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West Milford is a township in Passaic Countymarker, New Jerseymarker, United Statesmarker. As of the United States 2000 Census, the township population was 26,410.

History

West Milford started out as New Milford in western Passaic Countymarker in the 1700s, having been settled by disenchanted Dutch from Milford, New Jersey (later renamed by the British as Newark). These same Dutch also built a town of New Milford in eastern Bergen Countymarker. By chance both New Milfords applied for a post office in 1828. As the traditional story goes, a clerk in Washington, D.C.marker saw New Milford in eastern Bergen County and approved their application for a post office. Next seeing a second New Milford in (what was then still) western Bergen County, the word "NEW" was crossed out and the word "WEST" was written in, then the application was approved. Thus, the town found out when they received their approval and New Milford in western Bergen County had become West Milford with the stroke of a quill pen.

West Milford became a municipality by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 10, 1834, when it was formed from the westernmost portions of both Franklin Township and Saddle River Township, while the area was still part of Bergen Countymarker. On February 7, 1837, Passaic County was created from portions of both Bergen County and Essex Countymarker, with West Milford as the western end of the newly formed county.

There are old name places in the township like Postville, Utterville, Corterville, Browns, Awosting, Echo Lake, Macopinmarker, Charlotteburg (named after King George III's wife, Queen Charlotte and the town is now under the Charlotteburg Reservoir), Clinton (or sometimes called Clinton Furnace, now under the Clinton Reservoir, and the furnace still stands), Moe Mountain, Oak Ridge (a nameplace, but town is under the Oak Ridge Reservoir), Newfoundland, Apshawa, New City, and Smith Mills. Newfoundlandmarker is divided by the Pequannock River, which divides Passaic and Morrismarker Counties; a small part of Newfoundland lays within Jefferson Township. A large part of the township is reservoir property owned by the City of Newarkmarker in Essex Countymarker for their water supply. Prior to the Second World War, the township was a resort area with trains coming from New York City to stations at Charlotteburg, Newfoundland, Oak Ridge in the south and Hewitt (also known as Sterling Forest station) and Awosting in the north. Railroad service in the south was from the New Jersey Midland starting around the 1850s and in the north around the 1870s from the Montclair Railroad, out of Montclair, New Jerseymarker and later the Erie Railroad (before their merger with the Lackawanna Railroad).

Greenwood Lakemarker is an interstate lake approximately long lying in both New Jersey and New York Statemarker. It was originally called Long Pond. It was dammed up to increase the size of the lake for water power down stream. During the resort era, several steamboats operated on the lake, the most famous and grand was the two deck steamer, Montclair. These steamboats met the trains and took passengers to the various resorts around the lake in both states.

There is a seaplane area on Greenwood Lake, a few large marinas and lakeside restaurants with docks. There is a public airport called Greenwood Lake Airportmarker just south of the lake on top of a mountain ridge and has two landing strips; one is long enough to handle small jets. Plus there is one private airport in the township on a private estate.

After World War II and for the next 20 years the area underwent a major change from a resort area to year round residences. Before there were year-round houses, the summer residence of Cecil B. Demille was West Milford. Road maps of the 1950s showing the population on the backside said 2,000 winter and 10,000 summer, now say 26,485 [Source: Hagstrom Maps].

Jeremiah "Jerry" Goodfellow, a white German shepherd and the senior canine member of the New Jersey Search and Rescue was inducted into the Animal Hall of Fame in 2009. Jerry lives with his owner and trainer, Sue Lavoie, on Union Valley Road in West Milford.

Idylease

Guest playing croquet on the front lawn of Idylease circa 1903.


Idylease Innmarker located in Newfoundland was erected 1902, and is an architecturally and historically significant example of early 20th century resort architecture in Northwest New Jersey. While there were a number of guest houses and hotels near present day route 23, (most notably Brown’s Hotel also in Newfoundland), Greenwood Lake was the location for the largest concentration of resort hotels in the area. Greenwood Lake straddles the New Jersey/New York state boundary, and by 1875 had the Montclair and Greenwood Lake Railroad running along the east shore to Sterling Forrest. At Sterling Forrest, the passengers would leave the train and take a steamboat to their respective hotel destination. The largest and most famed of these steamboats was the Montclair, which could carry up to 400 passengers. Newfoundland was situated on the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad. These trains used the Pennsylvania Railroad Station in Jersey City that had ferry connections at Cortlandt, Debrosses and Twenty Third Streets in New York and Fulton Street in Brooklyn.

