Washington Township History
Washington Township is the most westerly township in Morris County. It was one of the six townships into which the county was divided in 1798. Prior to that, Washington Township was part of Roxbury.
The first settlers of this township set foot on the shores of the New World in 1707. They were German Protestants from Saxony, Germany, who left their native land in search of a place where they could worship God in the way they thought right without fear of persecution.
They sailed to Holland and formed many acquaintances with the Dutch. When they decided to travel to America, their destination was New York, to settle among the Dutch. They traveled in the general direction of New York, until they arrived in the region now known as German Valley. According to tradition, when these early settlers saw the beautiful country spread out before them, they believed that this was the promised land which the Lord designed for them before they left their homes. They gave up their project of going to New York and agreed to settle down and make their homes in the peaceful valley.
A large portion of Washington Township is occupied by Schooley's Mountain, which was probably America's earliest summer resort. The pure mountain air, the romantic surroundings, and the mineral spring, which in 1815 was declared to be the purest and best chalybeate water known at that time in the country, attracted people to this area. The Lenape Indians had long known about the waters which drew healing powers from the iron deposits found in the nearby mountains.
Many people were drawn to the reputed beneficial effects of the springs in Schooley's Mountain. They came to drink and bathe in the waters which were known to heal all types of disorders. The old hotel register shows a large number of distinguished guests, including many frequent guests from other sections of the country.
Washington Township was incorporated on February 12, 1798.
The estimated population of Washington Township as of the 2000 census was 17,592. The projected population for the year 2010 is 20,277