Boonton is a vibrant community grounded in its historical past.
Boonton is a vibrant community grounded in its historical past. A rich cultural background has been passed down the years from immigrants who came to Boonton to work in its iron industry. Boonton has been home to abolitionists, a stop on the Underground Railroad and home of the world famous Boontonware. Trolley cars, vaudeville theatres and hotels thrived on Main Street at the turn of the 20th century. Now the home of high-tech companies, a wide range of restaurants and antique stores, the town has grown and diversified both in its industry and in its ethnic population.
Although Boonton is a town built on industry, it is not without natural beauty. Grace Lord Park, with its fountain, falls and landmark gazebo, is home to the town’s concerts during the summer season. The Rockaway River meanders through the park and our town offering walking trails and a variety of flora and fauna for the nature enthusiast. Boonton is home to one of Morris County’s best kept secrets. The Boonton Falls. Rivaled only by the Great Falls of Paterson, the power of the falls helped establish the town as a iron town in the 1800s. Now, it offers hiking trails and a chance to see the town as it looked a century ago.
Boonton is also home to the historic New Jersey’s Firemen’s Home. One of only a handful in the entire country, this hospital cares for both full-time and volunteer fireman that have no other facilities to turn to during retirement or convalescence.
More than a century and a half ago, Boonton was an epicenter of anti-slavery work and considered one of the most important Underground Railroad links in the New Jersey chain that moved some 40,000 slaves north to freedom in Canada. It was home to local abolitionist Dr. John Grimes, who met with other anti-slavery activists here, published his monthly, the New Jersey Freeman, and sheltered runaway slaves in his home. It also was home to Charles Fern Hopkins, a courageous Medal of Honor winning soldier who survived the horrors of the Confederate Army’s Andersonville prison. He helped his father, who owned the Powerville Hotel, harbor escaped slaves there, transported escaped slaves in his wagon and penned his Underground Railroad experiences in the 1910 publication Boonton: Gem of the Mountain, an account that identified individuals and communities that were part of the Underground Railroad’s operation in the Boonton area.