West Milford, New Jersey

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



West Milford started out as New Milford in western Passaic County in the 18th century, 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 County. By chance both New Milfords applied for a post office in 1828. As the traditional story goes, a clerk in Washington, D.C. 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 County. On February 7, 1837, Passaic County was created from portions of both Bergen County and Essex County, with West Milford as the western end of the newly formed county.[8]

There are old name places in the township like Postville, Utterville, Corterville, Browns, Awosting, Echo Lake, Macopin, 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. Newfoundland is divided by the Pequannock River, which divides Passaic and Morris Counties; a small part of Newfoundland lays within Jefferson Township. A large part of the township is reservoir property owned by the City of Newark in Essex County 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 Jersey and later the Erie Railroad (before their merger with the Lackawanna Railroad).

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