The Cedar Grove Schools serve public school students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The district has two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. Schools in the district (with 2005-06 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are South End (327 students) and North End (339) elementary schools for kindergarten through fourth grade; The Cedar Grove Memorial Middle School (486) serves from grades five through eight; and The Cedar Grove High School (415) serves students in grades nine through twelve.
The only private schools located in Cedar Grove are the Washington Academy, which serves pupils with special needs, and the Catholic school, St. Catherine’s. Washington Academy is located in the old Leonard R. Parks Elementary School on Route 23, while St. Catherine’s is located on Bradford Avenue.
Cedar Grove was part of the Horseneck Tract, which was an area that consisted of what are now the municipalities of Caldwell, West Caldwell, North Caldwell, Fairfield, Verona, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Roseland, and portions of Livingston and West Orange.
In 1702, settlers purchased the 14,000 acre (57 km2) Horseneck Tract — so-called because of its irregular shape that suggested a horse’s neck and head — from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans for goods equal to $325. This purchase encompassed much of western Essex County, from the First Mountain to the Passaic River.
Cedar Grove was originally a small farming community. In 1896, Essex County built the county mental institution in Cedar Grove known as Overbrook. In 1908, Cedar Grove was incorporated as a township. In the 1950s and 60s, Cedar Grove became one of the destination suburbs in Essex County among those looking to escape urban living from Newark and New York City.
Most of the commercial zone in Cedar Grove is located on Route 23. The central business district starts at about Sweetwood Dr and extends to Little Fall Road just after the railroad bridge. Well known businesses in the center of town include CVS, Subway, Jim Dandy’s, Burger King, PNC Bank, Bank of America, Valley National Bank, citibank, Sovereign Bank, Dunkin Donuts and La-Z-Boy. Also on Route 23, Frank Dailey’s Meadowbrook used to be a nightclub known well throughout the country. Many famous muicians such as Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, and Frank Sinatra played there. There are many other small businesses, ranging from Chinese restaurants, pizza parlors, delis, hairdressers and barbers, and clothing stores. Past Little Falls Road, going north, there are still many businesses located along Route 23, including another CVS, a dog kennel, several hairdressers, a garden center, and an auto body shop.
Route 23 bisects Cedar Grove, making the township conveniently located to major highways including Interstate 80, Interstate 280, U.S. Route 46, Route 3, and the Garden State Parkway. Cedar Grove is also centrally located to New York City, Newark, Paterson, and Morristown.
Cedar Grove is also served by New Jersey Transit bus service. The 11 and 75 bus lines provide service to Newark. The 195 bus line provides transportation to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. Nearby train stations are located in the neighboring towns of Little Falls and Montclair. The Erie Railroad Had a railway here running between Little Falls and West Caldwell, but trains were sparsely scheduled and the line was destroyed in the 1970s.