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Sparta Township, New Jersey
|Township of Sparta|
Lake Mohawk Boardwalk in Sparta
Map of Sparta Township in Sussex County. Inset: Location of Sussex County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Sparta Township, New Jersey
|Incorporated||April 14, 1845|
|• Total||38.965 sq mi (100.920 km2)|
|• Land||36.942 sq mi (95.680 km2)|
|• Water||2.023 sq mi (5.240 km2) 5.19%|
|Area rank||58th of 566 in state
5th of 24 in county
|Elevation||620 ft (190 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Rank||131st of 566 in state
2nd of 24 in county
|• Density||533.9/sq mi (206.1/km2)|
|• Density rank||441st of 566 in state
9th of 24 in county
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern (EDT))|
|Area code(s)||973 exchanges: 726, 729|
|GNIS feature ID||0882265|
Sparta Township is a township in Sussex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 19,722, reflecting an increase of 1,642 (+9.1%) from the 18,080 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 2,923 (+19.3%) from the 15,157 counted in the 1990 Census.
Sparta was organized as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 14, 1845, from portions of Byram Township, Frankford Township, Hardyston Township and (the now-defunct) Newton Township. The township was named after the existing community of Sparta, which had been settled and named years before, the name likely coming from Sparta, Greece. Ogdensburg borough was incorporated on February 26, 1914, from portions of Sparta Township.
Pre-colonial Sparta was inhabited by the Lenape Native Americans. In the 1750s, Dutch explorers discovered red ores in the area and attempted to mine copper. No permanent settlers arrived until 1778, when Robert Ogden and his wife built their home and constructed an iron forge on lands he had acquired and "called their house and farm Sparta." The first public building in Sparta was the Presbyterian Church which was incorporated in 1786. Schools were established in Ogdensburg by 1806 and in Sparta by 1812.
Iron, zinc, and limestone supported a mining industry for over 100 years, but today the mining operations have ceased and the township is now a residential community served by retail, professional, and service small businesses. According to the 2000 census, 65% of Sparta Township workers commute to jobs outside of the county.
Robert Ogden settled in 1778 near the present town of Ogdensburg and built an iron forge, utilizing local ore from his Ogden Mine on Sparta Mountain. The Horseshoe mine was opened in 1772 by the Englishmen Spargo and Harvey who shipped ore by horse and mule to the forges at Sparta and Hopewell. It wasn't until 1868 that the Ogden Mine Railroad began operations and made it economical to ship zinc and iron ore to Nolan's Point on Lake Hopatcong where the Morris Canal had a marine terminal that could ship ore to Newark. In 1872, the New Jersey Midland Railroad (later known as the New York, Susquehanna & Western) extended to Ogdensburg and captured the zinc ore traffic.
In 1836, Henry Decker, along with Nelson Hunt and Lewis Sherman, began the manufacture of anchors at their forges in Sparta. Their success led to a small industry of forging anchors in Sparta, but by the end of the Civil War the forge industry in Sparta had come to an end.
In 1889, Thomas Edison invested $3.5 million in his Edison Ore-Milling Company to build iron operations on 2,500 acres (10 km2) of Sparta Mountain. Edison hoped to concentrate the mountain's vast quantities of low-grade ore and supply East Coast mills with raw material. At its peak Edison's operation employed 500 people, but after a 10 year effort he abandoned his attempt to compete with more economical ores from Minnesota's Mesabi Iron Range. The availability of the cheap Minnesota ores put an end to iron mining in Sparta.
In 1848 the New Jersey Zinc Company began operations at Sterling Hill. Earlier attempts to obtain iron from the mineral rich ore of the Sterling Hill failed because of manganese contamination, but zinc was recoverable and the ores at Sterling Hill were rich with it.
By 1868, both iron and zinc operations were in progress at Sterling Hill, but the numerous companies and claims were embroiled in continuous legal battles, the largest of which was a 12-year dispute between the New Jersey Zinc Company and the Franklin Iron Company over rights to mixed ores, each company having purchased the right to mine zinc and iron, respectively. In 1880 the Franklin Iron Company acquired the New Jersey Zinc Company's operations at Sterling Hill mine, ending the dispute. Large scale operations began in 1897 when the claims were consolidated under the New Jersey Zinc Company and by 1900 its mill was processing 1,500 tons of ore daily.
Zinc operations continued until 1986 when the Sterling Hill mine ceased operation. The Sterling Hill mine site is currently occupied by the Sterling Hill Mining Museum and is open to the public for tours.
After closing his iron operations, Thomas Edison recouped his losses by opening a quarry called Limecrest near Sparta in 1919. The lime quarry fed Edison's Portland cement operations, and was in continuous operation under various owners for nearly 100 years until closed in 2003. During the years of its operation the limestone quarry was an important source of employment and tax revenue for Sparta. Limestone is no longer mined, but a limited amount of granite continues to be quarried by a handful of employees.
