Saddle River Township was created on March 20, 1716, consisting of all of the territory in Bergen County west of the Saddle River, making it one of the oldest municipalities in Bergen County, within the area that had been known as New Barbadoes Township, which itself had been set off from Essex County and added to Bergen County in 1710. It was incorporated on February 21, 1798 by the Township Act of 1798 as one of the initial group of 104 townships incorporated in New Jersey. The historic name of the township was from the Saddle River, a tributary of the Passaic River, which in turn was named for a stream and valley in Saddell, Argyll, Scotland. It was bounded on the north by Ridgewood, south by Lodi, east by the Saddle River and west by the Passaic River. In 1724, the Township formally seceded from New Barbadoes.
In the initial wave of "Boroughitis" in which 26 new boroughs were created in 1894 alone and two more in 1895, Glen Rock (on September 14, 1894) and Lodi (December 22, 1894) split off from Saddle River Township, followed shortly thereafter by Wallington (January 2, 1895).Garfield (March 15, 1898), East Paterson (April 18, 1916; renamed to Elmwood Park, effective January 1, 1973) and Fair Lawn (April 5, 1924) subsequently split off.
Saddle Brook adopted its current name on November 8, 1955, replacing Saddle River Township.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 2.716 square miles (7.034 km2), including 2.689 square miles (6.964 km2) of land and 0.027 square miles (0.071 km2) of water (1.00%).
There were 5,286 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the township, the population was spread out with 20.2% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 28.4% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.4 years. For every 100 females there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 88.2 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $79,279 (with a margin of error of +/- $6,351) and the median family income was $92,861 (+/- $9,495). Males had a median income of $60,214 (+/- $5,753) versus $44,243 (+/- $3,010) for females. The per capita income for the township was $33,674 (+/- $2,295). About 0.0% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.6% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over.
Among those resident who reported their ancestry in the 2000 Census, the most common were Italian (35.7%), Irish (15.7%), Polish (13.1%) and German (11.0%). The number of residents who reported being of Italian ancestry in the 2000 Census (adjusted for the total number of ancestries reported) was the 15th highest of any municipality in New Jersey.
There were 5,062 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.6% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.3% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the township the population was spread out with 20.2% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 23.6% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.1 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $63,545, and the median income for a family was $73,205. Males had a median income of $49,834 versus $34,542 for females. The per capita income for the township was $27,561. About 1.4% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.8% of those under age 18 and 5.6% of those age 65 or over.
Saddle Brook operates within the Faulkner Act (formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law) under the Mayor-Council system of municipal government (Plan 2), implemented by direct petition as of January 1, 1991, after voters approved a referendum supporting the change in June 1990. The township is governed by a Mayor and a five-member Township Council. Members of the Township Council are elected at-large in partisan elections to four-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either two seats (plus the mayoral seat) or three seats up for election in even-numbered years as part of the November general election.
As of 2019[update], the Mayor of Saddle Brook is Democrat Robert D. White, whose term of office ends December 31, 2022. Members of the Township Council are Council President Florence Mazzer (D, 2020), Todd J. Accomando (D, 2022), Andrew Cimiluca (R, 2020), Karen D'Arminio (D, 2022) and David Gierek (D, 2020, appointed to serve an unexpired term).
In June 2017, David Gierek was chosen to fill the seat expiring in December 2020 that had been held by Joseph Camilleri until he resigned from office under the terms of an anti-nepotism ordinance, after his son was under consideration for hire by the township as a police officer; Gierek served on an interim basis until the November 2017 general election, when voters elected Gierek to serve the balance of the term of office.
List of Mayors
Prior to 1969, the township committee chose a chairman to head the township committee. Below is a list of former chairmen and mayors of Saddle River Township and Saddle Brook:
James Taylor: 1925-1926
William Schlitze: 1927, 1929
John J. Miller: 1928
William Schlitze: 1929
William E. Schlitze: 1929-1930
John Finley: 1931
Edward Woollby: 1932-1933
Adolph Doornbosch: 1934
Edward Woollby: 1935-1936
Joseph Wilhelm: 1937-1939
Otto E. Pehle: 1940, 1942
Otto C. Pehle: 1943-1947
Joseph A Evans: 1948
Otto C. Pehle: December 1948 – 1953
Walter J. Ochsner: 1953-1956
Frank Sheara: 1957-1958
Otto C. Pehle: 1959
Edwin Zdanowicz: 1960
Benjamin Walenczyk: 1962-1964
Jeremiah F. O'Connor: 1965
Edward Siepiola: 1966
Stephen J. Cuccio: 1967
Benjamin Walenczyk: 1968
Thomas Zangara: 1969
Edward F. Kugler, Jr: 1969-1977 (First elected mayor)
Charles J. Kern: 1977-1981
Raymond C. Santa Lucia: 1981-1985
Peter A. LoDico: 1985-1989
Thomas Trier: 1989-1990
Raymond C. Santa Lucia: 1991-August 1997 (died in office)
Bernard Goldsholl: August–September 1997
Karen Chamberlain: 1997-2002
Louis D'Arminio: 2003-2010
Karen Chamberlain: 2011-2015
Robert D. White: 2015–present
Federal, state and county representation
Saddle Brook is located in the 9th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 38th state legislative district.
