What is now South River was originally formed as the town of Washington within East Brunswick Township on February 23, 1870. South River was incorporated as an independent borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 28, 1898, replacing Washington town.
1683-1720: Commonly referred to as South River Landing.
1720-1784: Name changed to Willettstown after settler Samuel Willett.
1784-1870: Name changed to Washington and referred to as Washington Village, Washington Woods, and Little Washington. The current name was considered at the suggestion of Abraham Barkelew, one of the original settlers in the town.
1870–present: Village name officially changed to South River.
1897: South River becomes borough.