Montclair’s lush hillsides and valleys are a haven for artists and writers. Residents enjoy access to numerous parks and villages as well as spectacular mountain views. Montclair is a “seasoned community” with many “mature” homes that enhance its charm, although a good supply of newer properties are also available. Many of the housing tracks were established in the 1920s and feature unique colonial-style homes. One of the richest aspects of life in Montclair is the town and county park system. Almost seven percent of Montclair's land is devoted to public parkland. Within the 18 recreational parks are 21 tennis courts, seven playgrounds, three swimming pools, a bird sanctuary, four basketball courts and six baseball diamonds. There are also numerous other athletic fields, nature trails, ice skating ponds, sled-riding slopes and an ice arena. Montclair has the distinction of maintaining the smallest national park in the United States -- the place where George Washington stayed during his retreat from Trenton during the Revolutionary War. Since its inception in 1913, The Montclair Art Museum was recently expanded to double its capacity. The facility is dedicated to the collecting, preserving and exhibiting of high quality American and Native American art. The Museum’s collections comprise more than 15,000 works in a variety of media. The American Art collection covers three hundred years, from the 18th to the 20th centuries, and includes paintings, sculpture, and works on paper. In 1977, Montclair established seven "magnet" elementary schools, each with a slightly different learning emphasis. Parents choose the magnet elementary school based on the interests and emphases of their children. Students are bused to schools if the schools they choose are not within walking distance of their homes. For thousands of years before the beginning of European settlement, Montclair was part of the homeland of the Lenape Indians, who hunted and trapped here and passed over the mountains on their way to gather shellfish at the shore. Community sites such as Watchung (on the hill) and Yantacaw (place of dancing) bear witness to their heritage. The population of the community grew rapidly as New York businessmen and their families began building homes along the mountainside. The new residents sought to create in Montclair a model "country town" with convenient access to the city. They were successful. Today Montclair is known for its preserved colonial charm and historic small-town feel.
Located in western Essex County, Caldwell was named in honor of the Reverend James Caldwell, the fighting parson of the revolution. Caldwell is also the birthplace of President Grover Cleveland, the only President born in New Jersey. A 42-acre park, named after Cleveland, features tennis courts, baseball fields and playgrounds.
As the commercial and residential center of the "Horseneck Tract," Caldwell was incorporated with the surrounding areas to form a township in 1798. Caldwell is a well-established, residential community with a vibrant downtown business center. The real estate market is comprised of historic colonial homes, Cape Cod style residences, contemporary properties and spacious ranch-style homes located on large, secluded estates with magnificent landscapes.
Situated on the highest point of Essex County, North Caldwell’s rolling hills and wooded terrain have long made it a desirable residential community. Other than two very small strips of stores located on the northern and southern ends of town, Caldwell is made up almost entirely of single-family, owner-occupied homes. North Caldwell has its own community pool.
North Caldwell has two elementary schools and is part of the West Essex Regional School District servicing the communities of Fairfield, North Caldwell, Essex Fells and Roseland. Both the West Essex Junior High and West Essex High Schools are located in North Caldwell.
West Caldwell is essentially suburban in nature; a community with a balanced economy, represented by a substantially developed industrial, commercial and residential base. There are three main industrial areas and four shopping centers featuring approximately 70 stores. The Garden State Parkway, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, downtown Manhattan and Newark Airport are easily reached by interstates 280, 80 and State Route 46.
The residential development consists principally of single-family, owner-occupied homes. There are six parks, two community pools and an excellent public library. West Caldwell administers a joint recreation program for its citizens and the citizens of Caldwell.
Caldwell proper is part of the Caldwell-West Caldwell School District, a joint system consisting of four elementary schools, Grover Cleveland Middle School and James Caldwell High School. The middle school and Lincoln Elementary are located in Caldwell.
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