Rocky Hill Borough
Rocky Hill Borough City Hall, 15 Montgomery Avenue, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553; phone: 609-924-7445.
The village of Rocky Hill [†] has it origins in the first years of the 181 h century when its abundant water power attracted settler John Harrison, Jr. to establish a mill site on the east side of the Millstone River in what is now Franklin Township. Despite this early industrial development, much of the area remained agricultural until well into the 19th century. The road through Rocky Hill, however, crossing the Millstone first on the milldam at Harrison's mill, and after 1819 on a bridge at the site of the present bridge on Route 518, was a busy one, one of the major routes from New Brunswick to Trenton.
By the early 19th century the town had developed to serve the industries and travelers. In 1834 it contained a grist and saw mill, a woolen mill, two stores, two taverns and 12 to 15 dwellings. The completion of the Delaware & Raritan Canal increased Rocky Hill's potential as an industrial and shipping site. The concomitant division of the Van Home estate, which encompassed the entire present village of Rocky Hill, also led to the town's development in the 191h century.
By 1835 the Rocky Hill Inn had been completed at the intersection of Washington Street and Princeton Avenue. By 1873 the shape of the center of town and many of its major buildings were well established. Aside from the Inn, the buildings included stores, a schoolhouse and three churches, all still standing today, although in some cases converted to other uses. Between 1850 and 1910 the center of town was almost entirely filled in as the population rose from about 100 to over 500. Because it was so fully developed by that period, "downtown" Rocky Hill has retained the character of a 19th century rural village. Official recognition of the Borough as a local "center" came with the granting of the Borough's charter in 1890.
† Rocky Hill Planning Board, Borough of Rocky Hill, Somerset County, NJ, Master Plan, 2001-2008, www.rockyhill-nj.gov, accessed May, 2017.