Franklin Township, Somerset County, New Jersey facts for kids

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Franklin Township, New Jersey
Township
Township of Franklin
House in King's Highway Historic District
House in King's Highway Historic District
Map of Franklin Township in Somerset County. Inset: Location of Somerset County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Map of Franklin Township in Somerset County. Inset: Location of Somerset County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Franklin Township, Somerset County, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Franklin Township, Somerset County, New Jersey
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Somerset
Formed as Eastern precinct c. 1745
Incorporated February 21, 1798
Named for Benjamin Franklin
Area
 • Total 46.846 sq mi (121.330 km2)
 • Land 46.147 sq mi (119.520 km2)
 • Water 0.699 sq mi (1.810 km2)  1.49%
Area rank 37th of 565 in state
2nd of 21 in county
Elevation 62 ft (19 m)
Population (2010 Census)
 • Total 62,300
 • Estimate (2015) 66,158
 • Rank 22nd of 565 in state
1st of 21 in county
 • Density 1,350.0/sq mi (521.2/km2)
 • Density rank 350th of 565 in state
9th of 21 in county
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 08873, 08875 - Somerset (also used as East Millstone)
08528 - Kingston
08823 - Franklin Park
08540 - Princeton
08890 - Zarephath
Area code(s) 732, 908 and 609
FIPS code 3403524900
GNIS feature ID 0882170
Website www.franklintwpnj.org

Franklin Township is a township in Somerset County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 62,300, reflecting an increase of 11,397 (+22.4%) from the 50,903 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 8,123 (+19.0%) from the 42,780 counted in the 1990 Census.

Traditionally a farming community, it has become a fast-growing suburb with massive development in the later 20th and 21st centuries as a diverse blend of races, religions and cultures. In 2008, Franklin Township ranked #5 on Money magazine's list of America's Top 100 Best Places to Live.

What is now Franklin Township was originally formed circa 1745 as Eastern precinct. Franklin Township was incorporated on February 21, 1798, as one of New Jersey's initial group of 104 townships by an act of the New Jersey Legislature. Portions of the township were taken to form South Bound Brook (formed within Township, became independent municipality as of April 11, 1907) and East Millstone (February 18, 1873, returned to Franklin Township on December 31, 1949).

History

It has been unclear if the township was named for founding father Benjamin Franklin or for his illegitimate son William Franklin, a Loyalist and the last Royal Governor of New Jersey (from 1763 to 1776). In 2000, after considering the evidence set forth by William B. Brahms in his books Images of America: Franklin Township (1997) and Franklin Township, Somerset County, NJ: A History, and The Case for William Franklin and The Case for Benjamin Franklin, the Township Council chose the theory that the township was indeed named for Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin Township was very much a part of Revolutionary War history and the scene of many raiding parties along Route 27, then known as the King's Highway. Two British generals, Cornwallis and DeHeister, tried to lure General George Washington and his Continental Army into battle on the plains of Middlebush and East Millstone. Washington, however, kept his troops at Chimney Rock, just north of Franklin, until the British withdrew. Several of the prosperous Middlebush farms were destroyed by the British soldiers during their retreat. In 1777, near the mill on the Millstone River at Weston, the Continental Army and local militia engaged and successfully drove off a British foraging party of about 600 troops, sent out of New Brunswick by General Cornwallis. In 1783, Washington composed his farewell address to his army while staying at Rockingham near Kingston, New Jersey.

The construction of the Delaware and Raritan Canal in the 1830s, stretching 22 miles (35 km) to connect New York City and Philadelphia, led to significant growth in the township, with as much as 200,000 tons of goods shipped on barges using the canal by the 1860s. The rise of shipping commercial goods using railroads led to a substantial decline in canal traffic. The area has been restored as the.

The Van Wickle House, located next to the Delaware and Raritan Canal in the Somerset section of the township, in between New Brunswick and South Bound Brook, was built in 1722 by Dutch settlers and is now owned by Franklin Township and leased by The Meadows Foundation. Set back behind Easton Avenue, the home adjoins the Rutgers Preparatory School and a Revolutionary War-era graveyard.

Passenger and freight railroad service was available in Franklin Township during the later half of the 19th century via the Millstone and New Brunswick Railroad (M&NB) which opened in 1854. The railroad was built and operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), from a junction with the PRR mainline at Jersey Avenue in New Brunswick to East Millstone. The M&NB is now known as the Conrail Millstone Secondary Branch. The branch line is still operated by Conrail up to just west of Clyde Road in Somerset, serving local industry in the industrial section of Somerset.

