Bordentown, New Jersey: Wikis


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See also: Bordentown Township, New Jersey
Bordentown City, New Jersey
—  City  —
The City of Bordentown highlighted in Burlington County. Inset map: Burlington County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Bordentown, New Jersey
Coordinates: 40°08′55″N 74°42′33″W / 40.14861°N 74.70917°W / 40.14861; -74.70917Coordinates: 40°08′55″N 74°42′33″W / 40.14861°N 74.70917°W / 40.14861; -74.70917
Country United States
State New Jersey
County Burlington
Incorporated April 3, 1867
 - Type Walsh Act (New Jersey)
 - Total 1.0 sq mi (2.5 km2)
 - Land 0.9 sq mi (2.4 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation [1] 49 ft (15 m)
Population (2006)[2]
 - Total 3,953
 Density 4,303.6/sq mi (1,661.6/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 08505
Area code(s) 609
FIPS code 34-06670[3][4]
GNIS feature ID 0885165[5]

Bordentown City is in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. As of the United States 2000 Census, the city population was 3,969; which had fallen to 3,953 as of the 2006 census estimate.[2] Bordentown is located at the confluence of the Delaware River, Blacks Creek and Crosswicks Creek. The latter is the border between Burlington and Mercer Counties.

Bordentown City was originally incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on December 9, 1825, from portions within Chesterfield Township. It was reincorporated as a city on April 3, 1867, and separated from Chesterfield Township c. 1877.[6]



Thomas Farnsworth, an English Quaker, was credited with being the first European settler in the Bordentown area in 1682, when he moved his family up river from Burlington. He made a new home on the windswept bluff overlooking the broad bend in the Delaware River. The Farnsworth's cabin was situated near the northwest corner of Park Street and Prince Street, perhaps where an 1883 frame house now stands. "Farnsworth Landing" soon became the center of trade for the region. Farnsworth is also the namesake of one of Bordentown's most popular streets, Farnsworth Avenue.

Joseph Borden, for whom the town is named, arrived in 1717, and by May 1740 founded a transportation system to carry people and freight between New York City and Philadelphia. This exploited Bordentown's natural location as the point on the Delaware River that provided the shortest overland route to South Amboy, from which cargo and people could be ferried to New York City.

By 1776, Bordentown was full of patriots. Patience Lovell Wright, America's first female sculptor, was creating wax busts in King George's court in England. Later, however, Bordentown became a rabble-rousing hotbed. In addition to Joseph Borden, who became a colonel during the war, patriots Francis Hopkinson (a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence), Colonel Kirkbride, Colonel Oakey Hoagland, and Thomas Paine resided in the area. Due to their well-published activity in Bordentown, the British retaliated. Hessians occupied the town in 1776, and the British pillaged and razed the town during May and June of 1778.

In 1837 Rev. Henry Doane, the second Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey, founded St. Mary's Hall, an Episcopal girls' boarding school. It was one of the first girls' schools to offer a classical education such as that available to boys, with studies in Greek, Latin, and French; as well as science, composition, writing and math. Families eager for education for their daughters sent girls there from states as far away as Maine and North Carolina. Most of the students came from New Jersey and New York. In later years the Doane Academy was founded for boys, and decades later the schools combined.

Other famous residents included Clara Barton who in 1852 started the first free public school in New Jersey. A recreation of her schoolhouse stands at the corner of Crosswicks and Burlington streets. Ms. Barton later founded the American Red Cross.

Several years after the banishing of his family from France in 1816, arriving under vigilant disguise as the Count de Survilliers, Joseph Bonaparte, former King of Naples and Spain and brother to the ill-fated Napoleon I of France, established his residence in Bordentown. He lived there for 17 years, entertaining guests of great fame such as Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and the future 6th U.S. President, John Quincy Adams. The residents of Bordentown nicknamed the Count, "The Good Mr. Bonaparte" (Good to distinguish him from his younger brother). He built a lake near the mouth of Crosswicks Creek that was about 200 yards wide and half a mile long. On the bluff above it he built a new home, "Point Breeze". The current Divine Word Mission occupies its former site along Park Street.

