Established in 1845, rural Franklin Township encompasses approximately 23 square miles in the center of Hunterdon County. Franklin borders neighboring townships of Alexandria, Clinton, Delaware, Kingwood, Raritan and Union as well as the town of Clinton. Data from 2007 reported a population of 3,119 residents.
Geologically speaking, Franklin Township has some of New Jersey’s most productive farming soils, a fact that is enhanced by its many streams and creeks. Long an agricultural center, the township is still characterized by open fields, meadows, orchards and pick-your-own farms. Soybeans, hay, corn and nursery stock are some of the major crops produced in Franklin today. In order to retain its picturesque country setting, the township maintains over 3,200 acres of preserved farmland, open space and conservation easements.
Bucolic landscapes dominate Franklin, but 21st century conveniences are close by. A large shopping center on Route 513/Pittstown Road near Interstate 78 includes a Walmart, Shop-Rite, TJ Maxx and other shops, services and eateries.
Franklin Township History
Small villages in Franklin include Pittstown, Quakertown and Cherryville. In the 1800s and early 1900s, local streets and byways were lined with blacksmith and carpentry shops, grist mills, general stores, taverns, churches and creameries.
Early enterprises in Pittstown included a nail factory, iron foundry, distillery and a pump organ builder, while Quakertown manufactured grandfather clocks and hats. Some of the village scenery from bygone days survives, namely the post offices in Pittstown and Quakertown, and the 1862 Quakertown Meetinghouse, the last Quaker establishment in Hunterdon County. Antique buildings highlight the rich history of Franklin Township, which has 99 stone structures from the Colonial era, and 183 wood frame houses constructed before 1900.
Wide open landscapes provide a dramatic backdrop for some of the exceptional real estate in Franklin Township. Custom-built residences on expansive lots, stunning contemporary homes, equestrian properties, country manors, estate-caliber homes, antique dwellings, stone farmhouses, riverfront residences, traditional Colonials and luxury homes situated in quiet cul de sac neighborhoods are among the housing choices. Multiple acre land sales allow buyers to create a truly unique home.
- Fawn Ridge
- Harvest Run
- Rose Garden at Oak Summit Estates
- Sky View Estates
- Spring Hill
Franklin Township is equally distant–about 60 miles– from both New York City and Philadelphia. NJ Transit provides rail service to Newark and midtown Manhattan from nearby train stations in Lebanon, High Bridge and Clinton Township. Trenton in neighboring Mercer County provides NJ Transit train, bus and light rail service to local points as well as Manhattan, Newark, Hoboken or Philadelphia. Trenton’s Transit Center is also an Amtrak station.
At the very northern portion of Franklin Township is Interstate 78/22 in Clinton, while to the east is State Route 31/202. Sky Manor Airport calls itself “The Best Little Airport in the East,” serving both local and visiting pilots. Located at 48 Sky Manor Road in Pittstown, the airport also offers flying lessons, hot air balloon rides and an on-site restaurant.
Franklin Township School at 226 Quakertown Road in the Quakertown section houses about 310 students from kindergarten through grade eight. Updates completed in late 2011 added a new gymnasium, class room space, offices, a multi-purpose room, and dedicated rooms for speech, science and art.
Library, technology and enrichment activities are integrated into all academic areas through a multi-disciplinary learning approach. The Franklin Township School offers small class sizes and a student-teacher ratio of about 12-to-1. Over 75% of the staff holds advanced degrees, while 100% meet the federally-established Highly Qualified Teacher standards.
Students in grades nine through 12 attend North Hunterdon High School at 1445 Route 31 in Annandale, which is part of the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District. Recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education in 2002, North Hunterdon High School attained the highest award a school can achieve. Additionally, the high school has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post, Newsweek and New Jersey Monthly for their outstanding academic and athletic programs. The school has also received Best Practice Awards from the New Jersey Department of Education in Mathematics, Special Education, Music and Science.
Opened in 1951, North Hunterdon has had numerous additions and updates over the years. The Lions are the high school’s nickname, while its mascot, Reggie, is a little wordplay from when the school used to be known as Regional. In addition to Franklin residents, the high school also serves students from Bethlehem Township, Clinton Township, Lebanon Borough and Union Township. Approximately 1,845 students are taught by 161 faculty members, many with advanced degrees.
In the graduating class of 2011, 73% of students went on to attend a four-year college and 25% went on to a two-year college or post-secondary school. Students from the class of 2009 attended Rutgers, Boston College, Carnegie-Mellon, the College of New Jersey, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, New York University, Penn State, Rochester Institute of Technology, Dartmouth, William & Mary, Williams and Yale.
The Recreation Committee of Franklin Township oversees a town-wide basketball program for school age boys and girls. The program plays in the North Hunterdon Basketball League, which is comprised of teams from the towns of Bethlehem, Clinton, Franklin and Union. A summer recreation program for kindergarten to grade eight students offers activities including arts and crafts, group games, a field trip and board games.
Franklin Township hosts an annual Halloween “Trunk-or-Treat” party as an alternative to going from house to house on Halloween night. Participants decorate their cars with seasonal items, and cars are judged and receive prizes for the best displays. Children gather their treats safely in a parking lot that is closed to traffic. The Franklin Township Police Department often hosts a costume contest in addition to the decorated car contest. Refreshments are provided by the Franklin Township Recreation Committee. Another holiday event is sponsored by The Quakertown Fire Company, which hosts an annual Breakfast with Santa every December for local children.
Senior citizens have an active committee with events such as a Veteran’s Day Thanksgiving dinner, Valentine’s party, day trips, picnics, bingo and health clinics.
In 2011, the first annual Franklin Township Community Day was celebrated and included a pie-baking contest, live music, food, entertainment, giveaways, information booths, a food drive and a huge cake to honor the 60th anniversary of the Quakertown Fire Department.
The South Branch Reservation encompasses over 1,000 acres, part of which is located in Franklin Township. The reservation offers recreation as well as wildlife preservation and protection of the South Branch of the Raritan River Watershed. Access points in Franklin include the Melick’s Bridge section on Hamden-River Road and the Pine Hill section on Pine Hill Road.
Landsdown Meadows offers 186 acres in South Branch Reservation that can be accessed at 5 Sidney Road in Pittstown. Parking for the Landsdown Trail section is available on Lower Landsdown Road.
Capoolong Creek Wildlife Management Area was purchased with Green Acres funds in 1974. This 61-acre area parallels the Capoolong Creek from Pittstown to Landsdown. The 3.7 mile trail running through the area follows a cinder rail bed that was once part of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The Capoolong Creek ultimately empties into the South Branch of the Raritan River.
Franklin Points of Interest
Pittstown Historic District is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Located along the banks of the Capoolong Creek, Pittstown was once called Hoff’s Mills but was changed to Pittstown in tribute to British nobleman William Pitt. One of the highlights in this village is the circa 1801 Century Inn which was built to mark the beginning of a new century. Re-built after a fire destroyed most of the structure in 1913, the beautifully renovated inn is now a gourmet restaurant.
Rockhill Historic District is named for the pioneering Rockhill family who lived in the area in the early 1700s. The family owned over 800 acres and surviving structures include an agricultural district with 18th century barns, stone houses and outbuildings. This district is listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places.
Snyder Farm hosts a Great Tomato Tasting at the end of the summer in conjunction with Rutgers University, the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension. Tastings include heirloom and hybrid tomatoes as well as sweet peppers, cucumbers, herbs, apples and peaches, all with the guidance of Rutgers Master Gardener volunteers. Snyder Farms also presents workshops, special events, education, training and other special events. The farm is located at 140 Locust Grove Road in Pittstown