Getting to Know the History of Belleville, NJ

The personal injury lawyers in Belleville, NJ, at Garden State Justice Group, would like to share the following details of the neighborhood's history.


The township of Belleville is located in the northeastern section of Essex County, New Jersey. This community covers 2156.8 acres and lies on the Passaic River, which forms the eastern border between North Arlington. Avondale is to its north and Bloomfield to its west. The main roadways in the town are Belleville Avenue, New Jersey Route 21, and Union Avenue. 


Before the town was renamed Belleville in 1797, it was known as Second River or Washington. The New Jersey Legislature officially incorporated the neighborhood into a township in 1839, taking parts of Bloomfield. The town was the first to have a Chinatown section, which formed due to the influx of immigrants from China that worked on the Central Pacific Railroad. This group would eventually branch out and form a Chinatown in both Newark and New York City. 

Historical Landmarks

The Belleville Reformed Dutch Church of Second River is located on Main Street. It was originally built in 1697 but has been replaced in 1807 after a tornado destroyed it and again in 1853. The cemetery located on the property next to it is home to as many as 62 soldiers from the Continental Army. The church's large steeple provided the soldiers with an observation lookout post during the American Revolution. Aiding the army to see if an attack was pursuing. 

The Clara Maass Medical Center was built in 1868 and served as the Newark German Hospital. It was renamed in 1952 after a former nurse and German immigrant, Clara Maass. Maass trained at the Christina Trefz Training School for Nurses and during her time there she participated in a medical experiment for yellow fever. She voluntarily allowed herself to be bitten by a mosquito that had been infected with the fever. Unfortunately, during her second round of experimenting with being bit, she had not built up immunity as they had hoped and she quickly became ill and died. Her death signaled the end of this form of experimenting with yellow fever. 


According to the 2010 census, the neighborhood's population was 35,926, consisting of 13,395 households and 9,001 families. this was a decrease of only two people from the 2000 count. As many as 30.10% of the townspeople were born in countries other than the United States. In addition to English, they speak Spanish and Tagalog, a language of the Philippines. The racial makeup of the communities was: 

  • 60.55% white
  • 9.12% African American
  • 39.34% Hispanic or Latino
  • 12.00% Asian
  • 0.35% Native American
  • 0.05% Pacific Islander
  • 13.97% other races
  • 3.96% two or more races

The average household income was $60,127 in 2010, an increase from $48,576 in 2000. The occupational makeup of the working residents is the following:

  • 13.56% office and administrative support
  • 9.50% service and sales jobs
  • 7.69% executive and management occupations

To learn more about the neighboring communities: History of the Bloomfield, NJ Neighborhood

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(551) 230-4999

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Date Published: May 13, 2021
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This website is by DiLeonardo Law LLC d/b/a Garden State Justice Group. We have offices throughout the state of New Jersey with attorneys licensed to practice law in New Jersey. Use of this site does not form an attorney-client relationship and information herein shall not be construed as legal advice. This website is to be considered as ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Past settlement and verdict values are no guarantee of similar future outcomes. This firm may retain local counsel for prosecuting cases. Results may vary from case to case depending on the specific circumstances of the case. This website has not been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
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