Butler, New Jersey, Sunday, August 20, 2017
 
Town Of Butler
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Located in Morris County, Butler was commonly referred to as West Bloomingdale until 1881. Nestled in the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains, Butler was still a village prior to the 1880's. In 1879, Morristown land speculators realized the economic opportunities that could developed along the banks of the Kakeout Brook and the Pequannock River.

The growth of Butler is linked to the development of the rubber industry in the area, dating to 1869. The continuous takeover of the smaller rubber companies led to the formation of the Rubber Comb and Jewelry Company in 1876. Richard Butler was elected President of this company which became known as the Butler Hard Rubber Company in 1882.

Richard Butler was a founder and trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a member of the Committee to erect the Statue of Liberty. Under Butler's management, the company's production and sales increased, and the town's population grew. In July 1881, the village of West Bloomingdale changed its Post Office address to Butler, New Jersey, in honor of the man who had brought prosperity to the town.

Butler purchased 72 acres of farmland for residential development for his workers. Streets were laid out and homes were built for sale to employees. Property was donated for a Catholic and Methodist church and for a public school. Other factories were built, small businesses appeared on Main Street, the population increased, freight and passenger train service thrived.

The Borough of Butler was incorporated by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 13, 1901. Richard Butler proudly gave permission to name this community for him. Within seven years, municipal water and electric companies were formed. In 1902, the Butler volunteer fire department was founded. Law enforcement was handled under the marshal system from 1901 until 1939 when Butler's Police Department was started. In 1975, the borough purchased the abandoned railroad station and presented it to the Butler Historical Society as the new home of the Butler Museum.

The heyday of the factories ended with the Pequanoc Rubber Company fire in 1957 and the plant closing of the Amerace Corporation (American Hard Rubber Company) in 1974. The final presence of the rubber industry in Butler ended when the Amerace Corporation headquarters closed in the 1980's.

The borough approached its centennial year in 2001 still retaining its small-town qualities and with continuing efforts to attract small businesses and new industry to the downtown and highway areas. Now home for more than 7,800 people, Butler is more than a residential community. The Butler Center, once the home of the American Hard Rubber Company, is the home of twenty to thirty small businesses and light industry. Butler Printing and Laminating on Hamburg Turnpike in Butler is one of the larger employers in the town.

Route 23 in Butler, once referred to as the "Golden Mile," serves as a commercial corridor between the urban centers and the northern lake regions. It is still appropriate that Butler has as its motto, Porta ad Lacus, "Gateway to the Lakes." Route 23 may divide the community physically but it brings it together because of the retail and professional businesses along the highway. Interstate 287 is about 1 miles south of town and seven miles further south is Interstate 80 and Route 46.

Major development on the highway has led to the disappearance of the old rubber dump and the construction of the soon-to-be-completed Lowe's store and future home of a retail linen store. The highway now has a Wendy's and an Applebee's restaurant.

The revitalization of Upper Main Street is on the way. The previous location of the Pequanoc Rubber Company, vacant for years, will be transformed into a retail/residential/greenway complex. The Borough Park and Main Street will be refurbished with funds/grants secured through the efforts of Borough Administrator Jim Lampmann and by the late Mayor Ron Assante.




 

 
3/10/2017 - Museum restoration
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10/29/2007 - Butler Museum foundation concerns
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Rubber Company Artifacts
 



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