New Providence is a borough on the northwestern edge of Union County, New Jersey, United States. It is located on the Passaic River, which forms the county boundary with Morris County. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 12,171.
The written history of New Providence begins in 1664 when James, Duke of York and brother to King Charles II, purchased the land from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans. This acquisition was known as the Elizabethtown Tract.
Its first European settlers were members of a Puritan colony established in 1720, which was the first permanent settlement of its type. The settlement was originally called Turkeytown, due to the presence of wild turkeys in the area.
By 1737, the Presbyterian Church was formed and became the center of this growing community.
In 1759, the balcony of the Presbyterian Church in the town collapsed. The lack of serious injuries was declared by Divine Providence, and the town was renamed to New Providence.
According to local tradition, George Washington spent the night in a local home, which still stands to this day. Supposedly, the local stream, Salt Brook, is named for an incident when the salt supply of the colonial village was dumped into the brook to prevent passing British soldiers from taking it. Ironically, the British Army never crossed the Watchung Mountains into this region. Salt Brook winds through town, starting near the eponymous Salt Brook Elementary School.
On April 14, 1794, Springfield Township was formed, which included the present-day township, along with the towns of Summit, New Providence, and Berkeley Heights.
Growth continued in the area, and on November 8, 1809, New Providence Township was formed from within Springfield Township. It included what is now Summit, New Providence, and Berkeley Heights.