History of Kinnelon Borough

Morris County, New Jersey


the gated Smoke Rise Community – a gated community built around the Kinney estate.

the Fayson Lakes Community – the still rather secluded community that grew up out of a group of summer bungalows.

Meadtown – centered around the former Mead family farm (where now is located the Kinnelon Mall on Route 23).


pre-colonial times – the Lenni-Lenape Indians lived in the area, primarily in the Pompton Valley.

1695 – Arent Schuyler bought property in what is now Bergen, Passaic and Morris counties.

1700's – Arent Schuyler led the first white settlers, mostly Dutch, to the area.

17th & 18th centuries – the Meads purchased land in the Meadtown area and the Stickles and Cobbs in the Smoke Rise area.

The Fredericks family bought land from the Cobb’s patent and establish a farmhouse and cemetery in Fayson Lakes.

1740 ---Pequannock Township included Kinnelon, Riverdale, Montville, Butler, Lincoln Park and other communities.

early 1700's – iron forges and furnaces built. Kinnelon was the home of the Great Charlotteburg (also known as the Charlottesburg) Furnace Tract.

By 1770 – one seventh of the world's iron came from this region.

Revolutionary War – the iron forges and furnaces produced weaponry for Washington’s army. (The ruins of an iron furnace lies under the water of the Pequannock Reservoir just south of Smoke Rise's North Gate.)

Post-Revolutionary War – the iron industry declined and farming became the major industry.

1800's ---- in contrast to the valleys, the hills of the area remained undeveloped and Kinnelon was seen as somewhat backward with poor education, services and roads.

By 1880 – there were three schools in the area.

1883 – Francis S. Kinney a wealthy manufacturer of Sweet Caporal cigarettes, purchased a lot of land from Hubbard Stickle. Kinney also bought 5000 acres in the Smoke Rise section. Kinney built a four-story house overlooking Lake Kinnelon.

One-third of the people in the area were employed by the Rubber Comb and Jewelry Company, managed by William Kiel, located in Butler.

1887 – some notable family names of the age were the Smiths, Millers, Rickers, Deckers and Meads.

early 1900s – a lot of manors were built.

World War I (1914-1917)

post-World War I – Morris Kinney with his lifelong friend, John Alden Talbot, returned from the service.

1921 – Kinnelon saw the growth of a movement to separate from the rest of Pequannock Township because the citizens saw their so-called backwardness as the fault of neglect from the Township. Milton Untemeyer, who owned a large estate on Sawmill Road, and Francis Kinney helped found the town.

1922 – Kinnelon Borough incorporated. The first Mayor was Warren Kinney. The community was named for Francis S. Kinney, founder.

1923 – a native stone, central two-room school erected on Kiel Avenue to replace the ancient one-room schools in Meadtown and Brook Valley.

1920s  --  Kinnelon was a refuge for clandestine distilleries.  Here was a speakeasy hideaway in Prohibition times. The 1920s dine-and-dance bungalow with stained glass windows has been transformed into an attractive lakeside pavilion.  The speakeasy was located on the old Canty estate and today is the refreshment hall of Silas Condict County Park. It still has its mirrored mahogany bar, band stand, and ice cream parlor.

1927 – Frank Fay, Jr. planned a summer community to be called Fayson Lakes. He purchased the old Frederick farm and lake from the Kitchell family. He offered his first log cabin to Colonel Charles A. Lindberg as a promotional gimmick. Lindberg never responded, but the publicity attracted many people to the summer community.

1931 – Mr. Fay elected Mayor.

1937 – the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) completed work on a reservoir for the Borough of Butler on land in Kinnelon east of Kakeout Mountain, flooding an old roadway connecting the two boroughs.

1939 – Kinnelon's police department established.

1945 – Morris Kinney died; he left his estate to John Talbot. More expensive homes were built in the Smoke Rise Section of Kinnelon.

1949 – State Highway Route 23, skirting the borough’s northern border, completed.

1955 – a Planning Board created.

1955 – the borough's first municipal building constructed. (Located behind the Kiel firehouse.)

1957 – the Stonybrook school opened its first wing.

1960 – a development plan adopted and new roads and schools built and services improved.

1966 – the new municipal building dedicated.

1976 – The Borough of Kinnelon Historical Commission established. The Commission recommends to the mayor and council which historic sites should be preserved. It also administers a local museum in the historic L'Ecole House (a.k.a. the Meadtown Schoolhouse) on Kinnelon Road. The museum is open Saturdays from 11 A.M to 3:00 P.M.


Lucy Meyer; http://www.kinnelon.com/htm/Community/History/Intro.asp;


Rob Seman; A Day in the Life: Northeast Morris County, Tuesday, August 19, 2003.  The Daily Record;  http://www.dailyrecord.com/news/dayinthelife/northeastmorris/