Once a part of Leni Lenape Indian lands, later as a rural farmland during the colonial times and intertwined in the annals of Revolutionary War History, this 32.26 square miles of land called Montgomery Township was named after General Brigadier Richard Montgomery. It is located in the southern tip of Somerset County in New Jersey and is comfortably snuggled between the Millstone River Valley and the Sourland Mountains. To reach the Township, modern conveniences would take approximately 60 minutes from New York City, 90 minutes from Philadelphia and 15 minutes from Princeton.
Montgomery was established in 1702 by Dutch and English Settlers, first organized in 1772, and incorporated in the State of New Jersey in 1798. The Township first became involved in the military movements of the Revolutionary War as General Washington retired across this part of New Jersey in the first week of December, 1776. Between 1776 and 1783 General Washington spent considerable amount of time around this area and he frequently visited his friend John Van Horne at his manor house just west of present Montgomery Avenue. Rockingham in Rocky Hill was Washington’s headquarters in 1783 while he attended the Continental Congress session in Princeton. The Township is also the proud home of many of the farms, dwellings and houses that were built around the 1800s. The Montgomery Center for the Arts is located in one of these houses called ‘The 1860 House’ which was constructed in the late Greek Revival style. Of particular importance are the rustic stone bridges that exist in the area.
In the late 20th Century Montgomery Township evolved into a primarily residential community, along with industrial zones and corporate office properties while retaining large tracts of open spaces and “Green Acres.” There are several hamlets within the Township: Belle Mead, Blawenburg, Dutchtown, Harlingen, Rocky Hill, Skillman and Zion. Rocky Hill, which was the first village in the Township, is now a separately incorporated borough, whose children attend Montgomery Township schools.
Until the mid-1900’s the town had rural origins and had about 2,350 residents. By 1970, the population was 5,103 and according to the 2000 U.S. Census, the population was 17,481 and in the 2010 U.S. Census the population had reached 22,254. The 2015 U.S. census population estimate is 23,049 (May, 2016). The Township is in close proximity to the academic communities of Princeton University, Rutgers University, Rider University, The College of New Jersey and several community colleges.
The residents continue to take pride in its rural hospitality, picturesque charm, rich history, peaceful serenity and excellent school system.