A brief history of Fair Lawn
Fair Lawn was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 6, 1924, as "Fairlawn," from portions of Saddle River Township. The name was taken from Fairlawn, David Acker's estate home, that was built in 1865 and later became the Fair Lawn Municipal Building. In 1933, the official spelling of the borough's name was split into its present two-word form as "Fair Lawn" Borough.
Radburn, one of the first planned communities in the United States, is an unincorporated community located within Fair Lawn and was founded in 1929 as "a town for the motor age." Fair Lawn is home to a large number of commuters to New York City, to which it is connected by train from two railroad stations on NJ Transit's Bergen County Line, the Radburn and Broadway stations.
Fair Lawn's motto, coined by Jake Janso, is "A great place to visit and a better place to live." Fair Lawn has been rated as one of the top 10 best places to live in New Jersey. According to Nerdwallet, Fair Lawn witnessed a 5.3% increase in its working-age population between 2009 and 2011.
The first settlers of Fair Lawn were members of the Lenni Lenape tribe, a peaceful group of hunter gatherers who eventually sold their land to incoming Dutch and Irish settlers and migrated to Pennsylvania. The new colonists turned the region, part of the New Barbadoes Township, into five large farm lots, conjoined by two main roads - Paramus and Saddle River - and named it "slooterdam" (after a V-shaped sluice-like fishing weir built in the Passaic River by the Lenni Lenape). The name stuck until 1791. In the 1800s, these five lots became nine smaller lots, and three new roads - Fair Lawn Avenue, Lincoln Avenue, and Prospect Street - were constructed to encourage mobility between them. Eighty houses were built by 1861, and the renamed Small Lots, now a part of the Saddle River Township and home to multiple vegetable and fruit farms and dairies, became an agricultural community. Berdan Avenue, a new road located near five Berdan family farms, was soon added and Victorian homes were built alongside it and in nearby areas. The grandest of the estates, perched atop a hill by Small Lots Road was David Acker's estate "Fairlawn," from which the township gets its name (Images of America, Page 7).
Rapid suburban development of the town occurred in three sections: the River Road-Fair Lawn Avenue area known as "Memorial Park", the area at Lincoln Avenue and Wagaraw Road known as "Columbus Heights", and the area east of the railroad and south of Broadway, known as Warren Point. The development of this section was catalyzed by the "establishment of a post office, a railroad station, and a trolley to the Hudson River" (Images of America, Page 8).
In the 1900s, Fair Lawn residents were displeased about the schooling situation as part of Saddle River Township; the schools were either dilapidated or too far away for Fair Lawn residents, and citizens felt that they were not getting schools comparable to the tax money they were paying. As such, a movement to separate from Saddle River Township was born. Fair Lawn residents petitioned to the state, asking to incorporate as an independent borough, and in April 1924, the borough of Fair Lawn was voted into existence.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 5.201 square miles (13.472 km2), including 5.139 square miles (13.311 km2) of land and 0.062 square miles (0.161 km2) of water (1.20%).
The borough borders Paterson (in Passaic County, across the Passaic River) to the west; Hawthorne across Lincoln Avenue to the West; Glen Rock across Harristown Road, Maple Avenue, the northern border of the former Nabisco plant and its extension north of Garwood Road and Naugle Drive to the north; Ridgewood across the Saddle River to the northeast; Paramus across the Saddle River to the east; Rochelle Park across another point in the Saddle River to the southeast; with Saddle Brook across the two longer portions of South Broadway and their extensions through Rosario Court to the south; and Elmwood Park across the Bergen County Line, New Jersey Route 4 (Broadway), Cyril Avenue and Willow Street to the south. The hills of Wyckoff are visible from the northern neighborhoods of Fair Lawn.
The Fair Lawn Public Schools serves students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2014-15 school year, the district's nine schools had an enrollment of 4,828 students and 384.3 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.6:1. Schools in the district (with 2014-15 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics.) are John A. Forrest Elementary School (279 students; grades K-5), Lyncrest Elementary School (229; K-5), Henry B. Milnes Elementary School (377; K-5), Radburn Elementary School (447; K-5), Warren Point Elementary School (398; K-5), Westmoreland Elementary School (348; K-5), Memorial Middle School (460; 6-8), Thomas Jefferson Middle School (660; 6-8) and Fair Lawn High School (1,465; 9-12). In both the 1990–91 and 1997-98 school years, Fair Lawn High School received the National Blue Ribbon Award from the United States Department of Education, the highest honor that an American school can achieve. In 2016, Lyncrest Elementary School was one of ten schools in New Jersey recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education, a recognition celebrating excellence in academics.
In December 2014, Fair Lawn voters approved by a greater than 2-to-1 margin a $12.8 million expansion and capital improvement referendum to be implemented by the Fair Lawn Public Schools. The referendum funds the initiation within two years of a full-day kindergarten in the district, a program offered by most districts countywide, as well as a roof replacement program at six schools. The expenditures will include $2.2 million in state aid, with the remaining $10.6 million covered by bonds issued by the school system. The full-day kindergarten program is slated to begin in September 2016.
Public school students from the borough, and all of Bergen County, are eligible to attend the secondary education programs offered by the Bergen County Technical Schools, which include the Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, and the Bergen Tech campus in Teterboro or Paramus. The district offers programs on a shared-time or full-time basis, with admission based on a selective application process and tuition covered by the student's home school district.
St. Anne School is a Catholic elementary school that operates under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.
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2017 US Census Bureau, American Community Survey. Home value data includes all types of owner-occupied housing.