Boonton, New Jersey

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Boonton, New Jersey
Town
Town of Boonton
The Holmes Library in Boonton
The Holmes Library in Boonton
Motto: A Great Place to Live and Work"
Boonton highlighted in Morris County. Inset map: Morris County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Boonton highlighted in Morris County. Inset map: Morris County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Boonton, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Boonton, New Jersey
Coordinates: 40°54′14″N 74°24′23″W / 40.903818°N 74.406369°W / 40.903818; -74.406369Coordinates: 40°54′14″N 74°24′23″W / 40.903818°N 74.406369°W / 40.903818; -74.406369[1][2]
Country  United States of America
State  New Jersey
County Morris
Incorporated March 16, 1866
Government[6]
 • Type Town
 • Mayor Cyril Wekilsky (term ends December 31, 2015)[3][4]
 • Administrator Terry McCue[5]
 • Clerk Cynthia Oravits[5]
Area[2]
 • Total 2.506 sq mi (6.490 km2)
 • Land 2.335 sq mi (6.048 km2)
 • Water 0.171 sq mi (0.442 km2)  6.81%
Area rank 374th of 566 in state
31st of 39 in county[2]
Elevation [7] 397 ft (121 m)
Population (2010 Census)[8][9][10]
 • Total 8,347
 • Estimate (2013[11]) 8,430
 • Rank 275th of 566 in state
23rd of 39 in county[12]
 • Density 3,574.6/sq mi (1,380.2/km2)
 • Density rank 179th of 566 in state
8th of 39 in county[12]
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP code 07005[13][14]
Area code(s) 973[15]
FIPS code 3402706610[16][2][17]
GNIS feature ID 0885164[18][2]
Website www.boonton.org

Boonton is a town in Morris County, New Jersey, United States, that was chartered in 1867. As of the 2010 United States Census, the town's population was 8,347,[8][9][10] reflecting a decline of 149 (−1.8%) from the 8,496 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 153 (+1.8%) from the 8,343 counted in the 1990 Census.[19] The town was originally called "Boone-Towne" in 1761 in honor of the Colonial Governor Thomas Boone.

Boonton was originally formed on March 16, 1866, within portions of Hanover Township and Pequannock Township. The town was reincorporated and became independent on March 18, 1867.[20]

The development of Boonton began in about 1829, as a result of the construction of the Morris Canal and the formation of the New Jersey Iron Company. The original location of the town is now largely under the Jersey City Reservoir, completed in 1904. In 1908, the waters from this reservoir were the first municipal water supply in the United States to be chlorinated.[21] The decision to build the chlorination system was made by John L. Leal[22] and the facility was designed by George W. Fuller.[23]

Geography[edit]

Gazebo in Grace Lord Park

Boonton Town is located at 40°54′14″N 74°24′23″W / 40.903818°N 74.406369°W / 40.903818; -74.406369 (40.903818,-74.406369). According to the United States Census Bureau, the town had a total area of 2.506 square miles (6.490 km2), of which, 2.335 square miles (6.048 km2) of it was land and 0.171 square miles (0.442 km2) of it (6.81%) was water.[1][2]

The Rockaway River flows through the downtown section and forms a short gorge with whitewater rapids including a waterfall that is 25 feet (7.6 m) high.[24]

Part of The Tourne county park is in Boonton.[citation needed]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 3,458
1880 2,277 −34.2%
1890 2,981 30.9%
1900 3,901 30.9%
1910 4,930 26.4%
1920 5,372 9.0%
1930 6,866 27.8%
1940 6,739 −1.8%
1950 7,163 6.3%
1960 7,981 11.4%
1970 9,261 16.0%
1980 8,620 −6.9%
1990 8,343 −3.2%
2000 8,496 1.8%
2010 8,347 −1.8%
Est. 2013 8,430 [11] 1.0%
Population sources: 1870–1920[25]
1870[26][27] 1880–1890[28]
1890–1910[29][30] 1910–1930[31]
1930–1990[32] 2000[33][34] 2010[8][9][10]

Census 2010[edit]

