From Farm to Suburb: The Birth of College Hill

Updated: Aug 22


College Hill is one of Maplewood’s most clearly identifiable neighborhoods due to its roster of collegiate street names: Amherst, Bowdoin, Colgate, Harvard, Oberlin, Rutgers, Wellesley and Yale. (Cornell was in the plans, but later dropped.) However, the use of the moniker “College Hill” only dates back to the 1990s, when a group of neighbors formed the College Hill Association. This section of town, like many in Maplewood, began originally as a farm, in this case a dairy farm worked for three generations by the Courter family. In the late 19th century, as American society began to change and many sought to leave crowded, industrialized cities for the country, developers began to buy and divide up land in places like Maplewood with easy access to roads and railroads. In 1898 the Trimpi brothers, two successful businessmen in Newark and New York, purchased much of the Courter acreage and began to transform it into the suburban Trimpi tract, which they named Valley View. The first seven houses, designed by architect W. Frank Bower in the Queen Anne and Four Square styles, were scattered throughout the development. Over subsequent decades, other individuals and developers bought lots and built houses in popular early and mid-20th c. styles and knit together the neighborhood we know today.


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