A SHORT HISTORY OF ROXBURY TOWNSHIP, MORRIS COUNTY, NEW JERSEY

by M. Balston, Website Editor 
2005, 2013 RoxburyNewJersey.com.  Please do not reproduce or use on another website without permission.

This page is an overview of Roxbury Township history, with an emphasis on the communities of Succasunna, Ledgewood, Kenvil & Lower Berkshire Valley. See our sister website, www.LandingNewJersey.com  for several pages that focus on Landing NJ History  or  Port Morris NJ History.

THE COLONIAL PERIOD
1600's - - Much of the common knowledge of these early years comes from the Morris County History books by Honeyman (1927), by Munsell (1882) and articles by Dr. Wolfe (see below) several years later in which he, with sharp wit, corrected Munsell ! However, they agree on the basic timeline:
There were several villages of Lenni Lenape (Delaware) Indians located on Suckasunny Plains. "One a furlong (1/8 mile) northeast from our present school house (Gray Building), another near the great spring on the grounds of the Hercules Powder Company, a third on the east side of the present Black River pond and others farther south along the Black River." The Nariticong clan of the Delaware Indian Nation lived on the east shore of Lake Hopatcong, with a large village on Halsey Island, which was at that time connected to the mainland. Arrowheads and other items were found on Halsey. Other clans in the area were the Munsee,  Minisink and Unami. Dutch trappers start to have contact with the Nariticongs and with other Lenape Indian clans. In 1633 the Dutch established trading outposts in what became northern New Jersey.

1664 - -New Jersey becomes an English colony. Groups of Puritans settle Newark in 1666 and move inland.

1700's -- In the early 1700's, under pressure, Native Americans began to sell off their land and leave the area, some moving as a group to Ontario. In 1708 they sold a large piece of land that included Roxbury Township. The deed for this transaction was written on an 18" x 28" piece of parchment and is still quite legible. It is stored at the New Jersey Historical Society Museum in Newark. 


Reenactment of an early Rogerene type Colonial Settlement

1710's -- Around this date the first group of white settlers established homes in the area that became Roxbury. They belonged to an  evangelical Christian group known as Rogerenes (or Rogerines), named after their founder, John Rogers of Connecticut (1648-1721). Some date their arrival here as early as 1702, others as late as 1736. Their theology was similar to the Seventh Day Baptists and their practices much like the old Quakers. The center of the settlement of the initial 20 families was Mountain Pond, it's name changed around 1912 to Lake Rogerene (or Lake Rogerine), long after the group had left. Their modest farms extended to what is today the Shore Hills section of Landing at the  southern end of Lake Hopatcong. By 1800 most had left the area, some joining another Rogerene group in South Jersey, others heading for Ohio or Virginia, while some others stayed in the area, blending in with the general population.
1715 -- Around this time the Roxbury area was first surveyed by John Reading, who also had a keen eye for the business possibilities of the area. Iron Ore lay close to the surface in various area of the Township, and before long an Iron Ore Mine and small forge was in operation. Wolfe relates that the name "Suckasunny" was originally applied by the Indians to the hill that forms a natural boundary on the eastern edge of Roxbury. The name was first recorded by Reading and is made up of the Lenni Lenape words for Black: "suka", and the word for Stone: "assun", hence the Black Stone of the abundant Iron Ore.

1730's --The valley of Suckasunny Plains grows in population as settlers come north following the Black River. They were originally from Connecticut, had come by boat to New Brunswick, and then over the lowlands to the fertile fields of Suckasunny.

1740 -- On December 24, 1740 Roxbury was incorporated as the fourth township in Morris County. Within its boundaries at that time were the areas that later would become Chester Borough, Chester Township, Mt. Arlington, Mt. Olive Township, Netcong Borough and Washington Township, in addition to parts of Hopatcong Borough and Stanhope. As a result of several of these communities pulling away and becoming independent over the years , Roxbury Township is now comprised of Succasunna (formerly Suckasunny, name changed 1888), Ledgewood (formerly Drakesville, name changed 1891), Kenvil (formerly McCainesville), Port Morris, Landing and Lower Berkshire Valley. Roxbury Township is just under 22 square miles in size.

