilary Clinton received 6,244 votes (52.3% vs. 65.6% countywide) beating Donald Trump's 5,110 votes (42.8% vs. 30.9% countywide) and other candidates receiving a combined total of 593 votes (4.9% vs. 3.6% countywide).  From Cranford, 11,947 ballots were cast out of 16,844 registered voters (70% voter turnout vs. 68.87% countywide).
Cranford High School is among the top-ranked high schools in the state. The Cranford Township Public Schools is a comprehensive public school district serving students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of seven schools, had an enrollment of 3,853 students and 323.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.9:1. Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Bloomingdale Avenue School with 255 students in grades K-2, Brookside Place School with 365 students in grades K-5, Hillside Avenue School with 702 students in grades K-8, Livingston Avenue School with 251 students in grades 3–5, Orange Avenue School with 738 students in grades 3–8, Walnut Avenue School with 312 students in grades PreK-2 and Cranford High School with 1,233 students in grades 9-12. Cranford High School has a curriculum which has a strong push for technology in the schools, along with stressing service learning. The high school is recognized for its work in service learning and for being a national school of character. Cranford High School was ranked 51st among 328 public high schools in New Jersey in 2012 by New Jersey Monthly magazine after being ranked 13th in 2010 and has won a series of national and statewide awards for its innovative curriculum. Lincoln School, which is the home of the district's administrative offices, also houses the district's two alternative education programs, CAP and CAMP.
Cranford hosts several religious and private schools. Saint Michael's School, located in downtown Cranford, is a Roman Catholic parochial school which serves students in Nursery through Grade 8 and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Elementary Schools, operating under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.
The main campus of Union County College – New Jersey's oldest community college, dating back to 1933 – is located in Cranford. The Cranford campus, one of four county locations, was established in 1956.
Cranford media includes:
- Cranfordnj.org is the official website of the Township of Cranford, and has been in operation since October 2017. It promotes downtown businesses on its downtown Cranford section.
- The Westfield Leader. This locally published weekly newspaper covers all Cranford township committee meetings and offers other Cranford coverage.
- Union News Daily. A news outlet covering Union County news, it has a dedicated Cranford section. It is part of LocalSource and published by Worrall Community Newspapers of Union. The paper's Cranford coverage is also published on a monthly basis as Cranford Life.
- TAP Into Cranford is an online news site devoted to Cranford.
- Cranford Patch is a daily online news source dedicated to local Cranford news.
- Cranford.com was founded in October 2017 as a social website serving Cranford and the surrounding communities as well as promoting local business and charity organizations and local events. You can learn more about many local events, happenings and businesses by visiting Cranford.com. Cranford.com also manages the popular Cranford Web Facebook Page.
- Remaining multi-community newspapers include the Courier News, a daily newspaper based in Bridgewater Township, and The Star-Ledger and the Suburban News based in Newark.
- Cranford Monthly is published by Renna Media, located on Walnut Street in Cranford, NJ. 9,800 newspapers are printed up each month and mailed free.
- Cranford Radio is a podcast of Cranford-themed news interviews hosted by 1010wins' Bernie Wagenblast.
- TV-35. Cranford also has its own channel, TV-35, which airs township committee meetings live each week and is available to cable and Verizon FiOS television subscribers.
The channel was founded in 1986.
- Emergency radio. The township operates a low-power AM radio station at 680 kHz. The station provides information during emergencies in the township.
As of 2017, local media in New Jersey has undergone dramatic shrinkage. Cranford had long been a newspaper community. The defunct Cranford Chronicle (formerly the Cranford Citizen & Chronicle) was a longtime newspaper serving the Township. Owned by the Ray Family and published in town, the Chronicle served as the center of community journalism. Stu Awbrey purchased the Chronicle and continued as the town's newspaperman. Awbrey sold the paper to Malcolm Forbes, whose publishing company published the paper for several years before the paper changed hands to other community newspaper publication companies. The Chronicle's office left Cranford for Somerville and later Clark. The Chronicle was closed in June 2015.
