Jefferson Township, NJ

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Jefferson Township is the northern-most township in Morris County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2000 United States Census, the township population was 19,717.

Jefferson Township was formed as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 11, 1804, from portions of Pequannock Township and Roxbury Township. The township was named after Thomas Jefferson, the President of the United States at the time the Township was created.

History of Jefferson Township

Morris County, New Jersey


The Rockaway River flows almost the whole length of the Township. Jefferson contains many lakes, especially Lake Hopatcong (which once was two separate lakes: Big Pond and Little Pond).

History of Jeffereson, New Jersey:

The Lenape Indians lived in the area.

1803- The Berkshire Valley Presbyterian Church founded.

1803- With the signing of the Charter, Jefferson Township was created. The first meeting took place at “Sewards Tavern” (still standing) located on the Union Turnpike, now Route 15 South.

1805-Union Turnpike built. Hotels & Inns like Sewards Tavern, Woodport and Berkshire Valley Hotels situated along Union Turnpike (Route 181 & Route 15 South) were of great importance.  There was lots of iron ore in the area and lots of forests for charcoal for the iron furnaces.  By 1820′s  on the Morris Canal the lock and dam at Landing was in operation. Lake Hopatcong was the main source of water for the canal.

1864- The Ogden Mine Railroad chartered.

1865- The Ogden Mine Railroad built.

1866-  The about 10 mile Ogden Mine Railroad in operation. The railroad passed the villages of Weldon (originally Well-Done), Hurdtown (originally New Partners), Callaghans Island, Castle Rock and ended at Nolans Point. Nolans Point, became an important railroad town.

1866- The Morris Canal connected twice with Jefferson, first at Woodport and then at Nolans Point. Iron was transported from the Ogden (Edison) Mine in Sparta and other Jefferson Township mines to the shores of Lake Hopatcong at Woodport. Some of the other mines were Schofield, Dodge, Ford, and Weldon Mines.  The railroad lines in Jefferson Township were the Ogden Mine Railroad, Central Railroad of New Jersey, and to some extent the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western.  Through the 1870′s the railroad regularly carried 50,000 to 60,000 tons of iron ore a year.

1872- The New Jersey Midland Railroad (latter known as the New York, Susquehanna & Western) took over from the Ogden Mine Railroad.  By 1872  Thomas Bright who worked for the Glenden Iron Company in Hurdtown, moved to the Woodport area and purchased the first Woodport House located on the right side of the Union Turnpike.  The 18th, 19th and 20th centuries ice harvesting was one of the main winter activities. On Lake Hopatcong there were five commercial icehouses and many private ones. The Consumers Coal & Ice Company (Brady Brothers) was based at Hurdtown and their home office was in Bayonne, NJ. They owned four of the icehouses on the Lake. The ice workers were housed at The Hurd Mansion (location of Gatywns II); Callaghans Hotel (Floraine Inc.), and other places.  The location of the five commercial icehouses were as follows: c. 1882 the icehouse at Nolans Point built.  Hurdtown icehouse was located approximately where the Lake Forest Yacht Club is today.  Callaghans icehouse was located near the area where the Hurdtown River empties into Callaghan Cove (Hurd Cove). By 1880s a second Woodport Hotel built (located on the left side of Union Turnpike now Route 181).

1880′s- The Raccoon Island Hotel built on Raccoon Island.  1880′s Mahlon Smith built the Sunnyside Hotel on Nolans Point behind what is now the Jefferson House.  Early 1880′s the Nolans Point Villa (later Bryant Villa) built as a private dwelling for Mr. George Bryant, manager of the Central Railroad. By 1882 the Central Railroad of New Jersey, had built a line from their High Bridge Terminal into Nolans Point. The Central Railroad then leased the Ogden Line; and then combined the two lines into one railroad system. An amusement park was built at Nolans Point.  In 1884 the Van Over House, located on Bird Lane, between Espanong (which mean raccoon) and Nolans Point Roads was managed  by Mr. Apgar, who owned the Woodstock in Mt. Arlington.

1886- Arrival of the Central Railroad at Nolans Point and connection with the Ogden Mine Railroad.

1891- The Chincopee Bridge built to connect the mainland to Raccoon Island. On the island itself there was the Raccoon Island Hotel (later the Hollywood Hotel), store, and summer cottages.

1894- The icehouse at Nolans Point burned.

1896- Raccoon Island Hotel named changed to The Hollywood Hotel.

1899- The Chincopee Bridge destroyed by the ice.

1909- John Frederick Muller became the owner of the Bryant Villa.  c. 1910 the Old Orchard Inn built in the Woodport section of the township on the right side of the Union Turnpike or currently Route 181. Bradley J. Bloodgood owned this hotel. (Today the property is the Willow Lake Day Camp.)

1912- The Raccoon Island Hotel burned.

Source: R. Richard Willis. The Jefferson Township Bicentennial Celebration 1 804-2004: About Jefferson Township: 200 Years of History.

Census Bureau map of Jefferson Township, New Jersey

Coordinates: 40°59′0″N 74°34′22″W40.983333°N 74.57278°WCoordinates: 40°59′0″N 74°34′22″W40.983333°N 74.57278°W


United States


New Jersey




February 11, 1804
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