Rockaway Borough — A Brief History
The Borough of Rockaway was incorporated on July 19, 1894.
The first settlers arrived around 1730 and by 1760 Rockaway Village had already become a center of trade, manufacture and religion. Three significant by-roads led to newly opened iron mines located nearby. General merchandise stores were located along Newark Street (now known as West Main Street). Business and industrial companies included a gristmill, saw mill, and a forge built on the Rockaway River. By the time of the Revolutionary War, there were around fifty people who resided in Rockaway Village. Most identified as Rockawayites lived in the surrounding area. After the British enactment of the Mercantile Acts, Rockaway-a focal point of iron manufacture-became a stronghold for Revolutionary activity.
Driving through Rockaway, New Jersey today, you can feel a strong sense of history, but there are now only hints of the place that Rockaway once was. Early in the 1900's, there were two major railroads, a trolley line, an iron foundry, an inclined plane and two basins of the Morris Canal, a bicycle factory, a three story department store selling everything from bonnets to bedsteads, and three hotels, including one that was a favorite of Annie Oakley.
On the occasion of the Borough's centennial in 1994, a book was published that illustrates how the town grew with the use of before and after photographs and three old maps. The book, Rockaway Borough- a History is still available by contacting the Rockaway Borough Historical Committee.