Bethlehem Township

New Jersey

  • Population: 3,979 (2010 census)
  • Size: 20.83 square miles (53.95 km2)
  • Established: February 21, 1798
  • Distance from NYC: 59 miles
  • Distance from Philadelphia: 65 miles
  • Distance from Newark: 48 miles

Bethlehem Township, New Jersey real estate market

Market news - November 2017

Last month | Last year

*Source - Trendgraphix and Garden State MLS. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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Sections

Bethlehem Township Biography
Bethlehem Township History
Bethlehem Township Neighborhoods
Bethlehem Township Transportation
Bethlehem Township Schools
Bethlehem Township Recreation
Bethlehem Township Parks
Bethlehem Township Points of Interest

About Bethlehem Township

Driving through the winding country roads of Bethlehem Township, sweeping panoramas offer viewpoints not normally associated with New Jersey. Established family farms, leafy woodlands and rural views are punctuated by antique homes, red barns, old mills and newer neighborhoods of luxury homes. Remaining true to its agricultural heritage, the township has amassed many acres of preserved farmland and open space which support local farming and recreational activities as well as the pastoral vistas.

 

Measuring about 20 square miles with just under 4,000 residents, Bethlehem is bordered by Alexandria, Bloomsbury, Franklin, Kingwood, Holland and the Musconetcong River. Within the township are smaller communities such as Charlestown, Jugtown, Ludlow, Polktown, Swinesburg, Valley and West Portal.

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Bethlehem Township History

The township was named for the ancient city of Bethlehem--translated as “House of Bread,” which explains the loaf of bread seen in the township’s official seal. Records dating back to 1730 mention Bethlehem, which was officially incorporated in 1798 and named one of New Jersey’s first 104 municipalities. 

 

Local landmarks harkening back to Bethlehem’s earliest days include the Williver barn. Constructed in 1723 by one of the original families to settle in the township, it is the oldest structure in town, and the second-oldest in the county.

 

An early industry in Bethlehem was iron forges and mines in and around the township. Ruins from one of those iron forges are now deep beneath Spruce Run Reservoir, and a local forge was reportedly used as a shelter for local residents during Indian raids in 1755 and 1756. The Swayze Mine in Jugtown was a successful enterprise that produced magnetite ore and operated until 1889.

 

Although there was no warfare in Bethlehem Township, its residents contributed significantly to the American Revolution. Township residents helped gather Durham boats from the Delaware River, Lehigh River and other local waterways for the Continental Army to use when crossing the Delaware in December 1776 prior to the Battle of Trenton. Not only did these residents aid in the preparation for the battle, but they also participated in the Battle of Trenton where General Washington successfully defeated Hessian troops encamped there. This battle was pivotal in the Revolution, and Bethlehem Township residents played a key role in the execution of the battle plans. Washington’s success in Trenton was his first victory of the Revolution and allowed the war to continue.

 

At the turn of the past century, leisure time was enjoyed by Bethlehem Township residents when Bellewood Amusement Park in Pattenburg opened in 1904. Built by the Lehigh Valley Railroad, the park included a dance hall, beer garden, restaurants, picnic groves, a bowling alley and roller coaster. Known as one of the largest amusement parks in the East, thousands of visitors streamed into the park during its 12-year history, including Teddy Roosevelt. 

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Bethlehem Township Neighborhoods

Natural surroundings, open meadows and forested vistas provide a lush backdrop for many new listings available in today’s marketplace. Vintage farmhouses, custom homes, charming country properties, Cape Cod styles, expanded ranches, high-end luxury homes, equestrian properties, antique houses and newer center hall Colonials are typical listings. Expansive multi-acre lots are often available for buyers who are interested in creating a custom home. 

 

Among the more-recent luxury home neighborhoods in Bethlehem Township are Rolling Green Estates, Charlestown Hills, The Woods at Fox Farm and Hunterdon Ridge. 

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Bethlehem Township Transportation

Centrally located just about midway between two major East Coast cities, Bethlehem is approximately 60 miles from New York and Philadelphia. Interstate 78 can be accessed from the bordering towns of Union Township or Bloomsbury for travel to Manhattan or regional business campuses.

