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Millville, New Jersey
City in Cumberland County, New Jersey, United States
Millville was originally incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 24, 1801, from portions of Fairfield Township. Portions of the township were taken to form Landis Township on March 7, 1864. Millville was reincorporated as a city on March 1, 1866, based on the results of a referendum passed that same day. The city derives its name from a proposal to create a mill town in the area.
Around 1720, a sawmill was believed to have existed at Leaming's Mill, known as "Shingle Landing" in its earliest days. The area also had a public road, a boat landing, and a bridge-like structure.
In 1790, Joseph Smith and Henry Drinker purchased 24,000 acres (97 km2) of land known as the Union Mills Tract. They formed the Union Estates Company, built lumber mills along the Maurice River and established a dam to power these new mills. Joseph Buck, an American Revolutionary War veteran who served under General George Washington, was part of a group that purchased the land in the area in 1795 and laid out the plans for what would become Millville.
In 1806, an Irish immigrant, James Lee, opened the area's first glass factory, making use of the large amounts of silica sand and the ample wood that could be used to operate the plant.
In the early 1850s, the Smith and Wood Iron Foundry and New Jersey Mills were constructed. In 1860, a bleachery and dye house were added to New Jersey Mills, which then became Millville Manufacturing. David Wood then constructed a dam, forming the largest man-made lake in the state, which powered the entire manufacturing organization. By 1870, the mill had 600 employees, and in 40 years this number doubled.
In 1862, Charles K. Landis laid out the city of Vineland about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) east of the Maurice River. In 1864, Vineland was separated from Millville Township and joined the new Landis Township.
In 1936, the town was the site of Roosevelt Park, a project proposed by Effie Maud Aldrich Morrison as the country's first housing development for the elderly. The retirement colony was built on land which had been repossessed by the town of Millville for back taxes, and became known as the "Roosevelt Colony". It was later renamed to the "Roosevelt Park" old age colony, and was sometimes referred to as the Colony for the Aged at Roosevelt Park and Roosevelt Park Colony for Aged. When it opened on October 23, 1936, it became the first senior citizens retirement colony in the United States.
The Millville Airport was dedicated "America's First Defense Airport" on August 2, 1941, by local, state, and federal officials. In less than a year, construction of military base facilities began, and in January 1943, the Millville Army Air Field opened as a gunnery school for fighter pilots. Gunnery training began with Curtiss P-40 Warhawk aircraft, but after a few weeks was changed over to the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. During its three-year existence, thousands of soldiers and civilians served here, with about 1,500 pilots receiving advanced fighter training in the Thunderbolt.
Child workers at Wheaton Glass Works, 1909. Photo by Lewis Hine.
Following World War II, the airfield was declared excess to the government's needs, and returned to the City of Millville. Most of the airport buildings were converted to apartments for the many veterans returning from the war. The last of the apartments vanished in the early 1970s, and the airport soon became a hub of industry and aviation for Southern New Jersey.
Up to the late 1990s the Millville downtown area was depressed and somewhat isolated, as illustrated by the abandoned Levoy Theatre and Wheaton Glass Factory, with investors reluctant to venture in its development. Major redevelopment has occurred in the past several years, establishing the scenic Riverfront and Downtown areas into an artists' haven, including many studios, shops, and restaurants. Older abandoned buildings have been restored, and continued major development is planned.
Millville has an arts district named the Glasstown Arts District. A public art center with galleries and studios is the hub of activity, and is open six days a week. The district includes seven full-time galleries, along with ten part-time galleries and studios, which are open mostly on weekends and on the third Friday of each month. Wheaton Arts and the Creative Glass Center of America includes a major collection of early American glass with contemporary glass from CGCA Fellows and working glass artists in a restored 19th century glass factory. Opened in 1908 and closed in 1974 with declining numbers of customers, the Levoy Theatre re-opened in September 2012.
One of Millville's claims to fame is an original paperweight making technique which originated there. Fine paperweights from the classic period (1845-1870) were made with one of three techniques: millefiori, lampwork or cameo incrustations (sulphides). In the first decade of the twentieth century, crimp flowers, mostly roses, originated in Millville, with several glassworkers making them in their off duty time. These paperweights are commonly called "Millville roses," even when sometimes made elsewhere.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 44.50 square miles (115.25 km2), including 42.00 square miles (108.78 km2) of land and 2.50 square miles (6.47 km2) of water (5.62%).
