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Stillwater, New Jersey

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Stillwater, New Jersey

Stillwater Township, New Jersey
Township of Stillwater

Map of Stillwater Township in Sussex County. Inset: Location of Sussex County in New Jersey.

Census Bureau map of Stillwater Township

Coordinates: 41°04′27″N 74°52′08″W / 41.074125°N 74.868878°W / 41.074125; -74.868878Coordinates: 41°04′27″N 74°52′08″W / 41.074125°N 74.868878°W / 41.074125; -74.868878[1][2]

Country United States
State New Jersey
County Sussex
Incorporated December 27, 1824
 • Type Township
 • Mayor Charles Gross (term ends December 31, 2013)[3][4]
 • Clerk Lynda Knott (acting)[4]
 • Total 28.385 sq mi (73.515 km2)
 • Land 27.061 sq mi (70.087 km2)
 • Water 1.324 sq mi (3.428 km2)  4.66%
Area rank 95th of 566 in state
8th of 24 in county[2]
Elevation[6] 718 ft (219 m)
Population (2010 Census)[7][8][9]
 • Total 4,099
 • Estimate (2012[10]) 4,061
 • Rank 408th of 566 in state
12th of 24 in county[11]
 • Density 151.5/sq mi (58.5/km2)
 • Density rank 523rd of 566 in state
20th of 24 in county[11]
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP code 07875[12]
Area codes 862, 973
FIPS code[2][13] Template:FIPS
GNIS ID[6][13] Template:GNIS4

The Township of Stillwater (informally: Stillwater Township) is a township located in Sussex County, New Jersey, in the United States. Located in the Kittatinny Valley, Stillwater is a rural farming community with a long history of dairy farming. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 4,099.[8]

Historically, Stillwater was first settled in the eighteenth century by Palatine German immigrants who entered through the port of Philadelphia. In 1741, Casper Shafer, John George Wintermute (Windemuth), and their father-in-law Johan Peter Bernhardt settled along the Paulins Kill.[14] For the next 50 years, the village of Stillwater was essentially German, centered around a union church shared by Lutheran and German Reformed (Calvinist) congregations.[15] While the German population assimilated by the early nineteenth century, the evidence of their settlement remains in the architecture of the grist mills, lime kilns, and stone houses located throughout the valley.[14] Stillwater was incorporated as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on December 27, 1824, from portions of Hardwick Township[16][17] when Sussex County was divided in half by the legislature a few weeks earlier to create Warren County.[18][19] Portions of the township were taken to form Fredon Township on February 24, 1904.[16]

In 2008, New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Stillwater Township as its 40th best place to live in its annual rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey.[20]


The township was created on December 27, 1824, by an act passed by the New Jersey Legislature.[16][21]

A prominent structure in the area's history is the Shafer Grist Mill. Originally built by Casper Shafer in 1741, it was moved approximately a half mile to its present location in 1764. It was rebuilt in 1844 and powered by water from the Paulins Kill. Casper's son, Nathan Armstrong Shafer lived in Whitehall Manor, which he built near what is now the center of the village. The gristmill operated commercially until 1955, making it one of the oldest, continuously operating, water-powered gristmills in the State of New Jersey. Aline Murray Kilmer, the widow of poet Joyce Kilmer, lived the last decade of her life at Whitehall, passing away there on October 1, 1941.[22][23]

In the early 1900s, Swartswood Lake became a major resort. Weekenders took the train into nearby Blairstown through the 1940s to stay at such places as the North Shore Inn, The Casino, and The Dove Island Inn (now a private home). Later, summer cabins became popular with Brooklyn weekenders.

The Stillwater creamery was built in 1910. Borden, Inc. later took control of the creamery.

In the 1920s, the Paulinskill River was dammed to create Paulinskill Lake and many summer residences sprang up. These summer cottages have grown into what is now a year-round community.

The Presbyterian Church is the most prominent feature in Stillwater village. Opposite the church is the former Stillwater Academy, an old schoolhouse that is now home to the Stillwater Historical Museum. Stillwater was, and still is, primarily agricultural. The area is dotted with lime kilns, which used to burn lime to enrich the soil, but are now obsolete, becoming lost to history and the overgrowth of vegetation. An intact kiln still exists on Millbrook Road, a little more than two miles (3 km) from Stillwater village.

Roughly one-third of Stillwater Township's area was ceded to create Fredon Township in 1904.[16]

Geology and geography

Stillwater Township is located at 41°04′27″N 74°52′08″W / 41.074125°N 74.868878°W / 41.074125; -74.868878 (41.074125,-74.868878). According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 28.385 square miles (73.515 km2), of which, 27.061 square miles (70.087 km2) of it is land and 1.324 square miles (3.428 km2) of it (4.66%) is water.[1][2]

Flanked to the west by Kittatinny Mountain, the Stillwater Township is located within the Ridge and Valley Physiographic Province, and the entire township is within the Kittatinny Valley a region of rolling hills and flat valley floors that is a section of the larger Great Appalachian Valley running 700 miles (1,100 km) from eastern Canada to northern Alabama. Elevations in this valley range from 400 to 1,000 feet (120–300 m).[24] According to Snell, "The surface of the country is generally uneven and hilly, and on the west exceedingly rugged and mountainous. Ponds and watercourses abound. Of the latter, the most important is the Paulinskill, a millstream of considerable consequence."[25] All of Stillwater Township is located in the Paulins Kill watershed which flows southwest through Sussex and Warren counties before joining the Delaware River near Columbia, New Jersey. The valley floor is part of the Ordovician Martinsburg Formation (shale and slate) which make up most of the valley—and the Jacksonburg Formation (mostly limestone).

