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Newton, officially the Town of Newton, is an incorporated municipality located in Sussex County, New Jersey, United States. It is situated approximately 60 miles (97 km) by road northwest of New York City. It is one of fifteen municipalities in the state organized as a town, and the municipal government operates under a council-manager structure provided by the Faulkner Act, or Optional Municipal Charter Law. As the location of the county's administrative offices and court system, Newton is the county seat of Sussex County.
Newton was incorporated by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 11, 1864, from portions of Newton Township, which was also partitioned to create Andover Township and Hampton Township, and was then dissolved. Additional land was acquired from Andover Township in 1869 and 1927, and from Fredon Township in 1920.
As of the 2010 United States Census, the town's population was 7,997, reflecting a decline of 247 (-3.0%) from the 8,244 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 723 (+9.6%) from the 7,521 counted in the 1990 Census.
Newton is located near the headwaters of the east branch of the Paulins Kill, a 41.6-mile (66.9 km) tributary of the Delaware River. In October 1715, Colonial surveyor Samuel Green plotted a tract of 2,500 acres (1,000 ha) at the head of the Paulins Kill, then known as the Tohokenetcunck River, on behalf of William Penn. This tract, which would not be settled for approximately 30–35 years, was part of the survey and division of the Last Indian Purchase by the West Jersey Board of Proprietors. At the time of Green's survey, northwestern New Jersey was populated with bands of the Munsee, the northern branch of the Lenni Lenape peoples.
The first recorded settler within the boundaries of present-day Newton was a German Palatine immigrant named Henry Hairlocker who arrived sometime before 1751 when he appears in Morris County records as receiving a tavern license. The Newtown Precinct, a large township, was created in 1751, and Sussex County was created from Morris two years later on June 8, 1753. The township would be named Newtown after the colonial village of Newtown in Queens, New York from where the Pettit family originated (the six Pettit brothers, all prominent landowners and influential figures in early local government, settled in northwestern New Jersey in the 1740s) or from its status as a "new town".
In 1762, Jonathan Hampton, of Elizabethtown, surveyed the location for a county courthouse and town green at the intersection of a military supply road he built during the French and Indian War and a major north-south artery called the King's Highway (present-day New Jersey Route 94). The construction of the courthouse was completed in 1765 and the village that developed around it became known as Sussex Court House. The county courthouse was the site of a raid by British partisan Lieutenant James Moody during the American Revolution.
In 1797, the village's post office was renamed Newtown and later, in 1825, the spelling was altered to Newton. Newton Township would cede land to create new townships on several occasions in the eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries, until a final division dissolved the township on April 11, 1864, through a legislative act of New Jersey Legislature that created the village of Newton as an incorporated town and two rural townships—Hampton and Andover.
Newton is located in the Kittatinny Valley, a segment of the Great Appalachian Valley. The Great Appalachian Valley is a gigantic trough—a 1,200-mile-long (1,900 km) chain of valley lowlands that stretches about from Quebec to Alabama and is the eastern-most edge of Ridge and Valley Appalachians physiographic province. This physiographic province, one of five in New Jersey, occupies approximately two-thirds of the county's area (the county's western and central sections) dominated by Kittatinny Mountain and the Kittatinny Valley. This province's contour is characterized by long, even ridges with long, continuous valleys in between that generally run parallel from southwest to northeast. The features of the Ridge and Valley province were created approximately 300–400 million years ago during the Ordovician period and Appalachian orogeny—a period of tremendous pressure and rock thrusting that caused the creation of the Appalachian Mountains. This region is largely formed by sedimentary rock.
Newton's land area drains into the watersheds of the Paulins Kill and Pequest River—two rivers that are tributaries of the Delaware River. These watersheds are separated by slate ridges that are part of the Martinsburg Formation. These slate ridges were quarried for slate for roofs and other industrial purposes beginning with a quarry opened by Elijah Blackwell in 1859 that operated under a series of different owners and commercial entities until 1930.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town had a total area of 3.169 square miles (8.207 km2), including 3.146 square miles (8.147 km2) of land and 0.023 square miles (0.060 km2) of water (0.73%).
