- This article is about a borough in New Jersey, for an adjacent township, see Chatham Township, for information about their shared school and library systems see The Chathams.
|Chatham, New Jersey|
|— Borough —|
August 19, 1892 as village
March 1, 1897 as borough
|• Mayor||Bruce A. Harris (term ends 2015)|
|• Administrator||Robert Falzarano|
|• Total||2.4 sq mi (6.2 km2)|
|• Land||2.4 sq mi (6.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||233 ft (71 m)|
|Population (2010 Census)|
|• Density||3,700/sq mi (1,400/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0875378|
The village that now is Chatham first was settled by Europeans in 1710 in Morris Township, within the Province of New Jersey. It was settled because the site already was the location of an important crossing of the Passaic River as well as being close to a gap in the Watchung Mountains and on the path of a well-worn Native American trail. Changing its name to Chatham by 1773, it was an active community fighting in the American Revolutionary War.
On February 12, 1806, "Chatham Township" was formed, taking its name from this pre-revolutionary village it would include within the township boundary along with several other villages, and large areas of unsettled lands connecting or adjacent to them. On August 19, 1892, based on a referendum held ten days earlier, Chatham adopted a new village form of government allowed within townships as the state governance regulations evolved. Determined to leave the large township that failed to represent it properly, however, Chatham later reincorporated for governance as an independent borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 1, 1897, replacing its village form of government,  and freeing it from inclusion in the township boundary.
Because Chatham covers less than 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), including a business district and railroad station within about a mile from its farthest boundary, it is a pedestrian-friendly community.
In July 2005, CNN/Money and Money magazine ranked Chatham ninth on its annual list of the 100 Best Places to Live in the United States. New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Chatham Borough as its 25th best place to live in its 2008 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey.
Chatham is located at (40.740400, -74.385480).
According to the United States Census Bureau, Chatham has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2), all of it land.
Chatham is located twenty-five miles west of New York City on the eastern edge of Morris County. Chatham's neighboring communities are Summit, New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Long Hill Township, Chatham Township, Harding Township, Madison, Florham Park, Morristown, New Vernon, Short Hills, Millburn, and Livingston.
The Passaic River, which rises in Mendham and defines the Great Swamp, flows north along the eastern boundary of Chatham. A good crossing location, identified by Amerindians to early European settlers, figured significantly in the colonial history of the community. Fairmount Avenue ascends Long Hill perpendicularly from Main Street in the contemporary center of town to the highest elevation of the town among the Watchung Mountains. From there one may see the lights of New York beyond the crest of the ridge hills of Summit and Short Hills. Water from artesian wells is stored at its crest to provide the drinking water for the community.
A portion of the Great Swamp extends to the southern boundary of Chatham and other marshes surround the community to the north and northwest. The marshes and brooks in the area contain water draining from the plateau of Morristown and many points to the north and west. All are remnants of a massive lake that covered the area following the retreat of the Wisconsin glacier of the last Ice age. Residents of Chatham were among those in the late 1950s who formed the Jersey Jet Site Association and instigated the preservation of the Great Swamp when the New York Port Authority sought to turn it into a massive airport. They later were joined by the North American Wildlife Foundation that completed the acquisition of enough of the Great Swamp to protect the massive natural resource as a federal park.
The Great Swamp is a major watershed and a significant resting point for migratory birds. The core of the swamp was purchased with the help of Geraldine R. Dodge and Marcellus Hartley Dodge, Sr.. Several other members of the organization, including residents of Chatham, who were students at the nearby campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University began to infiltrate the administration of Austin Joseph Tobin, the executive director of the port authority. They attended meetings scheduled quietly to garner the support of union workers—once inside the meetings they provided pamphlets in opposition to the project—infuriating the port authority administration. Eventually other organizations formed to join the opposition to the plans for the airport and finally, a majority of the swamp was assembled to be donated to the federal government to become a National Wildlife Refuge. Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior under President John F. Kennedy, lent his support to the local efforts to save the swamp while he served as U.S. Representative from Arizona, making recommendations to the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration to lend their support also, and on November 3, 1960, the legislation creating the refuge was passed by an act of the United States Congress. Later issues regarding the use of the donated land were under his authority when Udall was the Secretary of State.