Climate and weather

Stillwater Township, New Jersey
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[26]

Stillwater Township is located in Northwestern New Jersey which has a humid continental climate (microthermal)—a cooler climate due to its higher elevations.


  • Stillwater is a small one-street village in the area that was first settled by Johan Peter Bernhardt and his two sons-in-law, John George Wintermute and Caspar Shafer. At the western terminus of end of Main Street where it meets County Route 521, the First Presbyterian Church of Stillwater is the dominant feature. As Main Street travels east, the Stillwater General Store (originally Garris's General Store) (1876), "Whitehall" (built in 1785 by Abraham Shafer), Casper Shafer's stonehouse (c. 1741), crossing the Paulins Kill near Shafer's grist mill (1764, 1844) and miller's house. An 1820 hostelry, the Stillwater Inn, recently was destroyed by fire. One half-mile (800 m) south of the Presbyterian church, is John George Wintermute's stonehouse (1755), his son Peter's stonehouse (1791). Located adjacent is Stillwater Cemetery—the site of the original Lutheran-Calvinist union church (1771-1838), the graves of the towns earliest settlers, and many eighteenth century ethnic German gravestones.
  • Swartswood
  • Middleville
  • Paulinskill Lake
  • Crandon Lakes (with a 2010 Census population of 496 in Stillwater Township, out of a CDP total of 1,178[27]) is a census-designated place and unincorporated community split between Hampton Township and Stillwater Township.[28][29][30]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20124,061[10]−0.9%
Population sources: 1840[31]
1850-1870[32] 1850[33] 1870[34]
1880-1890[35] 1890-1910[36] 1910-1930[37]
1930-1990[38] 2000[39][40] 2010[7][8][9]
* = Lost territory in previous decade.[16]

Census 2010


The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $79,367 (with a margin of error of +/- $6,830) and the median family income was $94,900 (+/- $17,365). Males had a median income of $50,600 (+/- $10,895) versus $52,587 (+/- $7,700) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $32,147 (+/- $2,398). About 7.0% of families and 7.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.2% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.[41]

Census 2000

As of the 2000 United States Census[42] there were 4,267 people, 1,494 households, and 1,154 families residing in the township. The population density was 157.3 people per square mile (60.7/km2). There were 2,030 housing units at an average density of 74.9 per square mile (28.9/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 97.96% White, 0.16% African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.23% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.09% of the population.[39][40]

There were 1,494 households out of which 41.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.6% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.7% were non-families. 17.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.27.[39][40]

In the township the population was spread out with 28.0% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 26.6% 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 97.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.6 males.[39][40]

The median income for a household in the township was $63,750, and the median income for a family was $71,563. Males had a median income of $48,580 versus $35,505 for females. The per capita income for the township was $24,933. About 1.6% of families and 2.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.1% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.[39][40]


Local government

Stillwater is governed under the township form of government with a five-member Township Committee. The Township Committee is elected directly by the voters in partisan elections to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with one or two seats coming up for election each year.[5] At an annual reorganization meeting held during the first week of January, the Township Committee selects one of its members to serve as Mayor and another as Deputy Mayor.

As of 2013, members of the Stillwater Township Committee are Mayor Charles M. Gross (R, term on township committee and as mayor ends on December 31, 2013), Deputy Mayor George E. Scott (R, term on committee ends in 2015; term as deputy mayor ends in 2013), Lisa Chammings (R, 2014), Timmy L. Fisher (R, 2013) and Anita Straway (R, 2015).[43][44][45][46]

Local emergency services

As of 2010, the Township Committee disbanded the Stillwater Police Department. Pending a lawsuit against the township, the New Jersey State Police assumed police coverage on a full-time basis.[47]

The Stillwater Area Volunteer Fire Company, and the Swartswood Volunteer Fire Department provide fire and rescue services to the township. The Stillwater Area Volunteer Fire Company also provides services to Hardwick Township, in Warren County, along with Blairstown Hose Company #1. Stillwater also provides Ice Rescue services to the western portion of the county.

Stillwater Station houses CAFS Pumper 42-62, Rescue-Pumper 42-61, Tanker/Pumper 42-71, and utility and special operations 42-81. Swartswood Station houses Pumper 45-62, Tanker 45-71, and Utility 45-81.

Stillwater Emergency Rescue Squad provides Emergency Medical Services to the township, utilizing two full-size ambulances, and first response vehicles. EMS coverage is supplemented by The Stillwater Area Volunteer Fire Company's First Responder Division.