Of all the hotels and boarding houses in West Milford, not one hotel remains standing from the heyday of the lake front resort era. Idylease Inn is the last existent structure. The coming of roads and the automobile in the early 20's was the beginning of the end for the trains and hotels in the "grand manner". A number of the old resort hotels were torn down or in the case of The Long Pond Inn and Brown's Hotel, destroyed by fire. By the early 1930s, train service to Greenwood Lake and Newfoundland had declined to such a point that the stations were abandoned and later torn down and the tracks removed. Recently, freight rail service has been restored on the Susquehanna line running through Newfoundland.

Idylease remains the last surviving example of resort facilities in the area, it recalls the popularity of the region as the vacationland for the middle class in the late nineteenth century. It was declared the first local historic landmark by the Township of West Milford Historic Preservation Commission on October 4, 1988

West Milford Township is covered by four postal ZIP codes:

There are a number of residential lake communities, now converted over to year-round, that had been summer resorts. Some of these lake communities include Greenwood Lake, Upper Greenwood Lake, Pinecliff Lake, Gordon Lakes, Kitchell Lake, West Milford Lake and Lindy Lake.

West Milford is also the home of "haunted" Clinton Roadmarker.

West Milford has many housing developments within the township, including Rockburn Estates, Birch Hill Estates, Highview Estates, Eisenhower Estates, Maple Ridge Estates, Olde Milford Estates, Village on Ridge, Highcrest Estates, Castle Rock Estates and Fieldstone Estates.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 208.3 km2 (80.4 sq mi). 75.4 square miles (195.4 km2) of it is land and 5.0 square miles (12.9 km2) of it (6.18%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 26,410 people, 9,190 households, and 7,186 families residing in the township. The population density was 350.1 people per square mile (135.2/km2). There were 9,909 housing units at an average density of 131.4/sq mi (50.7/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 95.08% White, 1.23% African American, 0.60% Native American, 1.02% Asian, 0.61% from other races, and 1.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.38% of the population.

There were 9,190 households out of which 39.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.3% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.8% were non-families. 16.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the township the population was spread out with 27.2% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 33.6% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 100.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.4 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the township was $87,502, and the median income for a family was $97,658. Males had a median income of $51,105 versus $37,159 for females. The per capita income for the township was $28,612. About 2.6% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.1% of those under age 18 and 2.9% of those age 65 or over.

Newfoundland and Green Pond

Newfoundland is a neighborhood of West Milford located along the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway (NYS&W Rwy, formerly NYS&W RR) tracks (freight service only) and Route 23. It is also a mailing address for Green Pondmarker (just north of the Picatinny Arsenal in Rockaway Townshipmarker, Morris Countymarker), a private lake community owned by Green Pond Corporation and Lake End Corporation, which lays in Rockaway Township where the Pequannock River divides Passaic County from Morris Countymarker.

The 2003 film The Station Agent was set, and filmed, largely in Newfoundland. There was an early non-talking movie produced in the township at the Mine Hole in the Hewitt section of the township. A still photo of that movie is published in the township's Sesquicentennial book entitled The Day the Earth Shook and the Sky Turned Red, copyright 1984.

Commerce

For decades, West Milford was rural with only a couple service stations, a couple small eating establishments, and a bank or two. The community was mostly residential. In the mid 1960s a then-average-sized A&P Supermarket was built. In 1972, Warner Brothers opened up a wildlife theme park called Jungle Habitat. Initially this brought huge tourist revenue to the township. Jungle Habitat was a mixed blessing due to the amount of summer and weekend traffic into this rural area made up of small two lane roads. Jungle Habitat wanted to expand and become a huge amusement park, but residents concerned with excessive traffic voted this proposal down in 1976, which resulted in an abrupt closing and exit. The wildlife park was subsequently moved to Jackson Township, New Jerseymarker and became home to Six Flags Great Adventuremarker and Wild Safari. The former site of Jungle Habitat, in recent years has become a location for various Township activities such as the annual Fourth of July Fireworks display.

