Tour Chatham Township
SHAPED BY A GLACIER
The Wisconsin Glacier shaped Chatham Township's land form 15,000 years ago. The glacier stopped near the northerly area of Chatham Township, near Madison Ave. It pushed sand and gravel ahead of it as it advanced, referred to as gladial moraine, as it advanced. As it melted the glacier formed a huge lake, now the Great Swamp. Much of the Township lies in the bottom of what used to be ancient Lake Passaic. The third Watchung Mt. on the east of Chatham Township divides the Great Swamp watershed from the Passaic River.
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As you drive around, enjoy the openness provided by the golf course, recreation fields, parts of River Road and the western part of town.
1. Town Hall Parking Lot Meyersville Road. You are in the Great Swamp watershed. TURN RIGHT as you leave Town Hall, proceed on Meyersville Rd. past Dogwood, Lisa, and Molino Drive
2. Proceed on Meyersville Rd. and TURN LEFT on Apple Tree DRIVE. As you drive up the hill notice view of Great Swamp (ancient Lake Passaic) on left. Road becomes Jodi Lane TURN RIGHT on SUSAN DRIVE.
3. SUSAN DRIVE. You are now on the Passaic River side of the ridge. Note the steep drop off as you TURN RIGHT on MARION RD. Drive carefully. TURN at first LEFT (Ormont). TURN at first RIGHT (Henry Drive). TURN LEFT ON TO RIVER ROAD.
4. PASSAIC RIVER PARK. Look for a MORRIS COUNTY PARK sign and road. TURN RIGHT. you are traveling through the floodplain of the Passaic River. Follow the road to the end. Stretch here and enjoy. TURN AROUND. On River Road turn right. You will be staying on this road for a while. Notice, north of Fairmount Avenue, the fairly sparse settlement pattern. The open areas serve to protect the river.
The steeper section of the ridge on your left above the road is a Steep Slope Conservation zone allowing one house on each 2 1 /2 acres. On you right you will pass one of the two Chatham Township volunteer fire departments. -- Chatham Township Flre Department..
5. You will pass the CARDINAL HILL apartment buildings on your left, approved in the 60's by variance. BEAR LEFT at Passaic St. GO STRAIGHT at light (bottom of Snake Hill).
6. The Condos Heritage Green, Vernon Grove, Sutton Woods, Coachlight Square, Briarwood. TURN AT FIRST RIGHT into HERITAGE DRIVE. The road bears to left and starts uphill. Proceed back to Mt. VERNON AVE., TURN LEFT. Above River Road, note the Georgian house, known as Dixie Dale. All of the condo development used to be part of the grounds of this house
7. TURN LEFT on RIVER ROAD. BEAR RIGHT UP STEEP SNAKE HILL 17% slope which requires extra salting in the winter. Turn RIGHT at top of hill onto FAIRMOUNT Ave. Little Red School House on corner is 18th Century. Now the Historical Society Museum, it was used as Town Hall until 1984.
As you travel north on Fairmount, you are on a ridge of volcanic rock (the third Watchung mountian) with a steep drop off on your right also a nice view of the Passaic River valley. TURN LEFT onto LONGWOOD RD. just past the PEDESTRIAN CROSSING sign. The water tower on your right is in Chatham Borough. This is an older neighborhood built on the well drained soils of the glacial moraine. TURN RIGHT on LAFAYETTE AVE. past high school and down to Shunpike Road. TURN LEFT.
8. SHUNPIKE ROAD used from colonial times often to avoid paying the toll charged on Main Street. As you travel West, Cougar Field will be on your right. GO STRAIGHT through traffic light on Noe Avenue. The storm drains in the road direct water down to Fairmount Country Club and from there to the swamp. The woods just after Long Hill Chapel on your left were purchased by the Township in the 1970's with the help of the State Green Acres program. Shunpike recreation field is part of the same Township land.
9. HICKORY SQUARE Proceed straight on Shunpike. The two shopping centers were built in the 1960's. Previously, there was an antique shop, greenhouses, and some homes.
10. Proceed through two traffic lights. You will see vacant land on your right, formerly the Valley Estate. It had a pond used by the neighborhood in summer. There is now a pending proposal for 56 townhouses. Next property on used to be a home and nursery. Past it, look to your left - an historic house and 75-acre estate. This area is in the LOANTAKA VALLEY, encompassing Loantaka Brook from its source in Morris Township down to the Great Swamp.
11. At end of Shunpike, TURN RIGHT onto Loantaka Way. Proceed straight at the traffic light. You are now in Madison and will travel around the former Dodge Estate, now called Giralda Farms. The tract has about 300 acres, divided between Madison and Chatham Township. The Madison part is zoned for 6 office buildings 5 have been built The Madison part of the estate is on glacial moraine. TURN LEFT on Route 124. Proceed straight through traffic light (main entrance to Giralda Farms) & TURN LEFT at next street --Treadwell Ave. As you start down the hill, you re-enter
Chatham Township. Proceed cautiously, road narrows.
