It is believed that Hackettstown was named after Samuel Hackett, an early settler and large landowner. Hackett is said to have "contributed liberally to the liquid refreshments on the christening of a new hotel, in order to secure the name which, before this, had been Helms' Mills or Musconetcong".
Hackettstown was named #72 of the top 100 towns in the United States to Live and Work In by Money Magazine in 2005; it has not been included since.
William Johnson (1817 - 1891) was a prime mover in getting the town incorporated in 1853. He and his brother George (1815 - 1889) were successful merchants in the town beginning in 1839 when they began operating the W.L. & G.W Johnson dry good store. The two men were very active in community affairs. George was a member of First Presbyterian Church, a director of the Hackettstown National Bank, and a member of the Hackettstown Water Board. Both men were involved in the establishment of the Union Cemetery.
In 1886, Tillie Smith, an 18-year-old kitchen worker from a poverty-stricken family, was raped, murdered and left lying in an open field on the campus of the Centenary Collegiate Institute, where she worked. A janitor at the school named James Titus was tried and convicted of the rape and murder, based on circumstantial evidence and public opinion shaped by yellow journalism. Titus was sentenced to hang, but he signed a confession and served 19 years of hard labor and lived from 1904 to 1952 in Hackettstown, among many of the same residents who championed his conviction.
In 1925, a train wreck in the town killed about 50 people and injured about 50 others en route to Hoboken, New Jersey from Chicago. The derailment involved a Lackawanna Railroad train and occurred on Rockport Road in the early morning at approximately 3:30AM. The event made national headlines and stands as the deadliest event in Warren County history.
In 1977, a mass shooting occurred in the town when a 20-year-old former U.S. Marine named Emil Pierre Benoist, a graduate of Hackettstown High School, shot and killed six people and took random shots at passing cars over the course of about four hours before turning his sniper rifle on himself.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town had a total area of 3.712 square miles (9.613 km2), including 3.607 square miles (9.341 km2) of land and 0.105 square miles (0.272 km2) of water (2.83%). The town is located in a valley along the banks of the Musconetcong River.
There were 3,575 households out of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.9% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the town, the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 14.5% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 25.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.3 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 91.4 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $62,215 (with a margin of error of +/- $6,907) and the median family income was $82,216 (+/- $10,611). Males had a median income of $51,489 (+/- $5,850) versus $41,822 (+/- $5,248) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $29,433 (+/- $2,122). About 4.4% of families and 7.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.
There were 4,134 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.0% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.10.
In the town, the population was spread out with 22.7% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 33.9% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $51,955, and the median income for a family was $64,383. Males had a median income of $44,420 versus $31,110 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,742. About 2.3% of families and 4.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.9% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.
Skyland Roller Girls, founded in 2008, bouted out of Excel Roller Skating Center in town until it closed in late 2011.
It is now an Indoor Sports and Events facility named Hackettstown Indoor Sports Academy, located at 13 Route 57 - Hackettstown NJ.
The Town of Hackettstown operates under a mayor-council form of government. It was created by a special charter adopted by the New Jersey Legislature and approved by the voters in 1970, under which the town is governed by a strong mayor who serves a three-year term of office and six councilpersons who are elected at large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with two seats up for election each year. The mayor is the town's chief executive officer, overseeing its day-to-day operation and presenting an annual budget. The council is the town's legislative body. The mayor attends town council meetings, but may only vote in the event of a tie. The mayor may veto ordinances passed by the council, which can be overridden with the votes of four council members.
As of 2018[update], the mayor of Hackettstown is Republican Maria DiGiovanni, whose term of office ends December 31, 2020. Members of the Hackettstown Town Council are Gerald DiMaio Jr. (Acting Mayor, when necessary; R, 2019), Matthew Engelau (Alternate Acting Mayor, when necessary; R, 2019), Leonard Kunz (R, 2020), James Lambo (R, 2018; elected to serve an unexpired term), Scott Sheldon (R, 2018) and Eric Tynan (R, 2020).
James Lambo was selected from a list of three candidates nominated by the Republican municipal committee to fill the seat expiring in December 2018 that became vacant following the resignation of William Conforti in August 2016 after he announced that he was moving out of the municipality. Lambo served on an interim basis until the November 2016 general election, when he was elected to serve the balance of the term of office.
Federal, state and county representation
Hackettstown is located in the 5th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 23rd state legislative district.
Warren County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders whose three members are chosen at-large on a staggered basis in partisan elections with one seat coming up for election each year as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects one of its members to serve as Freeholder Director and other as Deputy Director. As of 2014[update], Warren County's Freeholders are
Freeholder Director Edward J. Smith (R, Asbury / Franklin Township, 2015),
Freeholder Deputy Director Richard D. Gardner (R, Asbury / Franklin Township, 2014) and
Freeholder Jason Sarnoski (R, Lopatcong Township, 2016). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are
County Clerk Patricia J. Kolb (Blairstown Township),
Sheriff David Gallant (Blairstown Township) and
Surrogate Kevin O'Neill (Hackettstown). The County Administrator, Steve Marvin, is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operation of the county and its departments.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 5,410 registered voters in Hackettstown, of which 1,169 (21.6% vs. 21.5% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 1,764 (32.6% vs. 35.3%) were registered as Republicans and 2,468 (45.6% vs. 43.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 9 voters registered to other parties. Among the town's 2010 Census population, 55.6% (vs. 62.3% in Warren County) were registered to vote, including 69.8% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 81.5% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 1,973 votes (52.2% vs. 56.0% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 1,661 votes (44.0% vs. 40.8%) and other candidates with 77 votes (2.0% vs. 1.7%), among the 3,777 ballots cast by the town's 5,516 registered voters, for a turnout of 68.5% (vs. 66.7% in Warren County). In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 2,090 votes (52.7% vs. 55.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 1,724 votes (43.4% vs. 41.4%) and other candidates with 64 votes (1.6% vs. 1.6%), among the 3,969 ballots cast by the town's 5,437 registered voters, for a turnout of 73.0% (vs. 73.4% in Warren County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 2,368 votes (60.3% vs. 61.0% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 1,492 votes (38.0% vs. 37.2%) and other candidates with 48 votes (1.2% vs. 1.3%), among the 3,928 ballots cast by the town's 5,241 registered voters, for a turnout of 74.9% (vs. 76.3% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 72.5% of the vote (1,543 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 25.6% (545 votes), and other candidates with 1.9% (41 votes), among the 2,166 ballots cast by the town's 5,608 registered voters (37 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 38.6%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 1,547 votes (61.1% vs. 61.3% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 662 votes (26.1% vs. 25.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 250 votes (9.9% vs. 9.8%) and other candidates with 30 votes (1.2% vs. 1.5%), among the 2,533 ballots cast by the town's 5,321 registered voters, yielding a 47.6% turnout (vs. 49.6% in the county).