The defunct Cranford Eagle started publishing in 1999 as another community newspaper. Owned by Worrall Community Newspapers, the Eagle focused solely on Cranford and other neighboring towns. Edited and reported by several people in its history, the Eagle quickly became a fixture in the community.
Arts and culture
- The inaugural Cranford Film Festival at the Cranford Theater was announced in January 2020.
- The Cranford Dramatic Club is a local theatrical company founded in 1919 that puts on various annual productions. It is the longest continuously producing community theater in the state of New Jersey. The CDC has its own small performing arts theater on the south side of town.
- PorchFest is an annual music festival in Cranford.
- Dreyer Farms, one of the last remaining farms in Union County and a popular spot for fresh produce, hosts art shows and performances in the offseason.
- Summer Sounds Saturdays is a program of live music at the town clock in Eastman Clock Plaza every Saturday at 5pm during the summer months.
- The Roy W. Smith Theater and Tomasulo Art Gallery at Union County College offer live performances and art shows.
- The Cranford Public Library, which began as a Carnegie library, and adjacent Cranford Community Center offer art, film and speaker series.
- The Riverside Inn offers live musical performances.
Clubs and organizations
Cranford is home to a wide variety of civic, athletic, and social organizations, some of very long standing. The Green Thumb Garden Club began in 1951 and the Floraphile Garden Club of Cranford was founded in 1950. The Hanson Park Conservancy was established in 2004,and the Friends of the Cranford Public Library was founded in 1979. The Cranford Historical Society dates to 1927, and the Cranford Knights of Columbus began its local council in 1970. The Rotary Club of Cranford was established in 1923, and the Cranford Jaycees were founded in 1969.
Places of worship
- Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim, on Walnut Avenue in Cranford, has been a community of worship for over 100 years, serving the Cranford and Westfield area egalitarian-traditional Jewish community.
- Trinity Episcopal Church on Forest Avenue was founded in 1872. Its day school offers preschool, kindergarten, and elementary aftercare programs.
- First Presbyterian Church of Cranford on Springfield Avenue, home to Helen K. Baldwin Nursery School, was founded in 1850.
- The First Baptist Church on High Street was founded in June 1887. Its former minister, Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe, was the first Black woman ordained by the American Baptist Church.
- St. Michael's Church on Alden Street was founded as the town's Roman Catholic parish in 1872.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010[update], the township had a total of 78.60 miles (126.49 km) of roadways, of which 67.25 miles (108.23 km) were maintained by the municipality, 7.77 miles (12.50 km) by Union County, 1.72 miles (2.77 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 1.86 miles (2.99 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
The Garden State Parkway passes through the township, connecting Clark in the south to Kenilworth in the north. The Parkway is accessible at interchange 136 to County Route 607 for Linden / Roselle / Winfield Park and at interchange 137 for Route 28. Interchange 136 is known as the "four corners", where Clark, Winfield, Cranford and Linden meet.
Cranford's Pace Car Program creates safer roads when drivers pledge to "drive within the posted speed limit", "stop at all stop signs", "stop at all red traffic lights", and "yield to pedestrians in crosswalks".
The Cranford station offers train service to Newark Penn Station in about 20 minutes, and to New York City Penn Station in about 49 minutes in total. The World Trade Center station on PATH can likewise be reached from Cranford in under 50 minutes (42 minutes on 6:52AM express).
Cranford Station also offers transit to other points east, along with Raritan, High Bridge and numerous points west on the NJ Transit Raritan Valley Line, formerly the mainline of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. Via Newark Penn Station, Secaucus Junction and NYC Penn Station, connections are possible to all other NJT rail lines (except Atlantic City,) PATH trains, AirTrain Newark to Newark Liberty International Airport, Amtrak regional and long-distance trains and the Long Island Rail Road.
An express bus route (the 113x) offers nonstop weekday travel from the north side of the Cranford Station, and other Cranford points on North Ave, to Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan in about 40 minutes. The private bus service Boxcar also provides direct commuter bus routes to midtown Manhattan in about 40 minutes.
NJ Transit also provides bus service on the 112 and 113 routes between Cranford and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City and on the 59 and 66 to Newark. The 56, 57 and 58 routes provide local service.
