History of Millburn NJ

historical millburn main street

I always say Millburn NJ is a great place to live. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at how our town evolved. Read on to learn some great facts about the history of Millburn NJ.

In the beginning, Millburn Township was part of Elizabethtown and Newark settlements. Millburn Township was part of Springfield Township when it was created in 1793. Many years later, in 1857, Springfield became part of the newly created Union County while Millburn became a separate township within Essex County.

Millburn was first a colonial settlement strong in agriculture. In the 19th century, it became more of a mill/factory economy. Eventually, Millburn NJ turned into a Victorian residential community. This history of Millburn NJ is still noticeable today in places such as the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum, the many lovely historic homes, and the two historic districts, Short Hills Park and Wyoming.

“Short Hills” got its name from the topography of the area. The last glacier that covered North America ended in Millburn, and as it melted and retreated, it left a layer of sand, silt, clay and boulders. This resulted in irregular surfaces, or “short hills”. The Lenape Indians, the first peoples to live in the area, built trails around the hills. The streams that ran through the area gave way to the building of mills and factories. A railroad was later built at the base of the slopes of the “short hills”. Eventually, builders of suburban homes found this new terrain to be attractive building sites.

Millburn NJ played a part in the history of the Revolutionary War. It is believed that Washington viewed his troops from a strategic point in the South Mountain Reservation, which today is known as Washington Rock. His army camped in Morristown, and the British attacked through the Hobart Gap. The British last pushed their way into New Jersey in the Battle of Springfield on June 23, 1780, which was the last battle since Bunker Hill that was won by local militia. The Parsil family cemetery on White Ridge Road serves as a reminder of this battle.

After the Revolution, the Rahway River was dammed in 5 places. The first paper mill was built by Samuel Campbell in 1790. The mill was used to manufacture banknotes. Also among the paper mills was Diamond Mill, which is now the site of the Paper Mill Playhouse. Although many paper mills were the first mills to be built in Millburn NJ, eventually hat mills became dominant in the area. Millburn eventually became connected to the large cities in the east, as well as to the coal regions in the northwest, when the Morris and Essex Railroad was completed in 1835.

Millburn got its name as it is known as today in 1857. Many of those who lived in Millburn were from Scotland, and the “mill burn”, which is the Scotch word for “river” or “stream”, reminded them of their home.

In 1872, Millburn underwent yet another change when two residential suburbs were created within its borders. The Wyoming Land and Improvement Company purchased 100 acres and created Wyoming, the first speculative real estate development in the area. The second residential area, Short Hills, was developed when Stewart Hartshorn acquired 1552 acres and built the 1st planned commuter suburb in America.

If you are planning a move to Millburn NJ, click here to see homes for sale. If you would like more information regarding Millburn NJ, please contact us for a FREE copy of our town snapshots. You can reach us by phone at 973-637-0004 or via email at Shannon@ShannonAronson.com. For great real estate information, please visit my website at www.NJRealEstateDirect.com.