Rockaway in Morris County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Rockaway Water Power
Village of Rockaway
The town of Rockaway is located at the upper end of the Rockaway Valley at the spot where the Rockaway River drops 25 feet, providing an excellent site for waterpowered industry. Job Allen, one of the earliest settlers, came to this area in the 1730s and built a bloomer forge on the river. Another early settler, Joseph Jackson came to the area from Long Island, built a cabin and began acquiring property. In 1778 his son Stephen purchased an interest in the forge, eventually acquiring the entire operation. In 1796, he built a second forge just down stream. To supply ore and charcoal for his forges, Stephen purchased additional property including most of what would become the village of Rockaway.
When Stephen Jackson died in 1812, he passed on a well established business that included mines, forges and a gristmill-sawmill, all powered by the flow of the Rockaway River. His sons Col. Joseph and William Jackson upgraded the forges and expanded the family’s holdings to include a rolling mill adjacent to the lower forge.
Together the upper and lower forges had five fires where ore was smelted to form masses of wrought
However, waterpower has its limitations. Spring floods often washed away dams and summer droughts could bring work to a standstill. By the 1890s the New Jersey Iron Industry was in decline and new industries like the Liondale Bleach, Dye & Print Works installed powerful steam engines and no longer needed to rely on the river for motive power.
Erected by Borough of Rockaway Historical Committee.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 40° 54.097′ N, 74° 30.568′ W. Marker is in Rockaway, New Jersey, in Morris County. Marker is at the intersection of Jackson Avenue and Halsey Avenue, on the right when traveling north on Jackson Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Rockaway NJ 07866, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. Stephen Jackson House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Rockaway World War Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Rockaway Civil War Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); Rockaway Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Morris Canal Stone Culvert (approx. 0.3 miles away); Rockaway Loop (approx. ¾ mile away); Kitchel Homestead (approx. 1.6 miles away); Job Allen Iron Works (approx. 1.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rockaway.
More about this marker. A map of early Rockaway appears on the marker and shows the locations of the Rockaway River, mill pond, dams, forges, mills and residences.
Also on the marker area number of photographs showing Rockaway and its industries at various points in its history.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 29, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 29, 2019, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 562 times since then and 214 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 29, 2019, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.