Short Hills, New Jersey

Short Hills, New Jersey

Short Hills is an unincorporated area located within the township of Millburn, in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. It is a popular commuter town for residents who work in New York City.



Originally, the area that would become Short Hills was part of Springfield, New Jersey, and it's eponymous hills are thought to have played a role in the movement of the Continental Army under George Washington during the Battle of Springfield.

Short Hills began as a planned community, when Stewart Hartshorn purchased 13 acres of land in Millburn Township, near the present Hobart Avenue, Parsonage Hill Road, and Chatham Road. Hartshorn's purpose was to create "a harmonious community for people who appreciated nature," and "where natural beauty would not be destroyed by real estate developments, and where people of congenial tastes could dwell together." He later increased his land holdings to 56 acres for himself and convert|1552|acre|km2 for the whole village, with each plot not owned by Hartshorn being no larger than 1/2 acre.

Hartshorn chose the name "Short Hills" because it reflected the topography of the region, and also because the local Lenape Native Americans used that same name to describe the region. One local resident suggested that he call his village "Hartshornville," but he definitively refused.

The clause in the original deeds for property in Short Hills that required that the holders not be Jewish was eventually removed.

Railroad and postal connections

Hartshorn situated his "ideal town" near enough to a railroad to allow for an easy commute to Hoboken and, from there, to New York City. Hence, his decision in 1879 to build, at his own expense, a railroad station along the original Morris and Essex Railroad line. He also persuaded the United States Post Office to open a station in his new railroad station in 1880, and in fact, the Post Office has always had a presence in Short Hills from that day.

Buffer zones

Presciently, Hartshorn deliberately preserved strips of land along the railroad right-of-way from any development west of Old Short Hills road. These strips separate Hobart Avenue to the north, and Chatham Road to the south, from the railway line. The only structure that has ever stood directly adjacent to the line is the railroad station. Mr. Hartshorn also established the Short Hills Park directly across Hobart Avenue from the station, which stands to this day. In 1944, his estate donated this park to Millburn Township, with the stipulation that it always remain open to the public.

Common elements

After seventeen houses were erected, Hartshorn turned his attention to other "common elements." These included a Music Hall, which remains today as the Short Hills Racquets Club.

Later events

Stewart Hartshorn died in 1937, at the age of 97. His daughter Cora survived him, wrote her own history of the hamlet, and helped establish the Arboretum that bears her name. [Meisner, Marian. "A History of Millburn Township." Millburn, NJ: Millburn-Short Hills Historical Society and Millburn Free Public Library, 2002 ( [ e-book] )]

In 1975, the Millburn-Short Hills Historical Society formed in conjunction with the American Bicentennial celebrations.

In 2001, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center opened in Short Hills.

In 2002, local residents planted a memorial tree on the grounds of the railroad station, to honor those of their neighbors who died in the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Present day

Short Hills is an active bedroom community of New York City. The opening of the Kearny Connection, allowing the establishment of the first direct rail service to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan, has enhanced real-estate values immensely. Short Hills also has a business district along Chatham Road near the railroad station, which includes the post-office branch, a pharmacy, and several small specialty shops.

Short Hills is also home to many senior executives and controlling stockholders of some of the largest corporations in the United States and their families. The median family income is over $200,000. [ [ Fact Sheet for `Zip Code Tabulation Area 07078] , United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 25, 2007.]

Short Hills also has five K-5 elementary schools, all part of the Millburn Township Public Schools, the [ Deerfield Elementary School] , [ Glenwood Elementary School] , [ Hartshorn Elementary School] , [ Wyoming Elementary School] , and [ South Mountain Elementary School] . Students move on to complete their education at the [ Millburn Middle School] for grades 6-8 and Millburn High School for grades 9-12.

Millburn's schools are often commended for their high standards. Millburn High School was rated best public high school in the state for 2008 by New Jersey Monthly Magazine. The survey used various objective criteria including percentage of graduates going to college, number of students in accelerated courses and average SAT scores.

Though Short Hills has its own railroad station and post-office branch, it does "not" have an independent government. It remains today a part of the Township of Millburn, as it has been since its inception.

Although Short Hills voted overwhelmingly Republican in all elections for many years, in recent years there has been a marked shift.

