Pompton Lakes

New Jersey

Quick Facts

Place Type


Administrative Entity

Passaic County

Time Zone



Jan. 1, 1682


213.0 meters


8.186284 square kilometers

FIPS 55-3 Code




US National Archive Codes


Coordinates Latitude: 41.0053753 Longitude: -74.2907041

Demographics & Economic Data

Median Age
Number Of Companies
Percent High School Grad Or Higher
Total Housing Units
Median Household Income
Foreign Born Population
Percent Below Poverty Level





Pompton Lakes is a borough in Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 11,097, reflecting an increase of 457 (+4.3%) from the 10,640 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 101 (+1.0%) from the 10,539 counted in the 1990 Census.Pompton Lakes was formed as a borough on February 26, 1895, from portions of Pompton Township, based on the results of a referendum held three days earlier. Pompton Lakes was the first borough to be formed in Passaic County, as part of the "boroughitis" that had struck the state at the time. The newly formed borough did not acquire territory from more than one township, which would have entitled Pompton Lakes to a seat on the Board of chosen freeholders. The borough was named for the Pompton people, a sub-tribe of Native Americans who lived in the area.An outer-ring suburb of New York City, Pompton Lakes is located approximately 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Midtown Manhattan. From the higher mountains in and around the borough one can see the New York skyline. Three rivers, the Ramapo, Pequannock and Wanaque, run through the borough, which historically provided much of the energy for various industries in the borough. In the mid-20th Century, Pompton Lakes was a local shopping destination, but lost its status as shopping malls opened in the area in the 1970s and 1980s.


Dutch settlers began to settle in the area that is now Pompton Lakes in the 1680s, purchasing farmland from the local Lenape Native Americans.The presence of iron ore and the availability of hydropower were initial catalysts for the early development of Pompton Lakes. An ironworks was constructed on the Pompton River in the early 1700s, which produced munitions for the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
Pompton Lakes was situated along the main route north during the Revolutionary War, and as such the Continental Army passed through often. Casparus Schuyler, a member of the prominent Schuyler family, owned a tavern in the town that became known as the Yellow Tavern or the Yellow Cottage, and various army encampments in the area supplied much of the clientele.General George Washington and his army stayed in the Pompton area twice during the course of the war, and he visited the Yellow Tavern both times. He first visited on July 11, 1777, when he met with local ironmaster Robert Erskine at the tavern. In December 1780, François-Jean de Chastellux, a major general in the French expeditionary forces led by General Rochambeau, visited the Yellow Tavern on his way from Philadelphia to New England and remarked on his experience there in an account published later. Washington returned to the Yellow Tavern to on March 30, 1782, as he traveled north with his wife, Martha. During this time, the tavern was serving as the winter headquarters of Col. Phillip Van Cortlandt. The tavern was torn down around 1900 to allow for the widening of the road, and the site is noted by a historical marker.
During the Civil War, knives, saws, nails and railway carriage springs were manufactured at the Pompton Ironworks. The Morris Canal, completed in the 1832, was connected to the town via the Pompton Feeder and provided an ample supply of coal for blast furnaces. Despite this, Pompton Lakes remained predominantly rural through the 19th century and various resorts around Pompton Lake served vacationing New Yorkers. The New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad opened a local station in the late 1870s, acting as a catalyst to further development in the town. The borough of Pompton Lakes was officially incorporated on February 26, 1895.The population of the borough increased rapidly during the early 1900s, due to the growth of local employers such as the German Artistic Weaving Company and the Smith Powder Works. The latter was purchased in 1905 by E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company and formed the basis of the DuPont Pompton Lakes Works, which operated in the borough until 1994.In 1923, Dr. Joseph "Doc" Bier opened a "health farm" in Pompton Lakes, where boxers such as Pancho Villa and Jimmy McLarnin trained. In 1935, Joe Louis began training at the camp, and continued to use the camp until his retirement in 1949. He prepared for famed bouts with Billy Conn and Max Schmeling there, and often invited local children to watch him practice. During his time in the borough he held boxing exhibitions at the camp to raise $2,600 for the purchase of an ambulance and an additional $2,000 to help build a police communications tower. The camp closed in the 1950s.
In 1938, the newly-formed Reaction Motors successfully designed and perfected the world's first regenerative cooling rocket at a laboratory in a building in downtown Pompton Lakes. The technology they invented would, for the first time, make liquid-fueled rockets capable of burning for long enough periods to be practical. All future liquid-fueled rockets would build off this technology. They tested this rocket at Lake Inez in the borough, not far from the laboratory they built it in.Decades-old industrial pollution and its connection to cancer and other illness among residents in part of the borough was the subject of a week-long front-page investigative series in The Record newspaper in February 2018. The four-part series documented ground and water pollution that has impacted hundreds of homes surrounding a DuPont munitions plant that had operated for decades in the area, and the impact on the health of nearby residents exposed to the pollutants.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 3.191 square miles (8.267 km2), including 2.913 square miles (7.545 km2) of land and 0.278 square miles (0.721 km2) of water (8.73%).The borough borders the municipalities of Bloomingdale, Wanaque and Wayne in Passaic County; Oakland in Bergen County; and Riverdale and Pequannock in Morris County.Much of the borough sits in a valley formed by the confluence of the three rivers, which leads to common flooding events. A few taller hills ring the valley, including Federal Hill, which is notable for the Pompton Mutiny, a revolt of Continental Army troops that occurred there on January 20, 1781, under the command of Colonel Israel Shreve.


