Millburn Township is a residential community located in the southwest corner of Essex County. The township began as a colonial settlement with agricultural origins, followed by a 19th century mill/factory market and eventually became a Victorian — and later — residential community. Millburn Township was once part of Elizabethtown and Newark settlements in New Jersey, created by a grant from Charles II to his brother James in 1664. In 1793 Springfield Township was created and it included Millburn. In 1835 the Morris and Essex Railroad was finally completed, linking Millburn to the big cities in the east and the coal regions in the northwest. Millburn has had many names, from Rum Brook, Vauxhall, Milltown, and Millville. In 1857 Springfield became part of the new Union County and Millburn became a separate township within Essex County.
The Township is easy to reach via the midtown direct line of New Jersey Transit, the Garden State Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike, and is also convenient to Routes 24 and 78.
New Jersey Magazine has ranked the Millburn Township school system among the top 3 school districts in the state. In addition, Township schools also receive a national ranking as having one of the most academically challenging high schools in the country, offering many advance placement courses to students who excel in those classes.
The Township offers a wide variety of recreation programs, including a community pool and a par 3 golf course, in addition, Millburn Township has many fine restaurants, a movie theater, and the Hilton Short Hills (listed as a AAA rated 5 Diamond Hotel).
Millburn has a wide variety of cultural events, including the renowned Paper Mill Playhouse and the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary. Shopping in Millburn Township Millburn Township offers upscale, high-end, 5th avenue shopping along with the quaint small town shopping of a traditional downtown. The Mall at Short Hills is a regional shopping center in which many fine shops and stores are located. The downtown and local shopping areas offer a variety of specialty shops, service-based businesses, and professional offices.
Most residents live in single family homes. Millburn is comprised of the historic Wyoming district, and South Mountain and Millburn Center areas. Short Hills contains the sections of Knollwood, Glenwood, Brookhaven, Country Club, Merrywood, Deerfield-Crossroads, Mountaintop, White Oak Ridge, and Old Short Hills Estates.
The landscape of Millburn has determined its expansion. The last glacier that covered North America culminated here, forming a “terminal morraine.” As the glacier melted and retreated, it deposited a layer of sand, silt, clay, and boulders over the hard basalt substructure, creating irregular surfaces. The first inhabitants, the Lenape Indians, beat trails around these small or ‘short’ hills; streams cascading through them fueled colonial mills and 19th century factories; the railroad was built at the base of their slopes; and developers of suburban homes found knolls and uneven terrain attractive building sites.
With George Washington’s army camped at Morristown and the British attacking through the Hobart Gap, Millburn was brought into the Revolutionary War. Washington supposedly viewed his troops from over a strategic point in the South Mountain Reservation, now known as Washington Rock.
The Battle of Springfield, June 23, 1780, marked the last thrust of the British into New Jersey and the first battle since Bunker Hill won by local militia supporting Continental troops.
The Rahway River was dammed in five places to form mill ponds. Samuel Campbell built the first paper mill in 1790 and manufactured banknotes. Most of the early mills were paper mills, among them the Diamond Mill, now the site of the Paper Mill Playhouse, but hat mills eventually became dominant.
In 1857 ‘Millburn’ was chosen, somewhat because many of the town’s residents were from Scotland and the mill burn (Scotch word for ‘river’ or ‘stream’) reminded them of home.
In 1872 the Wyoming Land and Improvement Company purchased roughly 100 acres of land and the first speculative real estate development was started and named Wyoming. Stewart Hartshorn then acquired 1552 acres to build his ideal village called Short Hills, the first planned commuter suburb in America.
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