In 1922, the infamous Hall-Mills Murder took place in Franklin Township, in the area adjacent to New Brunswick known as Somerset.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 46.846 square miles (121.330 km2), including 46.147 square miles (119.520 km2) of land and 0.699 square miles (1.810 km2) of water (1.49%).

The community is approximately 75% rural.

The township borders the municipalities of Bridgewater Township, Hillsborough Township, Manville, Millstone, Montgomery Township, Rocky Hill and South Bound Brook in Somerset County; Princeton in Mercer County; New Brunswick, North Brunswick Township, Piscataway Township and South Brunswick Township in Middlesex County.

Communities

The following are unincorporated communities and census-designated places (CDPs) located within Franklin Township:

  • Blackwells Mills (2010 CDP population of 803)
  • Clyde (2010 CDP population of 213)
  • East Franklin (2010 CDP population of 8,669)
  • East Millstone (2010 CDP population of 579)
  • East Rocky Hill (2010 CDP population of 469)
  • Franklin Center (2010 CDP population of 4,460)
  • Franklin Park (2010 CDP population of 13,295)
  • Griggstown (2010 CDP population of 819)
  • Kingston - officially designated as a Village Center by the New Jersey State Planning Commission. The Kingston Village Advisory Committee, jointly appointed by the Councils of Franklin and South Brunswick Townships, advises Franklin on matters of concern to Kingston's citizens. (2010 CDP population of 271 for portion in Franklin Township)
  • Middlebush (2010 CDP population of 2,326)
  • Pleasant Plains (2010 CDP population of 922)
  • Six Mile Run (2010 CDP population of 3,184)
  • Somerset (2010 CDP population of 22,083)
  • Ten Mile Run (2010 CDP population of 1,959)
  • Voorhees CDP (2010 CDP population of 976)
  • Weston (2010 CDP population of 1,235)
  • Zarephath, religious community in western part of the township, centered around the Pillar of Fire Church (2010 CDP population of 37)

Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Hamilton Park and Rockingham.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 2,068
1810 2,539
1820 3,071 21.0%
1830 3,352 9.2%
1840 3,878 15.7%
1850 3,062 −21.0%
1860 3,599 17.5%
1870 3,912 8.7%
1880 3,147 * −19.6%
1890 2,478 −21.3%
1900 2,398 −3.2%
1910 2,395 * −0.1%
1920 2,955 23.4%
1930 5,675 92.0%
1940 5,912 4.2%
1950 9,601 * 62.4%
1960 19,858 106.8%
1970 30,389 53.0%
1980 31,358 3.2%
1990 42,780 36.4%
2000 50,903 19.0%
2010 62,300 22.4%
Est. 2015 66,158 6.2%
Population sources:
1790-1920 1840 1850-1870
1850 1870 1880-1890
1890-1910 1910-1930 1920-1940
1930-1990 2000 2010
* = Territory change in previous decade.

Census 2010

As of the census of 2010, there were 62,300 people, 23,301 households, and 15,938 families residing in the township. The population density was 1,350.0 per square mile (521.2/km2). There were 24,426 housing units at an average density of 529.3 per square mile (204.4/km2)*. The racial makeup of the township was 44.76% (27,887) White, 26.55% (16,539) Black or African American, 0.29% (183) Native American, 19.98% (12,450) Asian, 0.01% (9) Pacific Islander, 5.11% (3,183) from other races, and 3.29% (2,049) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.92% (8,050) of the population.

There were 23,301 households out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.3% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.6% were non-families. 25.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the township, the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 26.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.3 years. For every 100 females there were 92.0 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 88.5 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $89,992 (with a margin of error of +/- $2,918) and the median family income was $103,060 (+/- $3,429). Males had a median income of $66,178 (+/- $2,448) versus $54,733 (+/- $2,427) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $40,036 (+/- $1,203). About 3.2% of families and 5.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.9% of those under age 18 and 4.8% of those age 65 or over.

Census 2000

As of the 2000 United States Census there were 50,903 people, 19,355 households, and 12,987 families residing in the township. The population density was 1,088.3 people per square mile (420.2/km²). There were 19,789 housing units at an average density of 423.1 per square mile (163.4/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 55.11% White, 25.98% African American, 0.18% Native American, 12.74% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.56% from other races, and 2.39% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.11% of the population.