1745 -- Presbyterians first started meeting in homes in Succasunna about this time. In 1756 the Succasunna Presbyterian Church was organized by the New York Presbytery, with the first building constructed on the current site around 1760. 

1750's -- Lake Hopatcong was called Great Pond. Around 1750 an iron forge is built by New York City businessman Garret Rapalje near the southern end of the Lake at the point where it flows into the Musconetcong River. Called the Brookland Forge, it was located on what is now the Hopatcong State Park and it operated for over 30 years. A dam built for the forge raised the Lake level by 6 feet, submerging areas of shoreline and cutting off Halsey Island and Raccoon Island from the mainland. The Lake became known as Brookland Pond.

1758 - - The "Treaty of Easton" in October marks the pullout of the Delaware Indian Nation from the French & Indian War. The previously peaceful Delaware had joined the French against the Colonial/British settlers in New Jersey and had massacred members of almost a dozen families who had settled in Sussex County, causing alarm in Roxbury. The Treaty completes the sale of Lenape Delaware land to European settlers and called for remaining Tribe members in New Jersey & eastern Pennsylvania to move to the Ohio Valley or join other Native Americans in Ontario.

1776 thru 1783 -- Roxbury Township and the surrounding area become an important hub for producing Iron Ore and cannonballs to supply General George Washington and the Continental Army. During the Revolutionary War, the Succasunna Presbyterian Church served as barracks and a hospital for the Continentals. A tradition relates how George Washington visited his wounded soldiers there. A number of wood and stone homes were built in Drakesville (Ledgewood) and Succasunny during this time.


THE CANAL & RAILROAD COME TO TOWN

1799 -- The newly incorporated Chester Township takes 30 square miles and separates from Roxbury Township. 

1804 -- The Essex - Morris - Sussex Turnpike is completed, running through Roxbury Township, a reliable Wagon Toll Road that sped up the movement of people and goods from the cities of the northeast to the wilds of northwest New Jersey. Specifically, the road went from Elizabeth, through Chatham, passed through Madison in almost a straight line, skirted  Washington's headquarters in Morristown; ran along Sussex Avenue through Randolph and into Roxbury, and continued through Succasunny Plains, Drakesville (Ledgewood) and Stanhope to Newtown.

1809 -- The first school in Roxbury of which we have firm evidence came into being. The 'Roxbury Academy' was a private boarding school on Main Street, Succasunny, that not only accommodated local students, but also lodged young scholars from neighboring towns and states due to it's excellent reputation and location away from the "corrupting" influence and vices of larger towns. 

1822 - -While fishing at Lake Hopatcong, George P. Macculloch (whose house in Morristown still stands) dreamed up the idea of what was to become the Morris Canal. The canal was chartered in 1824 and would be an inexpensive way of moving large quantities of coal, timber, iron ore and other goods across New Jersey. It was designed by Professor James Renwick of Columbia College, the first American canal to climb hills. The Morris Canal would run for 103 miles joining the Delaware River at Phillipsburg with the Hudson River, a mule-drawn barge trip that took about 5 days. The Morris Canal would dramatically increase the development of Roxbury Township.

1826 - A building lot along the Morris Canal in Drakesville  (later renamed Ledgewood) was purchased and a General Goods store was built by Woodruff and Crane, it's now known as the King Store.