Being only 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2) in area, Chatham was mostly built out well before World War II, retaining its charming homes that sometimes display the dates of their construction during the colonial and revolutionary times.
|Climate data for Chatham Borough (07928, includes Chatham Township)|
|Record high °F (°C)||73|
|Average high °F (°C)||39|
|Average low °F (°C)||18|
|Record low °F (°C)||−25|
|Precipitation inches (mm)||4.13|
|Population 1930 - 1990.|
As of the census of 2000, there were 8,460 people, 3,159 households, and 2,385 families. The population density was 3,505.9 people per square mile (1,355.4/km2). There were 3,232 housing units at an average density of 1,339.4 per square mile (517.8/km2). The racial makeup of was 95.79% White, 0.14% African American, 0.06% Native American, 2.81% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.50% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.64% of the population.
There were 3,159 households out of which 39.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.6% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were non-families. 21.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.14.
The population was spread out with 28.3% under the age of 18, 3.8% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 91.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.0 males.
The median income for a household was $101,991, and the median income for a family was $119,635. Males had a median income of $81,543 versus $59,063 for females. The per capita income was $53,027. About 1.7% of families and 2.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.0% of those under age 18 and 3.3% of those age 65 or over.
Chatham is governed under the borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The government consists of a mayor and a borough council comprising 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 borough council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year.
Federal, state, and county representationEdit
Chatham is in the 11th Congressional district and is part of New Jersey's 26th state legislative district. It was relocated to the 21st state legislative district by the New Jersey Apportionment Commission based on the results of the 2010 Census. The new district is in effect for the June 2011 primary and the November 2011 general election, with the state senator and assembly members elected taking office in the new district as of January 2012.
New Jersey's Eleventh Congressional District is represented by Rodney Frelinghuysen (R, Harding Township). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Frank Lautenberg (D, Cliffside Park) and Bob Menendez (D, Hoboken).
Morris County is governed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, who are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with two or three seats coming up for election each year. As of 2011, Morris County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director William J. Chegwidden (Wharton), Deputy Freeholder Director Douglas R. Cabana (Boonton Township), Gene F. Feyl (Denville), Ann F. Grassi (Parsippany-Troy Hills), Thomas J. Mastrangelo (Montville), John J. Murphy (Morris Township) and Margaret Nordstrom (Washington Township).
Chatham and Chatham Township held elections in November 1986 to consider joining their separate school systems into a joint district. This proposal was supported by the voters and since then, the two municipalities have shared a regionalized school district, the School District of the Chathams.
Occupied for ten thousand years by Native Americans, this land was overseen by clans of the Lenni-Lenape, who farmed, fished, and hunted upon it. They were organized into a matrilineal agricultural and mobile hunting society sustained with fixed, but not permanent, settlements in their clan territories. Villages were established and relocated as the clans farmed new sections of the land when soil fertility lessened and moved among their fishing and hunting grounds.
In 1498, John Cabot explored this portion of the New World. The area was claimed as a part of the Dutch New Netherland province, where active trading in furs took advantage of the natural pass west, but, the Lenape prevented permanent settlement beyond what is now Jersey City. Although rapid exhaustion of the local beaver population soon turned the Dutch interests much farther north, contention existed between the Dutch and the British over the rights to this land and battles ensued. Passing to the rule of the British in 1664 as the Province of New Jersey, and becoming one of its original thirteen colonies, marks the beginning of permanent European settlements on this land.
Having been part of the New Netherland territory, dating from 1614, New Jersey became a British colony at the fall of New Amsterdam in 1664. The land that would become Chatham was part of the Province of East Jersey; the Indian rights to Chatham were purchased in 1680 from members of the Minsi and Lenni Lenape tribes. They spoke an Algonquian language. They hunted and fished in the area and farmed on the lands of their settlements. The area was well connected with established paths among their settlements, to and from bountiful resources, and to neighboring settlements. Safe passageways through the valleys, marshes, swamps, and mountains of this portion of the Watchung Mountains connected the area which would become Chatham with other settlements in the area. Except for highways built since the 1970s and a shunpike built to avoid tolls on the roads connecting the colonial settlements of Chatham and Bottle Hill, the roads of the area follow those time proven, long trodden trails made by the Indians. Main Street rises from a shallow crossing of the Passaic River and, after traveling through what became the settlements of Chatham and Bottle Hill (which became Madison), the road follows a westward path that leads to the top of the plateau on which Morristown was founded.