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the city include Clarks Mill, Farmingdale, Manatico, North Newark and Union Lake.
Of the 10,648 households, 30.4% had children under the age of 18; 41.2% were married couples living together; 20.0% had a female householder with no husband present and 32.5% were non-families. Of all households, 26.6% were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.19.
25.8% of the population were under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 25.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.6 years. For every 100 females, the population had 90.2 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 85.7 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $44,925 (with a margin of error of +/- $4,459) and the median family income was $55,000 (+/- $4,433). Males had a median income of $46,186 (+/- $3,934) versus $35,336 (+/- $2,860) for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,364 (+/- $1,573). About 16.2% of families and 19.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.2% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
There were 10,043 households, out of which 35.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.5% were married couples living together, 17.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.65 and the average family size was 2.15.
In the city the population was spread out, with 27.9% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $40,378, and the median income for a family was $46,093. Males had a median income of $36,915 versus $26,669 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,632. About 12.1% of families and 15.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.8% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.
Millville has a Ukrainian community and is home to Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church and St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Portions of the city are part of a joint Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) with Vineland, one of 32 zones covering 37 municipalities statewide. Millville was selected in 1983 as one of the initial group of 10 zones chosen to participate in the program. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment and investment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3.3125% sales tax rate (half of the % rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants. Established in October 1988, the city's Urban Enterprise Zone status expires in December 2023.
In 1801, Millville was first organized as a township; It became a city in 1866. Until 1913, Millville operated under a Mayor-Council form of government where the mayor was elected by the people. In 1913, a change of form of government to the Walsh Act was passed and the commission form of government became the way the city was run. The city is one of 30 municipalities (of the 565) statewide that use the commission form of government. Under this form of government as used in Millville, the governing body is comprised of five commissioners who are elected to four-year concurrent terms of office at-large on a non-partisan basis as part of the November general election. At a reorganization meeting held after each election, each commissioner is assigned a department to oversee and one commissioner is selected from among its members to serve as the mayor and another as vice mayor.
Vice Mayor James F. Quinn, who was Commissioner of Revenue and Finance, resigned from office in January 2016 to take a seat on the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders. As the four remaining commission members were unable to come to agreement on a replacement, the seat remained vacant until the November 2016 general election.
In November 2014, Michael Santiago, the city's first Hispanic councilmember, became Millville's first Hispanic mayor.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 17,500 registered voters in Millville, of which 4,652 (26.6%) were registered as Democrats, 2,802 (16.0%) were registered as Republicans and 10,033 (57.3%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 13 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 60.6% of the vote (6,653 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 38.1% (4,182 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (146 votes), among the 11,074 ballots cast by the city's 18,821 registered voters (93 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 58.8%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 57.6% of the vote (6,523 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain, who received 39.8% (4,515 votes), with 11,330 ballots cast among the city's 17,715 registered voters, for a turnout of 64.0%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 50.9% of the vote (5,082 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush, who received around 46.8% (4,677 votes), with 9,992 ballots cast among the city's 15,685 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 63.7.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 57.4% of the vote (3,794 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 40.0% (2,640 votes), and other candidates with 2.6% (171 votes), among the 6,854 ballots cast by the city's 17,941 registered voters (249 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 38.2%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 48.4% of the vote (3,169 ballots cast), ahead of both Republican Chris Christie with 40.9% (2,675 votes) and Independent Chris Daggett with 6.9% (453 votes), with 6,541 ballots cast among the city's 17,167 registered voters, yielding a 38.1% turnout.
Federal, state and county representation
Millville is located in the 2nd Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 1st state legislative district.
Cumberland County is governed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, who are elected at-large in partisan elections to serve staggered three-year terms in office, with either two or three seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. At an annual reorganization meeting held each January, the freeholders select one member to serve as Freeholder Director and another as Deputy Director. As of 2018[update], Cumberland County's Freeholders are
Freeholder Director Joseph Derella Jr. (D, Millville, term as freeholder and as freeholder director ends December 31, 2018),
Deputy Freeholder Director Darlene R. Barber (D, Upper Deerfield Township, term as freeholder ends 2019, term as deputy freeholder director ends 2018),
George Castellini (D, Vineland, 2020),
Carol Musso (D, Deerfield Township, 2020),
James F. Quinn (D, Millville, 2018),
Joseph V. Sparacio (R, Deerfield Township, 2019) and
Jack Surrency (D, Bridgeton 2020). The county's constitutional officers are
Clerk Celeste Riley (D, Bridgeton, 2019),
Sheriff Robert A. Austino (D, Vineland, 2020) and
Surrogate Douglas M. Rainear (D, Upper Deerfield Township, 2018).
