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Scotch Plains

Scotch Plains is a township in Union County, New Jersey, United States.  As of the 2010 Census, the township population increased to a record high of 23,510, and has a total area of 9.1 square miles, of which 0.11% is water.

Scotch Plains was originally incorporated as Fanwood Township in 1878, by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature from portions of Plainfield Township and Westfield Township.  Portions of the township were taken to form Fanwood Borough in 1895.  Fanwood Township was renamed to Scotch Plains in 1917.

According to BusinessWeek, Scotch Plains was the best affordable suburb in New Jersey for 2009.

Scotch Plains is primarily residential, offering a tranquil, small-town lifestyle.  The township has a long-established southern quadrant of well-kept older homes and a more contemporary northern section.  Several major malls are within close proximity.  Recreational amenities include parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, tennis courts, a five-acre nature center, and nearby Fanwood's outdoor lighted ice-skating rink.  Scotch Plains adds an active YMCA and private golf and swim clubs.

All of the schools of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Regional School District, which is shared with the Borough of Fanwood, are located in Scotch Plains. Schools in the district are five elementary schools — Howard B. Brunner Elementary School (grades PreK-4), J. Ackerman Coles School (grades K-4), Evergreen School (grades PreK-4), William J. McGinn School and School One — Park Middle School and Terrill Middle School for grades 6-8, along with Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School for grades 9-12.

Students from School One, Evergreen and Brunner pool into Park Middle School, whereas students from Coles and McGinn feed into Terrill.  School One is the only elementary school that teaches English as a second language.

Another elementary school, Shackamaxon School, was built in 1951 and operated until 1981, when it was leased to the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey as their Jewish Community Center and offices.  The Federation bought the building outright five years later.

There is also a Catholic school, St. Bartholomew Academy, which offers education from Pre-Kindergarten to 8th grade.

The Union County Vocational Technical Schools includes the Union County Magnet High School, the Academy for Information Technology, the Union County Academy for Allied Health Sciences, the Union County Academy for Performing Arts, and the Vocational-Technical School.  The grouping of different schools is for vocational as well as gifted students, publicly funded by the combined taxes of Union County municipalities.

Union Catholic Regional High School, a private Roman Catholic school, brings in students from the far reaches of Union County and even some parts of Essex and Middlesex counties.

Union County College has a facility in Scotch Plains.

Scotch Plains is bisected by NJ Transit's Raritan Valley Line, formerly the mainline of the Central Railroad of New Jersey.  A passenger station is located in Fanwood.  NJ Transit also provides bus service to New York City and New Jersey points.  Another rail line, the Lehigh Valley Line, carries freight trains through the southernmost tip of the township.

Scotch Plains offers easy accessibility to major State Highways, including Routes 22, 78 and 287, the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike.

Newark Liberty International Airport is approximately 14 miles east of Scotch Plains, most conveniently reached via Route 22, and Linden Airport, a general aviation facility is in nearby Linden, New Jersey. Newark Liberty International Airport is also easily accessible via New Jersey Transit train.

Points of interest include--
- Ash Brook Golf Course -- located at 1210 Raritan Rd, Scotch Plain.
- Shackamaxon Country Club -- located on 1607 Shackamaxon Drive, Scotch Plains; a private golf course, swimming and tennis facility, founded in 1916 on 130+ acres,
- Hillside Cemetery -- 1401 Woodland Avenue, is the burial site of Dudley Moore and Senator James Edgar Martine.
- Bowcraft Amusement Park -- 2545 U.S. 22, is an amusement park located in Scotch Plains.
- Osborn-Cannonball House Museum -- 1840 Front St, is a historic home in Scotch Plains.
- John H. Stamler Police Academy -- trains officers and volunteers throughout Union County, is located on Martine Avenue in Scotch Plains.
- The Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey -- has its Jewish Community Center and offices on Martine Avenue in Scotch Plains.
- Scotch Plains Farmers Market -- located at the Municipal Parking Lot on Park Ave, is open summer and fall Saturdays, 8am - 2pm