In 1680, the British first purchased this Lenape land upon which John Day made the first European settlement in 1710. He chose to settle upon the western bank of the Fishawack Crossing (of the Passaic River) on the traditional Lenape Minisink Trail. Chatham was in the area delineated as Morris Township by the English. The landing at that location was the best place to ford the river and always had been used by the Lenape on their route to the Hudson River and south from their hunting grounds in what is now Sussex County. That traditional part of the Great Trail would become Route 24, leading to Madison, Morristown, Mendham, and Chester, it became known as Main Street in Chatham.
Before long, the village became known as John Day's Bridge because of a bridge he built across the river at the shallow landing. By 1750, the village had a blacksmith shop as well as a flour mill, a grist mill, and a lumber mill.
In 1773, the village was renamed to "Chatham" to honor a member of the British Parliament, William Pitt, the first Earl of Chatham, who was an outspoken advocate of the rights of the colonists in America.
The citizens of Chatham were active participants in the American Revolutionary War and nearby Morristown became the military center of the revolution. Washington twice established his winter headquarters in Morristown and revolutionary troops were active regularly in the entire area. The Lenape assisted the colonists, supplying the revolutionary army with warriors and scouts in exchange for food supplies and the promise of a role at the head of a future native American state. The Treaty of Easton signed by the Lenape and the British in 1766 had required that the Lenape move to Pennsylvania. Wanting to recoup rights lost thereby to the British, the Lenape were the first tribe to enter into a treaty with the emerging government of the United States.
The Watchung mountain range was a strategic asset in the war, acting as a natural barrier to the British troops and providing a vantage point for Washington to monitor their troop movements. The Minisink Trail and the village bridge provided a route for essential supplies across the river and through the mountain range.
A graphic presentation of the importance of this pass from a site about Morristown, where arrows are pointing from Morristown and New York City to demonstrate how vital the Hobart Gap was as the only pass through the Watchung Mountains, is displayed to the right.
Seventeen letters were written by Washington while he stayed at a homestead in Chatham and the village was the site of several skirmishes, as residents and the rebel army held off British advances, preventing them from attacking Washington's supplies at Morristown.
A printing press was established in the village of Chatham during the war by Shepard Kollock. From his workshop he published books, pamphlets, and the New Jersey Journal (the second newspaper published in New Jersey) conducting lively debates about the efforts for independence and boosting the morale of the troops and their families with information derived directly from Washington's headquarters in nearby Morristown. Kollock's paper was published until 1992 as the Elizabeth Daily Journal (having moved to there) and was the fourth oldest newspaper published continuously in the United States.
After the revolutionary war was over, New Jersey became a state and governmental reforms were instituted throughout the new nation. In 1806, the village of Chatham became part of a township form of government that took the village's name as part of its name, but included several other area communities and a large amount of unsettled land. "In 1892 Chatham Village found itself at odds with the rest of the township. Although village residents paid 40 percent of the township taxes, they got only 7 percent of the receipts in services. The village had to raise its own money to install kerosene street lamps and its roads were in poor repair. As a result, the village voted on August 9, 1892, to secede from governance by the township."
Ten days later, on August 19, 1892, the citizens of Chatham reincorporated as another type of village government. With the introduction of yet another new local government form in New Jersey, five years later, the village reincorporated as a borough on March 1, 1897.
In 1910, Chatham also acquired a slice of Florham Park to enlarge farther. The local form of government and the boundaries of Chatham have remained the same since that acquisition, making it about 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2).
Bus lines also connect Chatham with the other towns along Route 24 from Newark to Morristown, mostly running parallel to the train lines. Nowadays, buses transport people along the line, but stagecoaches and trolleys were mass transit methods once used along the route that followed Main Street. That section of the old route now is labeled Route 124 because of the opening of a new Route 24, a modern highway. The destruction of the historic downtown by a proposed widening of the historic route was opposed and after much debate, an alternate route was chosen to preserve the historic downtowns of Chatham and Madison. The last rails for the trolley system were removed from the area roads in the 1950s.
Chatham Library was founded in 1908 in downtown Chatham after decades of discussion and planning. Growth of the collection brought about expansion and movement to progressively larger facilities until the current building was built on Main Street. The new site was chosen after the Fairview Hotel, which had been on the site, burned down. The hotel land was bought in the early 1920s by Charles L. Lum, after whose family Lum Avenue is named, and a brick building was constructed to house the library. The new Chatham Library was dedicated and opened to the public in 1924.