The southern section of the township is bisected by Conrail's freight-only Lehigh Line (jointly owned by CSX and Norfolk Southern) along the tracks of the former Lehigh Valley Railroad. The former Staten Island Railway connects with the Raritan Valley Line in Cranford, reaching the island via the Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge. That line has been rehabilitated and since 2007 between Port Newark and Howland Hook and transports containers from the Howland Hook Marine Terminal, an intermodal freight transport service known as ExpressRail.
In film and television
- Several episodes in the third season of the 1990s Nickelodeon television show, The Adventures of Pete & Pete were filmed in Cranford. Episodes of the series were shot at various sites in Cranford, including Brookside Place School, Cranford High School, Orange Avenue Pool and Modern Barber Shop. Scenes for the home of the title characters were filmed at a house at 11 Willow Street.
- Cranford is the setting of the 2005 film Guess Who, starring Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher.
- Portions of the films Far from Heaven, Garden State, September 12 and HBO's miniseries The Plot Against America were shot in Cranford.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Cranford include:
- Frederick W. Beinecke (1887–1971), founder of Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
- William Sperry Beinecke (1914-2018), founder of the Central Park Conservancy and former chairman of S&H Green Stamps.
- Carol Blazejowski (born 1956), member of Basketball Hall of Fame and LGBT community; 1974 Cranford High School graduate.
- Gordon Chalmers (1911–2000), swimmer, swimming coach, and college athletics administrator. He competed in the men's 100 metre backstroke at the 1932 Summer Olympics.
- Curtis G. Culin (1915–1963), sergeant in the 2d Armored Division during World War II who developed the rhino tank to cut through hedgerows during the Battle of Normandy.
- Howard "Dutch" Darrin (1897–1982), free-lance automotive stylist
- Hugh S. Delano (1933-2015), sports journalist for the New York Post and author honored by induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame with the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award.
- Maria Dizzia (born 1974), actress who was nominated for the 2010 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play).
- William C. Dudley (born 1952), economist who served as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Vice Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee.
- Robert Ferro (1941–1988), LGBT author whose work included a gay coming-of-age novel describing a fictionalized version of Cranford centered around the Rahway River.
- Charles N. Fowler (1852–1932), represented 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1895 to 1911.
- Will Fries (born 1998), offensive guard for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League.
- Edward K. Gill (1917-1985), politician who served as Mayor of Cranford and was elected to two terms of office in the New Jersey General Assembly, where he represented the 21st Legislative District.
- Gary Kott (born c.1947), television and advertising writer, who was a writer and supervising producer of The Cosby Show.
- Alice Lakey (1857–1935), pure foods activist.
- Frank Townsend Lent (1855–1919), architect, painter and author.
- May Li (born 1967), finalist in 2006 in China Central Television's Win in China and founder of the non-profit North American Chinese Entrepreneur Association (NACEA).
- Paul J. Lioy (1947–2015), specialist in the field of environmental health and specializing in exposure science who analyzed the effects of dust in the wake of the collapse of the World Trade Center after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
- Greg Mankiw (born 1958), Harvard professor who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush.
- Ralph J. Marra Jr. (born c. 1953), former Acting United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey.
- Max Marston (1892–1949), winner of the 1923 United States Amateur Championship golf tournament.
- Dean Mathey (1890–1972), tennis player and namesake of Mathey College at Princeton University.
- Victoria Napolitano (née Spellman, born 1988), politician who was chosen as mayor of Moorestown, New Jersey, at age 26, making her the youngest female mayor in state history.
- David Pringle (born 1966), environmental activist and politician.
- David Silverman (born 1966), president of American Atheists.
- Thomas Sperry (c. 1864–1913), co-founder (the "S") of S&H Green Stamps.
- William Miller Sperry (1858–1927), president of S&H Green Stamps and namesake of the William Miller Sperry Observatory and Sperry Park, who moved to Cranford in 1898.
- Joseph Striker (1898-1974), actor who appeared on film and in Broadway theatre.
- John Coard Taylor (1901-1946), track and field athlete who placed fifth in the men's 400 meters at the 1924 Summer Olympics. He was national champion in the 220-yd low hurdles in 1922.