Today only vestiges of the Bonaparte estate remain. Much of it is actually the remains of a building remodeled in English Georgian Revival style in 1924 for Harris Hammon, who purchased the estate at Point Breeze as built in 1850 by Henry Becket, a British consul in Philadelphia. In addition to the rubble of this mansion and some hedges of its elaborate gardens, only the original tunnel to the river (broken through in several places) and the house of Bonaparte's secretary remain. Many descendants of Joachim Murat, King of Naples, also were born or lived in Bordentown, having followed their uncle Joseph there. After the Bonaparte dynasty was restored by Napoleon III, they moved back to France and were recognized as princes.

In August 1831, master mechanic Isaac Dripps of Bordentown re-assembled (without blueprints or instructions) the locomotive John Bull (originally called "The Stevens") in just 10 days. It was built by Robert Stephenson and Company, in England, and was imported into Philadelphia by the Camden and Amboy Railroad. The next year it started limited service, and the year after that regular service, to become one of the first successful locomotives in the United States. The John Bull is preserved at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

In 1866, Susan Waters moved into what is now one of the larger properties on Mary Street. This was a base from which she taught and produced over 50 of her works, many of which are painting of animals in natural settings and pastoral scenes. She was also an early photographer. In 1876 she was asked to exhibit several of her works at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.[7]

In 1881, Rev. William Bowen purchased the old Spring Villa Female Seminary building (built on land purchased from the Bonapartes in 1837) and reopened it as the Bordentown Military Institute. In 1886, African-American Rev. Walter A. Rice established a private school, the Manual Training and Industrial School for Colored Youth, in a two-story house at 60 West Street, later moved to Walnut Street.

An African-American private school opened up in the late 19th century near the city, on the banks of the Delaware, and became a public school in 1894 under Jim Crow laws. (It is unclear whether this is the same school as Walter Rice's establishment.) The school, which was known as the Bordentown School, came to have a 400-acre, 30-building campus with two farms, a vocational/ technical orientation, and a college preparatory program.[8]

In 1909, the religious order Poor Clares established a convent in the former Motherhouse of the Sisters of Mercy on Crosswicks Street. The building still stands and is used as an assisted living home for non-ambulatory elderly, called The Clare Estate. The Order of Poor Clares has moved to a new facility outside Bordentown City.

The town has become a destination for weekend dining as well as for the casual perusal of its book stores, historical sites and art galleries. The active downtown business association sponsors an annual Iris Festival & Art Show in early May, an annual Street Fair in mid- to late May, and an annual Cranberry Festival in early October. The Bordentown Historical Society sponsors other events, such as the Holiday House Tour and Peach Social.


Bordentown is located at 40°08′45″N 74°42′37″W / 40.145900°N 74.710148°W / 40.145900; -74.710148 (40.145900, -74.710148).[9]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.5 km2 (1.0 mi2). 2.4 km2 (0.9 mi2) of it is land and 0.1 km2 (0.1 mi2) of it (5.15%) is water.

The City of Bordentown is surrounded on three sides by Bordentown Township and on the western side by the juncture of the Delaware River and Crosswicks Creek, the border for Hamilton. It is bounded on the east by U.S. Route 130 and U.S. Route 206, on the south by Black's Creek and Interstate 295, and on the north by the Mile Hollow Run. Across the Delaware River is Falls Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1930 4,405
1940 4,223 −4.1%
1950 5,497 30.2%
1960 4,974 −9.5%
1970 4,490 −9.7%
1980 4,441 −1.1%
1990 4,341 −2.3%
2000 3,969 −8.6%
Est. 2007 3,854 [2] −2.9%
Population 1930 - 1990[10]

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 3,969 people, 1,757 households, and 989 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,665.7/km2 (4,303.6/mi2). There were 1,884 housing units at an average density of abc 790.7/km2 (2,042.8/mi2). The racial makeup of the city was 81.25% White, 13.08% African American, 0.05% Native American, 1.91% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.81% from other races, and 2.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.82% of the population.