1827 -- The canal company, having acquired the property, builds a new dam on the Lake to use the large body of water as a canal reservoir. A lock is built that raised boats to the level of the Lake. A bypass valve controlled the water flowing into a feeder canal that connected the Lake to the main canal. Lake Hopatcong was the Morris Canal's largest reservoir. The Lake was entered through a feeder of the Morris Canal. It then went to the lock at Brooklyn (a little settlement which gave the Lake the name of Brooklyn Pond.) Hopatcong State Park contains Morris Canal remains.  In this park, to the left of the beach, is a huge iron waterwheel on display, from Plane No. 3, which operated chains, later wire cables, pulling up the boats. At the gate control house, the visitor can see the locks under water at the edge of the Lake. Also here are the gatekeeper's and paymaster's house (built about 1826, still standing). West of the pumping station and the turbine, the broad open space was the basin of the old canal, which from here went to Lake Musconetcong. There were 23 separate inclined planes along the Morris Canal. Set in giant cradles, boats were hauled up rail tracks by chains to water levels as high as 100 feet. As different sections of the canal were completed, they were opened up for local use. On November 4, 1831, the first complete trip from Newark to Phillipsburg was completed. The canal was 90 miles long; and, the trip from Newark to Phillipsburg took about five days. The first full boating season was 1832. When it was completed to Newark in 1831, the actual cost was $2,104,413. In 1836 the eleven mile extension to Jersey City was added. In Roxbury, there were 3 inclined planes for the Morris Canal east of Lake Hopatcong; two in Ledgewood and one in Shippensport. There was also the Port Morris inclined plane west of the Lake. An 1827 planning map for the Canal shows 2 sawmills in 'Drakesville', now called Ledgewood.

1830's -- A small community known as Brookland develops around the canal lock in what is now Hopatcong State Park. Another dam raises the Lake water level 6 more feet and the Lake becomes known as Lake Hopatcong and over time the name Brookland changed to Brooklyn after NYC's Brooklyn. 

1834 -- A one-room log schoolhouse was constructed in Lower Berkshire Valley, it was replaced in 1871 by a frame building in the same location.  Also in 1834, Charles Shipman, a partner in the Morris Canal Company, builds a sawmill near the top of Canal Inclined Plane Number 1 East, in the area now known as Shippenport. The Mill was powered by the 'bypass' water from the Plane.

1844 -- At Shippenport a small Iron Forge was built by John Slade, to run by the 'bypass' water of the Morris Canal in summer after it powered the sawmill, and by a small natural stream at other seasons. This forge was enlarged by Anson G. P. Segur in the 1870's, and was still in working order when Munsell wrote of it in 1882. Alternate names for this area were Shippensport, Shippmansport, & Shippingport.

1849 -- Rev. T.T. Campbell organized a Methodist class meeting in Succasunna. On July 3, 1850, the members of the church met and elected a Board of Trustees and authorized the building of a church.  Construction of the existing sanctuary and bell tower was begun in 1850 and was dedicated on February 1852. The Rev. William Day was appointed the first pastor.


1850's -- The tracks of the Morris and Essex (later taken over by the Lackawanna) Railroad are laid through the area in 1854. There is a station at the Drakesville (now Ledgewood) crossing, those wishing to go up to Lake Hopatcong were carried by horse drawn carts over the bumpy roads up to the lake.

1853 -- The present Presbyterian Church building in Succasunna was constructed to replace the old.  The first service held was the funeral for Mahlon Dickerson, former New Jersey Judge, US General, New Jersey Governor, US Congressman, and Secretary of the Navy. He is buried in the Church cemetery.  Mr. Dickerson had previously brought President Van Buren to worship in the Church.

1865 -- the Ogden Mine Railroad was built to carry iron ore from the mines in the hills of Jefferson Township to Nolan's Point at the north end of Lake Hopatcong, a distance of ten miles. This ore was transferred to canal boats which were towed by a steam tug across the Lake to "Brooklyn" lock. The boats went through the feeder to the main canal and then east or west depending upon their destination. The Canal company derived at least 50,000 to 60,000 tons of ore freight a year from this business.

1866 -- The most prosperous year of the Morris Canal as it carried almost a million tons of freight. Among the commodities carried were lumber, coal, and iron ore. The canal's business will now dwindle as the faster railroads start to lure away the canal's customers.

