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Burlington is a city in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States and a suburb of Philadelphia. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 9,920, reflecting an increase of 184 (+1.9%) from the 9,736 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 99 (−1.0%) from the 9,835 counted in the 1990 Census.
Burlington was first incorporated on October 24, 1693, and was reincorporated by Royal charter on May 7, 1733. After American independence, the city was incorporated by the State of New Jersey on December 21, 1784. On March 14, 1851, the city was reincorporated and enlarged with portions of the surrounding township.
Burlington was originally the county seat of Burlington County but in 1796, as the population had been increasing to the east away from the Delaware River, the county seat was moved to Mount Holly Township, a more central location.
The council of West Jersey Proprietors purchased roughly 30 miles (48 km) of riverfront land in 1676 from the Lenape Native Americans. Burlington was founded on part of that land by English settlers (primarily Quakers) in 1677, and served as the capital of the province until 1702, when West Jersey and East Jersey were combined into a single Crown Colony.
Burlington takes its name (including the county name) from the English east-coast town of Bridlington, of which Burlington was a district. It is now amalgamated into the larger Bridlington town.
The Quakers formally established their congregation in 1678. Initially, they met in private homes; between 1683 and 1687, Francis Collings constructed a hexagonal meeting house of brick. Over the next century, the membership grew substantially and a larger building was needed. The present meeting house on High Street was built in 1783 in front of the old meeting house and cemetery. The cemetery predated the first building. A tablet commemorates that the Lenape chief King Ockanickon, a loyal friend of the English settlers, was buried here in 1681. The oldest gravestone is inscribed "D.B. 1726." Many notable Quakers are buried here.
One of the oldest buildings in Burlington is known as the Revell House. Originally built in 1685 for George Hutchinson, it stood on East Pearl Street. The property was soon purchased by Thomas Revell, one of the original European settlers. Local tradition associates this house with the young Benjamin Franklin, who received gingerbread while traveling from Boston to Philadelphia. In the early 20th century, the house was purchased by the Annis Stockton Chapter of the DAR to become their clubhouse. The Colonial Burlington Foundation acquired and restored it in the 1950s.
Many institutions established in the 18th century continue to function in the 21st century. After the Quakers, the second oldest religious congregation in Burlington were the Episcopalians. Their original church, Old St. Mary's, remains the oldest church in Burlington and New Jersey. The congregation was founded in 1702 by George Keith and John Talbot. Talbot became the first minister and laid the cornerstone for the church in 1703. He served as the church's rector until 1725. The congregation prospered, and the church became the see of the Anglican bishops of New Jersey. In 1846, under the leadership of Bishop and Rector George Washington Doane, construction was begun on New St. Mary's. This early Gothic Revival architecture church was designed by Richard Upjohn, who also designed Trinity Church at the foot of Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.
The Library Company of Burlington was organized in 1757 as a "free" library open to the public as well as members. There were 60 members of the original Library Company each paying ten shillings per year to support the institution. The Library received a Charter from King George II of Great Britain in 1758. The Library's books were kept in members' homes for a few years—Thomas Rodman's at 446 South High Street and, after 1767, Robert Smith's at 218 High Street. In 1789 the Library moved to its own building. The Library is currently in a stone building that was built on West Union Street in 1864. The Burlington Library is the oldest continuously operating library in New Jersey and the nation's seventh oldest.
The Endeavor Fire Company was organized in 1795 and was one of the four companies in the Burlington Fire Department when it was organized almost a century later. Endeavor was the first permanent firefighting organization in Burlington and remains one of the oldest fire companies under its original name in the state. By 1882, the company had relocated to its present building, which was erected in 1852 as a Market House.
Burlington has been the home of many notable people including John Lawrence, a politician and his son, Captain James Lawrence. The elder Lawrence served in the State Assembly, as Mayor of Burlington, New Jersey in 1769, and as a member of the Provincial Council from 1771 to 1775. Unfortunately, he was suspected of being loyal to the British during the Revolution, which ended his career. His son was born on October 1, 1781, and became a legend during the War of 1812 with the command "Don't Give Up the Ship." Lawyer and writer, James Fenimore Cooper, who wrote The Last of the Mohicans, was also from Burlington.
