Millville is a city in Cumberland County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 28,400, reflecting an increase of 1,553 (+5.8%) from the 26,847 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 855 (+3.3%) from the 25,992 counted in the 1990 Census. Millville, Bridgeton and Vineland are the three principal New Jersey cities of the Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses those cities and all of Cumberland County for statistical purposes.
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.
Known as "Shingle Landing" in its earliest days, a sawmill was believed to have existed at Leaming's Mill at around 1720. The area also had a public road, a boat landing, and a bridge-like structure.
In 1790, Joseph Smith and Henry Drinker purchased of land known as the Union Mills Tract. They also formed the Union Estates Company and 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 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 two and a half miles east of the Maurice River. In 1864, Vineland was separated from Millville Township and joined the new Landis Township.
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.
Following World War II, the airfield was declared excess to the governments 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, examples including 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 with continued major development is planned.
Today 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. Seven full-time galleries and ten part-time galleries and studios are open mostly on weekends and on the third Friday of each month. WheatonArts 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. The Levoy Theatre successfully re-opened on September 9, 2012