The Town of Newton is bordered to the north and east by Hampton Township, to the west by Fredon Township, and to the south by Andover Township.
Because of its location in the higher elevations of northwestern New Jersey's Appalachian mountains, Newton, as well as the rest of Sussex County, has a cooler humid continental climate or microthermal climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) which indicates patterns of significant precipitation in all seasons and at least four months where the average temperature rises above 10 °C (50 °F) This differs from the rest of the state which is generally a humid mesothermal climate, in which temperatures range between -3 °C (27 °F) and 18 °C (64 °F) during the year's coldest month. Sussex County is part of USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6.
During winter and early spring, New Jersey in some years is subject to "nor'easters"—significant storm systems that have proven capable of causing blizzards or flooding throughout the northeastern United States. Hurricanes and tropical storms, tornadoes, and earthquakes are relatively rare. The Kittatinny Valley to the north of Newton, part of the Great Appalachian Valley, experiences a snowbelt phenomenon and has been categorized as a microclimate region known as the "Sussex County Snow Belt." This region receives approximately forty to fifty inches of snow per year and generally more snowfall that the rest of Northern New Jersey and the Northern Climate Zone. This phenomenon is attributed to the orographic lift of the Kittatinny Ridge which impacts local weather patterns by increasing humidity and precipitation.
In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Newton have ranged from a low of 17 °F (−8 °C) in January to a high of 84 °F (29 °C) in July. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.86 inches (73 mm) in February to 4.76 inches (121 mm) in June.
According to the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service soil survey, the area receives sunshine approximately 62% of the time in summer and 48% in winter. Prevailing winds are typically from the southwest for most of year; but in late winter and early spring come from the northwest. The lowest recorded temperature was −26 °F on January 21, 1994. The highest recorded temperature was 104 °F (40 °C) on September 3, 1953. The heaviest one-day snowfall was 24 inches recorded on January 8, 1996 (combined with the next day, total snowfall was 40 inches). The heaviest one-day rainfall—6.70 inches— was recorded on August 19, 1955.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 7,997 people, 3,170 households, and 1,842 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,542.2 per square mile (981.5/km2). There were 3,479 housing units at an average density of 1,106.0 per square mile (427.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 85.04% (6,801) White, 4.88% (390) Black or African American, 0.49% (39) Native American, 2.98% (238) Asian, 0.05% (4) Pacific Islander, 4.34% (347) from other races, and 2.23% (178) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.34% (987) of the population.
There were 3,170 households out of which 27.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.1% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. 36.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the town, the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 26.8% from 45 to 64, and 18.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.9 years. For every 100 females there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 87.6 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $48,702 (with a margin of error of +/- $7,922) and the median family income was $72,266 (+/- $10,712). Males had a median income of $57,369 (+/- $5,859) versus $29,676 (+/- $3,910) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $25,296 (+/- $2,141). About 10.9% of families and 12.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.2% of those under age 18 and 16.6% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 8,244 people, 3,258 households, and 1,941 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,661.7 people per square mile. There were 3,425 housing units at an average density of 1,105.8 per square mile. The racial makeup of the town was 91.97% White, 2.80% African American, 0.13% Native American, 1.97% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.16% from other races, and 1.35% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.80% of the population.
There were 3,258 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.4% were non-families. 33.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the town, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 31.2% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $44,667, and the median income for a family was $56,484. Males had a median income of $41,089 versus $30,016 for females. The per capita income for the town was $20,577. About 6.9% of families and 11.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 11% of those age 65 or over.
Newton is home to the Sussex County Historical Society's Hill Memorial Museum, the oldest continuously operating museum building in the state. The society, founded in 1904, offers a research and genealogical collection, and displays focused on the region's history, from Mastodon bones and Native American artifacts and from the Revolutionary War to World War II.
The Newton Theatre is a private business which offers frequent musical performances and stand-up comedy shows.
Drama Geek Studios is a non-profit community theatre group, based in Newton, NJ by the Newton Theatre. They offer classes, workshops, and performances to people of all ages in Sussex County.
