Rahway Union County, NJ

According to the New York Times, Rahway, NJ is "the place to watch." Rahway was rated #1 on the Hottest Up & Coming Towns in New Jersey!



Land Size

3.897 sq. mi.


Union County, NJ

Housing Units


Median Household Income


Cost of Living Index


Rahway began as the home of Lenape American Indians. The name Rahway comes from the name "Rahwack, a local Lenape tribal Chief. European settlement began in 1664 when the English purchased the Elizabethtown Tract from the Lenape, which included the land that is today Rahway. The early settlers of Rahway were plantation owners on the outskirts of the larger Elizabethtown area. By the 18th century, Rahway consisted of four distinct communities: Upper Rahway, Bridge Town, or Lower Rahway, Leesville, and Milton.

Throughout the War for Independence, Rahway was the scene of several skirmishes. In January 1777, the Battle of Spanktown, Rahway’s most notable battle, was fought on St. Georges Avenue in the vicinity of the Union County Park. The battle lasted twelve hours with the Americans getting the best of the British. Rahway has several historically significant sites and revolutionary era buildings. The Merchant's and Drover's Tavern on the corner of what is now St. George's Ave and Westfield Ave is one of the earliest buildings in Rahway, dating back to 1775.

After the Revolution, Rahway became the home of one of the nation's first mints and post offices. Rahway rapidly grew due to it's proximity to the stagecoach line to New York City and Philadelphia and then grew further with the addition of the rail station. As immigrants from Europe started coming to the United States, many sought out Rahway as their new home. Rahway became an incorporated city on April 19th, 1858 from portions of Union and Woodbridge Township.

The city was home to several major manufacturers in the 1800 and 1900s including Regina Music Box Company, Weatena, Mershon Brothers and Merck and Company, first established in Rahway in 1903 and is still present today.

During the late 1990s, the city launched a downtown revitalization plan, which is currently in full swing, with some dozen redevelopment projects currently in the works. Rahway has something for everyone. There is a vibrant downtown with wonderful restaurants, coffee shops, a brewery, and even New Jersey's first Cat Cafe. With two performing art's centers in downtown, the Union County Performing Arts Center and the Hamilton Stage, as well as galleries, and artist housing, Rahway is committed to supporting the arts. There are several parks in town, the most notable being Rahway River Park, which includes sports fields, a public pool, and picnic and recreation areas surrounded by the Rahway River. Rahway is a great town for commuters looking for a short ride to New York City. The train station has two train lines, the North Jersey Coast Line and the Northeast Corridor, making commuting into New York City and other locations very simple. It is also close to all major highways, and Newark International Airport.

Rahway map
Rahway map

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