Founded in 1972, the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Historical Society currently operates the historic Osborn Cannonball House in Scotch Plains, while providing guest lectures at its monthly meetings and taking care to preserve some of the historic artifacts and legends from the area’s early days.
The organization is a primary resource for information about the history of Scotch Plains and Fanwood, both of which retain many significant landmarks and memorabilia from the Colonial era to the 20th century.
The origin of the name Scotch Plains dates to George Scott, who was leading a group of his countrymen on an ocean voyage from Scotland to the New World in the 17th century when he died, according to Society President Richard Bousquet. The township was first settled in 1684. The group memorialized him by christening the area they settled as “Scotsplain” in his honor. Over the years, the name evolved into its present form.
As for Fanwood, Mr. Bousquet said he prefers to stick to local lore, which says that the borough was named for Fanny Wood, the daughter of an area railroad executive. He pointed out, however, that prior to Fanwood’s establishment in 1895, the Scotch Plains governing body had, at one point, collected taxes under the name of Fanwood Township. But he’s comfortable with the Fanny Wood story, noting that other sections of Union County, namely Netherwood in Plainfield and Elmora in Elizabeth, were also named in honor of the railroadman’s children.
The Historical Society meets at 7:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every month at the Scotch Hills Country Club  in Scotch Plains, NJ except in July, August and December.