Census 2010

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 11,097 people, 4,190 households, and 2,933.000 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,809.1 per square mile (1,470.7/km2). There were 4,341 housing units at an average density of 1,490.1 per square mile (575.3/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 87.93% (9,758) White, 1.41% (157) Black or African American, 0.11% (12) Native American, 5.39% (598) Asian, 0.02% (2) Pacific Islander, 3.37% (374) from other races, and 1.77% (196) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.89% (1,209) of the population.There were 4,190 households out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.0% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.0% were non-families. 24.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.20.In the borough, the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 29.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.2 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 90.9 males.The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $88,352 (with a margin of error of +/- $7,890) and the median family income was $97,074 (+/- $10,183). Males had a median income of $61,426 (+/- $7,225) versus $50,203 (+/- $4,456) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $35,872 (+/- $3,011). About 2.0% of families and 2.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.7% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.Same-sex couples headed 29 households in 2010, almost double the 15 counted in 2000.

Census 2000

As of the 2000 United States Census there were 10,640 people, 3,949 households, and 2,803 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,585.7 people per square mile (1,383.2/km2). There were 4,024 housing units at an average density of 1,356.1 per square mile (523.1/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 93.01% White, 1.21% African American, 0.19% Native American, 3.03% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.57% from other races, and 0.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.74% of the population.There were 3,949 households out of which 33.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.8% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. 23.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.24.In the borough the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 33.0% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.The median income for a household in the borough was $65,648, and the median income for a family was $74,701. Males had a median income of $46,776 versus $38,221 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $26,802. About 1.6% of families and 3.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.0% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.

Parks and recreation

The Ramapo Mountain State Forest lies partly within the northernmost reach of Pompton Lakes, and the southern trailhead of the park's Cannonball Trail lies within the borough. There are also five municipal parks: Hershfield Park, Stiles Park, Gallo-Pacifico Park, Lakeside Park, and John Murrin Park.
The Joe Louis Memorial features a monument dedicated to the boxer who lived and trained in the borough for a time.Pompton Lakes and Riverdale share their youth sports teams. The Pompton Lakes-Riverdale Little League (PLRLL) runs youth tee-ball, baseball and softball leagues, while the Pompton Lakes-Riverdale Youth Organization (PLRYO) runs football, lacrosse and cheerleading, and the Pompton Lakes-Riverdale Soccer Association (PLRSA) runs soccer teams. The Pompton Lakes Recreation Department also runs an annual summer day camp at Hershfield Park, as well as special programs like art classes and karate lessons.