Media References

In an episode of the television show Northern Exposure, a customs officer briefly explains to Holling Vincoeur (John Cullum) that he was a draft dodger, and is originally from Short Hills.

In the movie musical Hair, Beverly D'Angelo's Character is from Short Hills.

In Philip Roth's first book, Goodbye Columbus, the girlfriend of the character Neil Klugman is said to be from Short Hills. Since Roth was from nearby Newark, New Jersey, he probably had been to Short Hills himself, or at least knew of its reputation as an affluent town.

In the second series of House, it is revealed that Stacy and Mark Warner (House's ex-girlfriend and her husband) live in Short Hills.

In Judy Bloom's book "Wifey," the main character's sister and brother-in-law live in Short Hills.

Noted residents

*John Ferolito, the founder and current owner of AriZona Beverage Company.Fact|date=November 2007
*Herbert G. Hopwood (1898-1966) four-star admiral in the United States Navy who served as commander in chief of the United States Pacific Fleet from 1958 to 1960. [ [ "Adm. Herbert G. Hopwood Dies; Pacific Fleet Commander, '58-60"] , "The New York Times", September 16, 1966. Accessed November 28, 2007. "Adm. Herbert Gladstone Hopwood, who was commander in chief of the United States Pacific Fleet at his retirement from the Navy in 1960, died this morning in St. Barnabas Hospital. He was 67 years old and lived at 68 Tennyson Drive in Short Hills."]
*Peter Kellogg, tied for number 278 on Forbes Magazine's 2006 Billionaires List; director of the Wall Street investment firm Spear, Leeds & Kellogg, which was sold to Goldman Sachs in 2000 for $5.5 billion. [ [ #278 Peter Kellogg] , "Forbes", accessed April 16, 2007. "Residence: Short Hills, New Jersey, United States, North America"]
*Joe Kernen (1956-), CNBC news anchor and main host of the popular show "Squawk Box"
*John C. McGinley (1959-), actor most known as Dr. Perry Cox on "Scrubs". [ [ Interview with John C. McGinley] , "Ability", accessed April 21, 2007. "JM: I was born in New York and raised in New Jersey. CC: What part of New Jersey? JM: Short Hills, which is a beautiful suburb of New York."]
*Belva Plain (1919-), author. [Horner, Shirley. [ "ABOUT BOOKS"] , "The New York Times", October 3, 1993] . Accessed December 19, 2007. "Previous recipients of the award, which has come to be known as the Michael, include Mary Higgins Clark of Saddle River, Belva Plain of Short Hills, Wende and Harry Devlin of Mountainside, the Nobel laureate Dr. Arno Penzias of Highland Park and Gay Talese of Ocean City."]
*Peter Van Sant, reporter "48 Hours". [ [ Peter Van Sant] , "48 Hours Mystery". Accessed October 15, 2007. "He lives in Short Hills, N.J., with his wife."]
*Rachel Zoe (1971-), fashion stylist. [ [,,1819592,00.html She's got the look] , "The Observer", July 16, 2006, accessed April 26, 2007. "She was born Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig in New York and grew up in Short Hills, New Jersey, the daughter of wealthy art collectors."]
*Alan Zweibel (1950-), producer and writer on such productions as "Saturday Night Live", PBS' "Great Performances", and "It's Garry Shandling's Show". [Capuzzo, Jill L. [ "From 'Saturday Night Live' to '700 Sundays'"] , "The New York Times", December 12, 2004. Accessed July 31, 2007. "For one thing, it has allowed him to move his family back East, to Short Hills, from Los Angeles, where the Zweibels have been living for the last 15 years."]
*Former New York Yankees player David Justice.
*Actress Anne Hathaway, star of "The Princess Diaries", "Havoc", "The Devil Wears Prada", and others.

Points of interest

* Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary
* The Mall at Short Hills
* Paper Mill Playhouse

External links

* [ Millburn-Short Hills Historical Society]
* [ Archives of the MSHHS at the Millburn Free Public Library]
* [ Collection of old photographs of Millburn-Short Hills]
* [ US Census Data for Short Hills]
* [ Millburn/Short Hills Home Sales Prices and Real Estate Market Statistics ]


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