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West Milford, New Jersey
Township of West Milford
Old Country Store at Long Pond Ironworks
Old Country Store at Long Pond Ironworks
"A Clean Community"
Map of West Milford Township in Passaic County. Inset shows Passaic County's location in New Jersey
Map of West Milford Township in Passaic County. Inset shows Passaic County's location in New Jersey
Census Bureau map of West Milford, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of West Milford, New Jersey
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Passaic
Incorporated March 10, 1834
 • Type Faulkner Act (mayor–council–administrator)
 • Body Township Council
 • Total 81.06 sq mi (209.94 km2)
 • Land 75.93 sq mi (196.66 km2)
 • Water 5.13 sq mi (13.28 km2)  6.32%
Area rank 10th of 565 in state
1st of 16 in county
827 ft (252 m)
 • Total 25,850
 • Estimate 
 • Rank 96th of 566 in state
5th of 16 in county
 • Density 344.3/sq mi (132.9/km2)
 • Density rank 467th of 566 in state
16th of 16 in county
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Code
Area codes 973 exchanges: 657, 728
FIPS code 3403179460
GNIS feature ID 0882315

West Milford is a township in Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 25,850, reflecting a decline of 560 (-2.1%) from the 26,410 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 980 (+3.9%) from the 25,430 counted in the 1990 Census. It is the largest in the county by total area, covering 80.32 square miles (208.0 km2) and more than 40% of the county.


West Milford started out as New Milford in what was then western Bergen 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. When both New Milfords applied for post offices in 1828, a clerk in Washington, D.C. is said to have approved the other application first and assigned the name "West Milford" to the New Milford in western Bergen County in order to distinguish between the two locations.

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 (now Wyckoff) and Saddle River Township (now Saddle Brook), 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. The township was named for Milford, Connecticut.

There are old name places in the township including Postville, Utterville, Corterville, Browns, Awosting, Echo Lake, Macopin, Charlottenburg (now under the Charlotteburg Reservoir, the community was named after King George III's wife, Queen Charlotte), 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 lies within Jefferson Township. A large part of the township, including the New City Village area, is reservoir property owned by the City of Newark in Essex County for its 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).

Greenwood Lake is an interstate lake approximately 9 miles (14 km) long and covering 1,920 acres (780 ha), lying in both West Milford and Greenwood Lake, New York, across the New York state line. It was originally called Long Pond. It was dammed up to increase the size of the lake for water power down stream. During the resort era, several steamboats operated on the lake, the most famous and grand was the two deck steamer, Montclair. These steamboats met the trains and took passengers to the various resorts around the lake in both states.

There is a seaplane area on Greenwood Lake, a few large marinas and lakeside restaurants with docks. A public airport called Greenwood Lake Airport is located just south of the lake on top of a mountain ridge and has two landing strips; one is long enough to handle small jets. There is one private airport in the township on a private estate.

After World War II and for the next 20 years the area underwent a major change from a resort area to year-round residences. Before there were year-round houses, the summer residence of Cecil B. Demille was West Milford. Road maps of the 1950s showing the population on the backside said 2,000 winter and 10,000 summer.

Jeremiah "Jerry" Goodfellow, a white German shepherd and the senior canine member of the New Jersey Search and Rescue was inducted into the Animal Hall of Fame in 2009. Jerry lives with his owner and trainer, Sue Lavoie, on Union Valley Road in West Milford.


New york view
View of Wanaque Reservoir and Manhattan from a mountain near the West Milford-Ringwood border.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 80.316 square miles (208.018 km2), including 75.090 square miles (194.483 km2) of land and 5.226 square miles (13.534 km2) of water (6.51%).

Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Apshawa, Awosting, Bearfort Waters, Beaver Pond, Boy Scout Lake, Browns, Buckabear Pond, Camp Rope, Cedar Pond, Charlotteburg, Clinton, Clinton Reservoir, Cooper, Dunker Pond, Echo Lake, Forest Hill Lake, Fox Island, Gordon Lakes, Green Valley Park, Greenwood Lake, Greenwood Lake Glens, Hacks Pond, Henion Pond, Hewitt, Himes Pond, Lake Lockover, Lakeside, Lindy Lake, Littletown, Lower Mt. Glen Lake, Macopin, Matthews Lake, Moe, Mount Laurel Lake, Newfoundland, Oak Ridge, Pettets Pond. Pine Crest Lake, Pinecliff Lake, Postville, Shady Lake, Smiths Mills, Surprise Lake, Terrace Pond, Upper Greenwood Lake, Upper Macopin, Upper Mt. Glen Lake, Uttertown, Vreeland Pond, West Milford Lakes, West Pond, Wonder Lake and Zeliff Pond.

The township borders the municipalities of Bloomingdale, Butler and Ringwood in Passaic County; Kinnelon in Morris County; and Warwick in Orange County, New York.

Pequannock River Watershed

Portions of the township are owned by the City of Newark, Essex County, for its Pequannock River Watershed, which supplies 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 Vernon Township.

A small residential development known as "New City Village" or "New City Colony" was built on the property early in the 20th century to house workers of the Newark water supply system. It included a school and health facility. Proposed alternative uses for the village never materialized and the buildings were demolished after falling into disrepair. The land is still owned by the City of Newark.

Newfoundland and Green Pond

Newfoundland is a neighborhood of West Milford located along the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway (NYS&W) tracks (freight service only) and Route 23. It is also a mailing address for Green Pond (just north of the Picatinny Arsenal in Rockaway Township, Morris County), a private lake community owned by Green Pond Corporation and Lake End Corporation, which lies in Rockaway Township where the Pequannock River divides Passaic County from Morris County.

The 2003 film The Station Agent was set, and filmed, largely in Newfoundland. There was an early silent movie produced in the township at the Mine Hole in the Hewitt section of the township. A still photo of that movie is published in the township's 1984 sesquicentennial book entitled The Day the Earth Shook and the Sky Turned Red.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 2,108
1850 2,624 24.5%
1860 2,402 −8.5%
1870 2,660 10.7%
1880 2,591 −2.6%
1890 2,486 −4.1%
1900 2,112 −15.0%
1910 1,967 −6.9%
1920 1,763 −10.4%
1930 1,901 7.8%
1940 2,501 31.6%
1950 3,650 45.9%
1960 8,157 123.5%
1970 17,304 112.1%
1980 22,750 31.5%
1990 25,430 11.8%
2000 26,410 3.9%
2010 25,850 −2.1%
2019 (est.) 26,331 1.9%
Population sources:
1840-1920 1840 1850-1870
1850 1870 1880-1890
1890-1910 1910–1930
1930–1990 2000 2010

Census 2010

As of the census of 2010, there were 25,850 people, 9,625 households, and 7,084 families residing in the township. The population density was 344.3 per square mile (132.9/km2). There were 10,419 housing units at an average density of 138.8 per square mile (53.6/km2)*. The racial makeup of the township was 94.06% (24,315) White, 1.40% (362) Black or African American, 0.52% (134) Native American, 1.29% (334) Asian, 0.02% (4) Pacific Islander, 1.06% (273) from other races, and 1.66% (428) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.85% (1,512) of the population.

There were 9,625 households out of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.4% were married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.4% were non-families. 21.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the township, the population was spread out with 22.4% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 33.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.7 years. For every 100 females there were 98.4 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 96.8 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $88,692 (with a margin of error of +/- $4,308) and the median family income was $102,410 (+/- $7,418). Males had a median income of $62,925 (+/- $3,467) versus $45,449 (+/- $2,738) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $37,905 (+/- $2,289). About 1.7% of families and 3.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.5% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over.

Same-sex couples headed 63 households in 2010, an increase from the 58 counted in 2000.

Census 2000

As of the 2000 United States Census there were 26,410 people, 9,190 households, and 7,186 families residing in the township. The population density was 350.1 people per square mile (135.2/km2). There were 9,909 housing units at an average density of 131.4 per square mile (50.7/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 95.08% White, 1.23% African American, 0.60% Native American, 1.02% Asian, 0.61% from other races, and 1.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.38% of the population.

