The hidden byways, the little surprises, the discovered dining spot are in some ways what make Chester, New Jersey, so beguiling.
Chester is in southwestern Morris County.
The Borough enjoys a flourishing commercial area while most of the land area in the 1.45 square miles of our community is devoted to single family housing. Chester itself was established as a separate entity in 1799, at which time “Chester” meant the area of both the Township and the downtown Village area which came to be the Borough. The Borough of Chester was incorporated in 1930, and is today a separate municipality surrounded by Chester Township.
The earliest settlers in Chester came in 1640 when “Black River” established itself as a settlement primarily because of the intersection of two Lenape Indian trails. These old trails, used for hundreds of years by the native Americans were traversed by the early settlers to go to all regions of New Jersey.ants. Main Street grew around these village Inns, and businesses were established.
Mechanical devices were required to process and transport the local peach crops to distant markets. The Van Doren brothers opened a threshing machine manufacturing business in the village and introduced the first steam engine into Morris County. There were blacksmiths making hardware and nails and repairing wagons and carriages. There was a brick yard near Cooper Lane. Distilleries were everywhere. Gristmills appeared on “every corner.” At one time there were seven water powered mills on the Black River between the Cooper Mill and the lower Hacklebarney Mill. The Civil War was brewing, and it would begin a profound change in Chester Township from agriculture to mining and manufacturing.