Local government

Pompton Lakes is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Pompton Lakes, the most common system used in the state, is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.As of 2018, the Mayor of Pompton Lakes is Republican Michael A. Serra, whose term of office ends December 31, 2019. Members of the Borough Council are Council President Terri R. Reicher (R, 2018), William D. Baig (R, 2019), Erik I. DeLine (R, 2018), Francis M. "Frank" Jaconetta (R, 2020), Jennifer Polidori (R, 2019; appointed to serve an unexpired term of office) and Ekamon "Ek" Venin (R, 2020).In July 2018, Jennifer Polidori was selected from a list of three candidates nominated by the Republican municipal committee to fill the seat expiring in December 2019 that had been held by Christian Baranco until he resigned from office earlier that month as he was moving out of the borough; Polidori will serve on an interim basis until the November 2018 general election, when voters will select a candidate to serve the balance of the term.

Federal, state and county representation

Pompton Lakes is located in the 11th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 40th state legislative district. Prior to the 2011 reapportionment following the 2010 Census, Pompton Lakes had been in the 26th state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Pompton Lakes had been part of the 8th Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections.For the 116th United States Congress, New Jersey's Eleventh Congressional District is represented by Mikie Sherrill (D, Montclair). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, term ends 2025).For the 2018–2019 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 40th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Kristin Corrado (R, Totowa) and in the General Assembly by Kevin J. Rooney (R, Wyckoff) and Christopher DePhillips (R, Wyckoff). The Governor of New Jersey is Phil Murphy (D, Middletown Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Sheila Oliver (D, East Orange).Passaic County is governed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, who are elected at-large to staggered three-year terms office on a partisan basis, with two or three seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election in a three-year cycle. At a reorganization meeting held in January, the board selects a Director and Deputy Director from among its members to serve for a one-year term. As of 2017, Passaic County's Freeholders are
Director Cassandra "Sandi" Lazzara (D, 2018; Woodland Park),
Deputy Director Bruce James (D, 2017; Clifton),
Assad R. Akhter (D, 2018 - appointed to serve an unexpired term; Paterson),
John W. Bartlett (D, 2018; Wayne),
Theodore O. Best Jr. (D, 2017; Paterson),
Terry Duffy (D, 2019; West Milford), and
Pasquale "Pat" Lepore (D, 2019; Woodland Park). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are
County Clerk Kristin M. Corrado (R, 2019; Totowa),Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik (D, 2019; Little Falls) and
Surrogate Bernice Toledo (D, 2021; Prospect Park).

Highlands protection

In 2004, the New Jersey Legislature passed the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act, which regulates the New Jersey Highlands region. Pompton Lakes was included in the highlands preservation area and is subject to the rules of the act and the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, a division of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. None of the territory in the protected region is classified as being in the highlands preservation area, and so is not subject to the additional rules that would entail.


As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 7,357 registered voters in Pompton Lakes, of which 1,726 (23.5% vs. 31.0% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 2,006 (27.3% vs. 18.7%) were registered as Republicans and 3,623 (49.2% vs. 50.3%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 2 voters registered to other parties. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 66.3% (vs. 53.2% in Passaic County) were registered to vote, including 85.2% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 70.8% countywide).In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 49.6% of the vote (2,418 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 49.1% (2,396 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (63 votes), among the 4,923 ballots cast by the borough's 7,536 registered voters (46 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 65.3%. In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 2,803 votes (50.6% vs. 37.7% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 2,567 votes (46.3% vs. 58.8%) and other candidates with 53 votes (1.0% vs. 0.8%), among the 5,541 ballots cast by the borough's 7,587 registered voters, for a turnout of 73.0% (vs. 70.4% in Passaic County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 2,847 votes (53.9% vs. 42.7% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 2,330 votes (44.1% vs. 53.9%) and other candidates with 45 votes (0.9% vs. 0.7%), among the 5,283 ballots cast by the borough's 7,217 registered voters, for a turnout of 73.2% (vs. 69.3% in the whole county).In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 65.9% of the vote (1,968 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 33.0% (985 votes), and other candidates with 1.1% (34 votes), among the 3,030 ballots cast by the borough's 7,657 registered voters (43 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 39.6%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 1,848 votes (52.5% vs. 43.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 1,389 votes (39.4% vs. 50.8%), Independent Chris Daggett with 196 votes (5.6% vs. 3.8%) and other candidates with 45 votes (1.3% vs. 0.9%), among the 3,523 ballots cast by the borough's 7,298 registered voters, yielding a 48.3% turnout (vs. 42.7% in the county).


