History of Randolph Township

Morris County, New York



Mt. Freedom

Colemans Hollow


Mt. Fern


pre-Colonial times – the Lenape Indians lived in the area.

1758 – the Quaker Meeting House on Quaker Church Road built. It is the oldest standing church in Morris County.

1805 – Randolph Township formed. The Township was named for the Quaker Hartshorne Fitz-Randolph, one of the first settlers.

1809 – in Ironia at 1547 Sussex Turnpike, near the Park Avenue intersection, a structure built that housed the D.L. Bryant Distillery. It is one of Ironia’s designated landmarks.

1826 – Golden Corner House, Ironia’s oldest house, Golden Corner House built on the corner of Pleasant Hill Road and Route 513. It is an Ironia designated landmark.

1828 – the first mining operations began in the Comb's Hollow section, Over time 12 minor mines were worked.

1830 – according to the census, there were 53 legal cider distilleries in Morris County with four of them located in Randolph Township. Apple brandy could be distilled from hard apple cider making this activity an important part of the central New Jersey agricultural economy in the first half of the nineteenth century.

1860 – Stryker's store (now Bill's Luncheonette), just over the border in Chester Township on Route 513 was a key social center in Ironia.

1869 – in Ironia, the D. L. Bryant Distillery building remodeled and became home of "Bryant's Pure Old Cider Brandy" (a.k.a. applejack)

1869 -- a railway line was opened that passed along the Black River and through the future Ironia.

Two prominent Chesterites, Daniel Budd and Nathaniel Cooper, lobbied for the railroads to come to Chester. Budd joined with the Canfields (owners of the Dickerson Mine) and others to create the an iron industry community, the future Ironia.

They created a 3 pronged initiative for Ironia:

1) The Ironia Iron Company would develop future railroads that would access the area mines.

2) The Ironia Car and Transportation Company would manufacture train engines and cars.

3) The Ironia Land and Improvement Company would purchase land around the railroads to build a iron-based planned community based around the iron industry.

Thorpe’s sawmill used the waterpower from Bryant’s Pond and four furnaces provided the needed materials for the Car and Transportation Company and the Iron Company.

1871 – village of Ironia created. It would be the "missing link" along the rich vein of ore that ran from the Dickerson Mine south into Chester.

1872 – an Ironia Land and Development Company home built on Budd Street. It is a designated landmark for Ironia.

1873 – an economic downturn caused the Ironia iron companies to fold and the village never reached it promise of being an industrial center.

Dorastus Bryant acquired much of the land holdings of the dissolved Ironia Land Company. He owned a mine, cider mill and distillery. He also developed Park Avenue. The grandson of Dorastus Bryant operated a milk processing plant across from Bryant’s Pond. And the Bryants' Evergreen Park House helped start a local tourist trade.

c. 1903 – a schoolhouse located on Park Avenue in Ironia.

c. 1907 – the Ironia Presbyterian Church built. It was neighbors with the Ironia schoolhouse. It is now an Ironia designated landmark.

In Ironia, Greenhut Park, located down Pleasant Hill Road along the Black River, was a summer colony until the 1970s. It had a hotel called the Peggy Lee, which had a large dance and recreation hall. The Polish Solkol camp existed along the border with Mendham, off of Ironia Road.

1930s-1960s – in Ironia, the Woodland Club nudist colony operated. (It is now a sportsman's organization.)

By the 1930's and 40's – Randolph Township was quite the resort town with 11 hotels, 45 bungalow colonies, summer camp, and swim clubs.

The Chester Railroad, a branch of the Morris and Essex line, ran from Chester stopping in Horton, Ironia, Succasunna, McCainsville (Kenvil), Port Oram (Wharton), and Dover with connecting trains into New York City.

1932 (December 31) – the last Chester Railroad passenger train left Ironia followed later by the last freight.

1933 (December) – the railway was officially abandoned and the track dismantled.

1938 – in Ironia, the old D. L. Bryant Distillery building remodeled into a residence.

1940s – in Ironia, the Crowley family settled operated their Breezy Hill goat farm. They purchased the Stryker’s general store and became Postmasters.

World War II (1941-1945)

post-World War II – with the opening of Route 10, which connects to Interstates 80 and 287,

Randolph Township experienced a significant increase in suburban growth.

1944-1928 – Bill Crowley worked as the Ironia Postmaster.

1949 – in Ironia, Bill Crowley became the owner of Bill's Luncheonette and General Store.

1952-mid1970s – in Ironia, the Merrimac Turkey Farm off of Dover-Chester Road in operation.

mid-1950s – in Ironia, the Westinghouse Elevator plant established itself in part of the Bryant complex at the intersection of Park Avenue and Sussex Turnpike.

1970 – in Ironia about half-dozen dairy farms were still in operation.

Today – the former railroad bed (from the former site of the Ironia station to the Chester station) is now part of the Morris County Park System's Patriot's Path. Additional trails connect through the Black River Wildlife Management Area up to Bill's General Store.

The County College of Morris is located on Route 10.


Tammy Scully. New Jersey’s Great Northwest Skylands: Ironia. http://www.njskylands.com/tnironia.htm