The Village of Hanover

Sometime after 1685, the European Settlers purchased the West Jersey Province from the Lenape Indians. By 1720 the Township of Hanover was formed. Named after German royal dynasty: “The House of Hanover”, the town was huge, it included all of the current Morris County as well as parts of Sussex and Warren Counties. Do to its size and population growth, Hanover Township was becoming hard to govern. Subsequently, smaller more manageable villages formed; Mendham, Chatham, Boonton, Morristown, Mountain Lakes, etc.. The current East Hanover was preceded by two villages; Hanover neck and Hanover.

The Hanover Village Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. The old village was L-shaped created by the intersection of Hanover and Mt. Pleasant Avenues. Early eighteenth century development patterns usually resulted in large parcels of land that included a dwelling & land for agriculture, i.e., Farm and Farm House. However, later eighteenth and early nineteenth century ideology resulted in development patterns resulted in a focal point pattern, i.e., a village. The village buildings are relatively small and most of the houses were built in close proximity to one another. Despite the intense pressure exerted by the post-World War II suburban sprawl, the construction of Route 10 by-passed the Hanover Village Historic District and it still exhibits some startling remnants of our early history.

Today, if you wanted to buy a bag of fertilizer, it's probably available within a few miles of you. You hop in your car and with in a half hour your back home treating your lawn. In 1800, however this transaction was not that simple. For the most part, you had to travel by horse and wagon to a port city. In the case of Hanover Township, the Newark Markets were the closest. Farmers and drovers traveled the popular route, down the turnpike rd, through a small village, to the Cook’s Bridge. There, they crossed the Passaic River in to Essex County. Travelers that came from longer distances would split the trip in half. They spent the night at an Inn just before the bridge. The Village, was the “Village of Hanover” (pink on the map) and the inn was the now historic “Halfway House”, both can still be appreciated on Mt. Pleasant Ave.

“Hanover, post town of Hanover township, on the turnpike road from Newark to Milford, 7 miles east from Morristown, ...contains a Presbyterian church and half a dozen dwellings situate on the plain near the bank of the Passaic.” A Gazetteer of New Jersey, 1854

The Turnpike Road

When you speak about East Hanover History, it starts here, with one of the, if not THE, earliest recorded image of life in East Hanover. You may have seen the above photo as a painting. It hangs in the East Hanover Town Hall Building. It is a photo of Turnpike Road, now Mt Pleasant Avenue. Looking east from the vicinity of the First Presbyterian Church toward the distant Cook’s Bridge (located behind Panevino). The first building on the left is now “Lifetime Aluminum”, on the corner of River Rd and Mt.Pleasant Ave. Just down this road there was: a tavern, an inn, a post office, a general store, a black-smith, a wagon maker and many farmers. This was the original “Town Center”. The modern day Route 10 was paved through East Hanover in 1932. Cars have been making their way through East Hanover on Route 10 for 80 years now. However, for over 175 years horse and wagon traveled the Turnpike Road to and through the Village of Hanover!

By Rich Ford

For more information consult the EAST HANOVER HISTORICAL SOCIETY