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History of the Township of Irvington, NJ

Tony Vauss, Mayor of Irvington, NJ,  is proud to lead a community that is so rich in history and promise. Mayor Vauss has made his own impact on the Township throughout the years, but as a lifelong resident who eventually became Mayor of Irvington, NJ, Tony Vauss knows that his accomplishments would not have been possible if it weren’t for the significant actions of others in the past.


To touch on some of these significant contributions, Mayor Vauss takes a look at the history behind the Township of Irvington, NJ.


On April 14, 1834, Clinton Township was created. It included what is now known as Irvington, Maplewood, and certain parts of Newark and South Orange. Many referred to this area as Camptown until about the mid-1800s. But when Stephen Foster released a song in 1850 that was called “Camptown Races” the residents of Clinton Township were worried that the ballad would be used to describe the community itself. So they decided to switch the town name to Irvington, after Washington Irving, an American short story writer famous for his works such as “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”


By March 27, 1874, Irvington became a village that was independent from the rest of Clinton Township. The rest of Clinton Township eventually just became known as Newark by 1902. In 1898, Irvington became a town instead of a village.


Jump ahead to 1982 and that is when Irvington became one of four Essex County municipalities to pass a referendum to become a township. Irvington joined more than a dozen municipalities that had already decided to reclassify as a township so that they could reap the benefits of federal revenue sharing policies that give townships more government aid on a per capita basis.


Riots in Newark in 1967 led to many families leaving the city for nearby Irvington. Irvington’s demographics have drastically changed during that time. Before 1965, Irvington was nearly exclusively white. By 1980 it was 40 percent black and by 1990 it was 70 percent. Michael G. Steele was the Township’s first black mayor in 1990, which was followed in 1994 by the town’s first female African-American to serve as Mayor, Sarah Brockington Bost. Mayor Vauss is the current Mayor of the Township of Irvington. Mayor Vauss will be up for re-election when his current term ends June 30, 2018.

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