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Wharton, New Jersey
Borough of Wharton
Memorial Park in central Wharton
Memorial Park in central Wharton
Tradition with Progress!
Location in Morris County and the state of New Jersey.
Location in Morris County and the state of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Wharton, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Wharton, New Jersey
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Flag of Morris County, New Jersey.gif Morris
Incorporated June 26, 1895 as Port Oram
Renamed April 16, 1902 as Wharton
Named for Joseph Wharton
 • Type Borough
 • Body Borough Council
 • Total 2.13 sq mi (5.51 km2)
 • Land 2.07 sq mi (5.37 km2)
 • Water 0.06 sq mi (0.14 km2)  2.63%
Area rank 399th of 565 in state
33rd of 39 in county
666 ft (203 m)
 • Total 6,522
 • Estimate 
 • Rank 327th of 566 in state
26th of 39 in county
 • Density 3,039.0/sq mi (1,173.4/km2)
 • Density rank 213th of 566 in state
10th of 39 in county
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 973
FIPS code 3402780390
GNIS feature ID 0885443

Wharton is a borough in Morris County, New Jersey, United States.

Wharton was originally incorporated as the borough Port Oram by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on June 26, 1895, created from portions of Randolph Township and Rockaway Township, subject to the results of a referendum passed on the previous day; the name was changed to Wharton on April 16, 1902, based on a referendum held that day and subject to legislation passed on March 27, 1902. The borough was named for Joseph Wharton of the Wharton Steel Company.

As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 6,522, reflecting an increase of 224 (+3.6%) from the 6,298 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 893 (+16.5%) from the 5,405 counted in the 1990 Census.


In 1831, the Morris Canal was completed from Newark to Phillipsburg, New Jersey across the Delaware River from the terminus of the Lehigh Canal. On the way, it passed through Boonton, Dover and Port Oram. On this route it tapped the Morris County ore fields and became a carrier for both ore and pig iron. Its main purpose, however, was as an extension of the Lehigh Canal to furnish a route for anthracite coal from the Pennsylvania mines to seaboard. Any local traffic was a gain to supplement the through anthracite freight and iron ore and its products soon became important sources of revenue. Sites on the canal were selected for docks and industry, including iron works.

On June 28, 1895, voters from the settlements Port Oram, Irondale, Luxemburg, Maryville and Mount Pleasant voted 143 to 51 to incorporate as the borough Port Oram, the largest of the communities in the area covering 2.25 square miles (5.8 km2) west of Dover, New Jersey. A mayor, six councilmen, an assessor and a collector were elected to govern the new borough which had started life as an ore shipping port on the Morris Canal. These elected officials (mine superintendents, store owners, a railroad superintendent and a school teacher) represented the leaders of these settlements where iron ore was mined, smelted and shipped.

The borough was renamed in 1902 in honor of Joseph Wharton, who was born in 1826 in Philadelphia to an old family of Quakers. Wharton first studied at a local Quaker school after which he worked on a farm rather than attend college because his parents wanted him to mature, and during the winter studied chemistry at the laboratory of Martin Hans Boyè in Philadelphia. He started producing zinc and nickel, and gradually bought a controlling interest in Bethlehem Iron Works. As his business interests expanded he purchased substantial shares of several railroads involved in the coal and iron trade, also purchasing iron mines and furnaces near Port Oram. After selling his interest in Bethlehem Iron Works in 1901 and his nickel works to CVRD Inco in 1902, he continued to actively acquire and manage a large and diverse business empire that included iron smelting in Wharton until just before his death in January, 1909. Wharton also endowed the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The town was named after him at after a referendum in 1902.

In 1984, the long-time local bar The Heslin House and Hartley's Store were destroyed in a gas leak explosion, in which flames as high as 100 feet (30 m) destroyed several area buildings.

Wharton was used as a filming location for Cyndi Lauper's music video "Time After Time" in 1984.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 2.219 square miles (5.746 km2), including 2.146 square miles (5.558 km2) of land and 0.073 square miles (0.188 km2) of water (3.27%).

The borough borders the Morris County municipality of Dover.

Unincorporated communities in the borough include Irondale, Luxemburg, Maryville, Mount Pleasant and Port Oram.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Wharton has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 775
1900 2,069 167.0%
1910 2,983 44.2%
1920 2,877 −3.6%
1930 3,683 28.0%
1940 3,854 4.6%
1950 3,853 0.0%
1960 5,006 29.9%
1970 5,535 10.6%
1980 5,485 −0.9%
1990 5,405 −1.5%
2000 6,298 16.5%
2010 6,522 3.6%
2019 (est.) 6,369 −2.3%
Population sources:
1890 1900-1920
1900-1910 1910-1930
1930-1990 2000 2010

2010 Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 6,522 people, 2,304 households, and 1,590 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,039.0 per square mile (1,173.4/km2). There were 2,426 housing units at an average density of 1,130.4 per square mile (436.4/km2)*. The racial makeup of the borough was 75.85% (4,947) White, 4.57% (298) Black or African American, 0.18% (12) Native American, 5.67% (370) Asian, 0.06% (4) Pacific Islander, 9.61% (627) from other races, and 4.05% (264) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 40.33% (2,630) of the population.

There were 2,304 households out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.1% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.34.

In the borough, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 27.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.2 years. For every 100 females there were 96.9 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 92.7 males. The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $73,571 (with a margin of error of +/- $8,504) and the median family income was $75,176 (+/- $9,601). Males had a median income of $48,750 (+/- $12,951) versus $31,105 (+/- $5,994) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $27,233 (+/- $2,723). About 6.6% of families and 6.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.


2020-07-14 15 17 57 View east along Interstate 80 at Exit 34 (TO New Jersey State Route 15, Wharton, Dover, Sparta) in Wharton, Morris County, New Jersey
I-80 eastbound at Route 15 in Wharton

Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 22.12 miles (35.60 km) of roadways, of which 16.67 miles (26.83 km) were maintained by the municipality, 3.31 miles (5.33 km) by Morris County and 2.14 miles (3.44 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

Interstate 80 and New Jersey Route 15 are the main highways serving Wharton. I-80 travels east–west, while Route 15 is oriented north–south.

Public transportation

NJ Transit offers local bus service on the 880 route, which largely replaced the previous MCM10 route.


The Wharton Borough School District serves public school students in kindergarten through eighth grade. As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of two schools, had an enrollment of 738 students and 73.7 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 10.0:1. Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Marie V. Duffy Elementary School with 462 students in grades K - 5 and Alfred C. MacKinnon Middle School with 271 students in grades 6 - 8.

Public school students in ninth through twelfth grades attend Morris Hills High School, located in Rockaway Borough, and which also serves portions of Rockaway Borough and Rockaway Township. As of the 2018–19 school year, the high school had an enrollment of 1,279 students and 118.4 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 10.8:1. The high school is part of the Morris Hills Regional High School District, which also includes students from Denville Township, who attend Morris Knolls High School along with students from parts of Rockaway Borough and Rockaway Township.

Notable people

See also (related category): People from Morris County, New Jersey

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

  • Kirk Alyn (1910–1999), the first on-screen Superman, lived during his youth in Wharton, the son of Hungarian immigrants.
  • Alan Rowe Kelly (born 1959), independent film actor, director, writer and producer, specializing in horror films.

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