The building at 301 High Street houses the oldest continuously operating pharmacy in New Jersey. Originally a dwelling, the ground floor was converted to commercial use around 1845 by William Allinson, a druggist, local historian, and leading Quaker abolitionist. He used the building as a center of anti-slavery activity. John Greenleaf Whittier denounced slavery from the doorstep, and local tradition holds that fugitive slaves hid in tunnels under the building.
During the 19th century, Burlington City was known for the quality and quantity of its manufacturing. The shoe industry rivaled shipbuilding and canning in prominence. The 1850 United States Census indicates that the largest number of men were employed in the shoe industry, followed closely by carpentry and bricklaying. J. Frank Budd got his start in the shoe business at a Burlington shoe company just after the Civil War. In 1887, J.F. Budd broke ground for a children's "shoeworks" at the corner of Penn and Dilwyn Streets. The company employed approximately 325 people and operated six days a week for ten hours a day. The J.F. Budd Baby Shoe Company billed itself as the "largest baby shoe plant in the world."
The commercial activity provided revenues for the City's cultural activity. In 1839, a Lyceum was erected as a venue for lectures, concerts, and public meetings. It served in that capacity until 1851, when it was turned over to the city to become City Hall. The municipal offices' move was concurrent with the adoption of a new City charter. The Oneida Boat Club was organized in 1873 by a group of 10 members. Over the next few years, the club grew rapidly and in 1876, they dedicated their newly built clubhouse on the banks of the Delaware River at York Street. The Oneida is the oldest continuously operating boat club on the Delaware River.
During this century, the City of Burlington grew in a grid pattern from the main crossroads of High and Broad Streets. Blocks of attached rowhouses built in the latest architectural style characterize the city as a 19th-century town.
Burlington's waterfront park was developed as a result of urban renewal and flood control projects in the late 1960s and 1970s. The shoreline improvements—revetments, walkways, etc.—span the city's Delaware riverfront from the Burlington-Bristol Bridge to Assiscunk Creek. The remains of former waterfront industries, ferry terminals and docks were demolished. Development of an open, grassy park with a tree-lined waterfront esplanade has reconnected the city to its riverfront for recreation. This ensures that business properties are not at risk during floods and reduces damages.
The Oneida Clubhouse narrowly escaped demolition during the urban renewal campaign. It was saved and renovated. As the new esplanade was built on fill that added land between the building and river's edge, it created a landlocked clubhouse for the boat club.
Burlington Coat Factory was founded in 1924 as a wholesaler of ladies' coats and outerwear. The modern company was formed in 1972 when Monroe Milstein purchased a warehouse in the outskirts of the city of Burlington, and started selling coats and outerwear. The company gradually added other apparel, including suits, shoes, and accessories, and has branched out to include baby items and linens, all at discount prices. The original Burlington Coat Factory relocated to a new store in the fall of 2008. The company's corporate headquarters was moved to Burlington Township in 1988.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 3.782 square miles (9.793 km2), including 3.063 square miles (7.932 km2) of land and 0.719 square miles (1.861 km2) of water (19.00%).
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the city include Burlington Island and East Burlington.
Burlington borders Burlington Township in Burlington County and both Bristol and Bristol Township across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania. The Burlington-Bristol Bridge crosses the Delaware River, connecting Burlington to Bristol.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 9,920 people, 3,858 households, and 2,438 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,239.1 per square mile (1,250.6/km2). There were 4,223 housing units at an average density of 1,378.9 per square mile (532.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 58.92% (5,845) White, 32.98% (3,272) Black or African American, 0.18% (18) Native American, 2.03% (201) Asian, 0.04% (4) Pacific Islander, 2.29% (227) from other races, and 3.56% (353) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.50% (645) of the population.