There were 1,757 households out of which 24.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.7% were non-families. 35.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.9% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 34.2% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $47,279, and the median income for a family was $59,872. Males had a median income of $39,909 versus $31,780 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,882. About 4.0% of families and 6.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.8% of those under age 18 and 10.9% of those age 65 or over.



Local government

Bordentown has been governed under the Walsh Act since 1913, with a government consisting of three commissioners, one of whom is selected to serve as Mayor.[11] Members are elected to four-year concurrent terms in office in non-partisan elections.[12]

Environmental Commission

The Bordentown City Environmental Commission (BCEC) is a volunteer group of Bordentown City residents. The Commission is an official body, and its chair answers to the Mayor. The BCEC advises local officials and the Planning Board regarding environmental issues and is a watchdog for environmental problems and opportunities. It is designed to inform elected officials and the public, serve on committees, research issues, develop educational programs and advocate for sound environmental policies. Local issues include preservation of open space, promoting walking and bicycling trails and the River Line, protection of wetlands and water quality, recycling and energy conservation, and environmental education.[13]

The BCEC's most current efforts have focuses upon a bicycle and pedestrian circulation study, the City's open space plan, and the development of a set of local greenways (Thorntown and Black Creek).

Federal, state and county representation

Bordentown is in the Fourth Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 30th Legislative District.[14]

New Jersey's Fourth Congressional District, covering portions of Burlington County, Mercer County, Monmouth County and Ocean County, is represented by Christopher Smith (R). New Jersey is represented in the Senate by Frank Lautenberg (D, Cliffside Park) and Bob Menendez (D, Hoboken).

For the 2010-2011 Legislative Session, the 30th District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Robert Singer (R, Lakewood Township) and in the Assembly by Ronald S. Dancer (R, New Egypt) and Joseph R. Malone (R, Bordentown).[15] The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham).[16] The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).[17]

Burlington County is governed by a five-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, elected at-large to three-year terms on a staggered basis. As of 2008, Burlington County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director James K. Wujcik (Cinnaminson Township, 2009), Deputy Director Joseph B. Donnelly (Cinnaminson Township, 2010), Dawn Marie Addiego (Evesham Township, 2008), Aubrey A. Fenton (Willingboro Township, 2008) and William S. Haines, Jr. (Medford Township, 2009).[18]


Public school students in grades K through 12 attend the schools of the Bordentown Regional School District, which serves students from Bordentown City, Bordentown Township and Fieldsboro Borough. Schools in the district (with 2005-06 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics are[19]) are Clara Barton Elementary School (grades K-3; 338 students), Peter Muschal School (grades K-3 and Pre-School Handicapped Programs; 717), MacFarland Intermediate School (grades 4&5), Bordentown Regional Middle School (grades 6-8; 352) and Bordentown Regional High School (grades 9-12; 694). The New Hanover Township School District, consisting of New Hanover Township (including the Cookstown area) and Wrightstown Borough, sends students to the district on a tuition basis for grades 9 - 12 as part of a sending/receiving relationship.[20]

St. Mary's Elementary School is a Catholic school that teaches Pre-K - 8. This school is not to be confused with Doane Academy (formerly St. Mary's Hall-Doane Academy), located in Burlington City, NJ.

The Bordentown Military Institute was located here from 1881 to 1972.[21][22] The Society of the Divine Word fathers operated a minor seminary in Bordentown from 1947 to 1983.[23] One of its more famous alumni Douglas Palmer is the current mayor of Trenton, New Jersey.[24]


The River Line offers service to Camden and Trenton Rail Station, with a station in Bordentown at Park Street. New Jersey Transit has bus 409 run through Bordentown. providing service to Philadelphia.[25]

U.S. Route 130 and U.S. Route 206 join together and separate to respective parts of the state in Bordentown. Travelers can use the New Jersey Turnpike Interchange 7 as well. Interstate 295 has two interchanges Exit 57 and Exit 56 that take travelers into Bordentown.