With the loss of tax revenue and the needs of the residents in mind, the township did approve the addition of more businesses to the township. In the late 1970s, a ShopRite supermarket was built, and was expanded in the mid-1980s. Shortly after other businesses joined the area. Near the ShopRite are several restaurants and fast food establishments were built including McDonald's as well as a four-screen movie theater.In the late 1990s, A & P closed its obsolete store and built a supermarket a few miles away from the town center, but next door to their former store.

West Milford businesses are represented by the West Milford Chamber of Commerce, an organization of business men and women that has been in existence since 1949. Its mission is to improve and enhance the business community in West Milford.

In May 2009, Eden Farms, an eight acre floral farm on Union Valley Road, became the first "preserved farm" in Passaic County. County officials used money from the Farmland Preservation Funds to purchase development rights to the farm. Owners George and Diana Cluff initially began working on the agreement in 2007. The deal prevents the farm from being built upon.

Law and government

Local government

The Township of West Milford operates under the Faulkner Act: New Jersey’s Optional Municipal Charter Law, Mayor-Council-Administrator Plan as of January 1, 2004. This plan is described as a "Faulknerized" version of the borough form of government. The Legislature accepted the recommendation of the commission, and added the Mayor-Council-Administrator plan to the Faulkner Act as the fourth optional form of municipal government in 1981.

The voters of West Milford Township adopted the Mayor-Council-Administrator Plan at a Special Election held on December 10, 2002. Under the mayor-council-administrator plan, West Milford is governed by an elected mayor and council, with an appointed municipal administrator. The government consists of a Mayor and a Township Council made up of six council members, with all positions elected at large. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Township Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year.

The Mayor holds executive power under the mayor-council-administrator plan. The Mayor presides over meetings of the Township Council but does not vote except to break a tie. When the Township Council passes an ordinance, the Mayor has ten days upon receiving it to exercise one of three options: 1. sign the ordinance into law; or, 2. veto all or any part of it by delivering it to the Township Clerk with a written statement of his objections for return to the Township Council; or 3. let the ordinance become law automatically by neither signing nor vetoing it within the ten days of receiving it.

If the Mayor vetoes an ordinance, the Township Council can override it by a ⅔ majority vote. The Mayor’s veto, however, in the mayor-council-administrator plan, as in the borough form, is rather ineffectual. In both forms of government the four vote simple majority needed to pass an ordinance is also the ⅔ extra-majority needed to override the Mayor’s veto. In both forms, the Mayor’s veto is more of a symbolic gesture.

The Mayor appoints, with the advice and consent of the Township Council, the Township Administrator, the Township Clerk, the Township Attorney, the Tax Assessor, the Tax Collector, the Treasurer and such other officers as may be provided by ordinance.

The Township Council’s responsibilities include enacting ordinances and resolutions, establishing policies, preparing the annual budget with the assistance of the Township Administrator and the Treasurer, and levying taxes. Additionally, the council makes appointments to both the policy and decision-making boards and various advisory committees in accordance with general law and Township ordinances and resolutions.

The Township Administrator in the mayor-council-administrator plan supervises the administration of each of the departments established by ordinance, may investigate the organization and operation of any municipal department, prescribe standards and rules of administrative practice and procedure, and consult with the department heads. The Township Administrator also directs the business affairs of the Township, and has, as provided by ordinance, such powers and performs such duties which are not required by the mayor-council-administrator plan or by general law to be exercised by the Mayor, Township Council or other officer, board or body. The Township Administrator serves during the term of the Mayor appointing him, however the Township Council may remove the administrator by a ⅔ majority vote.

