Overview

With approximately 2,000 residents nestled into 1.3 square miles of hilly, tree-lined terrain, Essex Fells is the smallest community in Essex County and also one of its most desirable. In August 2011, it was ranked in New Jersey Monthly magazine’s list of top 10 places to live in the state.

Essex Fells has no commercial district; residents shop for food and run errands in the nearby communities of Caldwell, North Caldwell, West Orange and Montclair. Homes in Essex Fells can be pricey, but the borough sells water to three neighboring communities, lowering residents’ tax bills.

History

Essex Fells got its name because it is in Essex County, and a partner in its development was John R. Fell. Upon learning that the Pennsylvania Railroad planned to establish service in the area, Mr. Fell’s father-in-law, the Philadelphia banker Anthony Drexel, bought 1,000 acres in 1888, intending to build a residential community. The railroad came through in 1891, and Essex Fells became a borough in 1902. Train service was discontinued in 1966.

Schools

Enrollment is about 250 at the Essex Fells School, which teaches prekindergarten through Grade 6. Older students attend public schools operated by the West Essex Regional School District, which also serves Roseland, Fairfield and North Caldwell.

West Essex Regional Middle School, in North Caldwell, has 575 students in Grades 7 and 8. West Essex Regional High School, also in North Caldwell, has about 1,000 students in Grades 9 through 12. The graduation rate for the class of 2010 was 99.6 percent, versus 94.7 percent statewide.

The Commute

There is no train service in Essex Fells. Resident’s can travel about six miles up Bloomfield Avenue to Montclair’s Bay Street station and catch a Midtown Direct train to New York City. Many Essex Fells residents drive about 20 minutes and park in Harrison for PATH service into lower Manhattan or midtown. Additionally, five DeCamp express buses run to the Port Authority on weekday mornings.

Municipal Link

Municipal Website