Millburn Township owes much of its character to Stewart Hartshorn, who bought a 1,550-acre tract in 1877 and founded a planned community he named Short Hills. Rather than laying out a grid of roads and lots, he followed the terrain and often adjusted roads to avoid felling trees. He built more than 50 houses on 2- to 5-acre lots. Many of the original Hartshorn houses, built of wood and blue traprock in several styles, including Greek Revival and Victorian, are still standing. The original lots have now been subdivided into half-acre to one-acre sites. Houses with six to seven bedrooms on one-acre lots are now priced from $1.2 million to over $3 million.The Morris & Essex Railroad, built in the late 1830's to haul coal from Pennsylvania to New York City, Passed through Millburn and spurred its growth. By 1872, when Hartshorn sought his town site, Millburn was already a commuter suburb of New York City with its own train station, which Hartshorn augmented with a second station in Short Hills.
Both Millburn and Short Hills have a delightful mixture of interesting architecture and styles. The Wyoming section, on the southeast side of town includes Tudors, Colonials, historic farmhouses and Victorians. The South Mountain area has many Tudors and English Colonials and borders on Taylor Park. A variety of styles are found in the Country Club section, which was built around 1950. The Glenwood section is walking distance to the train from the south side of the station and the homes are mostly colonials built in the late 1930's. The Old Short Hills neighborhood, located on the north side of the train station, has winding tree-lined streets with larger properties and many of the most prestigious homes in town. Homes in Millburn/Short Hills are available beginning in the low $200,000s and up to $5 million. The Mid-Town Direct train line (started in 1996) has increased demand for housing all along this route.
The Millburn Township Public School System has a reputation as one of the finest in New Jersey. It has five K-5 schools. The students go on the Millburn Middle School on Old Short Hills Road and then to Millburn High School on Millburn Avenue. Last year the high school sent 97 percent of its graduates on to higher education. Graduating classes regularly include numerous National Merit Scholarship winners and finalists and, upon occasion, a Presidential Scholar and finalists.
Two downtowns, created around the two ends of Millburn Avenue, have convenience and service business, including ice cream parlors, beauty shops, hardware stores and several interesting restaurants, galleries, gift stores and banks. The million-square-foot Short Hills Mall, at Route 24 and JFK Parkway, is well known for a wide variety of luxury stores and across from the mall is the 300-room Hilton.
The most widely used recreational spot in the township is the 36-acre Gero Park off White Oak Ridge Road. It has a par-three, nine-hole golf course, the town pool, four tennis courts and three baseball diamonds.
A popular township area is the 16-acre Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary, developed by the daughter of Stewart Hartshorn on Forest Drive. The Paper Mill Playhouse, on Brookside Drive, one of the Country's best known regional theaters, offers musicals, plays and children's events.
The Township is governed by five elected committee members who serve three-year terms and annually choose one of their own as mayor of Millburn. In keeping with Stewart Hartshorn's original tree preservation efforts, the town has a full-time forester. Before trees may be cut down, he must issue a permit, and he also advises residents on tree planting and care. Timothy P. Gordon, the Millburn business administrator, says the township has more than 1,000 trees that are more than 200 years old.
BACK TO NEW JERSEY TOWNS