As of the 2018-19 school year, the district, comprised of nine schools, had an enrollment of 5,540 students and 420.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 13.2:1. Schools in the district (with 2018-19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are
Child Family Center with 614 students in PreK,
R. M. Bacon Elementary School with 296 students in grades K-5,
Holly Heights Elementary School with 500 students in grades K-5,
Mt. Pleasant Elementary School with 242 students in grades K-5,
Rieck Avenue Elementary School with 470 students in grades K-5,
Silver Run Elementary School with 518 students in grades K-5,
Lakeside Middle School with 1,074 students in grades 6-8,
Memorial High School with 807 students in grades 9-10 and
Millville Senior High School with 887 students in grades 11-12;
Thunderbolt Academy is a partnership between Millville Public Schools and Camelot Education. Camelot offers an alternative setting for students facing behavioral, emotional or academic challenges.
As part of a project $137 million project begun in 2019 and funded by the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, Millville Senior High School has undergone a project that will add 82,000 square feet (7,600 m2) of space, which will allow all high school students to attend high school in a single building; when complete, the phased high school expansion project will add 230,000 square feet (21,000 m2) of new space at the high school, as well as extensive renovations to existing facilities in the building. Starting in the 1960s, grades 9-10 have been served in Memorial High School and grades 9-12 at Millville Senior High School.
Facing a deficit of $3 million for the 2017-18 school year, the district closed R.D. Wood Elementary School in order to generate $1.8 million in savings.
Students are also eligible to attend Cumberland County Technology Education Center in Vineland, serving students from the entire county in its full-time technical training programs, which are offered without charge to students who are county residents.
St. Mary Magdalen School is a Catholic school serving children in grades K-8 operating under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden. The school opened in 1882 with an enrollment of 45 students. Former Camden Bishop Joseph Galante announced in January 2012 that the school would close in June due to poor finances resulting from a declining student body.
Route 55 northbound in Millville
The city had a total of 172.73 miles (277.98 km) of roadways, of which 107.90 miles (173.65 km) were maintained by the municipality, 42.39 miles (68.22 km) by Cumberland County and 22.44 miles (36.11 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
^Biddle, Henry Drinker. The Drinker Family in America: To and Including the Eighth Generation, p. 11. J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1893. Accessed September 7, 2015. "In 1790, he, together with Joseph Smith and others, formed a company called the Union Company, and purchased twenty-four thousand acres of land in Cumberland County, New Jersey, - the tract included the present site of Millville. They built a dam and erected mills. In 1795, they sold out to Eli Elmer, Joseph Buck, and Robert Miller and Joseph Buck, laid out the town of Millville."
^Kane, Joseph Nathan. Famous First Facts, Fifth Edition. H. W. Wilson Company, ISBN0-8242-0930-3. "The first retirement colony was dedicated on October 23, 1936, at Roosevelt Park, Millville, NJ. The project, which was completed on January 1, 1937, contained seven houses for couples, which rented for $7 a month; six houses for single people, which rented for $5; and a community house. The city of Millville supplied the land, which had been taken over for taxes; the federal government's Works Progress Administration supplied $34,571. The city collected rent and agreed to keep the houses in repair. Residents received $15 monthly from the state under the Old Age Assistance Act. The plan was originated by Effie Morrison, deputy director of the Cumberland County Welfare Board."
^About Us, Glasstown Arts District. Accessed October 31, 2019.
^Loughlin, Ryan. "How the Levoy Theatre brings in big-time success", The Press of Atlantic City, March 10, 2018. Accessed October 31, 2019. "Opened in 1908, the Levoy originally served as a bustling venue for vaudeville acts, plays and bands. As time went on, it switched ownership and even its purpose, at one point becoming primarily a movie house, until it closed in 1974 after years of declining ticket sales.... But the sheer will of the Van Embdens and their team kept them focused, and the doors reopened in September 2012."
