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Tuckerton is a borough in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States, named for founder Ebenezer Tucker (1758–1845), and was a port of entry, but not the third Port of Entry in the United States, as is often described. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 3,347, reflecting a decline of 170 (−4.8%) from the 3,517 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 469 (+15.4%) from the 3,048 counted in the 1990 Census.
Tuckerton was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 18, 1901, from portions of Little Egg Harbor Township.
The borough is surrounded by Little Egg Harbor Township, but is politically independent. Because Tuckerton and Little Egg Harbor share the same 08087 ZIP code and Little Egg Harbor has no true "downtown" area, many refer to Little Egg Harbor and surrounding suburbs as "Tuckerton".
Tuckerton is home to the Tuckerton Seaport, a working maritime museum and village.
The area that is now Tuckerton was settled in 1698. Some of the early settlers were Andrews, Falkinburgs, Shourds, Ongs, Willets and Osborns. Edward Andrews settled on the east side of the Pohatcong Creek; his brother, Mordecai Andrews settled on the west side of the same creek. Edward, tired of going to Mount Holly Township with his grain, constructed a cedar log grist mill on the site of a dam built by beavers at the mouth of what is known as Tuckerton Creek. He built the grist mill in 1704, and it still stands to this day.
Tuckerton became a Port of Entry of the United States, but not the third port as is commonly believed, with Ebenezer Tucker appointed Collector, his commission bearing the date March 21, 1791, signed by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. It was six years later that Tuckerton became a post town with Reuben Tucker as its first postmaster.
Former names of the town included "Andrew Mills", "Middle-of-the-Shore", "Clamtown", "Quakertown", and "Fishtown". In March 1789, Ebenezer Tucker hosted a feast at the then-named Clamtown for the residents at which time they officially changed the name to Tuckerton.
In 1816, Isaac Jenkins established the first stage line between Tuckerton and Philadelphia, making one trip a week, each trip taking two days travel each way. John D. Thompson bought the line in 1828 and ran the stages each way in a day and carried the mail. The stages and vessels were the only public conveyances to the cities until the Tuckerton Railroad was built in 1871.
What was probably New Jersey's first summer resort was on Tucker's Island off shore from Little Egg Harbor. The island sported boarding houses, private cottages, and a school. In 1848 a Lighthouse was erected there, with Eben Rider as its first light keeper. In 1869 the Little Egg Harbor Lifesaving's Station was constructed there. Also known as Sea Haven, the island contained two hotels. The island was wiped away in a storm, including its lighthouse, which fell into the sea. At the Tuckerton Seaport Museum a re-created lighthouse has been built as well as other re-created buildings that were on Tuckers Island. In the lighthouse there are several wall-mounted pictures showing the instant that the original lighthouse fell into the sea. The original island remains under water.
The area surrounding present-day Tuckerton was part of Burlington County until 1891 when it joined with Ocean County. Tuckerton was established in March 1901. with its first Mayor being Frank R. Austin.
Tuckerton received extensive damage after Superstorm Sandy struck the boro on October 28, 2012. Almost 300 homes suffered extensive damage, while 32 homes were completely destroyed. Floodwaters also ravaged businesses along South green Street as well as flooding some buildings in the Tuckerton Seaport.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 3.804 square miles (9.851 km2), including 3.364 square miles (8.712 km2) of land and 0.440 square miles (1.139 km2) of water (11.56%).
The borough borders the Ocean County municipality of Little Egg Harbor Township.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Tuckerton has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 3,347 people, 1,396 households, and 872.5 families residing in the borough. The population density was 995.1 per square mile (384.2/km2). There were 1,902 housing units at an average density of 565.5 per square mile (218.3/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 93.79% (3,139) White, 0.75% (25) Black or African American, 0.09% (3) Native American, 1.05% (35) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 2.06% (69) from other races, and 2.27% (76) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.07% (203) of the population.
There were 1,396 households out of which 24.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.8% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.7% 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 2.99.
In the borough, the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 29.4% from 45 to 64, and 17.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.5 years. For every 100 females there were 99.0 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 93.1 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $53,209 (with a margin of error of +/− $5,943) and the median family income was $61,677 (+/− $10,244). Males had a median income of $50,139 (+/− $5,122) versus $43,963 (+/− $14,203) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $24,974 (+/− $3,410). About 6.7% of families and 10.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.8% of those under age 18 and 9.2% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 3,517 people, 1,477 households, and 921 families residing in the borough. The population density was 961.7 people per square mile (371.0/km2). There were 1,971 housing units at an average density of 539.0 per square mile (207.9/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 96.90% White, 0.40% African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.54% Asian, 0.54% from other races, and 1.34% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.10% of the population.
There were 1,477 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.6% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the borough the population was spread out with 23.0% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.1 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $40,042, and the median income for a family was $49,528. Males had a median income of $35,799 versus $30,583 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $20,118. About 5.9% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.7% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.
The Tuckerton Seaport, which is located in the center of town on Main Street, is a working maritime museum and village, which features several re-created historic buildings and has been a major attraction since its May 2000 opening.
Along Main Street in Tuckerton are several shops and stores. South of County Route 539, Main Street is bounded by Lake Pohatcong, which features a duck decoy-shaped billboard advertising the annual Ocean County Decoy and Gunning Show held in September at nearby Tip Seaman Park that began in 1982 and draws as many as 20,000 visitors. During the Holidays, the duck is replaced with a Christmas tree. In 1995, a boardwalk was installed along the side of the road overhanging the lake.
