Fanwood was founded in 1895 around the Central Railroad of New Jersey, which passed through during the 1800s. The old Fanwood train station, built in 1874, stands as the oldest original train station in Union County and remains the center of many community activities. It houses the Fanwood Museum and is a meeting place for various groups.
It's believed Fanwood was named after Fanny Wood, a journalist who wrote about the area. Quoting from a 1973 letter in the Fanwood Museum from Justus Agnoli, Fanwood's representative to the Union County Cultural and Heritage Commission:
"In 1874 the Central Railroad of New Jersey constructed the present right-a-way and built a new station to serve this area. Mr. John Taylor Johnson, then president of the new railroad, selected the name FANWOOD for the new station, in honor of Miss Fanny Wood, a frequent visitor to this area, who wrote numerous glowing of its scenic beauty for leading New York periodicals, thereby attracting new residents and investors to this section."
"Images of America: Fanwood", a book by the Fanwood Historic Preservation Commission. See a preview and purchasing information.