There are four major events that happened within Maplewood since the 1940’s that have helped to shape the environment of our township. In 1956 the main library was constructed on Baker Street across from Maplewood Middle School; its a great resource for the community. In 1968 Columbia HS students invented Ultimate Frisbee flying disc, and this extra circular activity still unites CHS students under one common umbrella. In 1984 the Morris and Essex line became modernized with new cars and AC powers, making the daily commute of passengers more comfortable and making the train rides more convenient. In 2000, after 9/11, the township has hired a company that will assist in the delivery of calls in emergency situations. The program is called “Code Red.”
Several events occurring outside the township have impacted the community as well. The Federal Aid Interstate System of 1956 had some impact on Maplewood Township, giving the community an exit on the Turnpike and Parkway. The urban race riots of the 1960s had an impact as well. As cities like Newark underwent destruction from race riots, towns like Maplewood gained from the influx of wealthy individuals seeking to leave behind violence and strained race relations. This community has also felt the impact of the baby boom generation. As the baby boom generation has aged, evolving into empty nesters, housing occupancy has cycled. Housing in Maplewood is mainly occupied by young and middle aged families with children. The trend in this community is that children grow up and go through the school system, and when they complete their education most leave home for college. The general trend has been for the vast majority of empty nesters to sell their homes (at a hoped for profit), retire to the sunbelt, or even move to a retirement home. There is one assisted living community in Maplewood, Winchester Gardens.
If you browse through the literature compiled on the history of Maplewood, you’ll find limited details about the Planning of the community. There was no town planner, or any central planning process taken on by township residents. Rather, the community evolved from farms into a rural community of homes, and then from a rural community into a suburban community comprised of several neighborhood devlopments cohesively integrated.
Documented by H.S. Wyllie, in 1910, the proposed neighborhood developments in Maplewood included Model Park, Vauxhall Terrace, Blue Ridge Park, Valley View, Mountain View Terrace, South Orange Heights, and Hiltonia.
Maplewood began to evolve from a rural community into a township with several distinct neighborhoods in the 1920s. An 1920s aerial photograph of the township would show a railroad running through the center of town. Open farmland was being replaced by housing developments, and notable township assets such as the Maplewood Country Club would soon replace existing buildings and houses on Baker Street. By the 1930s, the current town hall structure would be built. Houses along Baker Street would be cleared for Memorial Park, and Memorial Park would later join the police station and fire station in the center of town.
Source: Images of America. Maplewood. Durand-Hedden House & Garden Association. 1998
© 2010 W. S. Hughes