There were 19,355 households out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.1% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.9% were non-families. 25.7% 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 2.58 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the township the population was spread out with 22.7% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 36.9% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.8 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $67,923, and the median income for a family was $78,177. Males had a median income of $52,351 versus $41,101 for females. The per capita income for the township was $31,209. About 3.1% of families and 5.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.3% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over.

Parks and recreation

Parks in the township include:

  • The William L. Hutcheson Memorial Forest ia a 500-acre (2.0 km2) natural preserve administered by Rutgers University that includes a 65-acre (260,000 m2) virgin old-growth forest designated a National Natural Landmark, and is located at 2150 Amwell Road (Route 514) about ¾ of a mile east of East Millstone.
  • Colonial Park, part of the Somerset County Park System, is a 685.5-acre (2.774 km2) facility located in the western portion of Franklin Township near East Millstone with entrances off Mettlers Lane and Elizabeth Avenue. The park offers many recreational activities, including picnicking, hiking, biking, fishing, golf and tennis. It features a 144-acre (0.58 km2) Arboretum, "a living tree museum" that provides a wide range of examples of trees and shrubs that grow well in the Central Jersey environment. The park also offers a 3-acre (12,000 m2) leash-free dog area, a 1.4-mile (2.3 km) fitness parcourse, paddleboat rentals, an 18-hole putting course, the 18 hole championship Spooky Brook Golf Course, 3 stocked fishing ponds, softball fields, tennis center, playground, nature trail, a 5-acre (20,000 m2) Perennial Garden, the Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden, an accredited All-America Rose Selections (AARS) display garden, and the Fragrance and Sensory Garden, designed to be of special interest to visitors who are visually or physically impaired. In 2009, Franklin Township appeared on Newsmax magazine's list of the "Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities and Towns," a piece written by current CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg. The article cited Colonial Park as a reason for the city making the list.
  • A portion of the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park runs for 22 miles (35 km) along much of the northern and western borders of Franklin Township eventually making its way as far south as Trenton with a feeder canal following the Delaware River north for another 22 miles (35 km) to Bull's Island near Frenchtown. The canal and adjacent tow path offer many recreational activities, from hiking and biking to fishing and boating. Access points with parking can be found near most road crossings of the canal, via bridges at Colonial Park (see above) and the Van Wickle House (see below) in Franklin Township as well as at many of the locks on the canal.
  • The John W. Flemer Preserve is a 7.4-acre (30,000 m2) preserve adjacent to the Delaware and Raritan Canal in Kingston that features a 2-mile (3.2 km) trail on the east bank of the Canal that offers a connection to the tow path on the west side of the Canal for a round trip hike.
  • The Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve is a 164-acre (0.66 km2) preserve located between Bennets Lane and Skillmans Lane in the Somerset section that features 111-acre (0.45 km2) of grassland, forest and scrubland and a 2.5-acre (10,000 m2) wetland attracting migratory birds and amphibians with over 3 miles (4.8 km) of pedestrian trails, bird boxes and interpretive signage.
  • Six Mile Run Reservoir Site, part of the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, is located in the central portion of Franklin Township. The 3,037-acre (12.29 km2) park consists of land that was set aside in c. 1970 for water resource needs that still remains largely undeveloped and that offers numerous multi-use recreational trails. Access is provided via the former D&R Canal Main Office parking area off Canal Road just south of Blackwells Mills Road.
  • Ten Mile Run Greenway is a 684-acre (2.77 km2) greenway over 4 miles (6.4 km) in length running between Canal Road south of Bunker Hill Road in Griggstown and S. Middlebush Road near Old Vliet Road in Franklin Park. It runs along the Ten Mile Run. It features four sections including:
    • Bunker Hill Natural Area, accessed from the north side of Bunker Hill Road near the intersection of Route 27, features trails through mature forest and meadows and along Ten Mile Run stream. Trails connect to the Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve and the Catalpa Farm areas.
    • Catalpa Farm, on Old Vliet Road, offers trails along field edges and a small forest that connect to the Bunker Hill Natural Area.
    • Environmental Education Center, 255 Bunker Hill Road (parking is available at 287 Bunker Hill Road), is a 95-acre (38 ha) area that features a deciduous forest known as Graeber Woods, a one-mile (1.6 km) self-guided nature trail and the "Glass House", a home that has been renovated and is now used as a classroom and conference center to provide a wide range of instructional, hands-on activities in natural habitats, and a 20' climbing tower and a high ropes course adventure area. The Environmental Education Center is a cooperative effort of the Township of Franklin, the Franklin Township Board of Education, and the Green Acres Program. A trail connect to the Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve and the rest of the Ten Mile Run Greenway.
    • Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve accessed from Canal Road in Griggstown (1091 Canal Road) has over 100 acres (0.40 km2) of grassland and hundreds of acres of forest and features over 6 miles (9.7 km) of mapped trails. Trails connect to the other sections of the Ten Mile Run Greenway.

