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Vernon Township, New Jersey
Township
Township of Vernon
Along CR 517 and NJ 94
Along CR 517 and NJ 94
Map of Vernon Township in Sussex County. Inset: Location of Sussex County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
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
Census Bureau map of Vernon Township, New Jersey
Vernon Township, New Jersey is located in Sussex County, New Jersey
Vernon Township, New Jersey
Vernon Township, New Jersey
Location in Sussex County, New Jersey
Vernon Township, New Jersey is located in New Jersey
Vernon Township, New Jersey
Vernon Township, New Jersey
Location in New Jersey
Vernon Township, New Jersey is located in the United States
Vernon Township, New Jersey
Vernon Township, New Jersey
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County [[Image:|23x23px|border |]] Sussex
Established April 8, 1793
Incorporated February 21, 1798
Government
 • Type Faulkner Act (mayor–council)
 • Body Township Council
Area
 • Total 69.96 sq mi (181.19 km2)
 • Land 67.60 sq mi (175.07 km2)
 • Water 2.36 sq mi (6.12 km2)  3.38%
Area rank 15th of 565 in state
1st of 24 in county
Elevation
571 ft (174 m)
Population
 • Total 23,943
 • Estimate 
(2019)
21,989
 • 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−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Code
07462 (Vernon)
07422 (Highland Lakes)
07418 (Glenwood)
07428 (McAfee)
Area code(s) 973
FIPS code 3403775740
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; it has since reopened as the National Winter Activity Center. 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. Opened in 1972 at a cost of $20 million, featuring 700 rooms and 27 holes of golf, the hotel was sold to Americana in 1982 and later was resold to Metairie Corp. which branded the property as the Legends Resort and Country Club. In 2017, the township started eviction proceedings against low-income residents who had been living in the defunct resort on a permanent basis.

History

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.

Geography

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
  • DeKays
  • Glenwood
  • Great Gorge
  • Highland Lakes
  • Independence Corners
  • Kampe P.O.
  • Lake Conway
  • Lake Glenwood
  • Lake Pochung
  • Lake Wanda
  • Lake Wallkill
  • Lake Wilderwood
  • Maple Grange
  • McAfee
  • Mud Pond
  • Owens
  • Pleasant Valley Lake
  • Prices Switch
  • Vernon Village "Town Center"
  • Vernon Valley a.k.a. "The Valley"
  • Vernon Valley Lake
  • Wawayanda
  • 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.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 1,708
1820 2,096 22.7%
1830 2,380 13.5%
1840 2,395 0.6%
1850 2,649 10.6%
1860 2,190 −17.3%
1870 1,979 −9.6%
1880 1,811 −8.5%
1890 1,756 −3.0%
1900 1,738 −1.0%
1910 1,675 −3.6%
1920 1,433 −14.4%
1930 1,279 −10.7%
1940 1,407 10.0%
1950 1,548 10.0%
1960 2,155 39.2%
1970 6,059 181.2%
1980 16,302 169.1%
1990 21,211 30.1%
2000 24,686 16.4%
2010 23,943 −3.0%
2019 (est.) 21,989 −8.2%
Population sources:
1810-1920 1840 1850-1870
1850 1870 1880-1890
1890-1910 1910-1930
1930-1990 2000 2010

2010 Census

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.

Parks and recreation

Transportation

Roads and highways

2021-09-18 15 42 25 View south along New Jersey State Route 94 (McAfee-Vernon Road) from the pedestrian overpass between Sand Hill Road and Columbus Drive in Vernon Township, Sussex County, New Jersey
Route 94 southbound in Vernon Township

As of May 2010, 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.

The main highway serving Vernon Township is New Jersey Route 94. Other significant roads passing through Vernon Township include 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 in New York. The 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.

Public transportation

NJ Transit offers seasonal bus service between the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan and Mountain Creek on the 304 route.

Economy

The primary satellite uplink earth terminal facility for Sirius XM Radio is located in Vernon, as is the Vernon Valley uplink facility for SES Worldcom.

Education

The Vernon Township School District serves public school students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of six schools, had an enrollment of 3,012 students and 296.2 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 10.2:1. Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Walnut Ridge School with 96 students in Pre-K, Cedar Mountain Primary School with 374 students in grades K-1, Rolling Hills Elementary School with 429 students in grades 2–3, Lounsberry Hollow School with 410 students in grades 4–5, Glen Meadow Middle School with 680 students in grades 6-8 and Vernon Township High School with 995 students in grades 9-12.

Notable people

See also (related category): People from Vernon Township, New Jersey

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Vernon Township include:

  • Helena Rutherfurd Ely (1858–1920), author, garden writer and creator of Vernon's Meadowburn Farm.
  • Nicolas de Gunzburg (1904–1981), editor in chief of Town & Country and fashion editor at Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.
  • Brett Hearn (born 1958), modified stock car driver.
  • Ryan Izzo (born 1995), football tight end for the New England Patriots.
  • Brad Leone (born 1985), chef for Bon Appétit star of show It's Alive.
  • John Winans (1831–1907), U.S. Representative from Wisconsin.
  • Ross Winans (1796–1877), inventor, mechanic, and builder of locomotives and railroad machinery.
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