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Harding Township is a township in Morris County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population of the township was 3,838, reflecting an increase of 658 (+20.7%) from the 3,180 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 460 (-12.6%) from the 3,640 counted in the 1990 Census.
The 07976 ZIP code for New Vernon was named one of the “25 Richest Zip Codes” in the United States by Forbes magazine in 2006. Many relatively unchanged large country estates that have been passed down through several generations attest to the wealth of many of its residents. Some have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and some of those have nonprofit support organizations that assure the retention of the original nature of the properties.
Harding Township was formed as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on September 1, 1922, from portions of Passaic Township (now known as Long Hill Township), based on the results of a referendum passed on May 9, 1922.
After the retreat of the Wisconsin Glacier, a mighty glacial lake called Glacial Lake Passaic formed in this area that, about 15,000 to 11,000 years ago, extended for 30 miles (48 km) in length and was 10 miles (16 km) wide. The lake finally drained when a blockage of the Passaic River reopened. The Great Swamp is the remnant of the lake bottom and portions of the swamp lay in what now is the township. Once the lake drained, higher areas became a wooded area that was used for hunting, fishing, and farming by Native Americans. At the time of colonization by the Dutch it belonged to the Lenape tribes, but British colonists did their best to displace them westward.
Much of what now is known as Harding was an agricultural community with roots stretching as far back as the early 18th century. Bypassed by colonial turnpikes, revolution era canals, and railroads laid in the Victorian era, the area remained a rural backwater. For almost two centuries of European occupation, its open and rolling landscapes reflected its agricultural use, as land had been cleared for cattle pastures, orchards, and fields of grain. The Great Swamp, the wooded slopes of the Watchung Mountains, and those near Jockey Hollowalso were used by local farmers for wood supply. The communities of Green Village, Logansville, New Vernon, and Pleasantville were the village centers in this agricultural community.
Wealthy urban residents from Manhattan and Newark bought farmland, enlarged old farmhouses, and landscaped the grounds. The movement to establish Harding Township was driven by local property owners who wanted to maintain a bucolic community without suburban development.
The township was created in 1922 from the northern half of what was then Passaic Township (present day Long Hill Township) and it was named after the incumbent President of the United States, Warren G. Harding.
The New Vernon Neighborhood Restrictive Agreement was established in 1928 by estate owners under which they agreed to voluntarily place restrictive covenants on their land that would require future owners of the properties to maintain the rural nature of the area. This voluntary effort to limit development and save the pastoral qualities of over 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) across Harding Township influenced subsequent zoning codes, which emerged several decades later, and helped preserve the landscape to the present day.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 20.441 square miles (52.942 km2), including 19.915 square miles (51.580 km2) of land and 0.526 square miles (1.362 km2) of water (2.57%).
The township includes unincorporated communities, a portion of Green Village and all of New Vernon, both of which have origins as colonial settlements that predate the American Revolution. The governmental offices for the township are in New Vernon.
Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Baileys Mill, Dixon Mill, Glen Alpin, Jockey Hollow Park, Logansville, Mount Kemble Lake, Olmstead Mills, Osborn Mill, Pleasantville, Sugar Loaf and Van Dorens Mill.
The township borders Mendham Township to the west, Chatham Township to the east, Morris Township to the north, and Long Hill Township to the southeast in Morris County and Bernardsville to the southwest and Bernards Township to the south in Somerset County.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 3,838 people, 1,474 households, and 1,126 families residing in the township. The population density was 192.7 per square mile (74.4/km2). There were 1,610 housing units at an average density of 80.8 per square mile (31.2/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 94.14% (3,613) White, 0.99% (38) Black or African American, 0.13% (5) Native American, 2.66% (102) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 0.34% (13) from other races, and 1.75% (67) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.49% (134) of the population.
There were 1,474 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.7% were married couples living together, 5.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.6% were non-families. 20.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the township, the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 14.5% from 25 to 44, 35.8% from 45 to 64, and 21.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48.9 years. For every 100 females there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old 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 $168,365 (with a margin of error of +/- $37,371) and the median family income was $185,647 (+/- $30,739). Males had a median income of $123,854 (+/- $38,454) versus $66,131 (+/- $25,727) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $109,472 (+/- $24,951). About 6.8% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.5% of those under age 18 and 3.3% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 3,180 people, 1,180 households, and 940 families residing in the township. The population density was 155.6 people per square mile (60.1/km²). There were 1,243 housing units at an average density of 60.8 per square mile (23.5/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 97.20% White, 0.41% African American, 1.07% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 1.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.79% of the population.
There were 1,180 households out of which 32.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.3% were married couples living together, 5.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.3% were non-families. 17.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.03.
In the township the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 3.6% from 18 to 24, 21.9% from 25 to 44, 32.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.9 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $111,297, and the median income for a family was $128,719. Males had a median income of $95,737 versus $57,308 for females. The per capita income for the township was $72,689. None of the families and 1.1% of the population were living below the poverty line, including none under eighteen and 3.3% of those over 64.
Harding Township is governed under the Township form of government. The five-member Township Committee is elected directly by the voters at-large in partisan elections to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election in a three-year cycle. At an annual reorganization meeting held during the first week of January, the Township Committee selects one of its members to serve as Mayor and another as Deputy Mayor.