There were 9,190 households, out of which 39.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.3% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.8% were non-families. 16.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the township the population was spread out, with 27.2% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 33.6% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.4 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $74,124, and the median income for a family was $80,264. Males had a median income of $51,105 versus $37,159 for females. The per capita income for the township was $28,612. About 2.6% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.1% of those under age 18 and 2.9% of those age 65 or over.


2018-07-24 18 04 02 View north along New Jersey State Route 23 at New City Road in West Milford Township, Passaic County, New Jersey
Route 23 northbound in West Milford

Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the township had a total of 198.30 miles (319.13 km) of roadways, of which 163.20 miles (262.64 km) were maintained by the municipality, 26.61 miles (42.82 km) by Passaic County and 8.49 miles (13.66 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

The main highway serving West Milford is New Jersey Route 23. Other significant roads passing through the township include County Route 511 and County Route 513.

The stoplight at the intersection of Clinton Avenue and Route 23 has been identified by The New York Times as the longest red cycle in the United States. Drivers can wait up to 5 minutes and 33 seconds to turn onto Route 23 from Clinton Avenue.


The New Jersey Midland Railway ran a trackage right-of-way through West Milford in 1872 developing the Newfoundland station, which and later served passengers on the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad (NYS&W), which still serves freight along the line

Public transportation

NJ Transit provides bus service between the township and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan on the 194 and 196 routes, with seasonal service to Mountain Creek in Vernon Township on the 304 route.

The township provides its own bus service, on two routes. One that runs by Upper Greenwood Lake, and operates Monday-Friday, and one that runs between Oak Ridge & Newfoundland, which runs Wednesdays only.

In popular culture

Portions of the 2015 made-for-television comedy Simpler Times -- starring Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, and written / directed by Steve Monarque -- were filmed in West Milford.


West Milford businesses are represented by the West Milford Chamber of Commerce, an organization of business men and women that has worked to improve and enhance the business community in West Milford since it was established in 1949.

A&P Supermarket

For decades, West Milford was rural with only a couple of service stations, a couple of small eating establishments, and a bank or two. The community was mostly residential. In the mid-1960s a then-average-sized 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) A&P Supermarket was built. During the late 1990s, A&P closed this original store and built a 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) supermarket a few miles away from the town center, next door to their former store. In 2015, the supermarket shut down. The store was later converted to Highlands Market in 2020, which closed by spring 2022 when it agreed to relocate to Washington Township in Morris County.

Jungle Habitat

In 1972, Warner Brothers opened up a wildlife theme park called Jungle Habitat. This park consisted of a drive through safari and a small park with various shows. Initially, this brought huge tourist revenue to the township. Shortly after the park opened, a tourist being driven through the safari in a taxi was attacked by a lion on October 19, 1972, bringing negative publicity to the park. The park was plagued by problems, including reports of dangerous animals escaping into West Milford.

Jungle Habitat was a mixed blessing due to the amount of summer and weekend traffic into this rural area made up of small two lane roads. Jungle Habitat wanted to expand and become a huge amusement park, but residents concerned with excessive traffic voted this proposal down in 1976, which resulted in an abrupt closing and exit. Some of the animals in the wildlife park were subsequently moved to the then-recently established drive through safari at Great Adventure in Jackson Township. The former site of Jungle Habitat in recent years has become a location for various Township activities such as the annual Fourth of July Fireworks display.

West Milford Shopping Center

With the loss of tax revenue and the needs of the residents in mind, the township approved the addition of more businesses. In the 1970s, a 45,000-square-foot (4,200 m2) ShopRite supermarket was built, and was expanded in the mid-1980s and again in 2017–2018. Shortly thereafter, other businesses opened in the West Milford Shopping Center.

Near the ShopRite, several restaurants and fast food establishments were built, including a McDonald's restaurant as well as the Abby Theater, the first four-screen multiplex cinema in northern New Jersey. The Abby Theater was opened in 1976 and designed by Milton Herson for Music Makers Theaters, with a seating capacity of 1,400. The theater was named for Abby Leigh, wife of Mitch Leigh, then board chairman of Music Makers. The Abby Theater closed down in 2009 after several unsuccessful business attempts, as the township did not have enough residents to keep the business in operation. It was slated to be demolished in order to make room for an expansion of the ShopRite supermarket in 2012. In 2016, T.J. Maxx opened in the former Abby Cinema.