Bergen County is governed by a directly elected County Executive, with legislative functions performed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders. The freeholders are elected at-large in partisan elections on a staggered basis, with two or three seats coming up for election each year; a Chairman, Vice Chairman and Chairman Pro Tempore are selected from among its seven members at a reorganization meeting held each January.
As of 2018[update], the County Executive is Democratic James J. Tedesco III of Paramus, whose term of office ends December 31, 2018. Bergen County's Freeholders are
Freeholder Chairman Thomas J. Sullivan Jr., (D, Montvale, term as freeholder ends 2019; term as freeholder chairman ends 2018),
Freeholder Vice-Chairwoman Germaine M. Ortiz (D, Emerson, term as freeholder ends 2019; term as freeholder vice-chairwoman ends 2018),
Freeholder Chairman Pro-Tempore Mary J. Amoroso (D, Mahwah, term as freeholder ends 2019; term as freeholder chairman pro-tempore ends 2018),
David L. Ganz (D, Fair Lawn, 2020),
Steve Tanelli (D, North Arlington, 2018),Joan Voss (D, Fort Lee, 2020) and
Tracy Silna Zur (D, Franklin Lakes, 2018), Bergen County's constitutional officials are
County Clerk John S. Hogan (D, Northvale, 2021),
Sheriff Michael Saudino (D, Emerson, 2019) and
Surrogate Michael R. Dressler (D, Cresskill, 2021).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 8,377 registered voters in Saddle Brook Township, of which 2,890 (34.5% vs. 31.7% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 1,603 (19.1% vs. 21.1%) were registered as Republicans and 3,882 (46.3% vs. 47.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 2 voters registered to other parties. Among the township's 2010 Census population, 61.3% (vs. 57.1% in Bergen County) were registered to vote, including 76.8% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 73.7% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 3,264 votes (51.5% vs. 54.8% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 2,945 votes (46.5% vs. 43.5%) and other candidates with 76 votes (1.2% vs. 0.9%), among the 6,334 ballots cast by the township's 8,789 registered voters, for a turnout of 72.1% (vs. 70.4% in Bergen County). In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 3,495 votes (51.5% vs. 44.5% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 3,159 votes (46.6% vs. 53.9%) and other candidates with 60 votes (0.9% vs. 0.8%), among the 6,785 ballots cast by the township's 8,628 registered voters, for a turnout of 78.6% (vs. 76.8% in Bergen County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 3,467 votes (52.7% vs. 47.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 3,025 votes (46.0% vs. 51.7%) and other candidates with 53 votes (0.8% vs. 0.7%), among the 6,576 ballots cast by the township's 8,369 registered voters, for a turnout of 78.6% (vs. 76.9% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 63.3% of the vote (2,489 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 35.7% (1,404 votes), and other candidates with 0.9% (36 votes), among the 4,040 ballots cast by the township's 8,459 registered voters (111 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 47.8%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 2,025 votes (50.0% vs. 45.8% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 1,775 votes (43.8% vs. 48.0%), Independent Chris Daggett with 212 votes (5.2% vs. 4.7%) and other candidates with 16 votes (0.4% vs. 0.5%), among the 4,049 ballots cast by the township's 8,478 registered voters, yielding a 47.8% turnout (vs. 50.0% in the county).
The Parkway extends across the center of the township for 1.0 mile (1.6 km), heading northeast from Elmwood Park to Rochelle Park. Two toll gates are located in the township, with one toll gate on the northbound lanes of the parkway (just north of Exit 159), and the other toll gate used at the interchange for Exit 159.
Interstate 80 heads east through Saddle Brook for 1.6 miles (2.6 km) from Elmwood Park to Lodi. U.S. Route 46 clips the township's southwest corner, heading southeast for 0.6 miles (0.97 km) from Garfield to Lodi on Saddle Brook's southern border.
From 1999 to January 1, 2009, Saddle Brook had a public-accesscable TV station with news bulletins (channel 77 on Cablevision and channels 38 and 39 on Verizon FiOS). This station, called SBC-TV, was created after Hurricane Floyd hit Saddle Brook in September 1999 so the town would have a system for emergency alerts. The station was shut down in 2009 because of budget constraints. The station resumed operations in 2011 with an all-volunteer staff, airing Township Council meetings and providing information of Township services, events and activities via a scrolling message board.