 

New Jersey Transit’s Raritan Valley Line provides rail service from High Bridge, about eight miles from Bethlehem. Trans Bridge Lines has bus service to New York City from nearby Union Township or Clinton.

 

Regional airports include Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pennsylvania, about 35 miles west of Bethlehem, and Newark Liberty International Airport, approximately 50 miles away.

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Bethlehem Township Schools

Public school students attend classes from kindergarten through grade eight in the Bethlehem Township School District. Lower grades go to the Thomas B. Conley School from pre-kindergarten to grade 5, moving on to the Ethel Hoppock Middle School for grades 6 to 8. The district offers a comprehensive educational program which includes fine and performing arts, inter-scholastic sports, a library, computers, enrichment, and basic skills instruction in both reading and math.

 

High school students from Bethlehem attend North Hunterdon High School in Annandale, which also serves students from Clinton Town, Clinton Township, Franklin Township, Lebanon Borough and Union Township. North Hunterdon High School was named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education in 2002, the highest award a school can achieve. Additionally, the high school has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post, Newsweek and New Jersey Monthly for their outstanding academic and athletic programs.  

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Bethlehem Township Recreation

Small-town life is embraced by Bethlehem Township’s Recreation Committee. A busy schedule of year-round events includes holiday celebrations like Pizza With Santa and the Christmas tree lighting hosted by the Girl Scouts, a fall bonfire led by the Boy Scouts, or Community Day in late summer featuring a DJ, outdoor movie and fireworks. Youth sports programs include baseball, basketball, flag football, lacrosse and soccer. The committee also directs Bethlehem Township Summer Recreation Programs (recent offerings included Algebra Prep, Bricks 4 Kidz, Dessert Cooking Camp, Zombies & Sunflowers, The Road to Code and Hello Summer) and a Winter Ski Club and Snowboard Program at Shawnee Mountain in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

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Bethlehem Township Parks

Heritage Park is a social and recreational hub for the township. In the summer of 2015, the park was expanded by a 19-acre tract of open land using state Green Acres funds. Located on Vliet Farm Road just off Route 173, the park has playing fields, a playground, picnic areas and a trail network for runners and walkers.

 

Charlestown Reservation at 40 Charlestown Road encompasses 200 acres and is held in trust as a conservation area. Its main habitat is a second generation oak-hickory forest. Along the trail are stone walls, providing evidence of the area’s agrarian past. Rocky hillsides and other secluded areas provide a haven for Hunterdon County’s more reclusive mammals, including gray foxes. This nature preserve also supports a wide range of woodland birds.

 

Jugtown Mountain Reserve at 408 Mine Road just beyond the Bethlehem Township building is a 153-acre preserve at the peak of the Musconetcong Mountain, one of the principal ridges of the Highlands region. According to local legend, moonshiners stowed jugs of illegal liquor in its rugged ledges during Prohibition.

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Bethlehem Township Points of Interest

David Reynold’s Tavern is a historic circa 1763 building at the corner of Charlestown and Norton Roads. Although it began as a resting spot for local iron miners, it later became known as the township’s first municipal building. The British Parliament’s Stamp Act of 1765 made farmers in Bethlehem so angry about paying additional taxes that they formed the Sons of Liberty group. Meetings were held at the tavern, making it the township’s first public meeting place. David Reynolds was especially upset about paying taxes to the British; he began printing counterfeit money on the third floor of his tavern, hiding the illegal machinery in the side of a fireplace’s chimney. The operation was discovered by British soldiers who captured and hanged him.

 

The Pattenburg House was established in 1872 as a tavern and inn, and its prime location near the train station made it ideal for visitors to Bellewood Amusement Park in the early 1900s. Operating continuously for well over 100 years, the Pattenburg House remains a favorite spot for lunch, dinner and live music on the weekends. One of the oldest taverns in Hunterdon County, it is located at 512 County Route 615.

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Recently sold homes in Bethlehem Township, New Jersey

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Bethlehem Township Listings

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