1871 -- On March 22, Mt. Olive Township was created by splitting away from Roxbury Township.

1874 -- Ledgewood Baptist Church was founded in 1874 and built a frame church building shortly thereafter at the western edge of Main Street. The present building of natural stone was constructed in 1917 at a site a quarter mile east, also on Main Street.

Morris Canal at Shippensport
The Morris Canal at Shippensport

1880 -- During 1880 the amount of Iron Ore carried by the Morris Canal was 108,000 tons. With a boat normally carrying seventy tons, over 1,540 boat loads were needed to move this cargo. When you consider that the Canal did not "run" on Sunday and during the coldest part of the winter (frozen water), those 1,540 boat loads of Iron Ore had to be moved over a span of less than 260 days, an average of about 6 per day, and that's just Iron Ore loads. In addition there was Timber, Coal, Zinc Ore and other loads carried. This was the last "big" year for Canal shipping.  In another matter, in a report to the "Morris County Sabbath School Association", it's six member churches in Roxbury Township reported that in 1880 they had an average total of 338 students in attendance each week, along with 60 teachers.
1881 -- Much of the Canal Iron Ore business was lost when the Central Railroad of New Jersey took over the Ogden Mine Railroad and laid track to connect it to the Central's High Bridge Branch in 1881. Commercial shipping on the Canal would dwindle during the next 2 decades, the quicker railroads having taken much of the business.

1880s -- Hundreds of local residents are employed in the Lake Hopatcong Ice Industry, cutting Ice on the lake and shipping it by rail to Newark, Paterson and New York City areas before the days of electric refrigeration. Five commercial Ice Houses are around the Lake, with the 'Mountain Ice Company' having a very large Ice House in the Silver Spring section of Landing, off Yellow Barn Ave., near the site of today's Nixon Public School.
A detailed 1887 map of Landing shows Dynamite and Gunpowder works on the grounds of the American Forcite Powder Mfg. Co., later renamed the Atlas Powder Co., located on the southeast shore of Lake Hopatcong. Eventually Atlas would have almost 130 buildings, barns & sheds on their 400 acres that spanned the area along the Lake & up the hill from Shippensport Road to what is today Rogers Drive.  A Railway spur from the Lackawanna served both the Ice House and the Explosives Company. The King brothers, Theodore F. King and William E. King, ran 2 stores on the corner of Lakeside Blvd. and Landing Road. During this time the bridge over the canal and railroad in Landing was made of Iron with wooden planks as a roadway. In the early 1880's the Lackawanna  Railroad built a Passenger Station at  Drakesville (modern day Ledgewood). Horse drawn carriages would then take people up the bumpy road to the lake.  By 1886 the Landing/Lake Hopatcong Railway Station on the Lackawanna Line was built. Steamboats would wait on the Morris Canal in Landing for the passengers to disembark from the train.
1886 -- The "Lake Hopatcong Steamboat Company", commonly known as the Black Line, was founded. The company provided service from the "new" Landing railroad station, built around 1886, to all areas of the Lake by means of a 'feeder canal' that traveled from the Lake at the area of the State Park and connected to the Canal in the area of the current Landing Shopping Center. (The Canal ran parallel to the RR tracks in this area) From there the boats used the Canal to come right up to the Rail station platform, where passengers simply crossed the platform to board the boat sitting in the Canal. (the south end of the Lake was extremely shallow at that time with only rowboats able to pass). The trip back to the Lake took them through the Canal Lock, where the boat was raised to the Lake's higher level. The Lackawanna Railroad, the Black Line & the Canal cooperated in business.