In May 2009, Eden Farms, an 8-acre (3.2 ha) floral farm on Union Valley Road, became the first "preserved farm" in Passaic County. County officials used money from the Farmland Preservation Funds to purchase development rights to the farm. Owners George and Diana Cluff initially began working on the agreement in 2007. The deal prevents the farm from being built upon.


West Milford sports are overseen by the township department of Community Services and Recreation. The township has individual organizations that run each youth sports program, including: Junior wrestling, Youth Lacrosse, Little League Baseball (WMLL), Police Athletic League (PAL) Basketball, PAL Soccer, West Milford-Star Athletics Cheerleading, Midget Football Association (WMMFA) Football, WMMFA Cheerleading, Amateur Baseball Association (WMABA) Baseball, and Girls Softball Association softball (WMGSA).


The West Milford Township Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade at its six elementary schools (grades K-5), one middle school (grade 6-8) and one high school (grades 9-12). As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of eight schools, had an enrollment of 3,309 students and 291.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.4:1. Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Apshawa Elementary School (244 students in grades K-5), Maple Road Elementary School (299; PreK-6), Marshall Hill Elementary School (271; K-5), Paradise Knoll Elementary School (273; K-5), Upper Greenwood Lake Elementary School (308; PreK-5), Westbrook Elementary School (301; K-5), Macopin Middle School (533; 6-8) and West Milford High School (1,040; 9-12).

Our Lady Queen of Peace was a Catholic school located in the community of Hewitt until it was closed in June 2010 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson in the face of declining enrollment. OLQP School celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009, and had its Fourth Grade teacher, Lorraine Ford, named as a finalist for the 2008 New Jersey Nonpublic School Teacher of the Year award.

High school students also have the option of attending Passaic County Technical Institute, a public vocational high school that serves selected students throughout Passaic County.

The old Newfoundland, two-room schoolhouse was the Village Square Inn Restaurant until it closed in 2010. The old Hillcrest School was formerly the township's community center. The few one-room schoolhouses are all gone; the last one was the Hewitt School, destroyed by fire set by vandals (it had been the former Methodist church before a new, larger church was built).

Notable people

See also (related category): People from West Milford, New Jersey

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with West Milford include:

  • Charles L. Banks (1914–1988), Marine Corps general and Navy Cross recipient.
  • Chuck Burgi (born 1952), drummer and session musician.
  • Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823–1900), Hudson River School landscape painter, referred to as "America's Painter of Autumn".
  • Lennie Friedman (born 1976), offensive lineman with the Cleveland Browns.
  • Sam Garnes (born 1974), former safety for the New York Giants and New York Jets.
  • Jeremy Glick (1970–2001), passenger/hero of United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.
  • Larry Hand (born 1940), defensive end and defensive tackle who played for the Detroit Lions from 1965 to 1977.
  • Billy Howerdel (born 1970), founding member, guitarist, songwriter, and producer for the bands A Perfect Circle and Ashes Divide.
  • Derek Jeter (born 1974), shortstop for the New York Yankees.
  • Carol-Lynn Parente (born 1963), executive producer of Sesame Street and winner of seven Emmy Awards for her work on the program.
  • Laurene Powell Jobs (born 1963), widow of Steve Jobs and founder and chair of Emerson Collective.
  • Danielle Rose Russell (born 1999), actress who has played supporting roles in films such as A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014), Aloha (2015), Pandemic (2016) and Wonder (2017), and has since starred in The Originals and it's spin-off, Legacies.
  • Dale Soules (born 1946), actress who appeared in Orange Is the New Black.
  • Scott Terry (born 1976), songwriter and singer who has been lead singer of Red Wanting Blue.
  • Kevin Walker (born 1965), former linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals.
  • Donna Weinbrecht (born 1965), First woman to win the first gold medal awarded in the first Olympic mogul competitions.
  • Tom Wopat (born 1951), actor who played Luke Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard.

See also

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