Ringwood is a borough in Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 12,228, reflecting a decrease of 168 (-1.4%) from the 12,396 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 227 (-1.8%) from the 12,623 counted in the 1990 Census.
The Borough of Ringwood was incorporated by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 23, 1918, from a "portion of the Township of Pompton", as one of three boroughs formed from Pompton Township, joining Bloomingdale and Wanaque, based on the results of a referendum held on March 22, 1918. The first organizational meeting of the Borough Council took place in the existing Borough Hall on May 6, 1918.
The Lenape, an Algonquian language-speaking tribe of Native Americans who occupied much of the mid-Atlantic coastal areas and the interior mountains including along the Delaware River resided in the area of present-day Ringwood when Europeans first entered the area. Some retreated to the mountains to escape colonial encroachment.
Colonists called the local band the Ramapough, and named the Ramapo River and other regional features after them. Their descendants and Afro-Dutch migrants from New York were among the people who formed the multiracial group known as the Ramapough Mountain Indians, recognized in 1980 as a Native American tribe by the state of New Jersey, though the federal government has denied their application for formal recognition.
Early in the 18th century, colonists discovered iron in the area. The Ogden family built a blast furnace in Ringwood in 1742. By 1765, Peter Hasenclever used Ringwood as the center of his ironmaking operations, which included in New Jersey, New York and Nova Scotia. Iron mining was prominent in the area from the 18th century until the Great Depression, and iron shafts and pits, landfills and other elements still exist. The London, Roomy, Peters and Hope mines were all originally opened by Peter Hasenclever's London Company.
A number of well-known ironmasters owned and lived at Ringwood Manor from the 1740s to the late 19th century. During the American Revolutionary War, Robert Erskine managed ironmaking operations from Ringwood, and became George Washington's first geographer and Surveyor-General, producing maps for the Continental Army. Washington visited the Manor House several times. Ringwood iron was used in the famous Hudson River Chain, and for tools and hardware for the army. One of the Manor's last owners was Abram S. Hewitt, ironmaster, educator, lawyer, U.S. Congressman, and Mayor of New York City. The Manor is part of a National Historic Landmark District.