THE LAKE BECOMES A SUMMER RESORT
1890's -- This era saw the blossoming of Lake Hopatcong as the Summer Resort of choice by both the wealthy and the newly middle-class. The wealthy would rent large furnished houses, (called cottages!!) on the waters edge. The middle-class would often set up large canvas tents on wooden platforms and dwell in these for a week or more. All would enjoy the cool "mountain air" afforded by the advertised "1,200 foot elevation of the Lake" (an exaggeration of its' actual 926 foot elevation), a welcome summertime relief from the sweltering cities. Many would come up for the weekend and stay in one of the Hotels or rooming houses that sprang up around the Lake. Most everyone traveled to the Lake via Train, disembarking either at the  Central Railway of New Jersey Station at Nolans Point or at the Landing Station of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western  Railroad. From there they most often traveled to their Lakeside destination via Steamboat!! The roads were poor to non-existent, and besides, the Steamboats were part of the attraction of the Lake! With a growing cluster of Hotels and luxury homes, Mount Arlington was created on November 1, 1890 by splitting away from Roxbury Township. The odd, twisting border between Landing/Roxbury Township and Mt. Arlington seen on maps was created when certain precincts voted to secede, while others did not.
In 1890 the "Hopatcong Steamboat Company", known as the 'White Line' was founded by Theodore King to compete with the established "Black Line". This was a bold move, as the "Black Line" was owned by the same financial syndicate that owned the Lackawanna Railway and the Morris Canal. In a stroke of  entrepreneurial inspiration, King dredged the shallow lower area of Landing Channel to allow his steamboats to come right up to the dock at "The Landing". The Black Line charged passengers to the lakefront hotels a fifty cent fare each way from the railroad station, a sizeable amount in 1890 ! Experienced travelers knew that after they got off the train they could walk across the bridge at Landing and board one of King's boats which only charged a twenty-five cent fare to go out to the hotels and forty cents to return. The trip was also faster, as Kings' boats avoided the trip through the Canal Lock at Lake Hopatcong. 


The photo above shows the "Hopatcong", the flagship of Kings's  'White Line', at the dock in Landing

1899 -- Residents of Lower Berkshire Valley organized to build a non-denominational Protestant Chapel for Worship services, which up to this time had been held in the schoolhouse on Berkshire Valley Rd. In 1926 "Union Chapel" became a Methodist Church.
Succasunna Historic School, Roxbury New Jersey 1904 -- The "Grey" Schoolhouse on Hillside Ave opened for classes in September 1904. It was the first building project done by the new Unified Township School District. Before this period, each locality had a little one room school with it's own Trustee Board. Within several years the Grey building housed all grades from Elementary through High School, with the District also overseeing the Port Morris Elementary School for younger children in that area and the Berkshire Valley Elementary School.
1906 -- The Township purchases the old Chestnut Hill Schoolhouse on Main Street and begins using it as the first Town Hall. About this time the "Morristown Traction Company" Trolley tracks are built, coming from Morristown into Dover, through Mine Hill, and into Roxbury, coming west along Rt. 6 (now Rt. 46), making a turn onto Kenvil Ave, turning right onto Main Street in Succasunna and then into Ledgewood.

1908 -- The "New" Landing Bridge is completed. Built of stone and masonry, it continues to stand to this day. Trolley service comes to Landing. The Morris County Traction Company Trolleys can now go from Morristown all the way up to Lake Hopatcong. The tracks pass over the new bridge and run up Mt. Arlington Blvd. to the picnic area at Bertrand Island. The "Lackawanna Cut-off" begins construction across New Jersey at this time, it is a Railway Engineering marvel, running in a straight level line from just north of Port Morris to the Delaware River. Instead of following the contours of the land, it uses massive amounts of fill and long bridges to traverse valleys. The two large arch bridges which still stand and cross Center Street in Landing/Port Morris are the starting point. Also in 1908, Chester started sending their Senior High School students to Roxbury, by 1911 all Chester High School students went to Roxbury, in the early years by train, then by bus. This arrangement continued through 1958 when Chester and adjacent municipalities set up their own High School.