There were 3,858 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.6% were married couples living together, 20.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the city, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 26.4 % from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.9 years. For every 100 females there were 87.7 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 83.8 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $48,317 (with a margin of error of +/− $3,334) and the median family income was $62,049 (+/− $6,446). Males had a median income of $43,146 (+/− $7,469) versus $40,929 (+/− $3,562) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $24,612 (+/− $1,541). About 10.6% of families and 11.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.0% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 9,736 people, 3,898 households, and 2,522 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,245.1 people per square mile (1,253.0/km2). There were 4,181 housing units at an average density of 1,393.6 per square mile (538.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 68.18% White, 26.62% African American, 0.27% Native American, 1.28% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.29% from other races, and 2.34% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.41% of the population.
There were 3,898 households out of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.6% were married couples living together, 17.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.3% were non-families. 29.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $43,115, and the median income for a family was $47,969. Males had a median income of $38,012 versus $28,022 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,208. About 5.4% of families and 8.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.2% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.
The City of Burlington is governed within the Faulkner Act (formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law) under the Mayor-Council form of municipal government (Plan 4), implemented based on the recommendations of a Charter Study Commission as of January 1, 1992. The governing body consists of a mayor and a seven-member Common Council, all elected on a partisan basis in a vote held as part of the November general election. The Mayor serves a four-year term of office. The Common Council consists of seven members, each serving four-year terms of office: three at-large Councilpersons representing the entire City and one representing each of the four voting wards, with the at-large and mayoral seats up for election as a group and the ward seats up for vote two years later.
As of 2016, the Mayor of Burlington City is Democrat Barry W. Conaway, whose term of office ends December 31, 2019. Members of the City Council are Council President Suzanne Woodard (At-Large; D, 2019), Vice President David Babula (At-Large; D, 2019), George Chachis (Ward 1; D, 2017 – appointed to serve an unexpired term), Helen F. Hatala (Ward 3; D, 2017), Ila Marie Lollar (Ward 4; D, 2017), Jeanette M. Mercuri (At-Large; D, 2019), Thomas J. Swan (Ward 2; R, 2017).
In January 2016, the City Council appointed George Chachis to fill the Ward 1 seat expiring in 2017 that had been held by Barry Conaway until he was appointed as mayor.
Burlington City is located in the 3rd Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 7th state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Burlington City had been part of the 4th Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections.
New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District is represented by Tom MacArthur (R, Toms River). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, 2019).
For the 2018–2019 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 7th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Troy Singleton (D, Palmyra) and in the General Assembly by Herb Conaway (D, Moorestown) and Carol A. Murphy (D, Mount Laurel). The Governor of New Jersey is Phil Murphy (D, Middletown Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Sheila Oliver (D, East Orange).
Burlington County is governed by a Board of chosen freeholders, whose five members are elected at-large in partisan elections to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year; at an annual reorganization meeting, the board selects a director and deputy director from among its members. As of 2018, Burlington County's Freeholders are Director Kate Gibbs (R, Lumberton Township, term as freeholder and as director ends December 31, 2018), Deputy Director Linda Hughes (R, Evesham Township, term as freeholder and as deputy director ends 2018) Tom Pullion (D, Edgewater Park, 2020),Balvir Singh (D, Burlington Township, 2020), and Latham Tiver (R, Southampton Township, 2019). Burlington County's Constitutional Officers are County Clerk Tim Tyler (R, Fieldsboro, 2018), Sheriff Jean E. Stanfield (R, Westampton, 2019) and Surrogate Mary Ann O'Brien (R, Medford, 2021).