Hunterdon County is a county located in the western section of the U.S. state of New Jersey. The county had a Census-estimated population of 125,488 in 2015. It is part of the New York Metropolitan Area. Its county seat is Flemington.
Hunterdon County was established on March 11, 1714, separating from Burlington County, at which time it included all of present-day Morris, Sussex and Warren counties. The rolling hills and rich soils which produce bountiful agricultural crops drew Native American tribes and then Europeans to the area.
Much of the county is hilly, with several hills rising to one thousand feet in elevation. The highest points are two areas in Lebanon Township, one on the Morris County line, both reaching approximately 1,060 feet above sea level. The first is at Smith on the Morris County line and the second is north of the area called Little Brook. This area is known as the Highlands of New Jersey. The lowest elevation is where the Mercer County line reaches the Delaware River, approximately 50 feet above sea level. The county is drained by the Musconetcong River in the north. The river flows in a southwest direction. The Lamington River drains the county in the east. The central portion of the county is drained by the South Branch of the Raritan River.
Transitioning from rural to suburban, Hunterdon County is an exurb on the western edge of New Jersey and home to commuters to New York City and Philadelphia. Rail service to the northern part of the county from Newark Penn Station is provided to High Bridge, Annandale, Lebanon and Whitehouse Station by New Jersey Transit’s Raritan Valley Line. U.S. Route 22 and U.S. Route 202 and Interstate 78 pass through the county.
Morris County, among the fastest growing counties in the Tristate Metropolitan region, is nestled amid rolling hills, broad valleys and glittering lakes approximately 30 miles northwest of New York City.
Rich in historic lore and tradition, Morris County was created by an Act of the State Legislature on March 15, 1738 separating it from Hunterdon County, one of the state’s largest counties of the period. Named after Colonel Lewis Morris, then Governor of the Province of New Jersey, it originally included what are now the counties of Morris, Sussex and Warren.
The county today combines natural beauty and pleasant suburban living with proximity to metropolitan surroundings. Its rolling landscape is dotted with lakes and rivers which form most of its boundaries with the adjacent counties of Essex, Union, Somerset, Warren, Sussex and Passaic.
Much of its beauty has been protected and preserved by the Board of Chosen Freeholders through its Park Commission, formed by referendum in 1955 to set aside and develop land for leisure time and recreational use. Nearly 11,000 acres make up the system, one of New Jersey’s finest. Included are outdoor education centers, a marina, golf courses, a riding stable, indoor ice skating arena, cultural center, arboretums, and numerous types of hiking, cycling, wildflower and nature trails.
At its most distant points, the county stretches 30 miles from east to west and 30 miles from north to south. Its temperatures vary widely from area to area, averaging in the middle 20’s in the winter months and the low 70’s in the summer. About 50 inches of rain and 35 inches of snow fall each year.
Hills and valleys that run east-west, with rocky outcrops as high as 1,000 feet above sea level, have long hindered transportation from north to south. Major interstate highways (80, 10, 46, 287 and 280) connect many municipalities.
There are 39 municipalities in the 477.8 square mile county, varying in size from tiny Victory Gardens Borough with 1,314 residents to Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, with almost 48,500 residents. All together more than 421,000 persons reside in Morris County.
During the Revolutionary War, Morris County was known as The Military Capital of the American Revolution, because of its strategic location, which prompted Gen. George Washington and his Continental Army to make their winter encampments near Morristown on two different winters. Much of the historic lore of these encampments is preserved today in Morristown National Historical Park. The beautiful 127-acre Frelinghuysen Arboretum offers a serene place to learn more about plants well-suited to the soils and climate of Morris County. Surrounding a magnificent Colonial Revival mansion, the woodlands, meadows, beautiful gardens and distinctive collections of trees and shrubs make an ideal setting for leisurely strolls.
NJ Transit operates an extensive commuter rail network, particularly in northern New Jersey. It offers connections with other rail service, including PATH, MTA, Amtrak, SEPTA, and PATCO. Morristown Line and Gladstone Branch both have service to New York Penn Station, Newark-Broad Street Station, and Hoboken. The Montclair-Boonton Line provides service to Hoboken with connections to New York.
Somerset County is at the hub of Central New Jersey. Its 21 municipalities, which encompass 305 square miles, contain a diversity of landscape, population, and development that reflects the varied lifestyles of its estimated 332,568 residents.
As one of America’s oldest counties, Somerset is steeped in colonial and Revolutionary War history. The county was established by charter on May 22, 1688, with land conveyances dating to 1651. Historic sites, monuments, and buildings are found in virtually every town, preserved for future generations.
Located in the heart of the nation’s largest metropolitan area, Somerset County contains a balance between urban and suburban neighborhoods and rural country-sides. Fine residential communities, beautiful parks, excellent shopping areas, extensive farmlands, numerous historic sites and outstanding business and industry all make Somerset County a desirable place to live, work, and play.
The county’s 14,382 acres of parkland include golf courses, picnic areas, hiking and bicycling trails, stables, a swimming pool, an Environmental Education Center, and the County Fairgrounds, which each year hosts the Somerset County 4-H Fair. The county has preserved 8,239 acres of farmland through its Agriculture Development Program, and another 3,253 acres of greenways through the County/Municipal Open Space Partnership Grant Program.
The higher educational facilities – Raritan Valley Community College and Somerset County Vocational & Technical Schools – are among the finest in the state. The college, a two-year school in Branchburg, includes a library/theater complex, a convention center, and a planetarium; it also has satellite campuses in Bridgewater and Franklin.
Many boards, commissions, and advisory groups help the Freeholders determine priorities and procedures in areas ranging from farmland preservation to human services delivery. Members, who serve without compensation, perform a valuable service to their community.
Environmental protection, conservation of resources, shared services, and proper planning for future growth and development – all are major goals for county government. The Board of Chosen Freeholders remains dedicated to serving the residents of Somerset County and to maintaining the county’s nationwide reputation for excellence.
From the 15th to 17th Centuries, the Dutch and English were drawn to this area, then occupied by the Lenni Lenapi Indians, because of its incredibly easy access by sea. They developed the first colonial settlements in the area because of its natural beauty, vast abundance of fertile fields and natural resources, and offer of personal freedom.
The development of the area was greatly helped by the criss-cross network of Indian trails, which became colonial roads and, centuries later, major highways.
In the historic Elizabethtown Purchase of 1664 the Lenni Lanapi gave a group of English settlers the title to an immense tract of land that extended from the Raritan to the Passaic Rivers, and westward for over thirty miles. The purchase led to the first permanent English settlement in New Jersey. Elizabethtown was laid out along the Elizabeth River near the present Union County Courthouse. As the port of entry and first seat of New Jersey government, Elizabeth became a prominent and thriving economic center, and the leading settlement in the state.
According to 2015 U.S. Census estimates, its population was 555,786.
Kean University, a co-educational, public research university dating back to 1855 is located in Union and Hillside, serving nearly 13,000 undergraduates. Kean University educates its students in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions; it is best known for its programs in the humanities and social sciences and in education, graduating the most teachers in the state of New Jersey annually, along with a physical therapy program which it holds in conjunction with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Union County College is the two-year community college for Union County, one of a network of 19 county colleges in New Jersey. Union County College was founded in 1933 and has campuses in Cranford, Elizabeth, Plainfield and Scotch Plains.
Passenger rail service is provided by New Jersey Transit via the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line, Raritan Valley Line, the Morristown Line and the Gladstone Branch. NJ Transit provides bus service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, as well as service to major cities in New Jersey and within Union County. The southern portion of Newark Airport is located in Elizabeth, within Union County.