1912 -- The Mountain Ice Company in the Silver Spring section of  Landing has a huge wooden storage hanger, which burns to the ground in a fire so large the flames lit up the sky all around the Lake. In 1913 an even bigger storage building was built in a fireproof construction of a steel frame and two layers of sheathing of hollow ceramic tile with insulating properties. At the time of it's construction, it's 56 foot height made it the largest Ice House in America. It was said to be able to hold 100,00 tons of ice. It was the largest single-span construction in the USA until Radio City Music Hall was built. It stood near the current day Nixon School. With the advent of electric refrigeration, it closed in 1935 and was torn down in 1939.  Nearby, the home of the plant's Superintendent, the 'Cary' or 'Carey' house, built with the same tile exterior, still stands at 285 Mt. Arlington Blvd.

1918 -- With a rapidly growing population, the "Gray" School building was soon too small. In 1918 the Lincoln School was built, a large modern brick building, located next to the "Grey" School. Roxbury High School was located here for a number of years, with lower grades in "Gray". An addition in 1926 increased the size of the Lincoln School.

1920 - The first Boy Scouts Troop in Roxbury Township was organized in September 1920 as Troop 2, sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church, Succasunna. Rev. Ralph Davy was the Scoutmaster. Troop 2 became Troop 54 in September 1926, with 16 Scouts participating.

1920s -- The Lackawanna Railroad route, with its' station in Landing, becomes the predominant rail link to Lake Hopatcong,  surpassing the Central Railroad of New Jersey station at Nolan's Point. With decreasing Government purchasing after WW I, and increasing land values, the Atlas Dynamite Powder Co. ceases operation in 1923.  In 1922 the Westmoreland Hotel (near the site of today's Station Hardware) had a fire and closed. Shortly thereafter, in 1925, a Restaurant called 'The Westmoreland Dining Room' opened a short distance away at 130 Landing Rd to serve customers who were regulars at the popular Hotel room. 

1922 -- With a growing population, and considering it's distance from the central school, the Washington Elementary School in Port Morris was rebuilt after a fire and enlarged to 8 classrooms. It also served Landing students.

1924 -- The formal shutting down of the Morris Canal as well as the removal of the Steamboat Dock at Landing.

1925 -- The current dam is built in what became the State Park. 

1928 -- Two significant events this year: The death of Theodore F. King and the Morris County Traction Company trolley from Morristown through Landing and up to Bertrand Island ceased operation in February, replaced by a bus line.

1930's -- With the Economic Depression of the 30's, people no longer "weekend" at Lake Hopatcong in large numbers. The Grand Hotels around the Lake start closing, including the last one in Landing: The Silver Springs Park House.

1934 -- Route 10 is built as a major new road linking Essex and Morris Counties. In Roxbury it's route would be pushed through older homes and farmland, running parallel to the old Morris & Sussex Pike, otherwise known as Main Street.

1938 -- With increased population, the Roosevelt School is built as the new High School. It is a large and impressive facility, built at a total cost of half a million dollars, a very large sum in 1938. It is located on Hillside Ave, alongside the Grey & Lincoln Schools.

1940 -- On September 12, an explosion at the Hercules Powder Co. plant in Kenvil kills 51 workers. An industrial accident was suspected. Within months the plant was back in operation producing munitions for the British for the War in Europe.

THE MODERN ERA
1946 -- Although new homes were being planned, Succasunna still had many farms in the immediate post-war era:

