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Mount Holly is a township in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. It is the county seat of Burlington County as well as an eastern suburb of Philadelphia. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 9,536, reflecting a decline of 1,192 (-11.1%) from the 10,728 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 89 (+0.8%) from the 10,639 counted in the 1990 Census. Mount Holly also gives its name to the National Weather Service's Weather Forecast Office for the Philadelphia metropolitan area, though the office is actually located in adjacent Westampton.
What is now Mount Holly was originally formed as Northampton on November 6, 1688. Northampton was incorporated as one of New Jersey's first 104 townships by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798. Portions of the township were taken to form Little Egg Harbor Township (February 13, 1740, now part of Ocean County), Washington Township (November 19, 1802), Pemberton borough (December 15, 1826), Coaxen Township (March 10, 1845, now known as Southampton Township), Pemberton Township (March 10, 1846), Westampton Township (March 6, 1850) and Lumberton Township (March 14, 1860). The township was renamed Mount Holly as of November 6, 1931, based on the results of a referendum held three days earlier. The township was named for hills covered with holly trees. Some areas of today's Mount Holly were known as Bridgetown.
The first European settlement in what is now Mount Holly began in 1677, when Walter Reeves acquired land from the Lenape (Delaware) Native Americans living in the area. He constructed a dam on Rancocas Creek to channel water through a raceway to power a grist mill and saw mill. Edward Gaskill and his sons hand dug the mill race on their property between 1720 and 1723. After the mills were established, more settlers were attracted to the area and built houses and commercial buildings on High, Church, White, Mill, and Pine streets, including the Shinn Curtis Log House (1712). By 1800, over 250 dwellings had been built.
Today no mills remain on the raceway, which still flows in its original course from the Rancocas just above the dam. The raceway proved a way for herring to make their way above the dam and was the scene of an annual fish run in the spring which provided fresh herring for slating and eating. The former mill land has been preserved as the Mill Dam Park. It marks the importance of mills to the early settlements.
On December 17, 1776, Colonel Samuel Griffin of the Continental Army crossed the Delaware River with 600 men — mostly untrained men and boys, and with little equipment — and marched to Mount Holly, where he set up a few "3-pounder" artillery pieces on Iron Works Hill. Hessian commanders von Block and Carl von Donop, were told that there were 3,000 American troops at Mount Holly.
By December 23, 1776, 2,000 Hessians were moved from Bordentown and positioned at The Mount in Mount Holly, where they engaged in a three-day-long artillery exchange, known as the Battle of Iron Works Hill or Battle of Mount Holly, with the Americans on Iron Works Hill. The Americans slipped away that night.
After George Washington crossed the Delaware River on December 25, 1776, the fact that thousands of Hessian troops had been drawn to Mount Holly aided in the Continental Army's success in the Battle of Trenton the next day, a surprising American victory that helped turn the Army's fading morale after the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Fort Washington just weeks before and the ignominious retreat through New Jersey.
The 1793 state legislature approved the relocation of the Burlington County seat from Burlington City to Mount Holly, which was approved by voters in a 1796 referendum. Several important municipal buildings were constructed, including the courthouse in 1796 and the county prison built circa 1819. The Burlington County Prison was designed by Robert Mills, a nationally known architect who designed the Washington Monument. The town has numerous 18th and 19th-century buildings, most of which are included in the Mount Holly Historic District; it is listed in the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places. Commercial buildings were constructed primarily along High Street.
In 1849, the Burlington and Mount Holly Railroad was established, connecting communities along the Delaware River to Philadelphia, the major city of the area. The railroad supported industrialization along its route. The Camden and Mount Holly Railroad constructed a station 20 years later near the intersection of Washington and King streets.
A trolley station was built in 1904 for the passengers making connections to Burlington City and Moorestown. New municipal buildings were constructed during the 20th century, including the Town Hall on Washington Street (1930) and the U.S. Post Office (1935) located across the street (1935), both federally funded and constructed as Works Progress Administration projects under President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression.
In the late 1950s, Mount Holly began to have economic difficulties due to industrial restructuring and the loss of working-class jobs. In the post-World War II period, numerous blue collar, family wage jobs disappeared as the community's traditional employers, the mills and dye factories, were shut down. At first these job losses were offset in part by gains at the nearby military bases, Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base, especially during the Vietnam War. In 1970, the residential vacancy rate in Mount Holly was 4.3%.
By 1980, however, the vacancy rate had climbed to 8.7% as a result of the nearby military installations' downsizing after the end of the Vietnam War. During this same period, 1970–1980, shopping malls proliferated in the suburban Philadelphia area, and retail business in Mount Holly suffered.