Eleven standing committees are appointed at the reorganization meeting including planning, zoning and legal; finance and insurance; public safety; public works and building; personnel; recreation commission; freeholder liaison; Glen Alpin Steering liaison; school board liaison; open space liaison; and board of health liaison. Two members of the township committee serve on each standing committee and provide oversight to the departments.
As of 2016, members of the Harding Township Committee are Mayor Nicolas Platt (R, term on committee and as mayor ends December 31, 2016), Deputy Mayor Christopher M. Yates (R, term on committee ends 2017; term as deputy mayor ends 2016), M. Nanette DiTosto (R, 2018), Timothy D. Jones (R, 2018), Devanshu L. Modi (R, 2017).
Federal, state and county representation
Harding Township is located in the 11th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey’s 27th state legislative district. Prior to the 2011 reapportionment following the 2010 Census, Harding Township had been in the 21st state legislative district.
New Jersey’s Eleventh Congressional District is represented by Rodney Frelinghuysen (R, Harding Township). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, 2019).
For the 2016–2017 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 27th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Richard Codey (D, Roseland) and in the General Assembly by Mila Jasey (D, South Orange) and John F. McKeon (D, West Orange). The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).
Morris County is governed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, who are elected at-large to three-year terms on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats up for election each year as part of the November general election. The Freeholder Board sets policies for the operation of six super-departments, more than 30 divisions plus authorities, commissions, boards and study committees. Actual day-to-day operation of departments is supervised by County Administrator, John Bonanni. As of 2016, Morris County’s Freeholders are Freeholder Director Kathryn A. DeFillippo (Roxbury Township, term ends December 31, 2016), Deputy Freeholder William “Hank” Lyon (Montville, 2017), Douglas Cabana (Boonton Township, 2016), John Cesaro (Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, 2018), Thomas J. Mastrangelo (Montville, 2016) Christine Myers (Mendham Township, 2018), and Deborah Smith (Denville, 2018). Constitutional officers are County Clerk Ann F. Grossi (Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, 2018), Sheriff Edward V. Rochford (Morris Plains, 2016). and Surrogate John Pecoraro (Mendham Borough, 2019).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 3,025 registered voters in Harding Township, of which 466 (15.4%) were registered as Democrats, 1,443 (47.7%) were registered as Republicans and 1,115 (36.9%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There was one voter registered to another party.
In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 70.4% of the vote (1,607 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 28.6% (654 votes), and other candidates with 1.0% (22 votes), among the 2,295 ballots cast by the township’s 3,195 registered voters (12 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 71.8%. In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 61.9% of the vote (1,516 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 36.7% (898 votes) and other candidates with 0.9% (23 votes), among the 2,449 ballots cast by the township’s 3,139 registered voters, for a turnout of 78.0%. In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bushreceived 66.8% of the vote (1,618 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry with 32.1% (778 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (20 votes), among the 2,421 ballots cast by the township’s 3,040 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 79.6.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 82.0% of the vote (1,193 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 16.6% (242 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (19 votes), among the 1,476 ballots cast by the township’s 3,200 registered voters (22 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 46.1%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 68.4% of the vote (1,280 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 20.5% (384 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 10.5% (197 votes) and other candidates with 0.3% (5 votes), among the 1,871 ballots cast by the township’s 3,099 registered voters, yielding a 60.4% turnout.
The Harding Township School District serves public school students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade at Harding Township School. As of the 2013-14 school year, the district’s one school had an enrollment of 321 students and 34.2 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 9.4:1.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010, the township had a total of 47.82 miles (76.96 km) of roadways, of which 26.48 miles (42.62 km) were maintained by the municipality, 14.69 miles (23.64 km) by Morris County and 6.65 miles (10.70 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Harding Township include:
- William O. Baker (1915–2005), former head of Bell Labs.
- Ray Chambers (born 1942), UN Special Envoy for Malaria.
- Marcellus Hartley Dodge Sr. (1881–1963), lived at Hartley Farms, a large estate in New Vernon, from the time he was married.
- Regina Egea, Chief of Staff to Governor Chris Christie.
- Justin Gimelstob (born 1977), professional tennis player.
- Kerry Kittles (born 1974), former professional basketball player.
- Eric Mangini (born 1971), former head coach of the New York Jets.
- Bart Oates (born 1958), former professional football player who played for the New York Giants.
- William E. Simon (1927–2000), United States Secretary of the Treasury for Nixon and Ford.
|Township of Harding|
The Wick House in Harding Township
Location in Morris County and the state of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Harding Township, New Jersey
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|Incorporated||September 1, 1922|
|Named for||Warren G. Harding|
|• Body||Township Committee|
|• Mayor||Christopher M. Yates (R, term ends December 31, 2017)|
|• Administrator||Gail W. McKane|
|• Municipal clerk||Gail W. McKane|
|• Total||20.441 sq mi (52.942 km2)|
|• Land||19.915 sq mi (51.580 km2)|
|• Water||0.526 sq mi (1.362 km2) 2.57%|
|Area rank||140th of 566 in state
9th of 39 in county
|Elevation||367 ft (112 m)|
|Population (2010 Census)|
|• Estimate (2016)||3,868|
|• Rank||421st of 566 in state
34th of 39 in county
|• Density||192.7/sq mi (74.4/km2)|
|• Density rank||509th of 566 in state
39th of 39 in county
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP code||07976 – New Vernon|
|GNIS feature ID||0882195|