Moving fluidly between quaint neighborhoods and busy centers of commerce, Edison is the expansive, branching heart of Middlesex County, a vibrant tapestry woven along the curves of the Raritan River. Home originally to the Lenape, the indigenous peoples practiced careful stewardship of the land, cultivating fields for growing, clearings for deer and veining the forests with trails. It was not until the arrival of Europeans in the seventeenth century that these began being built over, with permanent settlements replacing the Lenape campgrounds and pushing the natives west. Having planted their flag, the settlers dubbed their expansive, loosely connected web of rural hamlets and shipping centers as Raritan Township. This incorporated not only todays Edison but also Woodbridge, Metuchen and Piscataway. The town we know as Edison today remained an unassuming agricultural community on the outskirts of New Brunswick until its technological transformation in the late nineteenth century by inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Edison. Setting up shop in 1876 on the site of an unsuccessful real estate development, the famed “Wizard of Menlo Park” would go on to develop here hundreds of inventions and patents, including the phonograph and the lightbulb. Though he would retire to his hometown of West Orange in 1886, his impact was seen far and wide, with Edison having the first streets in the world illuminated by electric light. It was for this that the town was renamed in his honor in 1954.
Edison today remains the image of modernity, mosaiced by dense suburbs, bustling industrial centers and sporadic patches of forest. Take a stroll through scenic Roosevelt Park or visit the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park to see Edison’s laboratory and Edison Memorial Tower, a grandiose art deco spire overlooking the town. Shop at the Menlo Park Mall, tee off Metuchen Golf and Country Club or soar through Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline Park, open to both children and adults. With shopping, dining and entertainment both in town, in Metuchen and in neighboring New Brunswick, Piscataway and Woodbridge, you’re sure to find something for everyone. Located less than an hour’s drive from New York City and with comprehensive, highly rated schools, enjoy yourself in Edison.