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 5,765 registered voters in Burlington City, of which 2,813 (48.8% vs. 33.3% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 795 (13.8% vs. 23.9%) were registered as Republicans and 2,150 (37.3% vs. 42.8%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 7 voters registered to other parties. Among the city's 2010 Census population, 58.1% (vs. 61.7% in Burlington County) were registered to vote, including 76.4% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 80.3% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 3,138 votes here (72.0% vs. 58.1% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 1,146 votes (26.3% vs. 40.2%) and other candidates with 35 votes (0.8% vs. 1.0%), among the 4,356 ballots cast by the city's 6,097 registered voters, for a turnout of 71.4% (vs. 74.5% in Burlington County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 3,285 votes here (69.9% vs. 58.4% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 1,308 votes (27.8% vs. 39.9%) and other candidates with 55 votes (1.2% vs. 1.0%), among the 4,697 ballots cast by the city's 6,117 registered voters, for a turnout of 76.8% (vs. 80.0% in Burlington County). In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 2,819 votes here (64.2% vs. 52.9% countywide), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 1,486 votes (33.8% vs. 46.0%) and other candidates with 37 votes (0.8% vs. 0.8%), among the 4,390 ballots cast by the city's 5,832 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.3% (vs. 78.8% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 1,422 votes here (50.9% vs. 61.4% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 1,284 votes (46.0% vs. 35.8%) and other candidates with 30 votes (1.1% vs. 1.2%), among the 2,793 ballots cast by the city's 6,115 registered voters, yielding a 45.7% turnout (vs. 44.5% in the county). In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 1,622 ballots cast (59.6% vs. 44.5% countywide), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 881 votes (32.4% vs. 47.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 129 votes (4.7% vs. 4.8%) and other candidates with 48 votes (1.8% vs. 1.2%), among the 2,723 ballots cast by the city's 6,010 registered voters, yielding a 45.3% turnout (vs. 44.9% in the county).
The City of Burlington Public School District serves students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. The district is one of 31 former Abbott districts statewide, which are now referred to as "SDA Districts" based on the requirement for the state to cover all costs for school building and renovation projects in these districts under the supervision of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.
As of the 2014-15 school year, the district and its five schools had an enrollment of 1,634 students and 171.9 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 9.5:1. The schools in the district (with 2014-15 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Elias Boudinot Elementary School (93 students; in grades K-2), Captain James Lawrence Elementary School (173; PreK-2), Samuel Smith Elementary School (318; PreK-2), Wilbur Watts Intermediate School (413; 3-6) and Burlington City High School (705; 7-12). The district's high school serves as a receiving school for students in grade nine through twelve from Edgewater Park Township, as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Edgewater Park School District.
Students from Burlington City, and from all of Burlington County, are eligible to attend the Burlington County Institute of Technology, a countywide public school district that serves the vocational and technical education needs of students at the high school and post-secondary level at its campuses in Medford and Westampton Township.
Doane Academy, a co-educational, Episcopal college-preparatory school, was founded as St. Mary's Hall, a boarding school for girls, by George Washington Doane in 1837. The name was shortened from St. Mary's Hall-Doane Academy in March 2008. All Saints Catholic Grade School (Pre-K though 8th grade) closed in June 2006 with several other Catholic schools in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton due to low enrollment, after 75 years of operation, based on recommendations issued in 2005 to help improve diocese finances.
As of May 2010, the city had a total of 42.76 miles (68.82 km) of roadways, of which 35.71 miles (57.47 km) were maintained by the municipality, 4.36 miles (7.02 km) by Burlington County, 2.30 miles (3.70 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and 0.39 miles (0.63 km) by the Burlington County Bridge Commission.
Burlington is served by Interstate 95, Interstate 295, as well as U.S. Route 130 and New Jersey Route 413.
The Burlington-Bristol Bridge crosses the Delaware River, connecting Burlington to Bristol Township, Pennsylvania, and is operated by the Burlington County Bridge Commission. Construction of the bridge started on April 1, 1930, and the bridge opened to traffic on May 1, 1931. The bridge carries NJ 413 and Pennsylvania Route 413.
NJ Transit provides bus service in the city between Trenton and Philadelphia on the 409 and 418 routes and between Burlington and Camden on the 413 and 419 routes.
The NJ River Line light rail system provides transportation between the Trenton Transit Center in Trenton and the Walter Rand Transportation Center (and other stations) in Camden, with stops at Burlington South and Burlington Towne Centre.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Burlington include:
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