A referendum was placed on the November 1974 ballot regarding jointure, providing that the Chatham Library would serve Chatham Township residents also, and the measure passed. The library was renamed as the Library of The Chathams, which now is administered by six trustees, who are appointed jointly through the two governments via the mayors of Chatham and Chatham Township or their representatives, as well as a representative from the newly created joint School District of the Chathams.
The Library of The Chathams joined the Morris Automated Information Network (MAIN), an electronic database linking together all the public libraries in Morris County, in 1985. Recently, an expansion costing nearly $4,000,000 was completed (with the governments of Chatham and Chatham Township contributing a combined $2,000,000). The project was completed and the new addition dedicated on January 11, 2004.
Chatham has one sister city:
Notable current and former residents of Chatham include:
- Ben Bailey (born 1970), host of Discovery Channel's Cash Cab, was born in Chatham 
- Leanna Brown (born 1935), politician.
- Shepard Kollock, American Revolutionary War-era editor and printer of the New Jersey Journal, who published it as the first newspaper in Chatham in 1779
- Ann McLaughlin Korologos (born 1941), United States Secretary of Labor in the Reagan Administration.
- Nick Mangold (born 1984), American football center for the New York Jets of the National Football League.
- Bob Papa announcer for The Giants
- David K. Shipler (born 1942), author, Winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land.
- Walter Scott Story (1879–1955), author.
- Aaron Montgomery Ward (1844–1913), inventor of mail order
- Alice Waters (born 1944), chef and mother of local, organic food movement in the USA; graduated from Chatham High School in 1963.
- ^ a b 2005 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book, Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, April 2005, p. 121.
- ^ 2011 Chatham Borough Council Minutes, Chatham Borough. Accessed December 19, 2011.
- ^ Borough of Chatham Town Administrator, Borough of Chatham. Accessed September 17, 2007.
- ^ USGS GNIS: Borough of Chatham , Geographic Names Information System, accessed September 17, 2007.
- ^ a b c d 2011 Apportionment Redistricting: Municipalities sorted alphabetically, New Jersey Department of State, p. 2. Accessed July 7, 2011.
- ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- ^ A Cure for the Common Codes: New Jersey, Missouri Census Data Center. Accessed July 14, 2008.
- ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- ^ a b c "The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968", John P. Snyder, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 191.
- ^ MONEY Magazine – Best places to live 2005 – Chatham, NJ snapshot.
- ^ "Best Places To Live - The Complete Top Towns List 1-100", New Jersey Monthly, February 21, 2008. Accessed February 24, 2008.
- ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- ^ "Average Weather for Chatham, New Jersey (07928) - Temperature and Precipitation". Weather.com. http://www.weather.com/weather/climatology/monthly/07928?x=0&y=0. Retrieved November 16, 2008.
- ^ New Jersey Resident Population by Municipality: 1930 - 1990, Workforce New Jersey Public Information Network, backed up by the Internet Archive as of May 2, 2009. Accessed July 8, 2011.
- ^ a b c d e Census 2000 Demographic Profile Highlights: Chatham borough, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed July 15, 2011.
- ^ Chatham, New Jersey Overview, Chatham. Accessed February 16, 2007.
- ^ Mayor & Council, Chatham. Accessed July 8, 2011.
- ^ a b 2011 New Jersey Citizen's Guide to Government, New Jersey League of Women Voters, p. 56. Accessed July 8, 2011.
- ^ "About the Governor". New Jersey. http://www.nj.gov/governor/about/. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
- ^ "About the Lieutenant Governor". New Jersey. http://www.nj.gov/governor/lt/. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
- ^ What is a Freeholder?, Morris County, New Jersey. Accessed January 5, 2011.
- ^ William J. Chegwidden, Morris County, New Jersey. Accessed January 9, 2011.
- ^ Douglas R. Cabana, Morris County, New Jersey. Accessed January 9, 2011.
- ^ Gene F. Feyl, Morris County, New Jersey. Accessed January 9, 2011.
- ^ Ann F. Grossi, Morris County, New Jersey. Accessed January 9, 2011.
- ^ Thomas J. Mastrangelo, Morris County, New Jersey. Accessed January 9, 2011.
- ^ John J. Murphy, Morris County, New Jersey. Accessed January 9, 2011.
- ^ Margaret Nordstrom, Morris County, New Jersey. Accessed January 9, 2011.
