Place:Millville, Cumberland, New Jersey, United States


Coordinates39.391°N 75.038°W
Located inCumberland, New Jersey, United States
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

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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,[1][2][3] 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. The city derives its name from a proposal to create a mill town in the area.


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A sawmill was believed to have existed at Leaming's Mill - known as "Shingle Landing" in its earliest days - 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 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 two and a half miles east of the Maurice River. In 1864, Vineland was separated from Millville Township and joined the new Landis Township.[4]

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.

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, 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. The Levoy Theatre successfully re-opened on September 9, 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.

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