Like many New Jersey towns, Totowa derives its name from the Native Americans of the area and literally means “sinking or falling water,” or “between mountains and water.” The Passaic County borough is small, covering just 4.065 square miles with a population of 10,844 (2010 U.S. census). It borders Haledon, Little Falls, Paterson, Wayne and Woodland Park..
Totowa’s history dates back to 1696, when a Scottish land speculator purchased a tract of land that included most of modern-day Totowa and parts of surrounding towns. Eventually, the Borough of Totowa was incorporated in 1898.
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In 2016, the mean price of all housing units in Totowa was $362,435. The town offers single-family detached homes, townhouses and other multi-family units.
The Totowa Police Athletic League (PAL) offers several sports to Totowa children. These include baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, football, hockey, and cheerleading. Totowa is close to the Great Falls National Historic Park in Paterson and there are many indoor activity centers in Wayne and other surrounding towns. Minor league baseball is played less than two miles away at Yogi Berra Stadium at Montclair State University (home of the Jersey Jackals) and the Yogi Berra Museum is there.
The Totowa Borough Public Schools district offers pre-K through eighth grade at Memorial School (pre-K through 2nd grade) and Washington Park School (grades 3-8). Students in grades 9-12 attend Passaic Valley Regional High School in Little Falls, which also serves students from Woodland Park. High school students may also apply to the Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne.
The Academy of St. Francis of Assisi is a K-8 Catholic school in Totowa.
Totowa is located on several major roadways, including I-80, US 46, NJ Routes 23 and 3, and the Garden State Parkway. NJ Transit buses go to Port Authority in midtown Manhattan and train service to New York is available at the nearby Little Falls station. It is 20 miles from New York City.
Totowa is governed under the borough form of New Jersey municipal government, with a mayor and a six-member borough council; all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis during the November general election. A mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. Totowa is located in the 11th U.S. congressional district and is part of New Jersey’s 40th state legislative district. Passaic County is governed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Notable natives and residents of Totowa include:
- Plaxico Burress, wide receiver for both the New York Giants and New York Jets.
- D. C. Fontana, television script writer and story editor (original “Star Trek” franchise)
- Actor John Spencer (“The West Wing”)
- Guitarist Hubert Sumlin of Howlin’ Wolf, a five-time Grammy Award Nominee and Blues Hall of Fame inductee
- Captain Lou Albano, professional wrestler, manager and actor
For more information, visit http://www.totowanj.org/