The Pompton Lakes School District serves students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's four schools had an enrollment of 1,666 students and 137.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.09:1. Schools in the district (with 2011-12 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Lenox School (grades K-5; 352 students), Lincoln School (K-5; 339), Lakeside Middle School (6-8; 388) and Pompton Lakes High School (9-12; 620). Students from Riverdale (in Morris County) attend the high school as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Riverdale School District.St. Mary's School is a Catholic school for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade students that operates under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson.


WGHT, a daytime-only station, was located in Pompton Lakes. Founded as WKER in 1964, the station ceased broadcasting on December 14, 2017 as ownership was transferred to the borough. The transmitting tower for William Paterson University's WPSC-FM is also located in the borough.The Pompton Lakes Council runs a town informational channel named PLTV77, airing on Optimum channel 77.

In popular culture

The 1997 comedy In & Out, starring Kevin Kline, Tom Selleck and Joan Cusack, was partially filmed at Pompton Lakes High School.Season 1, Episode 18 of Voyagers!, titled All Fall Down, is set in Joe Louis's training camp in Pompton Lakes. The setting is verbally mentioned.The 2014 independent short film Simpler Times, written and directed by Pompton Lakes native Steve Monarque and starring Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, was filmed in downtown Pompton Lakes.


Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 33.49 miles (53.90 km) of roadways, of which 26.51 miles (42.66 km) were maintained by the municipality, 6.52 miles (10.49 km) by Passaic County and 0.46 miles (0.74 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.Major roads through Pompton Lakes includes Interstate 287 and Paterson-Hamburg Turnpike.

Public transportation

NJ Transit's 193, 194 and 197 routes stop at various points in the borough, with service to and from Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. Local service through Passaic and Bergen counties is offered on the 748 line.In September 2012, as part of series of budget cuts, NJ Transit suspended service to Newark on the 75 line.

Notable people

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Pompton Lakes include:

Cat Bauer (born 1955), author of contemporary young adult novels.
Cecil B. DeMille (1881–1959), director, acknowledged as a founding father of cinema in the United States; the most commercially successful director in film history.
Larry Elgart (1922-2017), jazz bandleader who, with his brother Les, recorded "Bandstand Boogie", the theme to the long-running dance show American Bandstand.
Les Elgart (1917-1995), trumpet player and bandleader.
Charlie Getty (born 1952), played 10 seasons in the NFL, mainly for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Christine Terhune Herrick (1859-1944), author of housekeeping books; built a home in the borough she named The Outlook, where she lived for 13 years.
Gary Jennings (1928–1999), author of historical fiction, including Aztec.
Lovell Lawrence Jr., (1915–1971), rocket scientist.
Joe Louis (1914-1981), boxer and heavyweight champion; lived and trained in Pompton Lakes for part of his career.
Steve Monarque (born 1959), New York-based actor, director, writer and musician.
Twiggy Ramirez (born 1971), bassist and guitarist for Marilyn Manson.
Patty Shwartz (born 1961), United States Circuit Judge of United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Albert Payson Terhune (1872–1942), author of Lad, A Dog and other dog stories, which were adapted into a 1962 film.
Mary Virginia Terhune (1830–1922), author known by her pen name of Marion Harland; mother of local authors Christine Terhune Herrick and Albert Payson Terhune.
Ognjen Topic (born 1992), Muay Thai kickboxer.
Michael Weiner (1961-2013), Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 2009 until his death in 2013.
John Wolters (1945–1997), drummer for Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show.
James Hart Wyld (1912-1953), engineer and rocket scientist who helped to found Reaction Motors, developed a cooling system that is the basis for all modern liquid-propelled rocket motors.


Online Resources