WXPJ, 91.9 on the FM dial - Centenary University radio.
WRNJ, known as "Oldies 1510 WRNJ" at 1510 on the AM dial, is licensed to Hackettstown. It is also simulcast on FM translators on FM 92.7 and FM 104.7.
The main office for The Warren Reporter, a free weekly newspaper delivered to 42,000 households in Warren County, is on East Moore Street.
View east along US 46 in Hackettstown
Roads and highways
As of May 2010[update], the town had a total of 34.47 miles (55.47 km) of roadways, of which 28.83 miles (46.40 km) were maintained by the municipality, 2.96 miles (4.76 km) by Warren County and 2.68 miles (4.31 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Hackettstown Airport, a small general aviation airport with the official database designation of (FAALID: N05) is located in adjoining Mansfield Township, only a few hundred yards from the municipal border with Hackettstown proper.
^ abHackettstown's Governing Body, Town of Hackettstown. Accessed February 2, 2018. Note that, as of date accessed, mayor and councilmembers Kunz and Tynan are incorrectly listed with term-end years of 2023.
^Loigu, Andy. "Sports Chatter: New Jersey Express call Centenary home this winter", Warren Reporter, February 16, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2013. "The New Jersey Express has been in the circuit that brought the red, white and blue ball and three-point shot into the sport 45 years ago, since 2005, but is in its first season of calling the Reeves Gymnasium and Hackettstown its home."
^Novak, Steve. "Another Warren County town dealing with elected officials' resignations", The Express-Times, October 4, 2016. Accessed February 2, 2018. "Councilman William Conforti resigned from the municipal government Aug. 5 because he was moving out of town.... Council appointed James Lambo to fill the slot. His name is to be put on November ballot to fill the remainder of the term, which expires at the end of 2018, town Clerk/Administrator William Kuster said."
^Biography, Congressman Josh Gottheimer. Accessed January 3, 2019. "Josh now lives in Wyckoff, New Jersey with Marla, his wife who was a federal prosecutor, and their two young children, Ellie and Ben."
^F.A.Q., Ridge and Valley Charter School. Accessed July 17, 2017. "Enrollment is open, on a space available basis, to all K-8 students residing in N.J. with priority given to students residing in the districts of Blairstown, Hardwick, Knowlton, Frelinghuysen, and North Warren Regional School."
^History, Centenary University. Accessed July 6, 2012. "Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University has evolved from a coeducational preparatory school into a modern, independent, four-year baccalaureate and master-level institution of higher learning."
^Warren County Transportation (WCT) Demand Response, Warren County, New Jersey. Accessed March 2, 2015. "The Hackettstown/Washington Shuttle runs Monday - Friday starting at 8:00 a.m. and the last run begins at 4:30 p.m. Shuttles operate on a schedule with stops every 60-minutes at key locations along the route."
^Vachon, Duane. "John D. Bulkeley Vice Admiral USN – A Gitmo Hero, Hawaii Reporter, March 21, 2014. accessed January 17, 2019. "John Duncan Bulkeley was born on August 19, 1911 at New York City. He grew up on a farm in Hackettstown, New Jersey and graduated from Hackettstown High School."
^MacFarland, James M. "No Headline", The New York Times, October 16, 1983. Accessed July 6, 2012. "If memory serves me correctly, Miss Cooper then lived in Hackettstown, where her parents lived. She confounded the Atlantic City pageant officials by not returning for the after-contest festivities. Later, she attended Centenary College in Hackettstown."
^"Katrina Courter, Taylor Whitman", The New York Times, September 10, 2006. Accessed September 20, 2007. "Katrina Janis Courter, a daughter of Carmen and former Representative Jim Courter of Hackettstown, N.J., and Taylor Prentice Whitman, the son of former Gov. Christie Todd Whitman and John Russell Whitman of Oldwick, N.J., were married yesterday at Watch Hill Chapel in Rhode Island."
^Morrow, Geoff. "Commentary: Cole Kimball provides the Harrisburg Senators serious attitude", The Patriot-News, August 15, 2010. Accessed May 30, 2013. "Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Kimball lived in the New York City borough until he was 7. Then his family, including two sisters and a brother, moved to Hackettstown, N.J.... After college stints at St. John's University and Division III Centenary College, the latter just down the street from his Hackettstown home, Kimball was selected in the 12th round by the Washington Nationals in the 2006 amateur draft."
^Michael B. Lavery, Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen, P.C. Accessed September 10, 2017. "Mr. Lavery served as the Mayor of Hackettstown for two terms from 2005-2011."