Roosevelt is a borough in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 882, reflecting a decline of 51 (-5.5%) from the 933 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 49 (+5.5%) from the 884 counted in the 1990 Census.
The borough was established as Jersey Homesteads by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on May 29, 1937, from portions of Millstone Township. The name was changed to Roosevelt as of November 9, 1945, based on the results of a referendum held three days earlier, in honor of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died on April 12, 1945.
New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Roosevelt as its 12th best place to live in its 2008 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey.
Roosevelt was originally called Jersey Homesteads, and was created during the Great Depression as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal. The town was home to a cooperative farming and manufacturing project. The project fell under the discretion of the Resettlement Administration, but was conceived and largely planned out by Benjamin Brown and Hyman Alef.
Farmland in Central Jersey was purchased by Brown. Construction started around 1936. Soon after there were 150 homes and various public facilities in place. The plan was to construct 50 more homes eventually. The economy of the town consisted of a garment factory and a farm. Objectives of the community were to help residents escape poverty, to show that cooperative management can work, and as an experiment in government intervention.
Albert Einstein gave the town his political and moral support. Artist Ben Shahn lived in the town and painted a fresco mural viewable in the current Roosevelt Public School. The three panels show the history of the Jersey Homesteads, starting with the eastern European origins of its Jewish residents, their passage through Ellis Island and making plans for the community in Roosevelt.
David Dubinsky and the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union opposed the project, arguing that the factory town would cause unions to lose their power over wages. Political opposition came from those who thought too much money was being spent on the project, as well as those opposed to the New Deal in general.
The Jersey Homesteads cooperative didn't last through World War II. It failed for a number of reasons.
Roosevelt is a historic landmark and is the subject of the 1983 documentary, . The Jersey Homesteads Historic District was added to the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, including "all that area within the corporate boundaries of the Borough of Roosevelt".