- James Walter Thompson (1847–1928), namesake of the J. Walter Thompson Company advertising agency.
- Walter F. Timpone (born 1950), former Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, who served from 2016 to 2020.
- Bernie Wagenblast (born 1956), voiceover performer and former traffic reporter who is the founder and editor of the Transportation Communications Newsletter.
- Jennifer Westhoven (born 1971), business and finance correspondent on HLN's Morning Express with Robin Meade.
- Jordan White (born 1982), rock musician and American Idol contestant.
- Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe (1916-2004), noted educator, Cranford native, and namesake of the Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe College of Education at New Jersey City University.
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- "Spotlight: Carol Blazejowski", SI for Women, May 28, 1999. Accessed May 4, 2007. "In 1974, while a student at Cranford High (NJ), Blazejowski told the school's athletic director (who was also the coach of the boys' basketball team) that she would play on boys' basketball team if no girls team was created. It wasn't long before Cranford had a girls' basketball team."
- Gordon Chalmers Archived August 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Sports-Reference.com. Accessed November 6, 2017.
- Staff. "Curtis Culin 3d, Invented 'Rhino'; Creator of Tank Attachment at Normandy Is Dead", The New York Times, November 22, 1963. Accessed January 22, 2012.
- Donnelly, Jim. "Howard A. Darrin", Hemmings Motor News, July 2006. Accessed August 22, 2020. "Howard Darrin was born in 1897 in Cranford, New Jersey, along what would later become the route of the Garden State Parkway."
- Pitman, John. "Hugh Delano headed for the Hockey Hall of Fame" Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, The Cranford Chronicle, September 19, 1991. Accessed November 3, 2008.
- Reilly, James. "Cranford sportswriter honored for his career" Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, The Cranford Chronicle, May 25, 1994. Accessed November 3, 2008.
- Tropia, Joe. "Maria Dizzia", Broadway.com, June 14, 2007. Accessed September 19, 2019. "Hometown: Cranford, New Jersey"
- Murray, Leslie. "Cranford resident appointed president and CEO of the NY Federal Reserve", The Cranford Chronicle, February 4, 2009. Accessed February 7, 2009.
- Staff. "Robert Ferro, 46, Dies; Wrote Books on Family", The New York Times, July 12, 1988. Accessed December 17, 2016. "Born in Cranford, N.J., Mr. Ferro graduated from Rutgers University and earned a master's degree from the University of Iowa."
- Charles Newell Fowler, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed August 9, 2007.
- Gould, Brandon. "Will Fries of Cranford signs to play football at Penn State University of National Signing Day", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com,February 3, 2016, updated August 24, 2019. Accessed May 4, 2021. "After a storybook ending to his high school career, offensive tackle Will Fries signed his National Letter of Intent today with Penn State University at Cranford High School."
- "Edward K. Gill", The New York Times, February 13, 1985. Accessed September 19, 2019. "Edward K. Gill, who was elected to the New Jersey Assembly in 1981 at the age of 62 after a long career in business, died of a heart ailment Saturday in Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield, N.J. He was 66 years old and lived in Cranford. Mr. Gill was the Mayor of Cranford from 1967 to 1970 and served on several town boards."
- About, Gary Kott's Creative Warehouse. Accessed July 17, 2012. "I grew up in Cranford, New Jersey – exit 137 on the Garden State Parkway – twenty-one miles from the Lincoln Tunnel and New York City."
- Bernstein, Michele W. "Gary Kott Injects Cranford Memories into Cosby Show," Cranford Chronicle, June 4, 1987. http://www.digifind-it.com/cranford/DATA/chronicle/1987/1987-06-04.pdf
- Burstyn, Joan N. Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women, p. 161. Syracuse University Press, 1996. ISBN 9780815604181. Accessed October 28, 2016. "In 1896 the Lakeys moved to Cranford (Union County), NJ, a quiet town where Lakey could continue her recovery."
