Mayor's Corner

The Borough of Essex Fells, NJ Essex Fells Welcomes You

Over one hundred years ago, Anthony Drexel, a prominent developer and planner, had a vision and dream to build a unique community with beautiful homes situated in a bucolic area of New Jersey. He teamed up with his son-in-law, John R. Fell, Charles W. Leavitt, and later the firm of Wendell and Treat, and together they laid out the plans for this residential community, which at the time was part of the Township of Caldwell.

Anthony Joseph Drexel Borough Founder
Anthony Joseph Drexel

As this new area began to grow, it also began to develop its own identity. But what to call it? “Essex” was decided upon because of the county within which the area is situated and “Fells” was chosen, not only because of John Fell, but also because the word “fell” suggests a rolling, hilly area. Eventually, community leaders went to the New Jersey State Legislature for incorporation, and on March 31, 1902, the Borough of Essex Fells was born.

Although Essex Fells is the smallest community in Essex County, its contributions to our society, as well as its heart and soul, are enormous. Essex Fells has been the home of not only entrepreneurs, inventors, and leaders in industry and business, but also artists, singers, poets, philanthropists, and humanitarians. Its residents demonstrate their commitment and love of community through involvement with organizations like the Essex Fells Garden Club, Skating Pond Committee, Recreation Committee, Foundations supporting Police, Recreation, or the Elementary School, or the Essex Fells Volunteer Fire Department.

Recently, Essex Fells celebrated its Centennial and how Anthony Drexel’s vision and dream became a reality. To this very day, residents of “the Fells” celebrate the beauty of the town’s design with its winding streets, shade trees, and magnificent homes.

Statue of Anthony Drexel at Drexel University Statue of Anthony Drexel
at Drexel University

We celebrate the serenity of an early morning walk; we celebrate Memorial Day with a remembrance of our war heroes and with the Dogwood Festival; we celebrate the concerts given by the elementary school children at Essex Fells School; we celebrate skating at the pond; we celebrate the laughter and cheering from our playing fields; we celebrate the beauty of our dogwoods; we celebrate being neighbors; and we celebrate simply being part of this small and ever so special place. We are truly the caretakers of a wonderful legacy; the trustees of a precious stone. I believe that Anthony Drexel would be proud to see what has become of his dream.

It is our hope that this website will provide you with helpful and pertinent information about the Borough of Essex Fells.

If you would like to contact me by e-mail, please feel free to do so at I would like to hear from you.

Essex Fells Mourns the Passing of Dr. Jan Huston-Pryor

I know that the entire Essex Fells community joins me in expressing our tremendous, heart-breaking sadness over the passing of one of our dear friends and residents, Dr. Jan Huston-Pryor, who died so tragically Tuesday morning, March 21, 2017.  Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to her husband, Jonathan, their twelve children, and family.

Our entire community is in pain and beyond sorrow and despair over Jan’s passing.  To say that Jan/Dr.Pryor/loving wife/adored mother/dear friend touched the lives of literally thousands and thousands of people is an understatement.  Through her work, her vision, her and Jonathan’s definition of “family,” and her commitment to making this world a better place by actions, not words, Jan’s legacy will forever be wonderfully remarkable and pristine.  We, in Essex Fells, were privileged to call her one of ours and we shall miss her very much.

We are a small community – the smallest town in Essex County – and we are a tight, caring, loving community, where neighbor knows neighbor, families know families, and where we all look after each other. The Borough of Essex Fells stands arm in arm, in love and support with Jonathan and their remarkable family.  As we have done when others in our small town have faced such tragic losses, we will respond to them with a tremendous outpouring of love, compassion, support, and faith. We have seen time and again our little blessed community come together in love and support for families who have tragically lost loved ones; and we have seen the inherent goodness in our little community.  As a town, we will mourn and cry with Jan’s family over their loss.

Our Chief of Police, William Theilacker, and I solemnly spoke together on the afternoon of her passing in his office before going to visit with the family.  It was quiet, intimate meeting of just the two of us – one being the leader of our police department and one being the leader of the governing body and the community.   It was a meeting that left us both with the feeling that, despite our ability on the one hand to influence and change certain things, in this instance, we were helpless.  We were only left with our best efforts to try to assuage the anguish of the Pryor family’s bereavement.  This sense of helplessness hurt.  And it hurt a lot.  It was a meeting that this Mayor will never forget.

If there is one thing that I could tell Jan’s family right now, it would be that, please know that the Borough and its people will be there with you as you cry, you mourn, you remember, you love, and with God’s grace, you heal.  And I hope that they know that even in the darkest hour, they will never be alone; for Essex Fells is always with them during this most difficult time and for the time to come, with love and support and faith.

God bless Jan Huston-Pryor, God bless Jonathan and their children and family, and God bless Essex Fells. 

Edward P. Abbot
Borough of Essex Fells