Glen Ridge is a borough in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 7,527, reflecting an increase of 256 (+3.5%) from the 7,271 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 195 (+2.8%) from the 7,076 counted in the 1990 Census.
In 2010, Glen Ridge was ranked as the 38th Best Place to live by New Jersey Monthly magazine.
Glen Ridge was incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 13, 1895, from portions of Bloomfield Township, based on the results of a referendum held the previous day. In 1981, the official name was changed to the "Township of Glen Ridge Borough" to take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies. Effective May 1993, the borough's original name of "Glen Ridge Borough" was restored.
Of the many legacies left to the town by its founders, the one that has become its trademark is the gas lamps. With only 3,000 gaslights remaining in operation in the entire United States, Glen Ridge has 665 such lamps lighting its streets. In 1924, Glen Ridge became the first municipality in New Jersey to establish a zoning ordinance.
Glen Ridge traces its beginning to 1666 when 64 Connecticut families led by Robert Treat bought land from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans and named it New Ark to reflect a covenant to worship freely without persecution. The territory included the future towns of Bloomfield, Montclair, Belleville and Nutley. When Bloomfield seceded in 1812, Glen Ridge was a section "on the hill" composed mostly of farms and woodlands with the exception of a thriving industrial area along the Toney's brook in the Glen. For most of the nineteenth century, three water-powered mills produced lumber, calico, pasteboard boxes and brass fittings. A copper mine and a sandstone quarry were nearby.
In 1891 Mountainside Hospital, a local hospital with more than 300 beds, was founded.
Residents "on the hill" became unhappy with their representation on the Bloomfield Council. In spite of repeated requests to Bloomfield officials, roads remained unpaved, water and sewer systems were nonexistent, and schools were miles away. Area residents marked out the boundaries of a area to secede from the adjoining town. At the election held on February 12, 1895, the decision to secede passed by only 23 votes. Robert Rudd was elected the first mayor of Glen Ridge.
In 1989, athletes from the high school were involved in the sexual assault of a mentally handicapped student. Three teenagers were found guilty of first-degree aggravated sexual assault; a fourth was convicted of third-degree conspiracy. Author Bernard Lefkowitz wrote about the incident in the 1997 book Our Guys: The Glen Ridge Rape and the Secret Life of the Perfect Suburb. Lefkowitz's book was adapted into the 1999 TV movie Our Guys: Outrage at Glen Ridge.