Netcong, New Jersey History and Photos

Palace Theatre

Netcong New Jersey is just over a mile square, but it's been an important & historic transportation hub and
tight knit residential community for many years.

In 1804 the Essex - Morris - Sussex Turnpike was built, a reliable Wagon Toll Road that sped up the movement of people and goods from the cities of the northeast to rural northwest New Jersey. The road went from Elizabeth, through Chatham, ran as Sussex Avenue in Morristown and Randolph continuing through Succasunny Plains, Drakesville (Ledgewood Route 6 which became Rt. 46) and Netcong / Stanhope to Newtown.

In 1824 the Morris Canal was chartered as an inexpensive way of moving large quantities of coal, timber, iron ore and other goods across New Jersey. It was the first American canal to climb hills. The Morris Canal would run for 103 miles joining the Delaware River at Phillipsburg with the Hudson River, a mule-drawn barge trip that took about 5 days. The canal ran right thru Netcong / Stanhope bringing commerce & jobs.

In 1827 the canal was completed and a new dam built on Lake Hopatcong to use as a reservoir. Cargo boats would go west through the lock at the lake's south end, down the canal through Port Morris and the inclined plane there, across Lake Musconetcong (smaller at that time) and through the Lock at Netcong / Stanhope. In 1831 the first complete trip from Newark to Phillipsburg was made.

In 1854 the tracks of the Morris & Essex (later taken over by the Lackawanna) Railroad are laid through the area, but no station built yet.

Netcong was incorporated as a Borough on October 22, 1894, formed from South Stanhope & small parts of Mount Olive and Roxbury Townships. The name Netcong is from the Musconetcong River, a word the Delaware Indians used meaning called grass stream.

Citizens Bank

Wild West
Netcong Today


Netcong New Jersey History Railroad Crossing circa 1906As Canal traffic waned around 1890, Railway traffic boomed, and Netcong derived much business from the Delaware-Lackawanna & Western Railroad, which built a Station in the center of the Borough. The big railroad roundhouse in nearby Port Morris also supplied many jobs.

In 1889 the first post office was built and a school was built on Budd Lake Road. In 1896 a more modern two story brick building was built on College Road as an elementary school. During this time the population grew with many immigrants from Italy, Ireland & England, drawn by new jobs.

In 1903 a major fire destroyed about half of Netcong's business district and brought the construction of half a dozen new buildings, including the current Train Station. Also in 1903, Citizens National Bank was organized, and municipal water was installed along with electricity. Shortly thereafter, the Netcong Fire Department was formed, and in 1905 a new Borough Hall was erected.

The earliest churches in Netcong were St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church, organized in 1880 and Grace Baptist Church, founded in 1890. The Methodist Congregation is oldest, known as "The Church in the Glenn", it was organized in the 1840's with the current sanctuary completed in 1920.

As the years passed Netcong NJ prospered. In the summer, many people from New Jersey's large cities came to the lakes in the area for vacations. In 1919 the Palace Theatre was built and became a center of entertainment in northwest New Jersey for many years. It originally showed silent movies and had vaudeville shows, later moving to talking movies, Summer Stock Theatre and high school plays & graduations.

During World War II many of Netcong's sons served in uniform. For many years Route 6 was a major east/west road, stretching from New York City to the Delaware river, and it passed right through Netcong. Route 6 was renamed Route 46, and in the 1950's Interstate I-80 was built through the area, passing through the southern part of Netcong, with 2 exits leading into town. US Route 206 also passes through town, thus the town slogan "All roads lead to Netcong".

In 1957 Wild West City opened as an attraction just outside Netcong. It is an accurate replica of Dodge City and soon started to host Wild West Shows with Stagecoaches, Cowboys & Indians and Bank Robbers! Generations of kids & school groups would come to visit. While Interstate I-80 first began construction circa 1959 at the West and East ends, the section just south of Netcong & Stanhope was the last to open, in early 1973.

With the recent traffic intersection upgrade of the old Netcong Circle, a growing Morris County economy, plus new multi-family housing, Netcong's bright future is secured, even as it remembers its' history.

Railway Crossing, circa 1904

Netcong NJ History Railroad
Railway Crossing, circa 1905

Railroad Station in Netcong, still standing and a commuter stop to this day

Main Street Business district, Netcong, NJ circa 1906

Netcong New Jersey History Main Street 1908
Main Street circa 1908, looking north-west to Lake Musconetcong


The initials on the baseball uniforms in this  1919 photo
are N.A.C. - Netcong Athletic Club, one of many  in the area.

Netcong Post Office and Drake Bostado Store, circa 1908

Mondello's Meats and Groceries, circa 1940


The original Netcong Public School, built in 1896, pictured circa 1907. This building was doubled in size
around 1914, and came down in 1982 after Netcong High School students moved over to Lenape Valley HS.
That gave Netcong Elementary students use of the nearby Netcong High School Building.

Netcong New Jersey History Public School
The original Netcong Public School, built in 1896, postcard postmarked 1907. This building was doubled in size
around 1914, and came down in 1982 after Netcong High School students moved over to Lenape Valley HS.
That gave Netcong Elementary students use of the nearby Netcong High School Building.

Here's the enlarged Netcong School, doubled in size around 1914.

Bridge between Netcong NJ and Stanhope NJ, over the Morris Canal

A different bridge between Netcong NJ and Stanhope NJ, over the Morris Canal with the Canal Lock in the distance

The Methodist church still remains in the same place to this day, a beautiful setting

St. Michael's Parish still remains to this day, with expansions & renovations, serving many families.

Grace Baptist Church was on Maple Ave, and like several buildings in the area, was constructed of round stones
from local rivers. The church grew, and in the 1970's purchased property on Rt. 46, just yards from the
Netcong line in Ledgewood, constructing a large sanctuary, now known as Grace Church on the Mount.
The old church building was sold to the town, torn down, the Netcong Municipal Building stands there now


Aerial view of the area around Netcong High School circa 1940, with the original Elementary School.


The Lake Musconetcong beach area straddling Netcong and Stanhope, circa 1940

Downtown Netcong, NJ circa 1928

Downtown Netcong, NJ circa 1941 - Post Office, Bless 5 & 10, Bank


Downtown Netcong, NJ circa 1954. Note the A&P Supermarket at right.

Aerial View of Netcong NJ, circa 1960. Lake Musconetcong at center, Lake Hopatcong at top in distance

This is - a local community history website.

E-mail the Editor at:  Editor @ - We welcome remembrances, if we get enough, we'll make a page.

A link to the "official" website of Netcong can be found on our "Links" page:

Updated April 2, 2024  - Information for this page came from a variety of sources, including:

Beck, Henry C. "TALES AND TOWNS OF NORTHERN NEW JERSEY". 1964. Rutgers University Press.
Lewis Publishing,  "Biographical History of Morris County New Jersey".  1914
Morrell, Brian. Brochure for the Musconetcong Foundrymen Historical Society.
Munsell, W.W.  "History of Morris County, New Jersey",  1882, reprinted in 1967 by Morris County Historical Society
- Personal interviews by the Editor of life-long Netcong residents, most notably Jim Arbolino, former Netcong Councilman & BARBER EXTRAORDINAIRE!!