^Newell, Clarence A., Old Glass Paperweights of Southern New Jersey (1989) ISBN0-9619547-0-1
^About Millville, Millville, New Jersey. Accessed October 31, 2019. "The City of Millville was incorporated as a city by an act of the state legislature in 1866 and operated under the mayor-council form of government until 1913. The mayor was elected by the people. In 1913, the Walsh Act was passed and the city began its present commission form of government. There are five elected commissioners, one of whom serves as mayor."
^About Cumberland County Government, Cumberland County, New Jersey. Accessed June 7, 2018. "By law, Cumberland County is allowed 7 freeholders, who serve staggered, overlapping three year terms. Two are elected in two successive years, three in the third year, elected from the county at-large. A Director of the Board is selected by his colleagues for a one year term."
^About Us, Maurice River Township School District. Accessed August 24, 2014. "The Maurice River Township School District consists of one elementary school and is a sending district to the Millville School District for its high school students.... Maurice River Township transports approximately 180 students to the Memorial and Senior High Schools in Millville."
^Lowe, Claire. "School officials celebrate as $137M Millville High School expansion underway", The Press of Atlantic City, February 8, 2019. Accessed July 9, 2020. "It's been decades since the freshmen at Millville High School attended the same building as the juniors and seniors, but in a little more than two years, that will change.... The multiphase, $137.5 million project funded through the New Jersey Schools Development Authority will renovate and update the aging and overcrowded building, and bring unity to the high school, Gentile said. In all, the project will include 230,000 square feet of additions and 55,000 square feet of renovations, according to the SDA."
^Smith, Joseph P. "Millville closing R.D. Wood Elementary to save money", The Daily Journal, March 17, 2017. Accessed October 31, 2019. "The city school system is dropping a budget ax on its oldest institution -- R.D. Wood Elementary School.... Gentile told The Daily Journal the district faces a 2017-18 budget gap of about $3 million based on its current anticipation of state aid. Closing Wood School would save a little more than $1.8 million, including transportation costs."
^Admissions, Cumberland County Technology Education Center. Accessed October 30, 2019. "We specialize in technical education to offer students a chance to explore various careers and assist them in developing the skills they need to be successful. We are a full-time high school in a state of the art facility designed to maximize learning and hands on skills."
^HistoryArchived 2011-11-13 at the Wayback Machine, Saint Mary Magdalen School. Accessed June 14, 2012. "St. Mary Magdalen Regional School is one of the oldest Catholic schools in the Camden Diocese. Father Charles J. Giese, who was appointed to Saint Mary Magdalen Church in June 1881, opened the school with forty-five students and a teacher named Alice Marshall in 1882."
^Fred Gieg, Pro Basketball Encyclopedia. Accessed October 14, 2018. "Fred Gieg was a schoolboy athletic star in Millville, Jersey. He was recruited to attend Pennington Seminary, a private school near Trenton, New Jersey where he attracted considerable attention for his success in sports."
^"Up Again Henderson", Time (magazine), May 1, 1939. Accessed October 1, 2007. "As a boy out of Millville, N. J., he worked his way through Swarthmore College, played basketball and football there."
^Cook Jr., Jim. "Roosevelt Park celebrates 75th anniversary", NJ.com, September 11, 2011. Accessed October 20, 2015. "When New Jersey established the 'old-age assistance' program in 1932, Effie Aldrich Morrision, the deputy director of the Cumberland County Welfare Board, conceived the idea of a colony for aging individuals on a tax-exempt tract of land existing in the southern part of Millville."
^"Sketch of Prof. Walter Mulford.", The University of Michigan Forester, Volume 1, Issue 2, November 1910. Accessed December 28, 2015. "Professor Walter Mulford was born at Millville, N. J., in 1877, studied at Cornell, graduated with the degree of B. S. in Agriculture, then studied forestry, also at Cornell, graduating as Bachelor of Science in Forestry in 1901."
^Gray, Matt. "Former NFL player, city commissioner Steve Romanik dies", The News of Cumberland County, September 16, 2009. Accessed March 29, 2011. "Former Millville City Commissioner and Chicago Bears quarterback Steve Romanik died this morning, according to his family.... Romanik described his father as someone who was proud to serve Millville, and proud of his inductions into both the Millville Thunderbolt Club Hall of Fame and the Villanova University Football Hall of Fame."