At the 2010 United States Census, there were 8,347 people, 3,235 households, and 2,112 families residing in the town. The population density was 3,574.6 per square mile (1,380.2 /km2). There were 3,398 housing units at an average density of 1,455.2 per square mile (561.9 /km2). The racial makeup of the town was 78.81% (6,578) White, 4.82% (402) Black or African American, 0.31% (26) Native American, 10.05% (839) Asian, 0.01% (1) Pacific Islander, 2.79% (233) from other races, and 3.21% (268) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 11.02% (920) of the population.[8]

There were 3,235 households, of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.7% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.10.[8]

In the town, 21.2% of the population were under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 27.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.4 years. For every 100 females there were 101.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.6 males.[8]

The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $79,097 (with a margin of error of +/- $9,165) and the median family income was $89,965 (+/- $14,678). Males had a median income of $53,495 (+/- $4,466) versus $47,463 (+/- $7,099) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $33,366 (+/- $4,035). About 5.6% of families and 10.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.8% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or over.[35]

Census 2000[edit]

As of the 2000 United States Census[16] there were 8,496 people, 3,272 households, and 2,159 families residing in the town. The population density was 3,619.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,395.9/km2). There were 3,352 housing units at an average density of 1,428.1 per square mile (550.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 83.00% White, 4.00% African American, 0.21% Native American, 7.8% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 2.20% from other races, and 2.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.9% of the population.[33][34]

Boonton had the highest percentage of Pakistani ancestry people at 3.53%, of any place in the United States with 1,000 or more residents listing their ancestry.[36]

There were 3,272 households out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.0% were non-families. 26.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.11.[33][34]

In the town the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 35.4% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 98.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.9 males.[33][34]

The median income for a household in the town was $65,322, and the median income for a family was $75,147. Males had a median income of $60,518 versus $40,634 for females. The per capita income for the town was $29,919. About 6.7% of families and 5.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.4% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.[33][34]

History[edit]

During the 18th century, the settlement of Boonetown (variously spelled as Booneton or the current Boonton) was established on the Rockaway River, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) downstream from the current site of the town. As early as 1747, Obadiah Baldwin ran an iron refining forge there using the iron ore and charcoal available in the area together with water power from the river. As the ironworks grew, workers and their families formed a community that was named "Boone-Towne" in honor of the Colonial Governor, Thomas Boone, in the year 1761.[37] The present town bears only small resemblance to the village of Booneton Falls, and still less to the village of Old Boonton, whose site has been covered by the Jersey City reservoir since 1903.[38]

Ironworks[edit]

Main article: Boonton Iron Works

The Boonton Iron Works were founded about 1770 by Samuel Ogden who, with others in his family, purchased a 6-acre (24,000 m2) tract along the Rockaway River. Throughout the American Revolutionary War the Booneton Iron Works was busily engaged in supplying numerous miscellaneous iron products for the military. After the war, operations at Boonton were continued under John Jacob Faesch and his two sons, and, later, by William Scott, who vainly sought to instill new life in the declining business. In 1824, Scott's interest in rejuvenating the antiquated ironworks faded when he learned that the Morris Canal was soon to be constructed, and that it would be of little service to the Village of Booneton a mile or more away.

The nearness of the canal to Booneton Falls made that site ideal for a large factory. A group of business men in New York City incorporated themselves in 1830 as the New Jersey Iron Company, with a capitalization of $283,000. Machinery and ironworkers were imported from England, and with the erection of the mills, a new town, called Booneton Falls, began to appear on the rugged hillside overlooking the river.

The town's Main Street is unique in that it is pitched against a cliff overlooking the 'Hollow' of the Rockaway River. This was said to follow an old Native American Trail, which followed the original deer path.

The new Iron Company flourished for nearly 50 years. The new village of Booneton Falls – like the older Booneton downstream – was essentially a one-industry town. After the Company closed down its operations in 1876, the town was on the verge of collapse.

Although several attempts – one by Joseph Wharton – were made to re-establish iron works on a smaller scale, none endured for any great length of time. Only vestiges of foundations and structures remain in the "Hollow", between Plane Street and the river, to remind Boonton of its own Iron Age.