Newton's community offers a range of Christian houses of worship and one Jewish synagogue. These include:
Located one mile south of Newton, Newton Abbey, also known as St Paul's Abbey, is a Benedictine monastery established in the 1920s.
Skylands Park in nearby Frankford Township, offers minor league baseball and is the home of the Sussex County Miners.
Memory Park, established with 10 acres (4.0 ha) of land donated by Newman E. Drake in 1928.
Of New Jersey's 565 municipalities, Newton is one of 15 municipalities in the state organized as a town. It operates under the Council-Manager form of municipal government (Plan B), in accordance with the Faulkner Act, formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law. This form of government was implemented based on the recommendations of a Charter Study Commission as of July 1, 1978. The town is governed by a five-member Town Council, whose members are chosen at-large in nonpartisan elections to four-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats coming up for election in May of even years in alternating fashion. The council selects a mayor and deputy mayor from among its members at a reorganization meeting held annually in July.
As of 2016, members of the Town Council are Mayor Sandra Lee Diglio (term on council ends June 30, 2018; term as mayor ends 2017), Deputy Mayor Wayne F. Levante (term on committee ends 2018; term as deputy mayor ends 2017), E. Kevin Elvidge (2018), Daniel G. Flynn (2020) and Helen R. Le Frois (2020).
Since 1762, Newton has been the county seat of Sussex County. It is the location of the county's administrative offices, court facilities, and county jail. The town is located in the 5th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 24th state legislative district.
New Jersey's Fifth Congressional District is represented by Josh Gottheimer (D, Wyckoff). 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 24th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Steve Oroho (R, Franklin) and in the General Assembly by Parker Space (R, Wantage Township) and Harold J. Wirths (R, Hardyston Township). The Governor of New Jersey is Phil Murphy (D, Middletown Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Sheila Oliver (D, East Orange).
Sussex County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders whose five members are elected at-large in partisan elections on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects a Freeholder Director and Deputy Director from among its members, with day-to-day supervision of the operation of the county delegated to a County Administrator. As of 2014, Sussex County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Richard Vohden (R, Green Township, 2016), Deputy Director Dennis J. Mudrick (R, Sparta Township, 2015), Phillip R. Crabb (R, Franklin, 2014), George Graham (R, Stanhope, 2016) and Gail Phoebus (R, Andover Township, 2015). Graham was chosen in April 2013 to fill the seat vacated by Parker Space, who had been chosen to fill a vacancy in the New Jersey General Assembly. Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Jeff Parrott (R, 2016), Sheriff Michael F. Strada (R, 2016) and Surrogate Gary R. Chiusano (R, filling the vacancy after the resignation of Nancy Fitzgibbons). The County Administrator is John Eskilson.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 4,476 registered voters in Newton, of which 881 (19.7% vs. 16.5% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 1,537 (34.3% vs. 39.3%) were registered as Republicans and 2,052 (45.8% vs. 44.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 6 voters registered to other parties. Among the town's 2010 Census population, 56.0% (vs. 65.8% in Sussex County) were registered to vote, including 71.0% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 86.5% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 1,546 votes (50.9% vs. 59.4% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 1,395 votes (45.9% vs. 38.2%) and other candidates with 87 votes (2.9% vs. 2.1%), among the 3,038 ballots cast by the town's 4,645 registered voters, for a turnout of 65.4% (vs. 68.3% in Sussex County). In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 1,747 votes (54.8% vs. 59.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 1,359 votes (42.6% vs. 38.7%) and other candidates with 62 votes (1.9% vs. 1.5%), among the 3,189 ballots cast by the town's 4,418 registered voters, for a turnout of 72.2% (vs. 76.9% in Sussex County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 1,903 votes (59.6% vs. 63.9% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 1,220 votes (38.2% vs. 34.4%) and other candidates with 54 votes (1.7% vs. 1.3%), among the 3,191 ballots cast by the town's 4,359 registered voters, for a turnout of 73.2% (vs. 77.7% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 67.3% of the vote (1,210 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 29.5% (531 votes), and other candidates with 3.2% (58 votes), among the 1,808 ballots cast by the town's 4,705 registered voters (9 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 38.4%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 1,161 votes (57.0% vs. 63.3% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 620 votes (30.4% vs. 25.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 203 votes (10.0% vs. 9.1%) and other candidates with 34 votes (1.7% vs. 1.3%), among the 2,037 ballots cast by the town's 4,323 registered voters, yielding a 47.1% turnout (vs. 52.3% in the county).