"Wait 'til the cows Come Home. Literally, that is what I did - waited! In my car, on Eyland Avenue, just past Righter Road, heading south toward Condit Street, tired after a long day's work, with a meal still to be cooked, I sat watching the cows cross my path on their way home. It was a herd of dairy cows that blocked my way as effectively as those sheep in England can fill a road. They were on their way from the luscious green, sunny meadow on my left to Flying Duck Farm's barn on my right. They walked at a slow, sedate pace, one after the other; no jostling for position to be head bovine, no pushing nor crowding. These were ladies. Occasionally there was a soft mooing and a tinkle of a cow bell, sounds I liked hearing that reminded me of my childhood home in western Pennsylvania. The cows were going home to rest after their long day of chewing cud and manufacturing milk for hungry infants, cream for coffee and other good things. I hadn't realized when I came to Succasunna in 1946 that I was so far out in the country. Cows, this close to the city! Why there weren't more than five miles between towns - no room for cow pastures! How wrong I was! There were several cow pastures in this area. Just beyond Frying Duck Farm, bordering Condit Street and Eyland Avenue, was the farm pasture managed by Mr. Metz. Another half mile south on Eyland Avenue was Mr. Denton's Black Angus beef herd. Yes, one could get the good smell of country right here in Succasunna. It was worth the wait 'til the cows come home. Over the years, the city crowded closer. A magician turned the cows into houses and the pastures into developments with fancy names such as Sunrise Park, Beechwood Estates, Eyland Woods, and Whitegates Estates. Now I wait on Eyland Avenue and Righter Road for the traffic light to change. The cows are barely a memory, but if I relax and close my eyes, I can still see them sedately move and hear them moo to the music of a cow bell"  (As recalled by Janis French of Kenvil in 2002)

1950 -- A Drive-in Movie opens near the Ledgewood Traffic Circle, originally called the Garden Auto-Torium, with space for over one hundred cars. It was commonly called the Ledgewood Drive-in. Also in 1950, the Hillside Lutheran Brethren Church was organized among a community of Scandinavian heritage and evangelical beliefs.

1951 -- During excavation work under Succasunna Presbyterian Church, the bones of many Revolutionary War Soldiers were found, as the original building had served as a Hospital during that time. These were then reburied in the adjacent Cemetery. 

The post war building boom comes to Roxbury Township, with many fine suburban homes built. The new homes brought many new children, with a need for new schools.  In 1957 the Franklin Elementary School on Meeker Street in Succasunna  was constructed with 15 classrooms. Soon, a need for a larger, modern High School was felt and the Eisenhower School on Eyland Ave was completed in early 1961. In 1964 the Jefferson Elementary School was completed to serve the burgeoning growth south of Rt. 10. Landing children attended the Elementary School in Port Morris up until this time and in 1969 Nixon Elementary School on Mt. Arlington Blvd in Landing  was completed, leading to the closing down of the old Elementary School in Port Morris in June, 1971. Also in 1969 the Kennedy Elementary School on Pleasant Hill Rd in Succasunna was opened. In 1972 the new, larger Roxbury High School was built, allowing the Eisenhower School to be used as a Middle School.

1958 --A modern Fire Station opens for Roxbury Fire Co. No. 3 to protect the Lower Berkshire Valley and Kenvil sections of town.

1960 -- Ten committed families band together to form Temple Shalom, the first Jewish Synagogue in Roxbury Township. Previously, local families had traveled to the Temple in Dover or elsewhere for services. Initially meeting at “borrowed” facilities, in 1965 they built their own modern building on S. Hillside Ave.

1963 --The recently organized Roxbury Township Historical Society scores a major victory in saving the "Salt Box House" from demolition. Dating from Colonial times, the Salt Box was the home of Silas Riggs and other members of the Riggs family. The house was moved several blocks west to it's new home in the Ledgewood Historic District. In 1965 the Society would publish the first of three volumes of Roxbury Township Historical books.


1974 -- A new, modern Roxbury Public Library building is opened on Main St Succasunna, replacing an adjacent house which had served as the Library.

1986 -- The Ledgewood Drive-in Movie closes, several years later a "BJ's Warehouse" retail store was built on the site.

1998 -- After hundreds of fender-benders, the infamous Ledgewood Traffic Circle is replaced by a triangle and a common traffic light.