Other industries[edit]

One of the first of the new industries secured for the town was a silk factory, which, as Pelgram & Meyer, and, later as Van Raalte, Inc., contributed materially to the town's prosperity. Others that followed were a knife factory, a paper mill (at the old village, by then called Old Boonton), a nail factory, a brass and iron foundry, and a carriage factory. The Morris Canal, although going into a rapid decline, still employed a number of men; the Lackawanna Railroad, which had completed its Boonton-Paterson branch in 1875, gave employment to a number of Boonton people and provided commuter service to a number of Boonton residents who worked in New York City. There were, of course, many individually owned businesses, such as blacksmith shops, machine shops, bakeries and a miscellany of stores, all of which began to prosper as the nation emerged from the depression of the 1870s.

In 1891, the Loanda Hard Rubber Company was founded by Edwin A. Scribner, and began the manufacture of molded hard rubber products. Seven years later, Mr. Scribner died, and the management of the firm fell to his son-in-law Richard W. Seabury. In 1906, was Richard W. Seabury, who, casting about for new materials, learned of experiments with synthetic resins made by Dr. Leo Baekeland, for whom the well-known material, Bakelite, was later to be named. Originally intended by Dr. Baekeland for a synthetic varnish, the new material was used by Seabury in making the world's first molding of organic plastics in 1907. Boontonware, a molded plastic dinnerware, was sold nationwide. George Scribner, son of Loanda founder Edwin Scribner, opted to continue the business of plastics molding and established Boonton Molding. The company went on to produce the famous Boontonware dinnerware, molded plastic plates, bowls, and cups manufactured in the 1950s and 1960s. The company also operated a factory outlet store in Boonton for many years. George Scribner was eventually inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame for being a pioneer in developing molding techniques and applications at Boonton Molding Co. from 1920, and preeminent contributor to the development of the industry through his services as president and board chairman of the SPI during the period 1943–1947. His older brother Charles E. Scribner intended to join the family business but it was discovered that he was color blind, he then attended Princeton University and later Harvard Law. He served as Margaret Sanger's lawyer and then as the first chairman of the board of Planned Parenthood. He was instrumental in orchestrating Sanger's trip to Japan through correspondence with General McArthur.

The molded plastics industry was to some extent responsible for bringing the radio and electronics industries to the Boonton area. In the 1920s, the burgeoning radio industry created a large demand for molded parts, and, thereby, attracted the attention of Richard W. Seabury, who organized Radio Frequency Laboratories to exploit that new field. Spawned by that original company, more than a half dozen radio and electronics firms were later formed, and recognized internationally for the excellence of their products. A well-known example among radio engineers was the Boonton Radio Co., located in nearby Rockaway, which manufactured a high-quality test instrument known as a Q meter, still used by hobbyists today. Most of those companies are now divisions of larger corporations and have relocated elsewhere, having undergone name changes in many cases. The Boonton Radio Co., for instance, was purchased by Hewlett-Packard. RFL Industries, Aircraft Radio Corporation, Measurements Corporation (founded by Jerry Burnett Minter and two partners and later sold to the Edison Company after World War II), and Ballantine Laboratories are among those that contributed materially to the prosperity of the area.

The largest industry in the town of Boonton during the 20th century began in 1917, when E.A. Stevenson & Company established the "Butter Works" on the site of the old Knox Hat factory, and started processing coconut and other vegetable oils and making margarine. Under later operation by E.F. Drew & Company, the Boonton plant grew to be one of the largest edible oils processors in the country. The plant closed in the early 1990s, and the site is now a Walmart.

In recent years, Boonton has attracted several art galleries. Most of the galleries are located on the 800 block of Main Street, with a total of six galleries in the area surrounding Boonton Avenue and Main Street that is often referred to as the Boonton Art District. The galleries hold an art walk showcasing the galleries opening receptions on the first Friday of each month.[39]

Government[edit]

Local government[edit]

Boonton was incorporated as a Town under a charter granted by the New Jersey Legislature in March 1867. Under the charter, the new town was governed by a seven-person Board of Trustees, but, by an amendment to the charter in 1872, authority was vested in the Mayor and Common Council. Boonton operates using the town form of government and is governed by a Mayor and Board of Aldermen. The mayor is elected at large. The Board of Aldermen consists of eight members, with two Aldermen elected from each of four wards on a staggered basis, with one seat from each of the four wards coming up for election each year.[6]

As of 2014, the Mayor of Boonton is Cyril Wekilsky, whose term of office ends on December 31, 2015.[40] Members of the Board of Aldermen are:[41]

