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, reflecting an increase of 264 (+2.2%) from the 11,907 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 468 (+4.1%) from the 11,439 counted in the 1990 Census.
The written history of New Providence begins in 1664 when James, Duke of York and brother to King Charles II, purchased the land that became known as the Elizabethtown Tract from the Lenape Native Americans. 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 "Turkey" or "Turkey Town", due to the presence of wild turkeys in the area.
The Presbyterian Church established in 1737 was a focal point for the community, and the lack of serious injuries when the church's balcony collapsed in 1759 was deemed to be an example of Divine intervention, leading residents to change the area's name 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.