close menu
This website uses cookies to store your accessibility preferences. No personal / identifying information is stored. More info.

Port Colden

port_colden_manorThe Village of Port Colden is located on the eastern edge of the Township, along the Morris Canal. Portport_colden_sign2 Colden, founded when the Morris Canal was completed in 1831, was named after Cadwallader D. Colden, President of the Morris Canal Company. The early development of this village is credited to William Dusenberry, who was convinced that an important town would occupy this location. The surrounding farmers referred to his investments in this community as "Dusenberry's Folly". It did, however, experience a short-lived heyday during the operation of the Morris Canal through the town. Inclined Plane Number 6 West is still evident outside the community.
In the 1840s, a finishing school for ladies called St. Matthew's Hall was built in the village. This building was converted into a hotel and a stagecoach stop in 1850, called the Colden House. It fell into disrepute as a hangout for ruffians from the Morris Canal, and its use as a hotel was abandoned in 1895. The structure currently houses offices.
In 1874, the village contained a hotel operated by M. Deremeer, several stores and smithies, a public school, a boat yard for repair of the canal boats, the John Opdyke distillery, and about thirty-five residences. The village also contained Lock Number 6 on the Morris Canal, a large canal basin, and was bounded on the south by the lines of the Morris and Essex Division Railroad. A large brick making factory was situated just west of the village.
MorrisCanalBoatBasinDuring the late 19th century, the former Easton-Washington Traction Company built and operated a trolley line along Route 24 from Phillipsburg, and an attempt was made to lure passengers to the trolley by offering free movies at Silver Spring Park in Port Colden. However, with the closing of the Canal, the village lost its importance. In 1918, this small community did not have any industry, but its inhabitants produced agricultural products including grains, potatoes, vegetables and fruits. Port Colden was described in 1937 as "a ghost town, its few houses and old yellow hotel are a faint echo of the days when the community was a port on the now abandoned Morris Canal".

Since July 1998, Port Colden has been listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.