Hamilton Township, New Jersey, located just west of the capital city of Trenton in Mercer County, in a unique and distinctive township in its own right. Having a blend of geographic significance, historical significance, modern dining and relaxing parks and botanical gardens, Hamilton has long been a place people choose to call “home”.
While today Hamilton is one of the largest municipalities in the state in terms of sheer land area, Hamilton was originally created in 1842, carved out of what was originally Nottingham Township. After the latter was divided up into what would eventually become parts of Trenton and Bordentown, Hamilton Township was formed.
The change in name did not erase the history of the area, however, and many buildings in the town proudly carry a historic status. Hamilton even boasts its own historical society to record and maintain events, writing, and structures with the designation. Some, such as the John Abbott II House, even date back to the Revolutionary War and 1700s and carry with them their own unique roles in the founding of our country. This is fitting given the township owes its name to one of the founding fathers.
A historian would be quick to note that Hamilton’s past stretches even further back than the Revolutionary War, given that it was originally settled over 100 years prior. This makes the township one of the few that was actually under monarchy rule for some portion of its history.
Further Development and Expansion
Not dissimilar to other areas of the state, Hamilton Township experienced rapid population growth in the early 20th century, continuing well into the 1960s. Technological improvements as well as the benefit of its location geographically allowed Mercer County to become a leader in industry at the time.
The perhaps most famed example of this is the “Trenton Makes, The World Takes” bridge. While Trenton may have become a known capital for manufacturing, the families who came to work for those companies often chose Hamilton as their home. The relatively short commute and significantly more pleasing setting likely contributed in no small part to that decision.
Many of the homes and infrastructure decisions made in the latter portion of this period still stand today. The communities that sprung up to support this industry also opened the door to successful restaurants and other services to support these workers. This remains evidenced in the celebrated cuisine in the area that still stands today.
While population growth slowed in much of the area following the 1960s, it did not cease altogether. The same attractions that led people to Hamilton in the past still remain true to the present day. Easy access to both Philadelphia and New York through the rail system is also a major draw for the area. Local parks, most notably the Sayen House & Gardens, provide residents with numerous options to relax and spend their free time.
Hamilton is no doubt different today than it was during the industrial age, or in early settlement. Today, you are far more likely to find office workers or government employees than you are steelworkers. Still, the allure of a tranquil township with a stable economy and plenty to do continues to draw families to choose Hamilton, even today.