South Orange is a suburban municipality located in Essex County that is home to approximately 16,000 residents year-round. South Orange was originally part of a territory purchased from the Lenape Native Americans in 1666 and was referred to as the Chestnut Hills. Due to the construction of public transportation and the booming economy, the late 1920s were a period of transformation for the area, with more and more residents moving away from the larger cities of New York City and Newark and into South Orange in order to live in a more neighborhood-oriented environment while still being able to access work in the cities with ease.
Residents of South Orange are proud of their rich history, and have made sure that numerous places located within the area are listed on State and National Historic Registers. Some of these historic designations include the Baird Community Center, the Eugene V. Kelly Carriage House, the Mountain Station Railroad, and the Old Stone House, amongst others.
In regards to education, South Orange residents are part of the South Orange-Maplewood School District. Within this district are six elementary schools serving students through the 5th grade. These schools are Seth Boyden Elementary School, Clinton Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary School, Marshall Elementary School, South Mountain Elementary School, and Tuscan Elementary School. Middle school aged children have the option of attending either Maplewood Middle School or South Orange Middle School, and high school students attend Columbia High School. Additionally, Seton Hall University is located within South Orange for residents who do not wish to leave the area to receive further education.
The community is also very involved in the arts. Within the parameters of this municipality there is the Baird Center, the Pierro Gallery, InterAct Productions Theater Group, South Orange Performing Arts Center, and several other centers for the arts. These establishments provide residents with opportunities to take classes related to arts and performing as well as hosting events for residents to enjoy throughout the year.