Verona is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 13,332 reflecting a decline of 201 (-1.5%) from the 13,533 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 64 (-0.5%) from the 13,597 counted in the 1990 Census.
In 2008, New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Verona #1 in Essex County and #3 in New Jersey as "Top Places to Live in New Jersey".
Verona and several neighboring towns were all originally one town known as the Horseneck Tract. In 1702, a group of settlers left Newark and purchased a large tract of land northwest of their home city for the equivalent of a few hundred dollars from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans. This piece of land extended west and north to the Passaic River, south to the town center of what would become Livingston, and east to the First Watchung Mountain, and was called Horseneck by the natives because it resembled the neck and head of a horse. What was then known as Horseneck contained most of the present day northern Essex County towns: Verona, along with Caldwell, West Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell, and Roseland are all located entirely in Horseneck, and parts of what are today Livingston, Montclair, and West Orange also were contained in the Horseneck Tract.
After the Revolutionary War, the area of Horseneck was incorporated as "Caldwell Township" in honor of local war hero James Caldwell, a pastor who used pages from his church's bibles as wadding to ignite the ammo in soldiers' cannons and helped to drive the British out of Horseneck.
The area of present-day Verona was part of what was known in the 1800s as Vernon Valley. The name was rejected when residents applied to the United States Postal Service, as the name had already been in use for an area in Sussex County. Verona was chosen as the alternative name for the community.
At various times between 1798 and 1892, issues arose which caused dissatisfaction between the Caldwell and Verona areas. These included a desire of the citizens of Verona to more closely control their own governmental affairs. With the population growing, Verona needed to centrally locate essential services such as schools and places of worship; problems with the water supply; and the disposition of road repair funds. On February 17, 1892, the citizens of Verona voted to secede from Caldwell Township to form Verona Township. Further growth and the need for a water system and other public utilities found Verona moving ahead of the other half of the township and in 1902 the two areas decided to separate into two separate municipalities: Verona Township and Verona Borough. It took two sessions of the state legislature to approve the new borough, but on April 18, 1907, the borough of Verona was approved by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature, pending the results of a referendum held on April 30, 1907, in which the new borough passed by a 224-77 margin. Residents of the newly formed borough had sought to disassociate themselves from the Overbrook County Insane Asylum and the Newark City Home (a reform school), as well as from the settlement of Cedar Grove, which was considered a settlement of farmers. On April 9, 1908, Verona Township changed its name to Cedar Grove Township.
In 1982, the borough of Verona became a township to take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies. As an example of the potential benefits of switching to a township, Verona Borough received $213,000 in federal aid in 1976, while similarly sized Cedar Grove Township received $1.24 million. Today, Verona uses just "Township of Verona" in most official documents, but some other official documents such as purchase orders still include "Township of Borough of Verona".