Even with all the new homes built, many remnants of the Roxbury of over 150 years ago remain, including:
The Silas Riggs House on Main Street, Ledgewood, the Cary Stone House and the Jacob Drake house, both on 
Emmans Rd with all three dating to Colonial days, the Theodore King Store on Main Street, Ledgewood, 
dating to circa 1826, the Canal Lockkeepers House at the State Park circa 1830, the brick and stonework foundations 
of the Morris Canal and Saw Mill off Shippensport Road dating to circa 1830-1870.

This page can only begin to cover the rich history of Roxbury. Although this site originated as an independent effort, we now work cooperatively with and appreciate the work of the area Historical organizations:

1. The "King Store" at 211 Main Street in Ledgewood, operated by Theodore F. King from 1874 through 1928, is now open for short tours on the second Sunday of each month from 1-4 PM. Operated by volunteers from the Roxbury Historic Trust, this is well worth a visit. Books detailing Roxbury and local history are on sale, along with souvenir postcards. The Trust is also restoring the 1881 King Victorian House. Roxbury Historic Trust Inc., 209 Main St, Ledgewood, NJ 07852   tel# 973-927-7603  or 973-584-7903. 

2. The Roxbury Township Historical Society operates the historic circa 1770-1805 "Silas Riggs Saltbox House" at 213 Main Street in Ledgewood, usually open on the second Sunday afternoon of each month. They also sponsor an evening lecture series, open to the public, as well as the very popular "A Saltbox Christmas", an Open House with an Olde Fashioned Christmas Soup Supper, held in early December, free to the public. They work co-operatively with the Historic Trust, together staffing the 3 buildings that make up the Ledgewood Historic District. Roxbury Township Historical Society, PO Box 18, Succasunna, NJ 07876.  tel# 973-584-6931 or 973-584-2676. 

Information for this page came from a variety of sources, including:

Beck, Henry C. "TALES AND TOWNS OF NORTHERN NEW JERSEY". 1964. Rutgers University Press.
Bolles, John R. & Williams, Anna B.  "THE ROGERENES", 1904, Stanhope Press, Boston.
Crayon, J.P. "Rockaway Records of Morris County, N.J. Families". 1902
Greenidge, Frances. "CHESTER, NEW JERSEY, A SCRAPBOOK OF HISTORY", 1971, Chester Historical Society
Honeyman, A. Van Doren,  Northwestern New Jersey : A History of Somerset, Morris, Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex counties .  1927
Hosking, Annie S. & Meeker, Harriet  "THE HISTORY OF ROXBURY TOWNSHIP" Vol. I & II  Roxbury  Township Historical Society
Kane, Martin. "HOPATCONG - A CENTURY OF MEMORIES" , Arcadia Publishing
Lewis Publishing,  "Biographical History of Morris County New Jersey".  1914
Lum, Edward H.  "Genealogy of the Lum Family" 1927
Munsell, W.W.  "History of Morris County, New Jersey",  1882, reprinted in 1967 by Morris County Historical Society
Murray, Stuart A.P.  "HISTORY OF HOPATCONG BOROUGH" , 1976 Hopatcong Bicentennial Committee
Seraly, Ruthann & Lyman, Frances; "OLD HOMES OF ROXBURY TOWNSHIP", Roxbury Township Historical Society
Thompson, Mary Wolfe. "THEODORE FRELINGHUYSEN WOLFE", 1961, privately published
Wolfe, Theodore F.  "THE ROGERENES", an article in THE DOVER IRON ERA, July 18, 1890
Wolfe, Theodore F.  "THE NAME SUCCASUNNA", an article in THE DOVER IRON ERA, February 27, 1891
ROXBURY HIGH SCHOOL YEARBOOKS, 1921, 1929, 1955
The Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum,   PO Box 668,  Landing, New Jersey  07850
"THE LAKE HOPATCONG BREEZE" - Various Issues
plus Oral Histories from Tom Valiante, Barb Seckler, George Vesel, Charlie B., Joe F. and Veronica B. shared with the Website Editor.

If you know Roxbury history and can add to or correct this page,
you can e-mail the Editor at:   Editor @ RoxburyNewJersey.com
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