Chatham has been described it as more like a “small New England town than a bustling Big Apple ‘burb.” Indeed, Chatham’s vintage architecture, strategic location 25 miles from Manhattan and abiding sense of community make it a desirable destination in southeastern Morris County. Nearby communities include Summit, New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Harding Township, Madison, Florham Park, Morristown, Short Hills, Millburn and Livingston.
Chatham Borough and Chatham Township share a common heritage and are sometimes jointly referred to as The Chathams. Although the two are actually separate municipalities, they do share a library, school district, volunteer ambulance squad, zip code and post office. Residents have been known to say the Township and Borough are really just like one town that happens to have two different governments.
Main Street in downtown Chatham is lined with quaint storefronts, picket fences, the town library, restaurants, cafés, shops and a village green with a gazebo. Residents of the Borough enjoy living in this pedestrian-friendly village where even those on the outer borders are within one mile of the train station and shopping.
In addition to the excellent shopping and restaurants available along Chatham’s Main Street and at the Hickory Tree Shopping Center, there are vibrant downtowns in nearby Madison and Summit, as well as more extensive retail options at the Livingston Mall and The Mall at Short Hills.
Chatham’s biggest annual event just might be the Fishawack Festival held in June. The term “Fishawack” was the Lenni Lenape name for the Passaic River, and this community-oriented festival was founded in 1971. Proceeds from the one-day event are given to town agencies and organizations such as the volunteer first aid squad or community band. Local artists, authors, children’s activities, auto shows, food and entertainment are typically on the schedule. Cultural opportunities in Chatham Borough include historical, art, garden and musical groups, as well as the facilities and programs at neighboring Drew and Fairleigh Dickinson universities.
The largest recreation area in Chatham Borough (and all of Chatham) is the 14-acre Sheppard Kollock Park at the east end of Main Street off Parrott Mill Road. Named for the publisher of a Revolutionary War era newspaper founded in Chatham, the park has two baseball diamonds, a covered picnic shelter, a playground, a boat launch and a walking trail along the Passaic River.
In the center of Chatham Borough is the 87,000-volume Library of the Chathams, located in the eight-acre Memorial Park off Main Street. Dedicated to veterans of all United States wars, the park was created by local residents in 1924. Amenities at the park include a tree-covered playground, softball, basketball, picnic tables and a swimming pool.
The Chatham Borough Municipal Pool memberships are available to borough residents. It opens on Memorial Day weekend and serves citizens through Labor Day.
Garden Park is adjacent to the Chatham Middle School and offers tennis practice boards, six tennis courts, basketball and playground areas.
Stanley Park on River Road has picnic areas, and Lum Field on Lum Avenue has a ballfield. There are more recreational options at Shunpike Field, Nash Field, Esternay Field and Mountainview Field.
Public school students in kindergarten through grade three attend the Milton Avenue School, Southern Boulevard School or Washington Avenue School, depending on what part of Chatham they reside in. Grades four and five attend Lafayette School, and grades six to eight go to Chatham Middle School. Chatham High School was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education for the 2004-05 school year. It was ranked 20th among 328 public high schools in the state by New Jersey Monthly magazine in 2012. The US News and World Report of Best High Schools ranked Chatham High School 9th in the state in 2013. Saint Patrick School is a Roman Catholic school for students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. It was awarded the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence during the 2003-04 school year. Founded in 1872, it was named a STAR School by the Paterson Diocese in 2011.
Chatham Borough is a 35-minute drive or 45-minute train ride into midtown Manhattan. The New Jersey Transit train stops at the Chatham station to provide Midtown Direct commuter service on the Morristown Line, heading to the Hoboken Terminal or to Penn Station at 34th Street in New York City. Lakeland Bus leaves from nearby Summit for a 40-minute one-way ride to Port Authority in midtown Manhattan. Amtrak stops at Newark or Metropark in Edison, both are about 14 miles from Chatham. Newark Liberty International Airport is about 16 miles from Chatham Borough. Nearby local and interstate highways include Route 24 (Chatham is Exit 7), Route 124/Main Street, Route 10 and Interstates 78 and 287.
Chatham Borough’s housing inventory runs the gamut from pre-Revolutionary dwellings and center hall antique Colonials to mid-century Cape Cods. There are many well-tended Victorians on winding roads lined with oak, maple and dogwood trees and accented with careful landscaping. The Borough’s historic section spans most of Main Street. A selection of luxury condominiums, town houses and garden apartment rentals also make up the real estate market. Vintage properties in Chatham Borough tend to be set amid lush green lawns and perennial gardens.
The Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center located on 247 Southern Boulevard features exhibits, educational programs and hiking. The Nature Center houses a reference library, auditorium, two classrooms and natural history displays. Weekend family programming, trail walks and workshops are scheduled on a seasonal basis. A mile of trail, much of it on boardwalks, and an observation blind are among the attractions.
The Chatham Community Players at 23 North Passaic Avenue have been entertaining residents of Morris County and the surrounding area since 1922. They continue a long tradition of being a vital cultural component of the Chatham community, Morris County and the surrounding area.
The Chatham Borough Farmers’ Market is held seasonally every Saturday through the end of October at the train station. Selections include organically grown fruits and vegetables, cheeses, baked goods and more.
New Jersey Transit train station in Chatham Borough, Lakeland Bus service from Summit, Interstate Highways 78 and 287.
Antique homes, antique Colonials, luxury real estate, Cape Cods, Victorians, executive homes, custom homes, cul-de-sac homes, expanded ranch homes, townhomes, condominiums, contemporary designs and a variety of architectural styles spanning the centuries.