Sparta Township

New Jersey

  • Population: 19722
  • Size: 38.9 sq miles (100.75 km2)
  • Established: 1845
  • Distance from NYC: 46
  • Distance from Philadelphia: 107
  • Distance from Newark: 37

Sparta Township, NJ real estate market

Market news - November 2017

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

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Sections

Sparta Township Biography
History
Community Life
Education
Transportation
Real Estate
Sparta Parks
Local Attractions

About Sparta Township

Small-town life is alive and well in Sparta, New Jersey. This 39-square-mile township is located in the southernmost part of Sussex County. It borders Morris County’s Jefferson Township as well as the Sussex County towns of Andover, Byram, Hardyston, Lafayette and Ogdensburg. Gently rolling countryside provides a scenic backdrop for new and established neighborhoods, many of which are situated in one of the township’s 11 lake communities.  

Among the lake communities, Lake Mohawk is the largest and best-known. It includes the three-and-a-half-mile-long Lake Mohawk, with over 2,000 homes, White Deer Plaza shopping area, a lakefront boardwalk and the historic Lake Mohawk Country Club. In fact, White Deer Plaza, the country club and boardwalk are listed on the New Jersey and National Historic Registers.

Main Street’s shopping area features Sparta Town Square, a shopping center which opened in 2011 and is anchored by a Stop & Shop grocery store. Smaller businesses in town include restaurants, cafes, a book store, bowling alley, three-screen movie theater, hardware store, garden center, bakery, pharmacy and numerous other shops, services and small businesses. In and around Main Street, many shops are located in charming antique buildings.

Many residents commute to work in larger towns and cities including Newark, about 50 miles away, Manhattan, approximately 60 miles east, or Morristown, a 25-mile ride from Sparta. Recent population numbers report that 19,000-plus people live in the township.  
 

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History

By the time it was formally established in 1845, Sparta Township was mainly a farming village with a few iron forges and grist mills. Thomas Edison created a huge operation on Sparta Mountain during the late 19th century to separate iron ore from rocks using magnetic technology he developed. In addition to this major industrial development, the late 1800s saw vacationers coming to Sparta by train from big cities like Paterson, Jersey City and Brooklyn.  These summer tourists stayed at local inns, strolled through Sparta Glen and took in the fresh mountain air which was said to be healthful. Once cars became more popular, the town was no longer a seasonal destination until The Arthur D. Crane Company developed Lake Mohawk in the late 1920s. Transforming Brogden Meadow and adjoining farmland into a manmade lake was a huge feat of engineering at the time. Small cabins and lakestyle dwellings were built mainly as summer residences, but in the past 40 years most have been made into year-round homes.

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Community Life

Sparta residents gather at special events throughout the year, enhancing the close-knit community feeling. Sparta Day is celebrated every June on the grounds surrounding the library. Local organizations, live music, food, games and pony rides are some of the favorite offerings at this annual event. Friday nights in the summer, Sparta Arts sponsors live concerts in the band shell at Dykstra Park. Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades always draw huge crowds who cheer on local fire and police departments, sports teams, scouts and volunteer groups. The annual Christmas tree lighting takes place in early December on the Lake Mohawk Boardwalk, which is also the site of a German Christmas Market, a weekend-long event with German food, music and gift items.

The Sparta Library was founded in 1841 and houses over 60,000 books as well as music CDs, DVDs, downloadable audio books, graphic novels and video games. It was recognized as the #1 library in the state by Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings for its adult and children’s programs, Wi Fi access, computerized reference sources and other innovative offerings. The library is located on Woodport Road. The lower level of the library is home to the township’s Recreation Department which runs a preschool, summer day camp and artistic, educational, fitness and athletic programs for all ages

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Education

Public schools in Sparta include Helen Morgan School for kindergarten to grade two, the Alpine School for grades three to five, Sparta Middle School for sixth to eighth graders and Sparta High School.  

A $72.5 million re-construction project at Sparta High School was completed in 2011. The state-of-the-art facility features a new auditorium, cafeteria, gymnasium, media center, science and computer laboratories, and 24 new classrooms. Approximately 1,200 students attend the high school, and programs include honors and advanced placement classes in numerous subjects. Additionally, there is a wide selection of athletic and extra-curricular activities.