- ^ Meet the Freeholders, Morris County, New Jersey. Accessed January 9, 2011.
- ^ Morris County Elementary Schools, Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson. Accessed August 22, 2011.
- ^ a b If You're Thinking of Living In/Chatham; Rich Past, Bustling but Homey Present, The New York Times, April 17, 1994. Accessed July 15, 2011.
- ^ Treaty of 1778, America's First Indian Treaty, accessed December 31, 2006.
- ^ Why Morristown?, National Park Service. Accessed January 2, 2007.
- ^ Shepard Kollock's Work, accessed December 31, 2006.
- ^ http://www.revolutionarywebdesign.com/njmediawatch/papersa1.html
- ^ Morris County Bus/Rail Connections, New Jersey Transit, backed up by the Internet Archive as of May 22, 2009. Accessed July 1, 2011.
- ^ a b Library of the Chathams – History
- ^ Ben Bailey profile, Cringe Humor, accessed April 6, 2007. "Ben Bailey is a young comedian on the rise. In the fall of 1992, Ben left his home in Chatham, New Jersey and flew to Los Angeles with only forty dollars and a backpack full of clothes."
- ^ Cichowski, John. "See more articles from The Record (Bergen County, NJ)", The Record (Bergen County), November 6, 1991. Accessed November 18, 2008. "Brown of Chatham Borough led Democrat Drew Britcher of Parsippany-Troy Hills, 27,381 to 7,563 to win her third term."
- ^ Shepard Kollock: Patriot Printer, accessed October 18, 2006.
- ^ Staff. "Reagan to Nominate Former Interior Aide As Labor Secretary", The New York Times, November 3, 1987. Accessed November 18, 2008. "Mrs. McLaughlin was born in 1941 in Chatham, N.J."
- ^ Neighborhood House, real estate market get boost from Jets, New Jersey On-Line. Accessed December 9, 2010. "Offensive lineman Nick Mangold put it another way. The 24-year-old and his wife have been busy in recent weeks moving into their new two-story house in Chatham Borough, meeting neighbors."
- ^ Staff. "WINNERS OF PULITZER PRIZES IN JOURNALISM, LETTERS AND THE ARTS", The New York Times, April 17, 1987. Accessed November 18, 2008.
- ^ Montgomery Ward: The World's First Mail-Order Business, accessed December 13, 2006.
- ^ Burros, Marian. "Alice Waters: Food Revolutionary", The New York Times, August 4, 1996. Accessed November 18, 2008.
Historical research resourcesEdit
- Anderson, John R. Shepard Kollock: Editor for Freedom. Chatham, New Jersey: Chatham Historical Society, 1975.
- Cunningham, John T. Chatham: At the Crossing of the Fishawack. Chatham, New Jersey: Chatham Historical Society, 1967.
- Philhower, Charles A., Brief History of Chatham, Morris County, New Jersey. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1914.
- Thayer, Theodore. Colonial and Revolutionary Morris County. The Morris County Heritage Commission. (government publication)
- Vanderpoel, Ambrose Ely. History of Chatham, New Jersey. New York: Charles Francis Press, 1921. Reprint. Chatham, New Jersey: Chatham Historical Society, 1959.
- White, Donald Wallace. A Village at War: Chatham and the American Revolution. Rutherford, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1979.
- _________________. Chatham. Dover, New Hampshire: Arcadia Publishing, 1997.
- ______________. "Historic Minisink Trail". Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society. 8, (January–October, 1923): 199-205.
- ______________. "Indians of the Morris County Area". Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society. 54 (October 1936): 248-267.
- Design Guidelines Manual For Rehabilitation and Construction in the Main Street Historic District. Chatham, New Jersey: Chatham Borough Historic Preservation Commission, 1994. (government publication)
- Borough of Chatham official website
- School District of the Chathams website
- School District of the Chathams's 2009–10 School Report Card from the New Jersey Department of Education
- School District of the Chathams, National Center for Education Statistics
- Chatham, New Jersey city data
- Chatham, New Jersey Overview
- Borough of Chatham municipal court
- Chatham, New Jersey hometown locator data
- The Daily Record, a regional newspaper
- New York Times article - "If You're Thinking of Living in Chatham" – published April 17, 1994
- New York Times article - quoting the Chatham Press about speed bumps originating in Chatham, New Jersey one hundred years ago - published April 19, 2006
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