Established in 1910, Newton has a municipal police department, currently under the leadership of its 10th Chief of Police, Michael S. Richards.
Newton is also home to the Sussex County Sheriff's Office.
A barracks for the New Jersey State Police is located in Augusta, New Jersey several miles north of Newton.
The Newton Public School District serves students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's three schools had an enrollment of 1,532 students and 127.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.06:1. Schools in the district (with 2010-11 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Merriam Avenue School (499 students; grades K-5), Halsted Street Middle School (238; 6-8) and Newton High School (800; 9-12). The district's enrollment includes high school students from Andover Borough, Andover Township and Green Township, who attend the high school as part of sending/receiving relationships with their respective home districts.
Founded in 1956, the Saint Joseph's Regional School is a private school affiliated with parish of Newton's Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church and overseen by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson. St Joseph's provides classes from pre-kindergarten (ages 3–5) to seventh-grade for a total enrollment of 140 students.
Sussex County Community College (commonly referred to as SCCC) is an accredited, co-educational, two-year, public, community college located on a 167-acre (68 ha) campus in Newton. The SCCC campus was formerly the site of Don Bosco College, a Roman Catholic seminary operated by the Salesian Order from 1928 until it was closed in the early 1980s and its campus sold to the Sussex County government in June 1989 for $4.2 million.
SCCC was authorized as a "college commission" in 1981 and began operations the following year. It became fully accredited in 1993 by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. SCCC offers 40 associate degree and 16 post-secondary professional and health science certificate programs available both at traditional classes at its campus, through hybrid and online classes, and through distance learning. Many students who attend SCCC transfer to pursue the completion of their undergraduate college education at a four-year college or university. The college also offers programs for advanced high school students, community education courses, and programs in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The school had an enrollment of 3,012 students of which half attended full-time and half attended part-time.
Newton is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 206 (known within Newton as Woodside Avenue, Main Street, and Water Street), New Jersey Route 94 (known within Newton as High Street and Water Street), and County Route 519 (known within Newton as West End Avenue and Mill Street) and County Route 616 (known within Newton as Spring Street and Sparta Avenue). As of May 2010, the town had a total of 28.75 miles (46.27 km) of roadways, of which 21.18 miles (34.09 km) were maintained by the municipality, 4.47 miles (7.19 km) by Sussex County and 3.10 miles (4.99 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Interstate 80 is accessible approximately 13 miles (21 km) to the south.
The nearest NJ Transit rail station is Netcong, approximately 12 miles (19 km) to the south.
Lakeland Bus Lines provides limited service between Newton and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.
Local bus service is provided by the Skylands Connect bus, which connects to Sparta, Hamburg, and Sussex.
Newton Airport is a public-use airport located 3 miles (4.8 km) south of the central business district.
Newton Memorial Hospital opened in the early 1930s during the Great Depression. The medical center was established thanks to a willed gift of $35,000 from Thomas Murray (to be specifically used to establish a hospital in Newton) and a $100,000 bequest from Clarence Linn. According to their website, "Newton Memorial Hospital is a short-term, fully accredited, 146-bed acute care, not-for-profit hospital serving more than 250,000 people in Warren and Sussex counties in New Jersey, Pike County in Pennsylvania and southern Orange County in New York." Newton Memorial Hospital was bought by Atlantic Health System and changed its name to Newton Medical Center in 2011.
Newton is home to the editorial offices of The New Jersey Herald, the state's oldest newspaper, founded in 1829.
The town of Newton has two radio stations within its borders, WNNJ, on 103.7 FM, with a format of Rock, and WTOC (AM) also serves Newton in Spanish at 1360 AM.
WMBC-TV is licensed to Newton, but its studios are in West Caldwell, New Jersey and its transmitter is near Lake Hopatcong.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Newton include:
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