Points of interest

  • The Blackwells Mills Canal House, located at Blackwells Mills Road and Canal Road (598 Canal Road, Somerset) on the Delaware and Raritan Canal, was built c. 1830s, at the same time as the canal. It was constructed to house the bridge tender, who would open the swing bridge when canal boats came through, then close it to allow traffic to cross over the canal. The building is leased from the State and is maintained and operated by the Blackwells Mills Canal House Association in conjunction with the Meadows Foundation.
  • The Franklin Inn, at 2371 Amwell Road (Route 514), East Millstone, NJ a farmhouse built c. 1752 by Cornelius Van Liew, it has also been known as Annie Van Liew's House and, after being remodeled into a tavern and inn, the Franklin House Hotel.
  • The Hageman Farm, at 209 South Middlebush Road, is a c. 1861 historic farm. Owned by Franklin Township, the farm is under the stewardship of the Meadows Foundation.
  • Rockingham State Historic Site, near Kingston on CR 603 (Somerset County), adjacent to the Delaware and Raritan Canal. George Washington wrote his Farewell Address to the Revolutionary Army while staying here in the fall of 1783.
  • Spieden & Hoebel Farms, Little Valley Natural Area is a 120-acre (0.49 km2) area at 1327 and 1345 Canal Road with several miles of trails through forest and along field edges. Across Canal Road is access to the Delaware and Raritan Canal tow path and the Millstone River and flood plain.
  • Tulipwood, at 1165 Hamilton Street, is a c. 1892 designed by J. August Lienau, the son of Detlef Lienau for his brother-in-law Stephen Guion Williams whose family owned the Williams & Guion Black Star Line. The home is owned by Franklin Township.
  • The Ukrainian Cultural Center at 135 Davidson Avenue, serves as the headquarters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and includes the following at the site (some open by appointment only):
    • St. Sophia Seminary and Library, founded in 1975
    • St. Andrew Memorial Church, completed and consecrated in 1967 in memory of the 7-14 million people who died in the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33 is a unique example of Ukrainian Cossak Baroque architecture in the area
    • St. Andrew Cemetery, founded in 1952
    • The Ukrainian Historical and Educational Center, founded in 1972, which contains treasures of Ukrainian cultural, historical, social, religious, literary and political life including Easter eggs, lacework, hand embroidery, statuary and church vessels.
    • The Ukrainian Cultural Center, dedicated in 1985
    • St. Andrew Ukrainian School, founded in 1962 and located in the Cultural Center
    • St. Andrew Bookstore and Ecclesiastical Supply, founded in 1992
  • The historic Fisher Homestead, built in 1688, the home of Hendrick Fisher, New Jersey's delegate to the Continental Congress, and the site of the Fisher Family Cemetery.
  • The Van Liew-Suydam House, at 280 South Middlebush Road, was built in the 18th century by Peter Van Liew. Joseph Suydam later built the part of the house that is visible today. The newest and largest portion of the house was built in 1875. Although the most recent long term owner of the house was named French, the house has been named after its two initial owners. Owned by Franklin Township, the farm is under the stewardship of the Meadows Foundation.
  • The Van Wickle House, at 1289 Easton Avenue is a historic house built c. 1722 by Symen Van Wickle. Operated by the Meadows Foundation which holds special annual events here.
  • The Wyckoff-Garretson House, at 215 South Middlebush Road, was built in 1730 by Cornelius Wyckoff. The house was restored by the Meadows Foundation under the direction of architect Mark Alan Hewitt.

Franklin Township, Somerset County, New Jersey Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.