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Vernon Township, New Jersey
|Township of Vernon|
Along Route 517
Map of Vernon Township in Sussex County. Inset: Location of Sussex County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Vernon Township, New Jersey
|Established||April 8, 1793|
|Incorporated||February 21, 1798|
|• Total||70.587 sq mi (182.819 km2)|
|• Land||68.234 sq mi (176.725 km2)|
|• Water||2.353 sq mi (6.094 km2) 3.33%|
|Area rank||15th of 566 in state
1st of 24 in county
|Elevation||571 ft (174 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Rank||102nd of 566 in state
1st of 24 in county
|• Density||350.9/sq mi (135.5/km2)|
|• Density rank||466th of 566 in state
12th of 24 in county
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern (EDT))|
|GNIS feature ID||0882258|
Vernon Township is a township in Sussex County, New Jersey, United States. It is located about one hour's drive from New York City and is part of the New York Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 23,943, reflecting a decline of 743 (-3.0%) from the 24,686 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 3,475 (+16.4%) from the 21,211 counted in the 1990 Census. It is both the most populous municipality and the largest in area in the county.
Vernon is home to Mountain Creek (formerly Great Gorge and Vernon Valley), a ski resort and water park as well as the Crystal Springs Resort's Minerals Hotel and Elements Spa. The Hidden Valley ski resort, which opened in 1976 and occupied a 140-acre (57 ha) property that included one of New Jersey's three remaining downhill skiing facilities, closed at the end of the 2013 season and could find no buyers at an auction held that year. The Great Gorge Playboy Club was located in the Vernon community of McAfee, but was sold and turned into a hotel, now called the Legends Resort & Country Club.
The independent township of Vernon was established on April 8, 1793, from portions of Hardyston Township, and the township was formally incorporated on February 21, 1798. The 68 square miles (180 km2) which marked the town's borders over 200 years ago have not changed since. However, the population of Vernon, which was 1,548 people as recently as 1950, has steadily grown since the 1960s, when the ski industry was introduced to the area. Additional growth has come as home prices have soared in the inner suburbs of New York City and property buyers seek the better values available from real estate developments in the area.
Iron mining in the town of Vernon was prevalent during the mid-to-late 19th century. Mines such as the Canistear Mine, Williams Mine, and the Pochuk Mine created industry which spawned local businesses, and brought rail travel to the town.
It is not known how Vernon Township got its name, but a number of theories have been offered by author Ronald J. Dupont Jr.:
- Admiral Edward Vernon. Dupont writes that this is very possible because of two things: 1. the township was created in 1792, the year that George Washington was reelected as President, and 2. because Vernon Township's first Masonic Lodge in 1820 was named Mount Vernon (Washington was also a Freemason during his life), likely after Washington's Virginia residence. The residence, in turn, got its name because Washington's brother Lawrence Washington served with Admiral Vernon.
- A family named Vernon. Not likely, Dupont says, although he notes that a Nathaniel Vernon was a licensed tavernkeeper in Sussex County in 1756. However, the tavern was likely elsewhere, and not in what is now present-day Vernon.
- The Latin root "Vernus." One form of "vernus" is "vernal," as in vernal equinox ("spring"), and so Vernon "had connotations of spring: green, lush, fresh, fertile, etc., and hence was an attractive name for a place."
Dupont Jr. also writes that in the late 19th century two places named Vernon existed, one in Sussex County and another in Essex County. When the Essex County community was granted a post office, they found out that another Vernon existed, and so they eventually named the community Verona.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 70.587 square miles (182.819 km2), including 68.234 square miles (176.725 km2) of land and 2.353 square miles (6.094 km2) of water (3.33%).
Highland Lakes (2010 Census population of 4,933), Vernon Center (2010 Census population of 1,713) and Vernon Valley (1,626 as of 2010) are unincorporated communities and census-designated places (CDPs) located within Vernon Township.
The township is bordered by Hardyston Township and Wantage Township, all of which are within Sussex County. Vernon borders Orange County, New York with the Town of Warwick. Vernon also shares a border with West Milford Township in Passaic County.
Elevation varies greatly due to the valleys, rolling hills, and mountains. The United States Geological Survey places Glenwood at 580 feet (180 m), McAfee at 435 feet (133 m), and Highland Lakes at 1,260 feet (380 m).
