Woodbridge’s rich heritage began with the arrival of its first settlers in 1664. Traveling from Massachusetts, the pioneers put down roots on land acquired from the Lenni Lenape Indians. It is thought that the settlement chose the name of Woodbridge, honoring Newbury, Massachusetts, Rev. John Woodbridge.
In 1666, the Governor of New Jersey accorded the newly formed village permission to allocate land parcels, appoint a pastor and submit militia officers. The township was granted a charter by King Charles of England in 1669, making Woodbridge the oldest original township in New Jersey. In the next several decades, the town of Woodbridge grew, with the establishment of the state’s first permanent printing house by James Parker in 1751.
Even as additional municipalities were formed in the 1800s, Woodbridge Township remained one of the largest in the state. Woodbridge benefited from its access to the natural resource of fine clay deposits, making it one of the world’s largest producers of firebricks.
Over the next 100-plus years, the township opened School #1, its first public library (now the Barron Arts Center) and a high school; built the first U.S. cloverleaf at the intersection of Routes 1 and 35; formed the Woodbridge Metro Chamber of Commerce; opened Woodbridge Center; and established the modern Woodbridge Metro Park train station. A new Town Hall was built in 1996; a Community Playground in Merrill Park was constructed by the community in 1999; and the Woodbridge Community Center was built in 2002. The Barron Arts Center and Trinity Episcopal Church are listed on the State and National Historic Registers.
Woodbridge has experienced a number of significant benchmarks since its original settlers came to the area in the late 1600s and it continues to progress into a future just as bright as its vibrant past.