The New Jersey Midland Railroad opened to Ogdensburg in 1872 for zinc ore traffic, but in 1882 the line was extended to Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and a station was built at Sparta, giving tourists easy access to the many boarding houses that served summer residents from the cities. Passenger service ended in 1935, but by then Sparta was well established as a summer destination. In 1926, the Arthur D. Crane Company along with developer and designer Herbert L. Closs constructed a 600-foot (180 m) dam across the Wallkill River to form 300-acre (1.2 km2) Lake Mohawk in 1928. The private resort community created by the Crane Company consisted primarily of summer homes, but the homes began to be winterized in the 1940s and the current membership of 2,600 families are largely year-round residents.
Sparta Township had a total area of 38.965 square miles (100.920 km2), including 36.942 square miles (95.680 km2) of land and 2.023 square miles (5.240 km2) of water (5.19%).
Lake Mohawk (with 8,092 out of the CDP's total 2010 Census population of 9,916 in the township) is a unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) split between Byram Township and Sparta Township.
Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Ackerson, Edison, Hopewell, Houses Corner, Monroe, Sparta Junction, Sussex Mills, Upper Mohawk and Woodruffs Gap.
The township borders the Sussex County municipalities of Andover Township, Byram Township, Franklin borough, Hardyston Township, Hopatcong borough and Lafayette Township; and Jefferson Township in Morris County.
Sparta is in the Highlands which is composed of igneous and metamorphic rock. Folding and faulting occurred when a continent struck the North American plate. This is what created the mountains through Sparta and northwards. The Wisconsin Glacier created all the lakes and streams. The Franklin Marble goes though the township from Lime Crest Quarry to the New York line.
|Population sources: 1850-1920
1850-1870 1850 1870
1880-1890 1890-1910 1910-1930
1930-1990 2000 2010
* = Lost territory in previous decade.
Sparta has been noted for the high number of pilots and their families who settle in the area. In his 1994 book The Airport: Terminal Nights and Runway Days at John F. Kennedy International, James Kaplan describes the home township of an interviewee as "thickly populated, for no particular reason, with pilots, many of whom do their flying out of Kennedy. The view out [the pilot's] picture window is of trees ... The lights and noise of Manhattan, fifty miles distant, attract flight attendants, single people mostly. Pilots like the woods."
As of the census of 2010, there were 19,722 people, 6,868 households, and 5,453 families residing in the township. The population density was 533.9 per square mile (206.1/km2). There were 7,423 housing units at an average density of 200.9 per square mile (77.6/km2)*. The racial makeup of the township was 94.15% (18,569) White, 1.00% (198) Black or African American, 0.11% (22) Native American, 2.49% (491) Asian, 0.02% (4) Pacific Islander, 0.70% (139) from other races, and 1.52% (299) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.34% (1,054) of the population.
There were 6,868 households out of which 41.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.6% were married couples living together, 6.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.6% were non-families. 17.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.87 and the average family size was 3.27.
In the township, the population was spread out with 28.9% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 21.5% from 25 to 44, 32.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.5 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 95.1 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $112,699 (with a margin of error of +/- $6,658) and the median family income was $127,669 (+/- $8,981). Males had a median income of $89,118 (+/- $5,949) versus $60,590 (+/- $5,416) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $50,115 (+/- $3,064). About 2.3% of families and 3.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 18,080 people, 6,225 households, and 5,029 families residing in the township. The population density was 483.5 people per square mile (186.7/km²). There were 6,590 housing units at an average density of 176.2 per square mile (68.1/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 96.7% White, 0.3% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.45% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.54% of the population.
There were 6,225 households out of which 44.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.9% were married couples living together, 5.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.2% were non-families. 16.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.28.
In the township the population was spread out with 30.6% under the age of 18, 4.5% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 26.6% from 45 to 64, and 8.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.4 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $89,835, and the median income for a family was $100,658. Males had a median income of $74,293 versus $39,349 for females. The per capita income for the township was $36,910. About 1.0% of families and 1.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.6% of those under age 18 and 2.1% of those age 65 or over.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010[update], the township had a total of 132.81 miles (213.74 km) of roadways, of which 97.07 miles (156.22 km) were maintained by the municipality, 20.05 miles (32.27 km) by Sussex County and 15.69 miles (25.25 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Sparta is served by the Skylands Connect bus, which provides service to Newton, Hamburg and Sussex. Lakeland Bus Lines provides commuter service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan from the Sparta police station and Blue Heron Road park and rides on the Route 80 route.
Sparta has many small stores located within the town. Lake Mohawk houses many boutiques and gift shops that cater to a wide variety of shoppers. Rockaway Townsquare is located about 15 minutes away from Sparta and allows residents to find a wider variety of shops.
Sparta is home to many small businesses. In Lake Mohawk you can find a mom and pop florist and an old time candy store. As well as these smaller businesses, there are many larger and more well known businesses including Rita's ice and Sparta Lanes. The town is also home to multiple family-owned pizzerias and delis.
Sparta Township, New Jersey Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.