Points of interest
Riverside Cemetery is a plot-holder-owned Jewish cemetery with over 65,000 burials. Acquired by the Lakewood Cemetery Association in 1906, the 105-acre (42 ha) property includes an Italianate style home used as administrative offices that has been restored and expanded after the building was extensively damaged in a 1950 fire.
The Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation maintains a campus in Saddle Brook, in addition to other main campuses in Chester and West Orange. The Saddle Brook campus was established after the acquisition of Saddle Brook/Kennedy Memorial Hospital in 1993, and operates 112 beds, specializing in rehabilitation from stroke, brain injury, amputation, neurological conditions (including Multiple Sclerosis, ALS and Parkinson's disease), joint replacement and orthopedic trauma
The First Reformed Church of Saddle Brook, located at 5 Ackerman Avenue, was the first church to be established in the present boundaries of the township. It was officially established in 1900, with its first worship service being held on May 5, 1901.
^Harvey, Cornelius Burnham. Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey, p. 11, New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Company, 1900. Accessed December 17, 2013. "For a period of sixteen years following the passage of this act few boroughs were organized in the State, only three of them being in Bergen County.... As it was twenty-six boroughs were created in the county from January 23, 1894, to December 18, of the same year."
^Raum, John O. The History of New Jersey: From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Volume 1, p. 239, J. E. Potter and company, 1877. Accessed July 19, 2013. "Saddle river township, before the formation of Passaic county in 1847, comprised within its limits what is now the township of Manchester. Its form was at that time like a saddle, and from thence it derived its name It is se en miles long and two miles wide. On its north is Franklin. East Midland, and Lodi, South Lodi, and West Acquackannonck, and Manchester townships, the cities of Paterson and Passaic. In 1850 its population was 823; in 1860, 1,007; and in 1870, 1,168."
^Romano, Jay. "Governing Towns: Voters Seek Changes", The New York Times, November 4, 1990. Accessed December 17, 2013. "In addition, Saddle Brook residents will elect a new mayor and five-member council because of a change of government referendum passed last June, and residents of Plainfield are now waiting for their change-of-government referendum to be officially placed on the ballot."
^Yellin, Deena. "Nepotism ordinance forces Saddle Brook councilman to resign", The Record (Bergen County), June 19, 2017. Accessed July 12, 2017. "When Councilman Joseph Camilleri voted in favor of Saddle Brook's anti-nepotism ordinance last fall, he never anticipated that the measure would affect him. But that ordinance forced him to resign from the council he loyally served for the past 4½ years. He submitted a letter of resignation to the township on June 5.... On Monday, the council appointed David Gierek to fill Camilleri's vacancy."
^Biography, Congressman Bill Pascrell. Accessed January 3, 2019."A native son of Paterson, N.J., Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. has built a life of public service upon the principles he learned while growing up on the south side of the Silk City."
^Johnson, Brent. "Meet your 3 new state lawmakers, New Jersey", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, May 25, 2018. Accessed July 3, 2018. "Swain, the former mayor of Fair Lawn, and Tully, the former council president in Bergenfield, will be district mates. They replace Joseph Lagana, who moved up to the state Senate last month when state Sen. Robert Gordon resigned to join the state Board of Public Utilities, and Tim Eustace, who resigned last month to take a job outside of state government."
^Locations, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. Accessed December 17, 2013. "At our three campuses in West Orange, Saddle Brook and Chester, New Jersey, we treat individuals from throughout the state, across the country and around the world."
^Russo, Neal. "Mrs. Cunningham: Great Catch by Joe", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 14, 1965. Accessed December 28, 2017. "When Kathy Dillard was driving Joe Cunningham to meet iter parents in Mammoth Spring, Ark., for the first time, she knew that Joe was a big city boy even though his home town in New Jersey was Saddle River Township. Big Hackensack is close to Saddle River."
^Tatum, Kevin. "Owls football gains 3 more commitments", The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 19, 2006. Accessed December 13, 2012. "The latest players to cast their lots with Temple are third-team all-state linebacker Andre Neblett of Rahway High (N.J.), tight end Steve Maneri of Saddle Brook High (N.J.), and offensive lineman John Palumbo of Queen of Peace in North Arlington, N.J."
"History of Bergen County, New Jersey, 1630-1923;" by "Westervelt, Frances A. (Frances Augusta), 1858-1942."
Municipal Incorporations of the State of New Jersey (according to Counties) prepared by the Division of Local Government, Department of the Treasury (New Jersey); December 1, 1958.