Fredon Township administrative offices are located at 443 Route 94, Newton, NJ 07860; phone: 973-383-7025.
Fredon Township, an 18.3 square mile community, was incorporated in 1904, when it became the youngest township in Sussex County. It was formed from parts of Andover, Green, Hampton and Stillwater Townships. The main roadway in Fredon, Route 94, was once a dusty, rutted, narrow dirt road which traveled through a busy little village in the 1800's known as Coursen's Corners, located at the intersection of Phil Hardin Road and Stillwater Road. The analysis of a community's present development pattern represents one of the fundamental steps in the preparation and formulation of a land use plan element of a master plan. This analysis is designed to identify both the extent of development in the community and the amount and location of vacant land remaining in the municipality. Additionally, land use studies are utilized to analyze evolving development patterns and the relationship and location of various land uses.
Fredon was described in 1939 as "a highway junction with a small white schoolhouse." In addition to the school, the area had a blacksmith shop, tannery, tailor shop, chapel, two stores and a post office. In close proximity, the Fountain House was a favorite stopping place for travelers between Newton and Blairstown. It is still in operation today, but not for overnight customers. While Fredon does not have a "village center" or a "main street," it is this portion of Route 94—with the school and its additions, the municipal building, and the firehouse—that is still today the core of the township.
In the mid 18th Century, two descendents of New Amsterdam Dutch families, Johannes (John) Coursen, and his wife, Gertrude Van Tuyle, arrived in the Fredon area. The Colonel John Coursen Homestead, located across from the township school, was purchased by Fredon Township in 1994 as part of developing Lodestar Park, immediately adjacent to the house. It is being refurbished by the Keepers of Coursen's Corners, a not-for-profit group, to be used by small community groups.
The farmstead reflects the history of agriculture and Fredon's role in community development. In 1763, Johannes purchased over 800 acres, which included land extending from Paulinskill Road past the four-corners area by Stillwater Road. When he died, his property was inherited by two of his sons — the Paulinskill Mill Farm by Jacob Coursen, and the four-corners land by Colonel John. Starting in 1811, Colonel John's sons built and operated a blacksmith's shop, a tannery, a store, and later a tailor shop. Also, his son Isaac established a post office and was the first postmaster. After Isaac's death, the position was taken over by his son, William P. Coursen, until 1881.
A log cabin was most likely the first building on the present site of the Coursen House at this highway junction. The Coursen mansion was built circa 1805. It contained four rooms on the first floor with a chimney across the corner of two rooms. There were three bedrooms on the second floor. The kitchen, located on the southern end of the house had a large bake oven to the right of the chimney. Isaac Coursen added a first floor parlor and two more bedrooms upstairs as the family grew.