  • Ward 1: Daniel Carey (2014) and Michael Eoga (2015)
  • Ward 2: Dr. Clifford Keezer (2013) and Bob Tullock (2014) and Keith Price (2015)
  • Ward 3: Terry Dunn (2014) and Daniel Piccioni (2015)
  • Ward 4: Anthony Scozzafava (2014) and James Lynch (2015)

Federal, state and county representation[edit]

Boonton Town is located in the 11th Congressional District[42] and is part of New Jersey's 25th state legislative district.[9][43][44]

New Jersey's Eleventh Congressional District is represented by Rodney Frelinghuysen (R, Harding Township).[45] New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark; took office on October 31, 2013, after winning a special election to fill the seat of Frank Lautenberg)[46][47] and Bob Menendez (D, North Bergen).[48][49]

For the 2014-2015 Session, the 25th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Anthony Bucco (R, Boonton Town) and in the General Assembly by Tony Bucco (R, Boonton Township) and Michael Patrick Carroll (R, Morris Township).[50][51] The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township).[52] The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).[53]

Morris County is governed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, who are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with two or three seats coming up for election each year.[54] As of 2011, Morris County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director William J. Chegwidden (Wharton),[55] Deputy Freeholder Director Douglas R. Cabana (Boonton Township),[56] Gene F. Feyl (Denville),[57] Ann F. Grassi (Parsippany-Troy Hills),[58] Thomas J. Mastrangelo (Montville),[59] John J. Murphy (Morris Township)[60] and Hank Lyon (Montville Township),[61][62]

Politics[edit]

As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 5,037 registered voters in Boonton, of which 1,029 (20.4%) were registered as Democrats, 1,956 (38.8%) were registered as Republicans and 2,051 (40.7%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There was one voter registered to another party.[63]

In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 51.6% of the vote here (2,087 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 46.5% (1,881 votes) and other candidates with 1.0% (41 votes), among the 4,045 ballots cast by the town's 5,262 registered voters, for a turnout of 76.9%.[64] In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 53.1% of the vote here (1,978 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry with 45.0% (1,677 votes) and other candidates with 0.9% (44 votes), among the 3,724 ballots cast by the town's 5,086 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 73.2.[65]

In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 55.5% of the vote here (1,372 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 33.8% (835 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 9.0% (222 votes) and other candidates with 0.8% (19 votes), among the 2,474 ballots cast by the town's 5,161 registered voters, yielding a 47.9% turnout.[66]

Education[edit]

The Boonton Public Schools serve students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's four schools had an enrollment of 1,261 students and 115.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 10.89:1.[67] Schools in the district (with 2011-12 enrollment statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics[68]) are School Street School[69] (grades K-3; 336 students), John Hill School[70] (4–6; 207), Boonton Middle School (was 7&8; 136) and Boonton High School[71] (9–12; 582 students).[72][73]

The district's high school serves students from Boonton and also those from Lincoln Park, who attend as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Lincoln Park Public Schools, with Lincoln Park students accounting for a majority of students at the high school, including about 285 students as of the 2011–12 school year.[74] The two districts have sought to sever the more than 50-year-old relationship, citing cost savings that could be achieved by both districts and complaints by Lincoln Park that it is granted only one seat on the Boonton Public Schools' Board of Education. In April 2006, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education rejected the request.[75]

Our Lady of Mount Carmel School is a Catholic school for preschool through eighth grade operated under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson, and has been in operation though the parish as far back as 1882.[76][77]

Transportation[edit]

Roads and highways[edit]

The town had a total of 33.90 miles (54.56 km) of roadways, of which 28.34 miles (45.61 km) are maintained by the municipality, 3.81 miles (6.13 km) by Morris County and 1.75 miles (2.82 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.[78]

Interstate 287 and U.S. Route 202 run through the center of town.

Public transportation[edit]

The Boonton station[79] provides train service on the New Jersey Transit Montclair-Boonton Line with service to Newark Broad Street Station, Penn Station New York and Hoboken Terminal.[80]

New Jersey Transit bus service is provided on the 873 local route.[81] Lakeland Bus Lines provides express bus service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.

