Chatham Recreation: Recreation Activities, including Parks, Museums, National Wildlife Refuges, Private Clubs, Places of Worship in Chatham and surrounding towns, Theatre, Arts, and so much more. This thorough review of the recreation that Chatham and surrounding towns has to offer is from the amazing website, Chathamborough.org!
COUNTY PARK SYSTEM
The Morris County Park System adds to the township’s open recreation areas. These county lands are maintained by the Morris County Parks Commission. Picnic tables and ball fields in the county parks may be reserved on weekdays (no weekend reservations are accepted) on a first come, first served basis. Reservations can be obtained by calling park police headquarters and requesting the reservation clerk. The telephone number is 326-7631. A nominal fee is charged.
County Parks in Chatham Township include:
Passaic River Park
This park runs for about a mile along the Passaic River. There is an access road off River Road. Facilities include a picnic area with grills and a softball field.
Loantaka Brook Reservation
A linear park with a total of 566 acres located through portions of Harding, Morris and Chatham Township. Included on this reservation is:
Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center
Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center at 247 Southern Boulevard. This is a 40 acre area of county land adjacent to the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. The center’s personnel conduct classes, movies and other programs. A one-mile self-guided nature trail begins and ends at the education center. The center is open daily, but closed during July and August. Call 635-6629.
THE GREAT SWAMP NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
The real centerpiece of the township is a place where time nearly stands still, the Great Swamp. The end of the last ice age, more than 10,000 years ago, saw the beginnings of the swamp. As the Wisconsin Glacier melted, water accumulated in a basin rimmed by the Watchung Mountains and Mt. Kemble. This body of water known as glacial Lake Passaic was ten miles wide, 30 miles long and 200 feet deep. As the lake eventually began to drain away, pockets of soggy woodland were left. The largest of these is the 8,000 acres of marshy meadow and woodland called the Great Swamp. It is a haven for more than 200 species of birds and 30 different animals. This unique preserved area combines marshes, ponds, meadows, wetlands and woodlands. Some 300,000 visitors explore the swamp and its trails each year.
A determined community effort was all that saved those trails from becoming noisy airport runways. In 1959 the New York Port Authority proposed a metropolitan jetport for the Great Swamp. Homeowners and conservationists joined together in a race to preserve as many acres as possible for a wildlife refuge. Volunteers worked to make the public aware of the swamp’s importance and to raise money to purchase land designated for the bulldozer.
Today the refuge has grown to almost 6,800 acres, two-thirds a wilderness area, which, by Act of Congress, must be kept “forever wild” and one-third a Wildlife Management Area, where the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works to develop wildlife habitat.
MORRISTOWN NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARKS
For a time during the American Revolution, the U.S. military capital was in Morristown. It was the site of Washington’s military headquarters and the main encampment of the Continental Army in the winters of 1777 and 1779-80. Here Washington reorganized his weary forces to withstand the strong British Army at New York. The park has three units.
Washington’s Headquarters and Historical Museum and Library
The headquarters, 230 Morris Street, was built by Colonel Jacob Ford, Jr., between 1772 and 1774. During the winter of 1779-80, it was the home of General and Mrs. Washington. It has a collection of material related to Washington and his army, dioramas and a Stuart portrait of Washington.
Reached from Washington Street, this was probably built at Washington’s orders in 1777.
Three miles southwest of Morristown, this area contains most of the campsites occupied by the Continental Army in 1779-80. An army hospital and huts of officers and soldiers have been reconstructed. The area is a wildlife sanctuary with flowers and trails. The Tempe Wick House is a restored 18th century farmhouse used as quarters by Major General Arthur St. Clair in 1779-80. A visitor’s center nearby can answer questions and supply helpful information.
A working farm where turn-of-the-century life is demonstrated. Includes walking tours, displays and films. Open Wednesday through Sunday and holidays, April to October. Telephone number is 326-7645.
Patriots’ Path. A network of hiking trails, bikeways and green open space. For information, call 326-7600.
PLACES OF WORSHIP
The following churches are located in the Chathams:
Chatham Township Presbyterian Church 240 Southern Boulevard 635-2340
Chatham United Methodist Church
460 Main Street 635-7740
Chinese Community Church of Northern Jersey 272 Green Village Road, G.V. 377-8211
Church of Christ 382 Fairmount Avenue 635-6810
Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church 234 Southern Boulevard 377-0070
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church 300 Shunpike Road 635-5889
Gospel Hall 310 Main Street 635-2054
Green Village Methodist Church Green Village Road, G.V. 377-1459
Long Hill Chapel, Christian & Missionary Alliance 525 Shunpike Road 377-2255
Ogden Memorial Presbyterian Church Main Street and Elmwood Avenue 635-5567
St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church 85 Washington Avenue 635-0625
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 200 Main Street 635-8085
Society of Friends 158 Southern Boulevard 635-2161
Stanley Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) Fairmount Avenue and Oliver Street 635-7723
Madison Baptist Church (Southern) 203 Green Avenue 377-2121
Seventh Day Adventist Church Tempe Wick Road 539-2250
Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints 140 White Oak Ridge Road 379-9736
First Church of Christ, Scientist 292 Springfield Avenue (908) 273-1820
Jewish Community Center 67 Kent Place Blvd. (908) 273-8130
Temple Sinai of Summit 208 Summit Avenue (908) 273-4921
Unitarian Church 4 Waldron Avenue (908) 273-3245
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church 250 Gallows Hill Road (908) 233-8533
Attractions & Activities
Two special occasions in Chatham are Fishawack Day, held biennially in June, and the Fourth of July celebration, Fishawack Festival, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, includes sidewalk art shows, handicrafts, activities and booths by clubs and organizations, refreshments, concerts and wares on sale by Chatham merchants. The community Fourth of July activities, run by the Chatham Volunteer Fire Department, are highlighted by a parade in the morning and a fireworks display in the evening.