- Brule, M. "From a Home in the Suburbs to a Retreat in the Wilderness: The Domestic Architecture of Frank T. Lent." (2012).xii
- Chang, Bea. "In China, 'Apprentice' has a serious purpose; Parsippany man, N.J. woman go to Beijing, compete in show meant to boost entrepreneurs"[permanent dead link], Daily Record (Morristown), July 30, 2006. Accessed July 12, 2015. "For May Li and Kurt Chen, Beijing has changed dramatically since they lived there.... n mid-June, Li, of Cranford, and Chen, of Parsippany, flew to Beijing as two of the six American contestants for a game show called Win in China."
- Fox, Margalit. "Paul Lioy, Scientist Who Analyzed 9/11 Dust and Its Health Effects, Dies at 68", The New York Times, July 11, 2015. Accessed July 12, 2015. "Paul James Lioy was born on May 27, 1947, in Passaic, N.J. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Montclair State College, as it was then known, followed by a master's degree in the field from Auburn University in Alabama and master's and doctoral degrees in environmental science from Rutgers.... From his home in Cranford, N.J., Dr. Lioy could see the plumes of dust that rose from the ruins of the trade center towers on Sept. 11, 2001."
- Andrews, Edmund L. "Economics Adviser Learns the Principles of Politics", The New York Times, February 26, 2004. Accessed September 19, 2019. "He describes himself as a lifelong Republican, which sets him apart from many Harvard colleagues. He distributed campaign literature for Richard Nixon in the early 1970's, and he grew up in Cranford, a fairly affluent suburb in New Jersey, the son of an engineer and a teacher."
- Staff. "Federal prosecutor Ralph Marra joins N.J. Sports and Exposition Authority as top lawyer", The Star-Ledger, February 18, 2010. Accessed July 17, 2012. "In a special meeting of the Sports Authority today morning, Marra, 56, of Cranford, was named senior vice president for legal and governmental affairs. He will be paid $190,000."
- "Marston Will Remain In New Jersey Game", Courier News, April 3, 1918. Max Marston, the Cranford golf star and former New Jersey champion, who was reported to have changed his abode in Cranford to a residence in Philadelphia, comes out with the statement that he has not sworn allegiance to the Quaker town."
- Dean Mathey (1891–1972) Archived November 9, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Princeton Area Community Foundation. Accessed November 8, 2016. "Dean Mathey was born in 1891 and raised in Cranford, N.J. where he attended the Pingry School."
- "National Merit", The Westfield Leader, November 24, 2005. Accessed January 22, 2018. "Union Catholic students Amy Dooley of Carteret, Thomas Fitzgibbon of Fanwood, Bradley Gelles of Edison, Katherine McGhee of Edison and Victoria Spellman of Cranford, have been named Commended Students in the 2006 National Merit Scholarship Program. Each student will be presented with a letter of commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation."
- Alfaro, Alyana. "Pringle Joins Democrats Jockeying to Replace Lance in New Jersey's 7th District", The New York Observer, January 2, 2018. Accessed January 15, 2018. "Pringle lives in Cranford with his wife Laurie and their three children."
- Woods, Don E. "NJ woman's rejected atheist license plate violates First Amendment, lawsuit argues", South Jersey Times, April 17, 2014. Accessed October 15, 2014. "The Motor Vehicle Commission went through a similar battle last August when David Silverman, president of American Atheists and Cranford resident, attempted to get 'ATHE1ST' as a license plate — with a numeral '1' instead of the letter 'I'."
- Millar, Will. "'8THEIST' License Plate Sparks Federal Lawsuit", Inquisitr, April 19, 2014. Accessed September 19, 2019. "Last August, Cranford resident David Silverman, the president of an organization called American Atheists, attempted to get 'ATHE1ST' as a license plate — with a numeral '1' instead of the letter 'I'. Silverman was denied his vanity plate after it was deemed offensive by a Motor Vehicle Commission clerk, only to have the decision reversed later that same month."
- Staff. "Sperrys Flee From Flames By Ladder; Their Country Home at Cranford, N.J., with Its Valuable Paintings, Destroyed.", The New York Times, June 8, 1912. Accessed October 29, 2008.
