History of West Side a Neighborhood in Newark, NJ

The West Side neighborhood of Newark NJ was settled in the 19th century and flourished as a middle-class African American community by 1920. Homes were built for people who migrated to New Jersey from southern states during the Great Migration, which lasted between 1916 and 1970. The main thoroughfare is Central Avenue, where there are many historic churches such as Mt Olive Baptist Church that serve this largely residential area with shops on its periphery.

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“West Ward has been traditionally known as an ‘insular tenancy zone,’ separated from other parts of downtown Newark with high crime rates,” says Yvonne Chenouard, director of planning at Rutgers University’s Center for Urban Policy Research (CUPIR). “In recent years – thanks to new transportation routes, more mixed-use developments and enhanced open space – the area has become a destination for Newarkers.”

Today, West Side is home to entrepreneurs, migrants and artists who want to live in a small-town atmosphere.