Downtown Bordentown has many book and antique stores lining its streets, with Italian and American restaurants. The restaurants are primarily Italian, but there are also restaurants and diners that specialize in American food, Chinese food, and more recently Japanese food[26]

Bordentown City's one square mile is home to at least 10 houses of worship, including: American Presbyterian Church, B’nai Abraham Synagogue, Christ Episcopal Church, Ebenezer Full Gospel Community Church, First Baptist Church of Bordentown, First Presbyterian Church, Mount Zion AME Church, Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Shiloh Baptist Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, and Union Baptist Church.

Notable Residents

Notable current and former residents of Bordentown include:



  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System: City of Bordentown, Geographic Names Information System. Retrieved January 4, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Census data for Bordentown city, United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 10, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ A Cure for the Common Codes: New Jersey, Missouri Census Data Center. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968", John P. Snyder, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 94.
  7. ^ "The Bordentown Historical Society Online", . Retrieved December 14, 2008.
  8. ^ "Central Jersey Entertainment :: Entertainment News, Movies, Theatre, Restaurants Reviews, Dining, Time OFF ,New Jersey TimeOFF". 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ New Jersey Resident Population by Municipality: 1930 - 1990, Workforce New Jersey Public Information Network. Retrieved March 1, 2007.
  11. ^ The Commission Form of Municipal Government, p. 53. Retrieved August 10, 2007.
  12. ^ 2005 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book, Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, April 2005, p. 135.
  13. ^ About BCEC: Who We Are and What We Do, Bordentown City Environmental Commission. Retrieved July 11, 2006.
  14. ^ 2008 New Jersey Citizen's Guide to Government, New Jersey League of Women Voters, p. 57. Retrieved September 30, 2009.
  15. ^ "Legislative Roster: 2010-2011 Session". New Jersey Legislature. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  16. ^ "About the Governor". New Jersey. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  17. ^ "About the Lieutenant Governor". New Jersey. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  18. ^ The Burlington County Board Of Chosen Freeholders, Burlington County, New Jersey. Accessed January 30, 2008.
  19. ^ Data for the Bordentown Regional School District, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed May 12, 2008.
  20. ^ Bordentown Regional School District 2006 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed April 15, 2008. "The Bordentown Regional School District is a progressive, comprehensive K-12 regional. Comprised of four schools and serving the communities of Bordentown Township, Bordentown City and Fieldsboro, the district prides itself on offering programs that address the needs of our diverse population. Students from the New Hanover School district attend our high school on a tuition basis."
  21. ^ Bordentown Military Institute Alumni Association. Retrieved July 15, 2007.
  22. ^ History of Bordentown. Retrieved July 15, 2007.
  23. ^ Divine Word Seminary Alumni. Accessed May 12, 2008.
  24. ^ "Douglas Palmer — Mayor of Trenton, New Jersey". City Mayors. 2008-03-02. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  25. ^ Burlington County Bus/Rail Connections, New Jersey Transit. Retrieved July 15, 2007.
  26. ^ "Downtown Bordentown Association". Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  27. ^ Samuel Carr Forker, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved August 15, 2007.
  28. ^ Furman, T.J. "Bordentown native creates MTV cartoon: Cable network's newest show to premiere Tuesday", Princeton Packet, July 31, 1999. Retrieved December 11, 2007.
  29. ^ DeMasters, Karen. "ON THE MAP; Remembering a Boarding School for Black Students", The New York Times, October 1, 2000. Accessed November 4, 2007. "He founded the school in 1886 in his living room in New Brunswick and then moved it to Bordentown on the property of the family of Admiral Charles Stewart, the captain of the U.S.S. Constitution from 1813 to 1815."

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