The Mayor of West Milford Township is Bettina Bieri, whose term of office ends December 31, 2011. Members of the Township Council are Marilyn Lichtenberg (R) (2010), Robert Nolan (D) (2010), Carmelo P. Scangarello (R) (2008), Salvatore Schimmenti (R) (2009), Joseph Smolinski (R) (2009), and Philip H. Weisbecker (R) (2008).On November 4, 2008, township residents elected Dan Jurkovic (R) to fill the vacancy left by Scangarello, who did not run for re-election. Weisbecker won his bid for re-election.On November 3, 2009, the citizens of West Milford reelected Council President Joseph Smolinski (R) to another 3 year term. His running mate, Michael Ramaglia (R), was also elected and will assume the seat of Salvatore Schimmenti, who chose to not see reelection.

Federal, state and county representation

West Milford Township is in the Fifth Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 26th Legislative District.

Current Issues

Many problems are currently facing the town. Due to the fact that a majority of the town resides in wetlands, consists of state owned land, or is protected by the Highlands Act, it is near impossible to build or make new roads. Buildings that do get put up require a lengthy period of time.

Also, the township of West Milford is responsible for preserving the various bodies of water around town. This water cannot be used by the city as it is protected by the state and used primarily by the city of Newarkmarker. West Milford is forced to use its own revenue to fund for the preservation whilst Newark is paid for the water for usage by Budweiser. For years, the township has fought the state to no avail at receiving tax benefits and/or payment by the city of Newark.

Education

The West Milford Township Public Schoolsmarker serve 4,500 students in Kindergarten through twelfth grade. West Milford has six elementary schools (grades K-6), one middle school (grade 7-8), and one high school (grades 9-12). Further, the district supports a Center for Adult/Community Education. The school system has 361 certified staff members, over 50% of whom have a master's degree or higher.

Schools in the district are West Milford High Schoolmarker (known for its kilted pipers and Scottish-themed marching band, the Highlanders), Macopin Middle School, and the six elementary schools: Maple Road School, Westbrook School, Apshawa School, Upper Greenwood Lake School, Paradise Knoll School and the Marshall Hill School.

There is also one Catholic school, Our Lady Queen of Peace, located in the community of Hewitt. OLQP School celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2009, and was honored to have its Fourth Grade teacher, Lorraine Ford, named as a finalist for the 2008 New Jersey Nonpublic School Teacher of the Year award.

The old Newfoundland, two-room schoolhouse is now the Village Square Inn Restaurant. The old Hillcrest School is now the township's community center. The few one-room schoolhouses are all gone; the last one was the Hewitt School, destroyed by fire set by vandals (it had been the former Methodist church before a new, larger church was built).

Sports

West Milford sports are overseen by the township department of Community Services and Recreation. The township has individual organizations that run each youth sports program, including West Milford Little League Baseball (WMLL), West Milford Police Athletic League (PAL) Basketball, West Milford PAL Soccer, West Milford PAL Cheerleading, West Milford-Star Athletics Cheerleading, West Milford Midget Football Association (WMMFA) Football, WMMFA Cheerleading, West Milford Amateur Baseball Association (WMABA) Baseball, and West Milford Softball. These organizations work collaboratively to provide the best athletic experience for township residents.

West Milford also offers a variety of travel sports teams to offer selected athletes a higher level of competition. These teams include (or have previously included) West Milford Xtreme softball, West Milford Wolverines baseball, West Milford Wolfpack baseball, West Milford Warhawks baseball, West Milford Wildcats basketball, West Milford-Star Athletics competition cheerleading, West Milford/Jackson Elite-Hurricanes baseball,PC Crush baseball and the Connie Mack baseball program.

Some township athletic accomplishments are listed below:

Youth Sports:

--Little League All-Stars (Baseball): In 2004, the West Milford 10 Year-Old National All-Stars placed second in the New Jersey, losing the state championship to the team from Jackson, New Jerseymarker. That team won the New Jersey District-2 title and the New Jersey Section-1 title en route to the state finals. In 2006, a team made up of most of the same players placed second in the state in 12 year old All-star play. They lost to the team from Livingston, New Jerseymarker, who went on to place second in the Mid-Atlantic Region. This team again won the District-2 and Section-1 championships. Also in 2004, the 12 Year-Old American All-Stars won the District-2 championship.

