History of Dover Township
Morris County, New Jersey
a major Dover landmark is the Clinton Mountain.
1722 Dover founded by John Jackson. He built an iron forge in the area. The iron industry was central to the growth of Dover.
By 1730 the Lenni Lenape Indians had left.
1753 Moses Hurd bought the John Jackson forge. It was said Moses Hurd had come from Dover, New Hampshire.
1758 - Josiah Beaman owned the forge.
1798 Dovers first general stored (on Clinton Street) established.
1813 Dr. Crittendon, first physician in Dover.
1817 Joseph Blackwell of New York City became a forge owner.
1820 the first post office in Dover opened.
1826 Dover incorporated as a village, the streets laid out and named.
1830 mechanic Billy Ford built his original shop. A pond known as Billy Fords Pond is today known as Crescent Field.
1831 Morris Canal finished. Later the Lackawanna Railroad came to town. From the Hudson Street bridge looking west one co9uld see the canal basin. The canal basin was used for swimming and boating, and, in the winter, ice-skating and sleigh riding.
1848 Morris and Essex Railroad completed.
1850 Mollers Opera House built. (Today it is Goodales Surgical Supply.)
1850 the Searing Hotel built as a stagecoach stop along the Union Turnpike. (It later became the North End Hotel and then the Mechanics Hotel.)
1851 Dovers oldest cemetery, Orchard Street Cemetery, established.
1861-1865 the Civil War.
Post-Civil War famous visitors to the Mansion House Hotel on Blackwell Street included Teddy Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, Grant, Grover Cleveland and Thomas Edison.
1869 Dover incorporated as a town with a population of 3,300 inhabitants.
1869 the first newspaper, the monthly "The Dover Enterprise", printed.
1869 the mayor of Dover, England gave two dog statues to George Richards, Dovers first mayor. The statues were placed at the entrance to the Richards estate.
1870s-1880s many wood-framed buildings were replaced with brick and steel structures.
1872 the National Union Bank organized. Its building was located on Blackwell Street next to what once was the Bon Ton Theatre.
c. 1875 photo a circus parade proceeding south on Sussex Street.
1875 the old firehouse constructed.
1880 the "Great Fire of 1880." The Brick Block replaced the wooden building that burned down in the fire.
1880 Mine baron William Henry Baker built the Baker Opera House. Its tower has been a landmark in the downtown Dover business district for over 100 years.
1885 public high school program available in Dover.
1889 electric lights in Dover.
1898 as troops marched down Blackwell Street to serve in the Spanish American War, peanut vendor John Mazza denounced them. The crowd turned on him and burned his peanut stand.
1890 Lester Lehman opened the largest meat and grocery store in Dover.
1897 German immigrant Paul Guenther established a silk hosiery company.
1899 a town clock established in front of the Harris Jewelry Store on East Blackwell Street.
1900 re-enactment of the burning of John Mazzas Peanut Stand.
1900-1960 Dover became the center of retail shopping in western Morris and Sussex County.
1901 the high school building constructed.
1902 gas introduced to Dover.
1902 a library established.
1903 the Iron Era newspaper published.
by 1903 Dover had its own water supply plant.
1903 Lester Lehman now had a chain of 13 stores.
c. 1903 the Hotel Dover was located at the corner of Blackwell and Warren Streets. (The hotel was also known as the Park Hotel, then the Sickle House, then the Hotel Dover.)
1904 first trolley in town.
1906 William H. Baker built one of the finest playhouses in New Jersey, the Baker Theater. The site was once the McFarlan Park. Some of the stars appearing at the Baker included Helen Hayes, De Wolfe Hopper, Ethel Barrymore, Lillian Russell, Lou Costello, Joe Cook, George Burns and Gracie Allen and Harry Houdini.
1906 the Bon Ton, the first movie theater in Dover opened. It was located on the north side of Blackwell Street between Sussex and Warren Streets.
By 1910 the population reached 9,000.
c. 1910 the first automobiles appear in Dover.
1911 John W. Hurd donated land for a town park (named Hurd Park). He was the last descendant of the Hurd family from Dover, New Hampshire and wanted to make sure the family name would never be forgotten.
1911 the Dover Police Department organized.
1912 the Bon Ton theater closed.
1912 death of John Hurd.
1912 big crowds gathered for the dedication of Hurd Park when John Mulligan was mayor.
1913 the Playhouse Theatre, a new vaudeville house, opened on South Morris Street. (Six months later, the manager of the Bon Ton Theatre took over the Playhouse Theatre.)