The Chatham Community Players, North Passaic Avenue, hosts amateur actors with a professional director. Several productions are scheduled during the year.
The Chatham Concert Association, launched in 1976, sponsors a concert series of internationally-known musical talent. Concerts are held at the high school. Information may be obtained by writing to Box 124, Chatham, NJ 07928.
ACTIVITIES IN NEARBY COMMUNITIES
Throughout the year many cultural events, including concerts, plays, lectures and museum exhibits are available in Chatham and neighboring towns. Among them are:
The Paper Mill Playhouse, an old paper mill on Brookside Drive in Millburn has been converted to a modern theater featuring popular plays and musicals with Broadway stars. In fall and spring, children’s productions are given on Saturday mornings and afternoons. It is the home of the New Jersey Ballet. The phone is 376- 4343.
The New Jersey Shakespeare Festival at Drew University in Madison offers a series of plays with professional actors in the summer. The phone is 377-4487.
There are movie theaters located in Madison and Chatham Township. Many others are located within a reasonable driving distance. Bowling, ice skating, roller skating and golf are also available in nearby towns.
Additional information about the many things to see and do in the can be obtained through libraries, newspapers and other reference sources. Morris
Noe Pond Club. 395 Southern Blvd. Swimming, tennis, paddle.
Fairmount Country Club, 400 Southern Blvd. Golf, swimming, tennis.
Chatham Fish and Game 41 Fairmount Ave. Swimming, tennis, paddle, bowling and rifle range, social events. Minisink Club, Princeton Street. Swimming, tennis, paddle.
Copper Springs Beach & Tennis Club, New Vernon Road, Meyersville. Swimming, tennis.
YMCA, Keep Street, Madison. Supported by the United Way, membership fees and contributions, the YMCA provides instruction and supervision in a full variety of physical education, recreation and social programs. Some programs do not require membership. Scholarship memberships are available.
CHAPTER 9A CHATHAM BOROUGH
In Chatham Borough the board of recreation helps fund, sponsor and organize boys football, wrestling and baseball, girls and boys soccer and basketball, and girls softball. In addition, there is softball and volleyball for women and softball and basketball for men.
The Colonial Symphony, based in Madison, is a professional regional symphony that holds a winter concert series. The phone is 377-1310.
The Summit Symphony sponsors free concerts on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m.
County publishes a pamphlet entitled “Places to See-Things to Do In Morris County” which can be obtained from the Department of Industrial and Economic Development, Courthouse, Morristown, New Jersey 07960.
Traveling teams are available as well, in baseball for boys and in soccer and basketball for girls and boys. The board sells golf permits to Borough residents for the Millburn par three course.
Board of recreation funds are made available to senior citizen groups for trips and events of exceptional interest, to the Community Band to offset some of their expenses, and to MCARP (Morris County Adaptive Recreation Program) for assisting physically or otherwise handicapped persons.
A brochure describing in detail the recreational activities offered by the Borough is available at the municipal building and the Library of the Chathams.
For seven weeks during the summer the board of recreation sponsors activities for school-age children at Memorial Park and Garden Park. A brochure describ-ing the programs is available in May.
Some of the activities offered are arts and crafts, basketball, kickball, baseball, knock hockey, tennis clinics and lessons, and swimming classes. Chatham Borough provides free tennis and swimming instruction to its youngsters.
The municipal swimming pool at Memorial Park is open at designated times from Memorial Day until the close of school. After that it is open daily until the end of Labor Day weekend. Permits can be obtained at the pool or at the municipal building.
Located behind the Library of the Chathams, Memorial Park has an all-purpose field with two baseball diamonds, a basketball practice area, general playground equipment, and swimming and wading pools with bathhouse facilities and lavatories.
Garden Park adjoins the Chatham Middle School. The park contains six tennis courts, for the use of which the town issues permits, a tennis practice area, two ball walls, shuffleboard, general playground equipment, and an all-purpose court.
The Brookside Grove area, located behind Milton Avenue School, includes an artificial spring-fed pond which is the site of the fire department’s annual fishing derby for school children.