Nestled in the foothills of southwest MorrisCounty, Chester Borough's 1.45-square mile community sits at the crossroads of two major roadways, Route 24 and Route 206. ChesterTownship encircles the Borough's bustling town center with almost 30 square miles of primarily residential property. The two sister municipalities share a rich historical heritage, which is still evident in the many remaining older structures, both residential and commercial. The quiet village life and quaint country charm still emanate from the streets and storefronts even though both the Township and the Borough have experienced the growing pains associated with a modern suburban community.
With more than 8,000 residents, ChesterTownship continues to emphasize thepreservation of open space, with more than 30 percent of its land designated as such. Most of the town's undeveloped land falls under large-lot zoning in an attempt to protect it from encroaching urbanization.
The township is blessed with many parks that stand as a testament to Chester's dedication to open space preservation. Its busiest park, ChubbPark, was donated to the Township by the Chubb Family. Located on Route 24, this 85-acre facility features athletic fields, tennis courts, softball fields, children's playground, soccer fields and ice skating pond with shelter. Two championship caliber soccer fields, a little league field and a swimming complex have recently been built at the Black River Fields complex on North Road. Another example is Tiger Brook Park, which was purchased with the assistance of the New Jersey Green Acres Program in 1980. This 270-acre preserve contains a 10-acre reservoir for fishing.
Within the Township itself are three sites operated by the Morris County ParkCommission: Willowwood Arboretum, Bamboo Brook, and Cooper Mill on the Black River. As an integral part of Chester's history, the Cooper Grist Mill, which is listed on both the state and national register of historic sites, hosts activities and events for the public throughout the year. Also within the Township is HacklebarneyState Park.
When the weekend comes, crowds of shoppers, both residents and visitors alike, are a common sight along the Borough's bustling Main Street, which boasts more than 100 shops noted for their variety and quality of merchandise. Because the stores in Chester Borough are small, privately owned businesses, shoppersfind high-quality service in a wide variety of areas such as antique stores, galleries and boutiques. The Historic Chester Business Association sponsors many events throughout the year to draw shoppers to the merchants' doors. The most popular events are the Spring and the Fall Craft Shows. For the past few years, the Chester Craft Show has been ranked as one of the top craft shows in the country. The two-day event annually draws more than 60,000 attendees and more than 350 high-quality artisans and craftsmen.
Area farms sell luscious berries, apples, peaches, strawberries, vegetables and baked goods. Shoppers can choose to visit places like Alstede's Farms, Hacklebarney Farms and Riamede Farms and pick their own or just enjoy all of the wonderful produce from these farms.
The Chesters are distinct municipalities served by three joint services: the Chester Volunteer Fire Company, the Chester Volunteer First Aid Squad, and the Chester Library.
As Chester's residential population continues to grow, its school system has seen enrollment swell to include more than 1,135 students per year. The district consists of three schools: an elementary for grades kindergarten through second, an upper elementary for grades 3 through 5, and a middle school for grades 6 through 8. The past year has seen expansion of all three schools to accommodate growth in enrollment. High school students attend WestMorrisMendhamHigh School as part of the WestMorrisRegionalSchool District.
Chester Historical Society PO Box 376 ~ Chester, NJ07930