1914 photo a photo of the Ulster Iron Works shows the snow drifts of the big storm of 1914.
1915 the Dover Trust Company opened.
1916 the original Dover General Hospital opened.
1920s the Hudson Street Bridge torn down.
1921 the building of the Lodge #541 of the Loyal Order of Moose constructed. (It later became the Dutton.)
1922 in East Dover, H. S. Peters Overall Factory manufacturing denim wear moved to Wisconsin and became known as "Oshkosh."
1922 Dover celebrated its bicentennial.
1922 the dough boy statue erected in Hurd Park to honor Dover servicemen of World War I.
1924 Mayor Hosking fought to have all the abandoned canal rights-of-way donated to local municipalities.
1924 the Baker Theatre was completely remodeled for the coming of motion pictures.
1924 the old Playhouse Theatre renovated and reopened.
1928 Max Heller of Newark purchased Lehmans chain of stores and then discontinued them.
1929 the old Hotel Dover demolished to make room for the National Union Bank.
the Great Depression Mayor John Roach helped Dover through the Depression.
1930s - the bi-weekly paper known as the Lakeland News organized.
1930s DuPont moved the knit6ting operation of the one-time Guenthers Hosiery Mill to the South to take advantage of cheaper labor. (McGregors occupied the old mill building until the 1960s.)
1933 auto racing began at the Dover Speedway races with little success.
1933 the Dover Little Theatre organized.
1933 the soon to be popular eatery the United Grills opened just across the Dover town line.
1933 the Iron Era newspaper combined with the Dover Index in the Dover Advance (and run by Harry R. Gill).
1934 the Dover Little Theatre group purchased the Gillen and Young Chapel showroom and morgue building on Elliott Street. (The Dover Little Theatre is the third oldest little theater in continuous existence in New Jersey.)
1936 Foundry Street became North Morris Street.
1936 the Mansion House Hotel razed to make way for a Woolworths Department Store.
1938 Dick and Eva Peer formed a drum and bugle corps, the Dover Cadets.
1939 first public appearance of the soon to be popular Gutter Band.
1944 the Dover Cadets appeared in the Baker Theatre in support of Mayor Roach and a war bond rally.
1944 the United Grills burned down and was not rebuilt.
1947 stock car racing at the Dover Speedway began and led to more successful years.
1947 the Race Track Inn built on the old United Grills site.
1950 the Dover plant of the Ulster Iron Works closed.
1954 (June 12) on opening night of the Dover Speedway the main grandstand collapsed injuring 101 people.
1954 the new owners of the Race Track Inn changed the name of the restaurant to the Three Sisters Restaurant.
1956 the Dover Shopping Center opened on land once the site of the Ulster Iron Works. .
1957 the Dover Drive-in (located on the upper parking deck of the Bassett Highway) opened.
By 1960 the population was 15,000.
1960 the old Dover Fire House torn down for the new town hall.
1960s the old Billy Fords Pond drained so that Second Street could be extended to Chestnut Street.
1962 the Dover Advance sold and became a daily paper called the Daily Advance.
1963 the new municipal building dedicated and named in honor of Depression-era Mayor John Roach.
1963 the Dover Drive-in closed (because the poor picture 1ualilty caused by the glare of city lights).
1970s the old vaudeville Playhouse Theatre torn down as part of an urban renewal program.
1970s the old Woolworths Department Store torn down to make way for the #2 East Blackwell office complex.
1971 the old town clock destroyed in an auto accident.
1970 the Dutton hotel was sold and became the Dover Christian Nursing Home.
1973 the National Union Bank merged with the National Community Bank of Rutherford.
1977 the Baker Theatre closed.
1980s the popular Three Sisters Restaurant burned to the ground.
1989 publication of the Daily Advance ceased.
1989 the "Dover Dogs" donated to the town. The dog statues had went from George Richards to Thomas Baker to Bakers granddaughter Barbara Dunn.
1997 the Dover Renaissance replaced the old town clock on Blackwell Street with a new one.
1998 - the refurbished Baker Theatre reopened.
1998 the "Dover Dogs" statues were taken out of storage at Dover High School and placed at the entrance to town hall.
1999 old Billy Fords Pond area made into a major soccer field complex and playground (Crescent Field).
Welcome to Dover, NJ. Offical Town of Dover Web Site. Dovers History. http://www.dover-nj.com/history.html
Stanley Schoonmaker and George Laurie. 1999. Images of America: Dover. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press.