Bloomfield - Township of Bloomfield

1 Municipal Plaza


In 1900, Bloomfield became a town with a Mayor-and-Council-type of government under the Town Act of the New Jersey State Legislature. In 1955, a revision of this form was passed by local referendum which set up a municipal government composed not only of a Mayor and six members of a Town Council, all elected by popular vote, but also a Town Administrator appointed by the Mayor and Council. This is the form Bloomfield is operating under today (1983). In July of 1981, by a special election, it changed its designation to "Township" again. The population in 1900 was 9,668; in 1910 it was 15,070. During World War 1, there were 1,200 men and 15 nurses on active duty, giving the town a bigger percentage of participation than the average in the country. Women as well as men worked in munition factories, industrial firms and government agencies. Volunteers, young and old, accomplished many tasks for the war effort. The population in 1920 was 22,019.

By 1930, the population reached 38,000, with 68 industries employing 6,000. The Board of Trade had been set up in 1902 and became the Chamber of Commerce in 1923. The Police Department, which had been established around 1900, had the first officer assigned to traffic duty in 1909. During World War I, bus and trolley lines vied for passengers. In 1923, the bus from Paterson to Lackawanna Railroad along Broad Street opened Brookdale for residences instead of farms. In 1936 the De Camp Bus Line began a route through Bloomfield to New York City. Four- and five-story apartment buildings appeared among the houses. New schools and churches were built to serve the enlarging population in new neighborhoods. The first Jewish temple was organized in 1915, and a second in 1955. Since 1902, the Jarvie Memorial Library, privately endowed, had served the townspeople, but in 1924 it offered the books and endowment to the town, and the Bloomfield Free Public Library was established. Its own building was completed in 1927, and an addition in 1967. It became the Northwest Area Library in 1965. The Board of Recreation evolved in 1928 from the Community House project of the World War Memorial Association. Many civic and service clubs were founded in the 1920's and 1930's.

World War II saw Bloomfield's industrial plants such as Charms Candy Company, General Electric, Lehn and Fink, Schering, Scientific Glass and Westing house rated among the upper 10% of those in the eastern part of the nation engaged in the production of vital war materials. Again, civic organizations and volunteers gave great support to the war effort. The population in 1940 was 41,623; in 1950, it was 49,313.

In the second half of the 20th Century, Bloomfield has remained a vital community, both residential and industrial in character. The completion of the Garden State Parkway in 1952 brought better automobile access. New housing included garden apartments and high-rise buildings. The town's Department of Planning and Development has implemented the Master Plan of 1949 and subsequent updates of 1965 and 1977. Another large company came to Bloomfield when the Lummus Corporation set up its international headquarters in 1968. The population in 1970 was 52,029; in 1980, it was 47,792. Through the years, Bloomfield citizens have shown strong community spirit. There have been festive Independence Day celebrations each year. The Centennial Celebration in 1912 brought the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The sesquicentennial in 1962 saw the start of the Historical Society of Bloomfield. The national bicentennial in 1976 led to the formation of the Cultural Commission and Oakside Cultural Center. In 1978, there was enthusiastic support for the Festival of Nations honoring the people from many ethnic groups who have contributed so much to Bloomfield. It continues with "pride in its past, faith in its future." (Ina Campbell, Reference Department, Bloomfield Public Library)

Bloomfield has a small middle-class managerial population, but remains overwhelmingly working class, with many senior citizens and semi-skilled workers. The town is divided into three wards. The first and second wards are in the central and northern parts of the town, respectively. The third ward is located in the southern end or in what used to be the manufacturing and industrial part of the town. In 1992, the population was estimated at 45,243, representing a significant decline (-6816) from a total population of 52,059 in 1970. Eighty-eight percent (88.69%) of the total population is white. The rest includes blacks, American Indians, Asians (primarily immigrants from India, Pakistan, China, and the Philippines), and Latinos (Puerto Ricans, Colombians, Ecuadorians and Peruvians). According to 1994-95 census estimates, blacks, Asians, and Latinos are the fastest growing groups in Bloomfield. Twenty-five percent of the population has finished high school, and 18 percent indicated having completed college and beyond. The median household income was $39,822 in 1989, and per capita income was estimated at $18,722 (Hornor, E.R., (ed.) New Jersey Municipal Data Book 1991-1995. Palo Alto, CA: Information Publications.)

Young professionals from a variety of ethnic backgrounds have begun to move into Bloomfield and purchase homes in various sections of town. This trend is expected to continue as the town experiences economic changes.  The 2000 Census will yield new data and show the new demographic and socioeconomic changes taking place in Bloomfield.