The iron

was mined in Hibernia and in order

to make the smelting process more

efficient the Scott forge would first

crush the ore and then use large

magnets to separate the valuable

iron ore from the dross. By the

mid 1800’s the forge and rolling

mill were producing approximately

450 tons of hoop and rod iron a

year. Ultimately the high price of

charcoal (caused by the denuding

of the local forests), the use of anthracite

coal, the introduction of

blast furnaces, as well as the discovery

of the high concentration of

iron in the Mesabi Range in Minnesota

made the operation unprofitable.

Continuing south on

Powerville Road past DeCamp

Drive is the DeCamp house. William Scott DeCamp was instrumental

in the development in 1870 of five

mine shafts on the Mine Ridge. Ore

was shipped to the Musconetcong Iron

Works at Stanhope via the Morris Canal.

The mines closed three years

later, briefly reopened six years thereafter

with the mining of 500 tons of ore.

By 1850 a larger rolling mill operated

at the dam along with a saw mill, grist

mill, forge, and blacksmith’s shop.

According to the 1880 US Bureau of

Census Reports of the Water Power of

the United States the dam had a fall of

10 feet and produced some 125 horsepower.

Close by there were company

houses, a school and a brewery. With

the demise of the iron industry in New

Jersey, Powerville continued to

evolve. Across the river from the old

DeCamp house in the late 19th Century

a paper mill was constructed and

a water power raceway cut around

from above the dam under the paper

mill and back into the river just below

North Main Street. While the paper

mill has been replaced by other businesses,

parts of the Power Raceway

are still visible. The iron industry continues

to exist in Powerville as there is

one in the old “Shop” of the paper

mill.

Following the devastating

Passaic River flood of 1903 there were

proposals to put dams in several places

along the Passaic River and its

tributaries. One of those places

was at Powerville. The proposed

dam was to be 28 feet high by 470

feet long and it would have created

a

reservoir 4.6 square miles that

would have submerged our valley.

According to the Passaic Flood of

1903 the flooded valley would

“improve the entire valley and be

of advantage to many interests.”

Fortunately, Powerville did not

fulfill the requirements and was

eliminated from consideration.

Powerville is an interesting

part of Boonton Township’s

history. Take some time to stop at

Griffith Park and look around.

You will be surprised how much

history is still evident.

We would like to acknowledge the sources

of information in this article including Munsell’s

History of Morris County, New Jersey

1739-1882; Lyons Historical Discourses on

Boonton; The Boonton Times Bulletin; The

Passaic Flood of 1903 by Marshall Ora

Leighton