Some restaurants include--
- Florence Ravioli (Italian) - 1741 E 2nd St, Scotch Plains
- Go Sushi (Sushi, Japanese) - 2520 Us-22, Scotch Plains
- Nunzio's Pizzeria (Italian) - 2387 Mountain Ave, Scotch Plains
- Pantagis Renaissance (Steakhouse, Seafood) - 250 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains
- Scotchwood Diner (Diner, American) - 1934 US Rte-22, Scotch Plains
- Siam House (Thai) - 2520 US Highway 22, Scotch Plains
- Snuffy's Steakhouse (Steakhouse, American) - Mountain Ave at Park Ave, Scotch Plains
- Portusa BBQ House (Barbecue) - 503 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains
- Charlie Brown's Steakhouse (Steakhouse?) - 2376 North Avenue, Scotch Plains
- Stage House (American-New) - 366 Park Ave., Scotch Plains
- Hung Shanghai Restaurant (Chinese) - 362 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains
- Jade Isle Restaurant (Chinese) - 158 Terrill Road, Scotch Plains

National Register of Historic Places listings include--
- John De Camp House, 2101 Raritan Rd., Scotch Plains
- Elizabeth and Gershom Frazee House, 1451 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains
- Old Baptist Parsonage, 547 Park Ave., Scotch Plains
- Scotch Plains School, Park Ave., Scotch Plains
- Stage House Inn, Park Ave. and Front St., Scotch Plains

Historically, the native people living in this area were the Raritans, of the Leni Lenape branch of the Delawares.  They lived in a large wig-wam village near what is now Shackamaxon Golf Course and in the Ashbrook golf course area.

The heartland of Scotch Plains was first owned by a Dutchman, Peter Sonmans, until the English conquest in 1664.  Capt. John Baker bought the region from the Indians before 1684 paying one cent for every ten acres.  In 1684 and 1685 this village was settled by Scotch immigrants who had landed at Perth Amboy under the leadership of George Scot - thus, Scot's Plains.  In these early days Scot's Plains was part of West Fields (later Westfield) which in turn was part of Elizabethtown.

At this time people traveled by horseback on Indian trails which were later adorned with wagon wheel tracks from stagecoaches and buggies pulled.  These paths became the present main streets: Front Street, Park Avenue, Martine Avenue, Raritan Road and Westfield Road.

The area grew slowly in population and was a farming community for 200 years.  The first significant building was a handsome structure erected in 1737 by John Surton.  By 1769, this tavern, the Stage House Inn, became a stopping place for the Swift Sure Stage Line.  Scotch Plains served as a stop on the stage coach line between New York and Philadelphia.  In 1775, the center of Scotch Plains consisted of 11 houses including the inn.

The Ash Swamp in Scotch Plains was the scene of a key action in the Battle of Short Hills, on June 26, 1777, which included skirmishes as Washington's forces moved along Rahway Road in Scotch Plains toward the Watchung Mountains.  Scotch Plains is home to the house of Aunt Betty Frazee, whose retort to Lord Cornwallis led the British to find their bread from friendlier bakers in the same battle. The simple farmstead of Betty and Gershom Frazee, a type of structure that rarely survives the centuries, is today the object of a restoration effort by local organizations.

In 1877 Scotch Plains divorced itself from Westfield and became Fanwood Township.  In 1895 one mile of land in the center separated itself and became Fanwood Borough.  By World War I, Scotch Plains was becoming modern as paved streets replaced dirt roads.  There was a big influx of Italian immigrants bringing with them experience in shoemaking, masonry, carpentry and plumbing.  After World War 1, the town grew mostly in homes for commuters with construction of Route 22 in 1930 playing a part in the town's development.

Scotch Plains was home to the Shady Rest Country Club, the nation's first African-American country club, and its pro, John Shippen, the first African-American golf professional, who led the 1892 U.S. Open in the final round before finishing fifth.  The Shady Rest clubhouse hosted Cab Calloway and other greats as a local center for African-American culture in the 1920s and 1930s.  It is preserved today as the Scotch Hills Municipal course.

The biggest growth came after World War II in the 1950's and 1960's especially on the southside where many big housing developments replaced farms.  Schackamaxon, Evergreen, Brunner, Coles, Terrill Middle School, McGinn, and a new School One were added.  By 1953 there were more than 10,000 people here and students in schools had doubled.

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