SectionsKinnelon Borough Biography
About Kinnelon Borough
Located in northern Morris County, Kinnelon Borough measures about 19 square miles and is home to approximately 10,000 residents. Its scenic location contains numerous parks and hiking trails, making it equally appealing to those seeking an outdoor lifestyle as well as commuters who are close to Interstate 287 and Route 23. Situated about 30 miles from New York City, Kinnelon’s scenery is rural and serene since it’s nestled into the Ramapo Mountain range amid several lakes. This picturesque borough has also received positive press—in 2016, NJ Monthly magazine rated Kinnelon High School third in the state out of 337 high schools. In that same year, the borough came in as the Sixth Happiest Place to Live and was named one of the safest towns in the U.S.
Kinnelon was established in 1922 and named for Francis S. Kinney, a cigarette manufacturer who purchased 5,000 acres of farmland in the 1880s for an estate that included Lake Kinnelon; most of that parcel is now part of the Smoke Rise residential community. Among the local landmarks Kinney built is St. Hubert’s Chapel on an island in the center of Lake Kinnelon for his wife, Mary, in 1886. The interior of this stone church included stained glass windows from Tiffany & Company. Other Kinney-built structures are the east gate to Smoke Rise, which claims to be the oldest manned gate in the United States, and the Fire Tower, an obelisk-like stone building on Mountain Road which Kinney used to spot fires on his vast estate.Back to top
Tripod Rock is an ancient marvel of physics in the Pyramid Mountain Natural Historical Area; it is known as a glacial erratic or “perched” boulder. One of the area’s top hiking destinations, this multi-ton Precambrian gneiss boulder is located near the edge of a long ridge and is balanced on three smaller boulders. The point of contact between the main boulder and its support stones form an approximate triangle, thus the name Tripod Rock.
Longfellows Coffee across the street from the Meadtown Shopping Center at 2 Kiel Avenue is a tiny drive-through coffee and smoothie shop locals flock to for tasty drinks and snacks. Operating out of a compact shed-like location, it’s a unique and popular take-out spot for commuters.
The Kinnelon Museum is another small-scale treasure in the borough. Located in a former one-room school house at 25 Kiel Avenue, this 1873 building was purchased by Dr. Helen Miller who used as her home and medical practice starting in 1935, naming it L’Ecole and willing it to the town for use as a museum and historical archive. It is open on weekends from 1-4pm.
During Prohibition in the 1920s, the Casino building (a former speakeasy) at Silas Condict Park was part of an illicit complex that included a 1,000-gallon applejack still. The still was cleverly concealed under the hinged front porch of a home that has since been torn down.