A PORTION OF THE HILLSBOROUGH FARMS MAP FROM 1860. THE HIGHLIGHTED AREA IS OUR ESTIMATION OF THE CURRENT MANVILLE CITY LIMITS. IF YOU CLICK ON THE MAP IT WILL OPEN UP TO A FULL GORGEOUS EXPANDABLE MAP OF HILLSBOROUGH, COMPLETE WITH ILLUSTRATIONS OF PROPERTIES FROM THE DAY.
Prior to Manville’s inception as an independent borough in 1929, the land on which the town currently rests was part of Hillsborough, New Jersey. An intricate patchwork of farmlands—which occupied this same portion of Hillsborough—can be seen on the above map from 1860. We have estimated Manville’s current boundaries on the 1860 map, by shading the areas around the town. We then compared the 1860 map to a current map of Manville, which revealed a number of interesting discoveries about the land prior to the existence of the town.
One of the most interesting discoveries was the diversity of farmland ownership that existed on such a small portion of land. We counted around 50 individually owed parcels of farmland. Isaac C. Higgins owned the largest of the properties, and you can see an illustration of his farm below. The names on the map are irrelevant; nevertheless, it was exciting to see all the farms that occupied the land on which Manville was built. In addition, these farms conceivably played a role in bolstering New Jersey’s reputation as the “Garden State.” Perhaps the foodstuffs produced on this land went to places like New York City, Philadelphia, and beyond. Yet, in order for such produce to make it to market, these farms had to be situated near railroads, canals, and roads.
The borough of Manville utilized the same roads once used by farmers in the 19th century. After comparing the two maps, we noticed that a number of the roads in Manville (e.g. Camplain Road, Main Street, Duke’s Parkway, and JFK Boulevard, formally known as Weston Road.) were built upon preexisting roads; however, Weston Road (JFK Boulevard) may have been rerouted to accommodate the railroad. We are unsure as to how old some of these roads are, but it is a fair assumption that a few of the roads—particularly Main Street—predate the Revolutionary War. (We are quite certain that the Main Street passes along, or directly on, the same road that becomes Millstone River Road in Millstone, which is one of the oldest roads in the area. However, since we lack definitive proof, we can only make an educated guess by comparing the 1860 map and he current map of Manville.) It was interesting to discover that the current loci of the roads in Manville are similar to those in 1860, and that these roads may have played a vital role in local agrarian commerce.
A 1860 ILLUSTRATION OF THE RESIDENCE OF ISAAC C. HIGGINS REPRINTED FROM THE 1860 HILLBOROUGH FARM MAP.
CLICK ON THE PHOTO FOR A LARGER IMAGE!