Over 92% of all Sparta High School graduates go on to attend two or four-year colleges. The 2011 graduating class of Sparta High School achieved a combined critical reading and math SAT score of 1042 and a composite ACT score of 23.5. Other academic achievements of the class of 2011 include five National Merit Commended Scholars, two National Merit Semi-finalists, and 41 students who were recognized as Advanced Placement Scholars by the College Board.

Private schools in town include the Reverend Brown School for elementary grades and the adjoining Pope John XXIII Regional High School. Hilltop Country Day School, the only independent school in Sussex County, has classes for preschool students through grade eight. Opened in 2006, Veritas Christian Academy is a newer high school on Houses Corner Road.

There are many options for preschoolers such as the Goddard School, Tiny Town, Kiddie Academy, Blessed Beginnings and Oak Tree.

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Transportation

Sparta is located about ten miles north of Interstate 80 for eastbound travel to regional business campuses or Manhattan. Lakeland Bus has scheduled service to New York’s Port Authority in the morning and evening from several designated stops in Sparta; the trip takes about 90 minutes. Many area commuters drive to Dover about 12 miles south for NJ Transit’s Midtown Direct service to Penn Station in Manhattan. It is a ride of about an hour and 15 minutes.

Route 15 runs through Sparta heading north toward Pennsylvania and New York State or south to Interstate 80. Route 206 can be accessed from the neighboring towns of Byram, Andover and Newton.

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Real Estate

A wide variety of housing options are available in Sparta, from ultra-luxurious estate homes on large lots to more modest single-family homes, low-maintenance town houses and specialty housing for senior citizens at Knoll Village and in several adult communities. Waterfront homes set on the shores of Sparta’s many lakes are among the most desirable real estate.  

Some of the grandest luxury homes in New Jersey may be on Manitou Island on Lake Mohawk. Accessed by a two-lane causeway, the island is dotted with lavish waterfront mansions and estate-caliber homes.

Among the residential lake communities in Sparta are Lake Saginaw, Seneca Lake, Sparta Lake, Fox Trail Lake, Rock Island Lake, Morris Lake, Arapaho Lake, Sunset Lake, Lake Grinell and Glen Lake.
 

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Sparta Parks

Station Park is the largest in the township, consisting of over 50 acres of lighted baseball, softball and soccer fields. Located just off Route 517/Main Street on Station Road, the park also has a large playground, a skateboard park, pond and picnic area.

Mini-Park at the Library has a selection of playground equipment for younger children. It is located on the grounds of the Sparta Library off Woodport Road.

Tyler Park is located in a residential neighborhood on Tyler Road. It offers a tennis court, basketball court and a small playground.

Edison Park is another neighborhood park with basketball and tennis courts and playground equipment. It is located on Edison Road.

The Ungerman Complex behind the Sparta Library on Sparta Avenue has lit facilities for basketball, football and softball. The Fisher building contains a snack bar and classroom for local sports organizations and recreation classes.

White Lake Soccer Fields on White Lake Road are used for recreational youth leagues.

White Lake Beach Club operates in conjunction with the YMCA. Summer memberships as well as daily passes are available in this pristine lake located off White Lake Road.  Swimming lessons are offered for children during the summer.

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Local Attractions

White Deer Plaza showcases the “fairy tale” architecture seen in many buildings throughout Lake Mohawk. There are several shops, restaurants, an ice cream parlor and a wooden boardwalk edging the north end of the lake.

Sparta Glen is located at the base of Sparta Mountain near the end of Main Street on Glen Road. Although a flood in 2000 damaged much of the natural terrain, volunteers have been active in bringing the parkland back to life over the past few years, and it is a popular place for dog walkers and hikers. The Glen was a huge attraction to visitors in the late 1800s and early 1900s who were drawn to its fresh mountain air.

Thomas Edison Monument on Edison Road pays tribute to the abandoned factory site, iron mine and village that were developed by the legendary inventor on Sparta Mountain from 1889 to 1900. Often termed a “magnificent failure,” Edison nevertheless said of his time in Sparta, “We had a hell of a good time.”

The First Presbyterian Church of Sparta on Main Street is the oldest incorporated church still on its original site in the state of New Jersey. It was established in 1786 and was once home to Sparta’s first school and fire station.

The Wallkill River is the only river east of the Mississippi to flow northward. Its headwaters originate in Sparta, wending their way to Kingston, New York, where it eventually flows to the Hudson River. A footbridge in Station Park crosses over the Wallkill, a popular place for trout fishing in early spring.
 

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