The area’s history is routed in the production of iron. The Musconetcong River, which runs along the edge of the town of Stanhope, made the location a favorable one for iron manufacture. In addition to the source for power, several other vital ingredients were close at hand. Great quantities of iron ore were available at the nearby Stanhope or Hude Mine (near present-day Pennyton Homes), at the Roseville Mines in Byram Township, and in Morris County at the Dickerson Mine on Mine Hill. Wood supply, which was essential for producing charcoal to fire the early forges and furnaces, was also conveniently nearby. The early iron companies at Stanhope owned large tracts of forested land and included all of present-day Stanhope, Netcong, Port Morris, parts of Byram Township, as well as at least a dozen iron mines in surrounding Morris, Sussex and Warren Counties.
The earliest records indicate that the first iron production at Stanhope occurred about 1794. As is the case with most early New Jersey iron manufacturing enterprises, the Stanhope iron companies alternately prospered and faced financial reverses until about 1830 when the wood supply for charcoal was exhausted and the works were forced to shut down. It was at this time that the Morris Canal was completed through the center of Stanhope and across northern New Jersey. A link was thus opened to a new type of fuel, Pennsylvania anthracite coal.
Netcong is located in Morris County, one of the fastest growing counties in the region. Nestled amid rolling hills, broad valleys and glittering lakes approximately 30 miles northwest of New York City, the area is known as the Highlands and is a popular destination for families. The area was originally inhabited by the Lenni Lenape Indians, settled by Quakers, and served as a supply point for Washington's army during their winter.
Part of the Appalachian Mountain range, the Highlands are characterized by alternating flat-topped ridges and deep-striking valleys. While a major state road bisects the area, country roads wind through woods, along streams, up and down hills. Open land is preserved by both local municipalities and county governments.
Within two years of Morris County's creation, the Townships of Hanover, Pequannock and Morris were formed, followed in 1740 by Roxbury Township and in 1749 by Mendham Township. Several years after its founding the community of West Hanover was renamed "Morristown" and designated the county seat of government.
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