Diving into the History of Fords, NJ

The personal injury lawyers in Fords, NJ, at Garden State Justice Group have kindly sponsored the following article about the area.


The unincorporated community known as Fords, New Jersey, is located near the New Jersey and New York borders. It takes up 1687 acres, 2.56 acres being water. Staten Island is approximately 11 miles away. U. S. Route 1 and the New Jersey Turnpike cut through the community, while the Garden State Parkway creates its eastern border.

Early History

Early Native Americans traveled through present-day Fords to reach the Raritan River or Arthur Kill for fishing. In 1669 Daniel Pierce acquired the area then called Elizabeth Township. The Native American trails were converted into roads for wagons and stagecoaches. Two main passageways in Fords were the Woodbridge Turnpike, today is known as Main Street, and the Amboy Turnpike. The Amboy forked off into King George Road and New Brunswick Avenue.

Fords was initially known as Sling Taile due to a stream that runs through the center underground. In the late 1800s, the area was called Ford's Center, named after a prominent family that lived on the corners. Residents traveling through would refer to it as Ford's Corner. This intersection became the central passage for many patriots of the Revolutionary War. Legend states that it was a meeting place for the patriots awarding it the nickname "Jersey Blues" after the uniforms worn at the time.

The area became home of the Samuel Ford Inn as well as the following notable figures:

  • Ebenezer Ford
  • Timothy Bloomfield
  • Eunice Bloomfield

20th Century

In the early 1900s, Fords had one railroad serving the community, Lehigh Valley. It did not have a station but did offer two small buildings for shelter on either side. The Raritan Traction Co brought the trolley system into Fords allowing easier commutes to areas such as:

  • Woodbridge
  • Metuchen
  • New Brunswick
  • Keasbey

Many immigrants moved to Fords. Families from the following countries sought better lives for their families and became laborers making bricks with the clay from the area:

  • Ukraine
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Poland
  • Hungary
  • Irish
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Norway

In 1900 the population was 800, but by the 1950s, there were 4,000. However, a significant population growth spurt happened following and by 1964, had tripled. The development of highways, such as the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike, allowed outside travelers to migrate to the area. With the population increase, schools and shopping centers were popping up throughout the region.

Beth Israel Memorial Cemetery

With the influx of Jewish immigrants to the Fords area, the Beth Israel Cemetery was developed. The cemetery, along with the Woodbridge Memorial Gardens added in 1977, takes up 168 acres. Within the grounds are features such as the following:

  • the Bible Garden
  • Gazebos
  • the Ten Commandments Monument

Using actual rock, live plants, and soil from the Holy Land, the Bible Garden was created. Many of the plants were dedicated to Eleanor Roosevelt in 1957. A monument displaying the Ten Commandments and two lion statues was placed in the memory of the 6 million Jews that lost their lives during the Holocaust.

See Related: Uncovering the History of South Amboy, NJ

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279 New Brunswick Ave 2nd Fl
Fords, NJ 08863
(732) 695-4369

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Date Published: April 6, 2021
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