Edison, New Jersey was officially founded in 1870. Back then it was known as the Raritan Township, after the Raritan band of the indigenous Lenape people. The Raritans were the first to populate the region due to its geography, and it was not until the mid-17th century that European settlers established what would eventually become the township.

The Raritan township was famously home to the research laboratory of none other than Thomas Edison, one of the world's most famous innovators and inventors. His affectionate nickname "the Wizard of Menlo Park" comes from the lab's location in what is now part of the Edison State Park. In fact, Edison, New Jersey did not acquire its current name until 1954, some 23 years after the death of its famous namesake.


During his time here, Thomas Edison's ingenuity was at its height. It was here that he developed the phonograph and the light bulb, and in fact Christie Street is famous as the first street in the world to have been lit by electric lamplight. Though Edison upped sticks for West Orange in 1886, he certainly left an indelible mark on Menlo Park and its environs.

When World War I broke out, Edison, NJ (still known as the Raritan Township in those days) was the location of the Nixon Nitration Works, founded by entrepreneur Lewis Nixon. In fact, for a while the area was unofficially known as "Nixon." Sadly, the facility was the scene of a major disaster in 1924 which made country-wide news and cost the lives of 20 people.

Another colorful entrepreneur who used the township as his base of operations was aeronautic pioneer Charles A. Levene. Levene's ambition was to be the first man to fly non-stop from New York City to Paris, but various legal wrangles meant that he was pipped to the post by Charles Lindbergh.

Throughout the 20th century, Edison, NJ has been home to various other notable residents, including Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon, astronaut Mark L. Polansky and world-famous pop star Halsey.


From its meager beginnings when its population numbered around 3500, Edison in the 21st century is a different proposition altogether. Over 100,000 people call the township home these days, and it's not hard to see why. Edison has been acclaimed by numerous reports as one of the safest and most livable places in America, and it currently covers 32 square miles of thriving businesses, schools and cultural hot-spots.

The population has grown exponentially, but Edison has not lost the sense of community that is central to its appeal. Local enterprises like the Cypress Brewing Company and the Triple C Ranch are major tourist attractions as well as hubs of industry, while the Menlo Park Mall and Rutgers Ecological Preserve are just two of the vicinity's most popular recreation sites. But perhaps the biggest draw for out-of-towners is the Thomas Edison Center, the largest facility in the world devoted to the study and preservation of the work of Edison's most famous resident.

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