Netcong, New Jersey History and Photos
|Netcong New Jersey is just over a mile square, but
it's been an historic transportation hub and tight knit
residential community for many years.
In 1804 the Essex - Morris - Sussex Turnpike was built, a reliable Wagon Toll Road that sped up the movement of people and goods from the cities of the northeast to rural northwest New Jersey. The road went from Elizabeth, through Chatham, ran as Sussex Avenue in Morristown and Randolph continuing through Succasunny Plains, Drakesville (Ledgewood Rt 46) and Netcong / Stanhope to Newtown.
In 1824 the Morris Canal was chartered as an inexpensive way of moving large quantities of coal, timber, iron ore and other goods across New Jersey. It was 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 canal ran right thru Netcong / Stanhope bringing commerce & jobs.
In 1827 the canal company built a new dam on Lake Hopatcong to use as a reservoir. Cargo boats would go west through the lock at the lake's south end, down the canal through Port Morris and the inclined plane there, across Lake Musconetcong (smaller at that time) and through the Lock at Netcong / Stanhope. In 1831 the first complete trip from Newark to Phillipsburg was made.
Around 1854 the tracks of the Morris & Essex (later taken over by the Lackawanna) Railroad are laid through the area, but no station built yet.
Netcong was incorporated as a Borough on October 22, 1894, formed with South Stanhope & small parts of Mount Olive and Roxbury Townships. The name Netcong is from the Musconetcong River, a word the Delaware Indians used meaning called grass stream.
As Canal traffic waned around 1890, Railway traffic boomed, and
Netcong derived much business from the Delaware-Lackawanna & Western
Railroad, which built a Station in the center of
the Borough. The big railroad roundhouse in nearby Port Morris also
supplied many jobs.
In 1889 the first post office was built and a school was built on Budd Lake Road. In 1892 a more modern two story brick building was built on College Road as an elementary school. During this time the population grew with many immigrants from Italy and Ireland.
In 1903 a major fire destroyed about half of Netcong's business district and brought the construction of half a dozen new buildings, including the current Train Station. Also in 1903, Citizens National Bank was organized, and municipal water was installed along with electricity. Shortly thereafter, the Netcong Fire Department was formed, and in 1905 a new Borough Hall was erected.
The earliest churches in the community were St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church, organized in 1880 and Grace Baptist Church, founded in 1890. The Methodist Church, known as "The Church in the Glenn" was built in 1915.
As the years passed Netcong NJ prospered. In the summer, many people from New Jersey's large cities came to the lakes in the area for vacations. In 1919 the Palace Theatre was built and became a center of entertainment in northwest New Jersey for many years. It originally showed silent movies and had vaudeville shows, later moving to talking movies, Summer Stock Theatre and high school plays & graduations.
During World War Two many of Netcong's sons served in uniform. For many years Route 6 was the major east/west road, stretching from New York City to the Delaware river, and it passed right through Netcong. Route 6 was renamed Route 46, and in the 1950's Interstate I-80 was built through the area, passing through the southern part of Netcong, with 2 exits leading into town. US Route 206 also passes through town, thus the town slogan "All roads lead to Netcong". With the recent traffic intersection upgrade of the old Netcong Circle and a growing Morris County economy, Netcong's bright future is secured, even as it remembers it's history.
Railway Crossing, circa 1906
Railway Crossing, circa 1905
Railroad Station in Netcong, still standing to this day, though not staffed
Netcong New Jersey Main Street circa 1908, looking west toward Lake Musconetcong
Netcong Post Office and Drake Store, circa 1908
Bridge between Netcong NJ and Stanhope NJ, over the Morris Canal
A different bridge between Netcong NJ and Stanhope NJ, over the Morris Canal with the Canal Lock in the distance
The Methodist church still remains in the same place to this day, a beautiful setting
St. Michael's still remains in the same place to this day, serving many Catholic families.
Grace Baptist Church as it appeared circa 1925. It was on Maple Ave, and like several buildings in the area,
was constructed of round stones from local rivers. The church grew, and in the 1970's purchased property on Rt. 46,
just yards from the Netcong line in Ledgewood, constructing a large sanctuary, now known as Grace Church.
The old church building was sold to the town, torn down, the Municipal Building stands there now
This aerial view of the area around Netcong High School dates from circa 1940
Downtown Netcong, NJ circa 1942
Downtown Netcong, NJ circa 1955
Aerial View of Netcong NJ, circa 1960. Lake Musconetcong at center,
Lake Hopatcong in distance
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