A Quick History of Brookdale, NJ

The personal injury attorneys in Brookdale, NJ, at Garden State Justice Group have shared the following article on the area and its history.


The unincorporated community of Brookdale is a census-designated place located in Bloomfield Township, which is situated in the northeastern region of Essex County in New Jersey. The CDP takes up 1,028.48 acres and has an elevation of 177 feet. The neighboring communities include Upper Montclair, Avondale, Nutley, Glen Ridge, and Bloomfield. 


The community was originally known as Stone House Plains in reference to the historical rock formation that was said to once be a shelter. The stone house was located near the intersection of Newell Drive and Bellevue Avenue but was removed sometime after 1802. 

The Dutch made up the earliest European settlers and more than likely included Abraham Van Giesen. Early development took place along the area down Bellevue Avenue. Some early landowners included the following:

  • 1730 - Alexander Cockefair -near present-day Broad Street and Watchung Avenue
  • 1750 - Garrabrant and Teunis Garrabrant - near the area of Brookdale Park, Bellevue Avenue, and Broad Street

The Sigler and Coeyman families also owned land in the early days of development. Their descendants operated mills, farms, and other businesses within the community for about two centuries. 

During the 18th century, most of the community spoke Dutch. The Dutch Reformed Church of Stone House Plains was established in 1795. The church became a social and spiritual focal point for the neighborhood. It is now known as the Brookdale Reformed Church and stands on Bellevue Avenue and Broad Street just outside of Brookdale Park. 


The neighborhood includes several parks, including Brookdale Park, which is the third-largest in the Essex County park system. The park spans 121.41 acres, of which 78 are in Bloomfield and 43 are in Montclair. In addition to a dog park, the park offers the following amenities to the community:

  • extensive lawns
  • playgrounds
  • sports fields
  • track facilities
  • tennis courts
  • an archery range and
  • a stadium grandstand

There are many restaurants for the residents as well as great dessert options, such as:

  • Holsten's Ice Cream, Chocolate & Restaurant
  • Rita's Italian Ice & Frozen Custard
  • Pure Love Pies


The area was home to 9,239 residents in 2010. This made up 3,445 households and 2,580 families within the CDP. The racial breakdown of the population was the following:

  • 76.46% white
  • 4.96% African American
  • 0.11% Native American
  • 11.74% Hispanic or Latino
  • 12.25% Asian
  • 0.02% Pacific Islander
  • 3.00% other races
  • 3.20% two or more races

The income per household averaged $109,300. The most common occupations held by the employed adult residents included:

  • 14.8% healthcare
  • 12.8% education
  • 12.3% professional 
  • 9.5% retail
  • 7.7% finance and insurance
  • 7.0% manufacturing
  • 4.6% government

Continue reading: All About Allwood, NJ

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Shane Sullivan, Esq.
Date Published: July 1, 2021
Shane Sullivan, Esq. is a New Jersey Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer that represents those who were injured or the family's of those killed by the negligence of others in personal injury lawsuits throughout New Jersey.
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