Federal, state and county representation

Stillwater Township is located in the 5th Congressional District[48] and is part of New Jersey's 24th state legislative district.[8][49][50]

New Jersey's Fifth Congressional District is represented by Scott Garrett (R, Wantage Township).[51] New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark)[52] and Bob Menendez (D, North Bergen).[53][54]

The 24th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Steve Oroho (R, Franklin) and in the General Assembly by Alison Littell McHose (R, Franklin) and Parker Space (R, Wantage Township).[55] Space took office in March 2013, filling the seat vacated by Gary R. Chiusano, who had been chosen to fill a vacancy as Sussex County Surrogate.[56] The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township).[57] The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).[58]

Sussex County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders whose five members are elected at-large on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects a Freeholder Director and Deputy Director from among its members, with day-to-day supervision of the operation of the county delegated to a County Administrator.[59] As of 2013, Sussex County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Richard Vohden (R, Green Township, 2013),[60] Deputy Director Phillip R. Crabb (R, Franklin, 2014),[61] George Graham (R, Stanhope, 2013),[62] Dennis J. Mudrick (R, Sparta Township, 2015)[63] and Gail Phoebus (R, Andover Township, 2015).[64][59] Graham was chosen in April 2013 to fill the seat vacated by Parker Space, who had been chosen to fill a vacancy in the New Jersey General Assembly.[56] Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Jeff Parrott,[65] Sheriff Michael F. Strada[66] and Surrogate Gary R. Chiusano (R, filling the vacancy after the resignation of Nancy Fitzgibbons).[67][56] The County Administrator is John Eskilson[68]


As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 3,009 registered voters in Stillwater Township, of which 468 (15.6% vs. 16.5% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 1,384 (46.0% vs. 39.3%) were registered as Republicans and 1,153 (38.3% vs. 44.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 4 voters registered to other parties.[69] Among the township's 2010 Census population, 73.4% (vs. 65.8% in Sussex County) were registered to vote, including 94.0% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 86.5% countywide).[69][70]

In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 1,283 votes here (61.9% vs. 59.4% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 735 votes (35.5% vs. 38.2%) and other candidates with 49 votes (2.4% vs. 2.1%), among the 2,073 ballots cast by the township's 3,079 registered voters, for a turnout of 67.3% (vs. 68.3% in Sussex County).[71] In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 1,389 votes here (59.7% vs. 59.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 872 votes (37.5% vs. 38.7%) and other candidates with 52 votes (2.2% vs. 1.5%), among the 2,328 ballots cast by the township's 2,978 registered voters, for a turnout of 78.2% (vs. 76.9% in Sussex County).[72] In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 1,473 votes here (65.0% vs. 63.9% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 754 votes (33.3% vs. 34.4%) and other candidates with 35 votes (1.5% vs. 1.3%), among the 2,267 ballots cast by the township's 2,832 registered voters, for a turnout of 80.0% (vs. 77.7% in the whole county).[73]

In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 1,036 votes here (63.3% vs. 63.3% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 406 votes (24.8% vs. 25.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 157 votes (9.6% vs. 9.1%) and other candidates with 24 votes (1.5% vs. 1.3%), among the 1,637 ballots cast by the township's 2,991 registered voters, yielding a 54.7% turnout (vs. 52.3% in the county).[74]


The Stillwater Township School District serves public school students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. The Stillwater Township School had an enrollment of 373 students as of the 2010-11 school year.[75]

Students in seventh through twelfth grade for public school attend Kittatinny Regional High School located in Hampton Township, which serves students who reside in Fredon Township, Hampton Township, Sandyston Township and Walpack Township.[76] The high school is located in Hampton, about seven minutes outside of the county seat of Newton. Kittatinny Regional High School was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 1997-98.[77]

Local attractions

Parks and recreation

Stillwater is the home of Swartswood State Park, established in 1914 as the first state park established by the state of New Jersey. In the center of the park lies the Little Swartswood and Swartswood Lake. The park is operated and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry.[78]

Notable people

Notable current and former residents of Stillwater Township include:

  • Rev. Elbert Nevius Condit (1846–1900), son of Rev. T.B. Condit (1804–1888), Presbyterian minister, third president of Occidental College.[79]
  • Louis Finkelstein (1923-2000), painter, art critic and Queens College professor.[80][81][82][83]
  • Gretna Campbell Finkelstein (1922–1987), artist affiliated with the New York School, wife of Louis Finkelstein[81][84]
  • Aaron Hankinson (1735-1806), Revolutionary War brigadier general (Sussex County Militia), New Jersey state assemblyman.[14]
  • Aline Murray Kilmer (1888-1941), poet and author, widow of Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)[22][23]
  • Casper Shafer (c. 1711-1784) - first settler, colonial politician[14][85]

See also


External links

  • Stillwater Township
  • The Township Journal, community newspaper
  • Virtual tour of Stillwater
  • Skyland Guide to Stone Mills
  • Stillwater Township School
  • Kittatinny Regional High School
  • Historical Society of Stillwater Township

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