Mount Holly had a total area of 2.852 square miles (7.389 km2), including 2.806 square miles (7.269 km2) of land and 0.046 square miles (0.120 km2) of water (1.63%).
The township borders Eastampton Township, Hainesport Township, Lumberton Township, and Westampton Township.
Clermont is an unincorporated community located within Mount Holly Township.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 9,536 people, 3,456 households, and 2,264 families residing in the township. The population density was 3,397.9 per square mile (1,311.9/km2). There were 3,861 housing units at an average density of 1,375.8 per square mile (531.2/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 65.57% (6,253) White, 23.10% (2,203) Black or African American, 0.37% (35) Native American, 1.47% (140) Asian, 0.07% (7) Pacific Islander, 4.29% (409) from other races, and 5.13% (489) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.69% (1,210) of the population.
There were 3,456 households out of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 16.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.5% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.19.
In the township, the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 27.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.3 years. For every 100 females there were 102.8 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 100.1 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $53,841 (with a margin of error of +/- $4,427) and the median family income was $68,500 (+/- $4,684). Males had a median income of $51,945 (+/- $5,141) versus $37,079 (+/- $5,759) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $24,551 (+/- $1,785). About 7.1% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.4% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 10,728 people, 3,903 households, and 2,583 families residing in the township. The population density was 3,750.8 people per square mile (1,448.3/km²). There were 4,248 housing units at an average density of 1,485.2 per square mile (573.5/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 68.68% White, 21.57% African American, 0.42% Native American, 1.37% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 4.77% from other races, and 3.12% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.78% of the population.
There were 3,903 households out of which 32.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% were married couples living together, 17.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 27.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.20.
In the township the age distribution of the population shows 26.3% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.6 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $43,284, and the median income for a family was $52,000. Males had a median income of $38,186 versus $27,425 for females. The per capita income for the township was $19,672. About 6.8% of families and 9.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 10.4% of those age 65 or over.
Portions of the township are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone, one of 27 zones in the state. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3.3125% sales tax rate (versus the 6.625% rate charged statewide, effective January 1, 2018) at eligible merchants. Established in 1995, the township's Urban Enterprise Zone status expires in March 2026. The Township Council appoints a board of directors that oversees the operations of the Urban Enterprise Zone, which is managed by Joshua Brown, the township's Economic Development Director.
Mount Holly Township operates within the Faulkner Act (formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law) under the Council-Manager (plan 12) form of municipal government, enacted by council-initiated action as of July 1, 1990. Members of the township council are elected at-large in a partisan vote to serve four-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats up for election in even-numbered years as part of the November general election. At a reorganization meeting after each election, the council selects a mayor and a deputy mayor from among its members. In November 2011, voters passed a referendum shifting from non-partisan municipal elections in May to partisan elections in November.
As of 2016, members of the Mount Holly Township Council are Mayor Jason Jones (term on council and as mayor ends December 31, 2016), Deputy mayor Richard DiFolco (term on council and as deputy Mayor ends 2016), Lew Brown (2016), Betty Sykes (R, 2018) and Jules Thiessen (D, 2018).
In the November 2011 general election, voters approved a public question moving the municipal election from May to November in subsequent elections.
On November 6, 2012, voters of the Township elected Lew Brown, Rich DiFolco and Jason Jones to 4-year terms on Town Council by a large margin, for terms that began January 1, 2013.
In January 2014, former mayor Richard Dow submitted his resignation as council member with one year remaining on his term of office.
On March 31, 2014, five people filed petitions to appear on the primary ballot for two four-year terms for Township Council. Former mayor and current Mount Holly Municipal Utilities Authority Commissioner Jules Thiessen, BOE member Tim Young, and current Mount Holly Board of Education member and Planning Board Chairman Brian Grant filed to run for the democratic nominations. Wife of Mayor Rich DiFolco, Janet DiFolco, and Patricia Cauley filed for the republican nomination.
In the November 2014 general election, Republican Elizabeth Sykes and Democrat Jules Thiessen were elected to four-year terms on the Township Council. Thiessen's running mate Brian Grant withdrew from the election in September as did both Republican candidates. Sykes replaced one of the republican candidates and no replacement was named for Grant making it an unopposed election. At the council's January 2015 reorganization, Jules Thiessen and Betty Sykes were sworn into office; Richard DiFolco was named Mayor and Jason Jones Deputy Mayor, both holding the same positions the previous year.
Mount Holly Township is located in the 3rd Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 8th state legislative district. Prior to the 2011 reapportionment following the 2010 Census, Mount Holly Township had been in the 7th state legislative district.
New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District is represented by Tom MacArthur (R, Toms River). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, 2019).