- "Gift of $100,000 to Make UJC Campus Site Of William M. Sperry Memorial Observatory", Cranford Citizen and Chronicle, February 29, 1964. Accessed August 26, 2020. "A long-time Cranford resident, the late William Miller Sperry was the father of Mrs. F. W. Beinecke and grandfather of William S. Beinecke, now president of the Sperry and Hutchinson Co., distributors of S&H Green Stamps."
- "William M. Sperry (1839 - 1927) Archived November 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Amateur Astronomers. Accessed November 4, 2016. "William Miller Sperry who came to Cranford in 1898, and two of his brothers Thomas Alexander Sperry and Joseph Austin Sperry, had much to do with the development of the Cranford community as all three maintained a sincere and continuing interest in the civic growth of the area."
- "Joseph Striker, Actor, 74, Played in King of Kings", The New York Times, February 27, 1974. Accessed September 19, 2019. "Joseph Striker, a film and stage actor in the nineteentwenties and early thirties, died Sunday in St. Barnabas Hospital, Livingston, N. J. He was 74 years old and lived at 4 Riverside Drive in Cranford, N.J."
- Staff. "J. Coard Taylor, Official Of Ethyl; Vice President in Charge of Sales for Oil Firm Dies-- Track Star at Princeton", The New York Times, June 26, 1946. Accessed September 19, 2019. "Born in Cranford, N. J., a son of George Franklin Taylor and the former Mabel Voorhees, Mr. Taylor was a descendent of Stephen Coerte Van Voorhees, who migrated from Holland to Flatlands, L. I."
- Antonelli, Toniann. " Township Marks 100th Anniversary of 'Cranford's Great Fire';nA century ago, an entire row of businesses known as The Opera House Block was destroyed in a massive fire downtown.", Cranford Patch, February 3, 2012. Accessed November 5, 2016.
- Ensslin, John C. https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2016/04/15/breath-of-fresh-air-for-njs-high-court-colleagues-praise-nominee/94638648/ "Breath of fresh air' for N.J.’s high court; colleagues praise nominee"], The Record, April 15, 2016. Accessed May 7, 2021. "Timpone, a 65-year-old Cranford resident and former assistant U.S. attorney, has the judicial demeanor and knack for collegiality, they said, to build consensus on a court that by tradition is split between Democratic and Republican justices."
- Staff. "Cranford Resident, Radio Announcer, AirTrain Voiceover - Bernie Wagenblast's Boyhood Dream a Fruitful Career", TAP into Cranford, April 18, 2015. Accessed November 19, 2017. "Bernie Wagenblast might not be a household name, but the lifetime Cranford resident's voice is heard by hundreds of thousands of people everyday. Wagenblast is the announcer voice on many New York subway lines and throughout the Newark and JFK Airport AirTrain systems."
- Jennifer Westhoven Archived March 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, HLN (TV channel). Accessed March 28, 2013. "Westhoven earned a bachelor of arts degree in history and political science from Bryn Mawr College and grew up in Cranford, NJ."
- Ragonese, Dana. "Cranford native Jordan White featured at Rev It Up concert starring Crystal Bowersox", Cranford Chronicle, August 4, 2011. Accessed February 20, 2013. "At least half of the profits from the concert will go towards juvenile diabetes. The benefit concert will also feature Hawthorne Heights, Carmen Magro, and Cranford, native Jordan White."
- Staff. "Meet Jordan White" Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, The Valley Beat. Accessed July 17, 2012. "Jordan White was born in Cranford, New Jersey, but raised in Nazareth where he learned to play guitar and classical piano. At age 19, White first began writing songs, by the age of 28 he has landed a song with a national label."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cranford, New Jersey.|
- Cranford Township home page
- Cranford Township Public Schools
- Cranford.com, Your Guide to Everything Cranford
- Cranford Township Public Schools's 2015–16 School Report Card from the New Jersey Department of Education
- School Data for the Cranford Township Public Schools, National Center for Education Statistics
- Hometown Memories – Cranford Page
- Cranford Elks Motorcycle Club
- Cranford Track
- CNN Money Best Places Contender 2005
- NJ Monthly Top Towns 2006 – Ranked 12th
- Cranford Real Estate[permanent dead link]