In 2007, the West Milford 12 Year-Old and 10 Year-Old All-Star teams both won their respective District-2 championships.

In 2008 and 2009, the West Milford 10 year old all stars again won their respective District-2 championships.

--PAL Wildcats (Travel Basketball): In 2004-05, the West Milford Wildcats-4 travel team won the Morris County Boys and Girls Club League championship. That same team, after moving up to be the Wildcats-5, won the Lakeland Basketball League championship, the first in the West Milford PAL program's history, in 2005.

In 2006-07, the Wildcats-4 team finished the season undefeated in league play. The Wildcats-5 team won the Lakeland Basketball League championship. In 2007-08, both the Wildcats-5 and Wildcats-6 teams won the championship of their respective age brackets of the New Jersey Junior Basketball League. In 2008-2009 the Wildcats-6 team won the championship for the third time.

--Pony Softball: In 2007, the West Milford 14U Pony softball team won second in the state and advanced to the National Tournament.

--Travel Baseball (West Milford Wolverines, West Milford Wolfpack, West Milford Warhawks, West Milford/Jackson Elite-Hurricanes, West Milford Connie Mack program, PC Crush): West Milford's travel baseball programs have combined to win over 100 league and tournament championships. These programs serve competitive young athletes of the township, and programs are offered at every age level.

For more about the athletic programs at West Milford High Schoolmarker, please visit the "Athletics" section of that page.

Notable residents

Notable current and former residents of West Milford include:C & M World Wide

References

  1. "The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968", John P. Snyder, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 211.
  2. Local search dog inducted into hall of fame
  3. Eden Farms forever preserved, West Milford Messenger, June, 2009
  4. Eden Farms gains preserved status, Suburban Trends, May, 2009
  5. Government, West Milford Township. Accessed July 1, 2008.
  6. 2005 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book, Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, April 2006, p. 121.
  7. West Milford Township Government, West Milford Township. Accessed February 26, 2006.
  8. West Milford Township Council, West Milford Township. Accessed July 24, 2007.
  9. 2008 New Jersey Citizen's Guide to Government, New Jersey League of Women Voters, p. 66. Accessed September 30, 2009.
  10. http://www.stdomschool.org/stdom/Announcements/Mrs.%20Mara%20Tiernan%20Named%20NJ%20Nonpublic%20School%20Teacher%20of%20the%20Year.pdf
  11. Wikipedia. [1].
  12. Edmond, Teresa. "NORTH JERSEY - King Centre performers strut stuff at MSG", Suburban Trends, March 30, 2008. Accessed DEcember 15, 2008.
  13. DiTrani, Vinny. "FRIEDMAN WORKS HIS WAY BACK -- NFL IN SIGHT AFTER MAJOR KNEE SURGERY ", The Record , May 14, 2000. Accessed July 24, 2007. "It was just another hurdle the West Milford native had to clear..."
  14. Sampson, Peter J. "W. MILFORD MAN TOLD WIFE OF PLAN TO STORM COCKPIT", The Record , September 13, 2001. Accessed July 20, 2008.
  15. Rohan, Virginia. "Former fan now in charge of 'Sesame Street'", The Record , August 13, 2007. Accessed August 13, 2007.
  16. Fox, Ron. "WEST MILFORD'S WALKER STILL A FACE IN THE CROWD", The Record , February 25, 1991. Accessed July 1, 2008.
  17. Anderson, Dave. "Sports of The Times; The Olympics Don't Need Us vs. Them", The New York Times, February 16, 1992. Accessed October 17, 2007. "That's what Donna Weinbrecht of West Milford, N.J., did in winning the first women's gold medal in a new Olympic sport, freestyle mogul skiing."
  18. via Associated Press. "'Hazzard' actor Tom Wopat faces DUI", MSNBC, March 17, 2006. Accessed July 1, 2008. "Wopat, 54, of West Milford, was released into the custody of his girlfriend, Maer said."


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