Tuckerton is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Tuckerton, the most common system used in the state, is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2016, the Mayor of the Borough of Tuckerton is Republican Susan R. Marshall, whose term of office ends December 31, 2018. Members of the Borough Council are Samuel C. Colangelo (R, 2016), Doris F. Mathisen (R, 2018), Ron Peterson (R, 2018), Michael Santo (R, 2016; elected to serve an unexpired term of office), John Schwartz (R, 2017) and Keith F. Vreeland Jr. (R, 2017; elected to serve an unexpired term).
In September 2015, the Borough Council appointed Keith Vreeland to fill the vacant seat expiring in December 2017 that had been held by James R. Edwards until his death. Vreeland served on an interim basis until the November 2015 general election, when voters elected him to fill the two years remaining of the term of office.
In January 2015, the Borough Council chose Michael Santo to fill the council seat expiring in December 2016 that had been vacated by Sue Marshall when she took office as mayor. Santo was elected in the November 2015 general election to serve the one year remaining.
Tuckerton is located in the 2nd Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 9th state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Tuckerton had been part of the 3rd Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections.
New Jersey's Second Congressional District is represented by Frank LoBiondo (R, Ventnor City). 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 9th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Christopher J. Connors (R, Lacey Township) and in the General Assembly by DiAnne Gove (R, Long Beach Township) and Brian E. Rumpf (R, Little Egg Harbor Township). The Governor of New Jersey is Phil Murphy (D, Middletown Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Sheila Oliver (D, East Orange).
Ocean County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders consisting of five members, elected on an at-large basis in partisan elections and serving staggered three-year terms of office, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization held in the beginning of January, the board chooses a Director and a Deputy Director from among its members. As of 2015, Ocean County's Freeholders (with party affiliation, term-end year, residence and department directorship listed in parentheses) are Freeholder Director John C. Bartlett, Jr. (R, term ends December 31, 2015, Pine Beach; Finance, Parks and Recreation), Freeholder Deputy Director Gerry P. Little (R, 2015, Surf City; Human Services), John P. Kelly (R, 2016, Eagleswood Township; Law and Public Safety), James F. Lacey (R, 2016, Brick Township; Transportation) and Joseph H. Vicari (R, 2017, Toms River; Senior Services and County Operations). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Scott M. Colabella (R, 2015, Barnegat Light), Sheriff Michael Mastronardy (R, 2016; Toms River) and Surrogate Jeffrey Moran (R, 2018, Beachwood).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 2,349 registered voters in Tuckerton, of which 370 (15.8%) were registered as Democrats, 836 (35.6%) were registered as Republicans and 1,141 (48.6%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 2 voters registered to other parties. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 70.2% (vs. 63.2% in Ocean County) were registered to vote, including 89.0% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 82.6% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 54.5% of the vote (745 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 44.2% (604 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (18 votes), among the 1,372 ballots cast by the borough's 2,418 registered voters (5 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 56.7%. In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 54.9% of the vote (886 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 43.0% (694 votes) and other candidates with 1.5% (24 votes), among the 1,614 ballots cast by the borough's 2,417 registered voters, for a turnout of 66.8%. In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 60.6% of the vote (912 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry with 37.5% (565 votes) and other candidates with 1.1% (24 votes), among the 1,506 ballots cast by the borough's 2,243 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 67.1.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 75.3% of the vote (673 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 23.7% (212 votes), and other candidates with 1.0% (9 votes), among the 914 ballots cast by the borough's 2,304 registered voters (20 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 39.7%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 60.1% of the vote (656 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 30.0% (327 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 6.5% (71 votes) and other candidates with 1.6% (18 votes), among the 1,091 ballots cast by the borough's 2,400 registered voters, yielding a 45.5% turnout.
Students in public school for pre-kindergarten through sixth grade are served by the Tuckerton School District at Tuckerton Elementary School. As of the 2014-15 school year, the district and its one school had an enrollment of 539 students and 30.1 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 17.9:1.
Public school students in seventh through twelfth grades attend the schools of the Pinelands Regional School District, which also serves students from Bass River Township, Eagleswood Township and Little Egg Harbor Township. The borough has one member serving on the district's nine-member Board of Education. Schools in the district (with 2014–15 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Pinelands Regional Junior High School with 802 students in grades 7–9 and Pinelands Regional High School with 815 students in grades 10–12.
Tuckerton is home to the tallest structure in New Jersey, a tower standing at 1,000 feet (300 m), which transmits Philadelphia Telemundo affiliate WWSI.
99.7 WBHX-FM is licensed to Tuckerton. The transmitter is located in Long Beach Island in Beach Haven. The station is heard up to the Toms River area, and as far south as Atlantic City. This station simulcasts "Fun 107" format from 107.1 WWZY in Long Branch.
Tuckerton is also a cable landing point of the submarine communication cables TAT-14 and GlobeNet.
As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 19.92 miles (32.06 km) of roadways, of which 12.23 miles (19.68 km) were maintained by the municipality, 5.69 miles (9.16 km) by Ocean County and 2.00 miles (3.22 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
U.S. Route 9 passes through the northern part of the town and connects with the southern end of CR 539.
The Garden State Parkway is accessible via Route 539 (Exit 58 in Little Egg Harbor) and US 9 (Exit 50 in Bass River).
NJ Transit provides bus service to Atlantic City on the 559 route.
Ocean Ride local service is provided on the OC6 Little Egg Harbor - Stafford route.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Tuckerton include:
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