The Brainy Borough: Metuchen

Sunday, June 22, 2014
 photo MetuchenBrainyBoroPostOffice1_zps19b511e6.jpg

As I wrote in my post about Lake Hiawatha, many New Jersey town names are derived from Native American words. 

For example, the very nice borough (sometimes spelled "boro") of Metuchen is named for the Indian chief Metuching.

Metuchen is located in Middlesex County, completely surrounded by the much larger  Edison Township, like a hole in a doughnut.

Just about 100 years ago, Metuchen had many intellectuals living and working in the town. The prosperous community of Glen Ridge had many intellectuals of their own and they decided that they were obviously a smarter town and they would claim bragging rights to the title. 

Metuchen responded to the challenge, and had a contest with Glen Ridge to decide which was the “brainy boro.” Metuchen won, and the name has stuck. Metuchen has never forgotten this, and has been bragging about this for the last century. 

To prove this, here are some links: 

Metuchen: The Historic Brainy Boro (the town website) 

Metuchen Living: People Events and Places in the Brainy Boro: Co-Working in the Brainy Boro 

How Did the Brainy Boro Get Its Name?

The Brainy Borough (List of intellectuals that earned Metuchen the name) 

Recently, there was a vaguely worried article on about Metuchen’s downtown area, although the author assured readers that “plenty of people have moved to the Brainy Borough because they liked its vibrant, walkable downtown." 

Not to worry. Not only is the official motto of the town “The Official Brainy Borough” but one of the two post office branches is still called the “Brainy Boro Station.”
 photo MetuchenBrainyBoroPostOffice2_zpsc736a0db.jpg

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  1. This is TOO funny, but also very intriguing! Hmm. And here I thought that competition between Greek villages was fierce!


  2. This is hilarious! Now let's nominate other NJ towns for such titles as "Nerdiest Boro," or "Boro Most Likely To Sit At the Cool Kids' Lunch Table,:" and so on. What fun. But brainy boro? That IS so funny. Well, as Ward Melville said, "I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives," or something like that. Thanks for stopping in to That Old House! --- Cass

    1. I nominate Montclair, Hoboken, and Red Bank for the Cool Kids' Lunch Table. I don't know about nerdiest, though.

  3. Very interesting. I never really hear much about NJ. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much. New Jersey has a lot of interesting places. Thanks for visiting!

  4. Very interesting post and very Creative :)

    Thanks for sharing over at Creative Mondays ...

  5. WoW, so interesting for me as i live in nj.....and i had no idea!! i live in brick and i know that was the last name of one of the first settlers here. it's kinda cool to learn this information!!!

    1. Thank you! The state of New Jersey has many interesting stories!

  6. I love the Indian flavor of town names in NJ/PA
    Please come share at


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