Places of interest[edit]

Footbridge in Grace Lord Park

Boonton Holmes Public Library[edit]

The Boonton Holmes Public Library has been in operation since 1894. The building in which it resides was willed to the Town of Boonton by James Holmes for use as a public library. Holmes was born March 7, 1815, in Massachusetts and moved to Boonton in 1850 to take charge of the Taylor & Lord Nail Factory. Since he had spent much of his early life moving from place to place and from job to job when he was able to lay down roots in Boonton he developed a strong loyalty to the town and committed himself to its development. He became very involved in local politics and used his fortune to help develop municipal organizations and community projects. Holmes held several political posts in his life such as serving as Mayor of Boonton, on the State Board of Education, and on the Boonton Board of Education. Holmes also used his wealth to improve the town, one example was when he donated the land and purchased the equipment to begin the firehouse in South Boonton. He served as a volunteer fire fighter in Boonton from the time he arrived until his death. Holmes also started the first Boonton National Bank and served as its president. Mr. Holmes died on February 26, 1893.

The building itself dates much further back to when Eliza A. Scott purchased the corner lot in 1849 from the New Jersey Iron Company. Miss Scott built the first structure on the site in that same year. In 1850, the Iron Company engaged James Holmes to serve as superintendent of the nail factory which had just been constructed. James Holmes bought the property and 2 lots for $5,000 in 1856. He resided at his mansion house until his death in February 1893. Mr. Holmes bequeathed his house and lot to the Boonton Library Association which had incorporated in 1890. On July 1, 1893, the Association disbanded and reorganized itself as the Holmes Library which had been established in May under the terms of Mr. Holmes' will. The gift included the mansion house, $5,000 for endowment purposes only, $2,000 for refitting the house as a library, and $1,000 for the purchase of books. The will stipulated that the Library be governed by a Board of Trustees composed of three lifetime members appointed by him, one member from each of the existing churches at the time, and one member from the Board of Education. The Library officially opened in 1894. Since its opening the library itself has only been on the first floor, and in later years the basement. The upper two floors have been used, at various times, as business space, a Masonic Hall, and most recently as three apartments. The basement also has been used commercially and has at one time housed the printing press for the Boonton Times newspaper. In 1895, Charles Grubb rented rooms in the Holmes Library and installed presses in the basement where on Oct 4, 1895 he published the first issue of The Boonton Times newspaper. In 1911, he moved to the corner of Main and Cornelia Streets. The Boonton Holmes Library has gained control of the entire building and is currently beginning renovations to the structure so that the upper floors can be used by the public. The Boonton Holmes Public Library was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, on November 30, 1972.[83][84][85]

Notable people[edit]

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Boonton include:

References[edit]

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  3. ^ 2013 New Jersey Mayors Directory, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Accessed May 12, 2013.
  4. ^ Davie, Audrey. "Boonton Mayor Cyril Wekilsky optimistic about 2012", The Citizen of Morris County, January 5, 2012. Accessed December 17, 2012. "The mayor and four ward aldermen all had run unopposed for new terms on the all-Republican board. The meeting started with the swearing in of the mayor, First Ward Alderman Michael Eoga, Second Ward Alderman Cliff Keezer, Third Ward Alderman Robert Looker and Fourth Ward Alderwoman Patricia Bujtas."
  5. ^ a b Town Hall Directory, Town of Boonton. Accessed December 17, 2012.
  6. ^ a b 2011 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book, Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, June 2012, p. 117.
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  14. ^ Zip Codes, State of New Jersey. Accessed August 27, 2013.
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  22. ^ Leal, John L. (1909). "The Sterilization Plant of the Jersey City Water Supply Company at Boonton, N.J." Proceedings American Water Works Association. pp. 100–9.
  23. ^ Fuller, George W. (1909). "Description of the Process and Plant of the Jersey City Water Supply Company for the Sterilization of the Water of the Boonton Reservoir." Proceedings American Water Works Association. 110-34.
  24. ^ Syare, Phillip. "THE GREAT OUTDOORS; Vertical Water: Where the Falls Are in New Jersey", The New York Times, April 5, 1998. Accessed December 17, 2012. "Boonton is another town that shares its name with the local waterfall. At Boonton Falls, the Rockaway River takes a leap of about 25 feet at Grace Lord Park. Use extra caution on the rocks: the pool at the base of the falls is a treacherous swirl that has claimed several lives when people have slipped while near its edge."
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