History of Morris Plains
Incorporation as a Borough
The Borough of Morris Plains was incorporated on January 15, 1926 with an elected Mayor and Council that included one woman and five men. Prior to incorporation, the area that is Morris Plains was under the jurisdiction of Hanover Township.
The first settlers of Morris Plains were the Lenni Lenape, a Native American tribe of the Algonquin. In 1685, Thomas Pierson, arrived from England and built a sawmill near Central Avenue on what is now Thompson Pond. As time passed, a small cluster of homes were built near the intersection of Speedwell Avenue and Walnut Grove Road (today’s West Hanover Avenue). There were many small farms and a few mills and forges which drew power from the Watnong Brook.
In 1848, the railroad was extended from Morristown through Morris Plains, and the town began to grow more rapidly. Building began on the State Hospital at Greystone Park in 1874. The George Washington Coffee Company came in 1927, followed later by other industries.
Long gone are the beautiful mansions built as summer homes for millionaires from New York City. They were replaced by housing developments. This increase in population created the need for the police and fire departments, schools and churches. Our citizens stepped up as volunteers to give us the thriving community we know today, which are proud to call, “The Community of Caring.”
Morris Plains Museum
51 Jim Fear Drive (rear entrance)
Morris Plains, NJ 07950
- Visit morrisplainsmuseum.com for hours and exhibit information (currently closed due to Covid-19)
- Visit and follow the Morris Plains Museum on Facebook.
- Link here to read the museum’s latest newsletter.
Dan Myers, Borough Historian