12. BOISAUBIN MANSION on your right. Built in early 1800's, the house is on the National Historic register and has the first state Historic Easement in this area which protects 7 acres around the house from development. It was a station on the underground railroad during the Civil War. TURN LEFT on Woodland Road. The wooded Morris County Park Loantaka Brook Reservation is on your right.
13. ST. HUBERT'S. On your left you will pass St. Hubert's Giralda, an animal shelter. As you proceed up hill, look to the right for glimpses of the Loantaka Valley. TURN RIGHT onto LOANTAKA WAY. You travel downhill into the valley. Ahead on your right, the Morris County Park sign for the Loantaka Reservation bike trail, bridle trail, picnic area. A good example of a greenway a linear park.
14. The BRICK BARN on your left is on the National Historic Register. It is part of a farm of about 200 acres. Just past the barn you will cross Loantaka Brook, a major feeder stream of the Great Swamp. You will also cross the Morris County Loantaka Brook Bike Path.
15. At blinking light, cautiously TURN LEFT on to SPRING VALLEY ROAD. The road got its name because the area lies over dense volcanic rock and surface water from up the hill erupts in the form of springs further down hill. Note the older historic houses. The road forms the boundary between Harding Township on the right and Chatham Township on the left. The road will curve to the left and you re enter Chatham Twp just before the small green in the village itself next to Chatham Township's other volunteer fire company Green Village Fire Department.
16. GREEN VILLAGE is a revolutionary cross-roads village with many of the houses along Green Vlg. Rd built in revolutionary times on sand deposits left by the meltwaters of the glacier. In 1777 Green Villagers housed revolutationary soldiers sick with small pox. Look for a concrete bridge, about 1 /3 of a mile from the fire house. You cross LOANTAKA BROOK again. Proceed past BRITTEN ROAD, location of the Green Village Packing House the slaughterhouse a meat wholesaler, typical of rural business.
17. You will pass THE FARM on your right used to be Harrsch egg farm. You'll pass on your left the Green Village Post Office. The Loantaka Reservation bike path ends (or begins) here. Proceed and TURN RIGHT at Hickory Place.
18. TURN RIGHT on SOUTHERN BLVD. On right, Nash field. The former tax office amd police station, housed in historic vernacular buildings used to stand where parking lot is.
19. Count number of little water courses along the road as you proceed. On your left, Fairmount Country Club receives stormwater from uphill development & roads in Madison and the Township. Ponds hold some, the rest is carried in streams to Great Swamp. Twp. Police Station and Public Works, and Noe Pond recreation club all will be on your right.
20. TURN RIGHT AT SIGN to Morris County Outdoor Education Center. Visit and enjoy!! Boardwalks connect sandy knolls typical of Great Swamp. Center is used by area schools for regular school programs. Closed in summer, the center offers courses, hikes, and films to the general public in fall, winter, and spring. Go back to Southern Blvd. and TURN RIGHT.
21. Proceed to traffic light and TURN RIGHT ON FAIRMOUNT AVE. Travel about ¾ of a mile to TANGLEWOOD LANE, TURN RIGHT. Just past houses you will be onTownship land sewage treatment plant is on the road leading to the right. Tours can be arranged by contacting Public Works. The plant went on line in late '60's. It discharges into Black Brook, one of major feeder stream of Great Swamp. Original capacity was reached in late '70's. Plan to expand to 1 million gallons per day was approved with strict stormwater controls required.
22. MULCH AREA AND RECYCLING CENTER are located at end of Tanglewood to the left. Mulch area open every Saturday from 8 to 3 and Tuesdays from 8:30 12:30. Recycling center open every other Saturday from 8:00 to 3:00. Curbside pickup is also available twice a month.
23. Back to FAIRMOUNT AVE. TURN RIGHT. Proceed past Township DELI and down Fairmount Ave. (FOUNTAIN HILL) Just below colonial house on left, you will see the entrance to the ESTERNAY FIELD, formerly known as the shale pit. It supplied much fill for the Garden State Parkway.
TURN RIGHT ON JOHNSON DRIVE. TURN RIGHT ON CANDACE LANE going up and over the top of the ridge. Again, enjoy the views of the the Great Swamp. At the bottom of Candace Lane, you are at the end of your tour. Town Hall is down Meyersville Road if you turn left.
WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED YOURSELVES. JOIN US AT MEETINGS AT TOWN HALL
Twp Committee - 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 7:30 pm
Planning Board - 1st and 3rd Mondays at 7:30 pm
Bd. Of Adjustment - 3rd Thursday at 7:30 pm
Environmental Commission - 1st Tuesdays at 7:45 pm
Open Space Committee - 4th Mondays at 7:30 pm
Recreation Committee - 2nd Tuesdays at 8:00pm