The township is located in the Kittatinny Valley which is a section of the Great Appalachian Valley that stretches 700 miles (1,100 km) from Canada to Alabama.
Communities and neighborhoods
Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include:
- Barry Lakes
- Canistear Reservoir
- Cherry Ridge
- Great Gorge
- Highland Lakes
- Independence Corners
- Kampe P.O.
- Lake Conway
- Lake Glenwood
- Lake Pochung
- Lake Wanda
- Lake Wallkill
- Lake Wilderwood
- Maple Grange
- Mud Pond
- Pleasant Valley Lake
- Prices Switch
- Vernon Village "Town Center"
- Vernon Valley a.k.a. "The Valley"
- Vernon Valley Lake
- Wawayanda Lake
Glenwood and McAfee are located in the western portion of the township, McAfee to the South and Glenwood to the North. Highland Lakes is in the Eastern portion of the township. Pleasant Valley Lake is in the southwest portion of the township. Four of these sections have a post office. Vernon also has many developments.
Vernon is home to many lake communities, including Highland Lakes, Barry Lakes, Cliffwood Lake, High Breeze, Lake Conway, Lake Wanda, Laurel Lake, Lake Wildwood, Lake Glenwood, Lake Panorama, Lake Pochung, Lake Wallkill, Pleasant Valley Lake, Scenic Lakes, and Vernon Valley Lake.
Portions of the township covering 5,400 acres (2,200 ha) of land are owned by the City of Newark, Essex County, for their Pequannock River Watershed, which provides water to the city from an area of 35,000 acres (14,000 ha) that also includes portions of Hardyston Township, Jefferson Township, Kinnelon, Rockaway Township and West Milford.
1810-1920 1840 1850-1870
1850 1870 1880-1890
1930-1990 2000 2010
As of the census of 2010, there were 23,943 people, 8,622 households, and 6,596 families residing in the township. The population density was 350.9 per square mile (135.5/km2). There were 10,958 housing units at an average density of 160.6 per square mile (62.0/km2)*. The racial makeup of the township was 95.18% (22,790) White, 1.39% (332) Black or African American, 0.17% (40) Native American, 0.78% (186) Asian, 0.03% (8) Pacific Islander, 1.10% (263) from other races, and 1.35% (324) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.41% (1,534) of the population.
There were 8,622 households out of which 35.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.0% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.5% were non-families. 19.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 4.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the township, the population was spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 34.0% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.5 years. For every 100 females there were 102.9 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 101.2 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $81,129 (with a margin of error of +/- $5,949) and the median family income was $87,215 (+/- $4,152). Males had a median income of $62,462 (+/- $3,163) versus $41,917 (+/- $2,121) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $32,649 (+/- $1,365). About 3.2% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.4% of those under age 18 and 2.5% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 24,686 people, 8,368 households, and 6,610 families residing in the township. The population density was 360.9 people per square mile (139.4/km²). There were 9,994 housing units at an average density of 146.1 per square mile (56.4/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 96.56% White, 0.76% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.79% from other races, and 1.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.60% of the population.
There were 8,368 households out of which 45.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.1% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.0% were non-families. 16.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95 and the average family size was 3.35.
In the township the population was spread out with 30.6% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 6.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 102.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.0 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $67,566, and the median income for a family was $72,609. Males had a median income of $50,084 versus $33,292 for females. The per capita income for the township was $25,250. About 2.8% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.0% of those under age 18 and 3.9% of those age 65 or over.
Parks and recreation
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- Mountain Creek Ski Resort and Mountain Creek Waterpark
- Hidden Valley Resort (closed)
Roads and highways
As of May 2010[update], the township had a total of 126.12 miles (202.97 km) of roadways, of which 85.21 miles (137.13 km) were maintained by the municipality, 32.31 miles (52.00 km) by Sussex County and 8.60 miles (13.84 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Roadways passing through Vernon Township include Route 94, County Route 515, County Route 517 and County Route 565. County Route 644 and County Route 641 also pass through the township. In addition, direct access to Interstate 80 is offered via Route 94, and County Route 565 to Route 23 to Interstate 84, which passes through the northern tip of New Jersey. New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway passes through Vernon, but only freight service is offered.
Vernon is the site of a wrong-way concurrency at the intersection of NJ 94 and CR 517 in McAfee.
NJ Transit offers seasonal bus service between the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan and Mountain Creek on the 304 route.
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