For the 2018–2019 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 8th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Dawn Marie Addiego (R, Evesham Township) and in the General Assembly by Joe Howarth (R, Evesham Township) and Ryan Peters (R, Hainesport Township). The Governor of New Jersey is Phil Murphy (D, Middletown Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Sheila Oliver (D, East Orange).
Burlington County is governed by a Board of chosen freeholders, whose five members are elected at-large in partisan elections to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year; at an annual reorganization meeting, the board selects a director and deputy director from among its members. As of 2017, Burlington County's Freeholders are Director Bruce Garganio (R, Florence Township, term as freeholder and as director ends December 31, 2017), Deputy Director Kate Gibbs (R, Lumberton Township, term as freeholder ends 2018; term as deputy director ends 2017), Linda Hughes (R, Evesham Township, 2017), Ryan Peters (R, Hainesport Township, 2018) and Latham Tiver (R, Southampton Township, 2019) Burlington County's Constitutional Officers are County Clerk Tim Tyler (R, Fieldsboro, 2018), Sheriff Jean E. Stanfield (R, Westampton, 2019) and Surrogate Mary Ann O'Brien (R, Medford, 2021)
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 5,251 registered voters in Mount Holly Township, of which 1,718 (32.7% vs. 33.3% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 1,034 (19.7% vs. 23.9%) were registered as Republicans and 2,496 (47.5% vs. 42.8%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 3 voters registered to other parties. Among the township's 2010 Census population, 55.1% (vs. 61.7% in Burlington County) were registered to vote, including 72.0% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 80.3% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 2,636 votes here (68.1% vs. 58.1% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 1,127 votes (29.1% vs. 40.2%) and other candidates with 53 votes (1.4% vs. 1.0%), among the 3,870 ballots cast by the township's 5,578 registered voters, for a turnout of 69.4% (vs. 74.5% in Burlington County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 2,771 votes here (67.2% vs. 58.4% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 1,272 votes (30.8% vs. 39.9%) and other candidates with 58 votes (1.4% vs. 1.0%), among the 4,125 ballots cast by the township's 5,473 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.4% (vs. 80.0% in Burlington County). In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 2,223 votes here (57.2% vs. 52.9% countywide), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 1,612 votes (41.5% vs. 46.0%) and other candidates with 37 votes (1.0% vs. 0.8%), among the 3,887 ballots cast by the township's 5,301 registered voters, for a turnout of 73.3% (vs. 78.8% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 1,251 votes here (56.9% vs. 61.4% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 891 votes (40.5% vs. 35.8%) and other candidates with 21 votes (1.0% vs. 1.2%), among the 2,200 ballots cast by the township's 5,429 registered voters, yielding a 40.5% turnout (vs. 44.5% in the county). In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 1,126 ballots cast (49.6% vs. 44.5% countywide), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 977 votes (43.1% vs. 47.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 118 votes (5.2% vs. 4.8%) and other candidates with 38 votes (1.7% vs. 1.2%), among the 2,269 ballots cast by the township's 5,524 registered voters, yielding a 41.1% turnout (vs. 44.9% in the county).
For pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, students attend the Mount Holly Township Public Schools. As of the 2014-15 school year, the district and its three schools had an enrollment of 1,381 students and 91.3 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 15.1:1. Schools in the district (with 2014-15 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are John Brainerd School (361 students in grades PreK-2), Gertrude C. Folwell School (352 students in grades 3-5) and F. W. Holbein Middle School (274 students in grades 6-8).
For ninth through twelfth grades, public school students attend the Rancocas Valley Regional High School, a comprehensive regional public high school based in Mount Holly that serves students from five communities encompassing an area of 40 square miles (100 km2) that also includes the communities of Eastampton Township, Hainesport Township, Lumberton Township and Westampton Township. As of the 2014-15 school year, the high school had an enrollment of 2,077 students and 110.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 18.9:1. The school is located in Mount Holly Township and is part of the Rancocas Valley Regional High School District.
Students from Mount Holly Township, and from all of Burlington County, are eligible to attend the Burlington County Institute of Technology, a countywide public school district that serves the vocational and technical education needs of students at the high school and post-secondary level at its campuses in Medford and Westampton Township.
As of May 2010, the township had a total of 38.43 miles (61.85 km) of roadways, of which 29.11 miles (46.85 km) were maintained by the municipality, 8.45 miles (13.60 km) by Burlington County and 0.87 miles (1.40 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. A brief portion of State Route 38 passes through the township at its southern end while major county roads that pass through it are County Route 537 (CR 537) and CR 541.
Mount Holly is accessible at exit 5 of the New Jersey Turnpike and exit 47 of Interstate 295 via CR 541.
NJ Transit provides bus service to Philadelphia on routes 317 (from Asbury Park) and 409/417/418 (from Trenton), with local service available on the 413 route between Camden and Burlington.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Mount Holly include:
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