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Burlington County NJ

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Medford is a township in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township’s population was 23,033, reflecting an increase of 780 (+3.5%) from the 22,253 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,727 (+8.4%) from the 20,526 counted in the 1990 Census.

Medford was incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 1, 1847, from portions of Evesham Township, based on the results of a referendum held that day. Portions of the township were taken to form Shamong Township (February 19, 1852), Lumberton Township (March 14, 1860) and Medford Lakes (May 17, 1939).

The area known as Medford was sold to Samual Coles in 1670, in all it consisted of 900 acres (3.6 km²). Within the next few years the Braddock, Prickett, Stratton, Branin, and Wilkins families moved to the area (many of whom continue to live in the area today). Upper Evesham, as it was then known, continued to grow from scattered homesteads into a small village. Many of the building and roads built between the sale of the land and the American Revolutionary War are still in existence, which include Oliphant’s Mill, Christopher’s Mill and the Shamong Trail (now known as Stokes Road).

In 1820, when the Post Office opened, the area was officially called Medford of Upper Evesham, using a name that had been pushed by Mark Reeve, a developer who had recently visited Medford, Massachusetts. On March 1, 1847, Medford Township was “set apart from” Evesham Township by Act of the New Jersey Legislature. The first township meeting was held at the Cross Roads (County Route 541 and Church Road) on March 9, 1847. The seat of township government remained there for several years. Part of Medford Township was taken on February 19, 1852, to form Shamong Township, on March 14, 1860, portions were taken to form Lumberton Township. The borders remained unchanged until May 17, 1939, when Medford Lakes was formed.

A thriving glass making industry developed in Medford as early as 1825 with a glass making furnace making window panes. By 1850, William Porter was operating a glass factory on a triangle of property formed by South Main Street, Mill Street, and Trimble Street. Glass making operating continued on the property throughout the 1880s under company names including Medford Glass Works and Star Glass, which at its peak employed about 250 workers and built up a “company town” of sorts with houses for owners and managers and housing for workers. A company store enabled workers to exchange scrip for food and necessities. Glassmaking operations ended around 1925 and the factory was torn down by the mid-1940s. Today, many of the nearly 30 workers’ homes are neatly kept homes on Trimble and Mill Streets, as well as the owners’ / managers’ residence at 126 South Main St. and the company store at 132 South Main Street.

Medford’s location along the Camden and Atlantic Railroad, increased trade and Medford expanded at a rapid rate in the years after the Civil War. By the 1920s the rail line had been dismantled and the mill industry was in decline, but Medford’s proximity to Philadelphia and Camden County allowed the township’s growth to continue as many families moved from the city and into a more rural area.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 39.929 square miles (103.416 km2), including 38.921 square miles (100.804 km2) of land and 1.008 square miles (2.611 km2) of water (2.52%).

Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Birchwood Lakes, Braddocks Mill, Chairville, Christopher Mills, Crossroads, Fairview, Kirbys Mill, Medford Lakes in the Pines, Melrose, Oak Knoll, Oakanickon, Oliphants Mills, Pipers Corners, Reeves, Taunton, Taunton Lake and Wilkins.

The township is one of 56 South Jersey municipalities that are included within the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve, a protected natural area of unique ecology covering 1,100,000 acres (450,000 ha), that has been classified as a United States Biosphere Reserve and established by Congress in 1978 as the nation’s first National Reserve. Part of the township is included in the state-designated Pinelands Area, which includes portions of Burlington County, along with areas in Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Ocean counties.

Medford Lakes is an independent municipality encircled within the boundaries of Medford Township, making it half one of 21 pairs of “doughnut towns” in the state, where one municipality entirely surrounds another. The township borders Evesham Township (known as Marlton), Lumberton Township, Mount Laurel Township, Shamong Township, Southampton Township, Tabernacle Township in Burlington County; and Waterford Township in Camden County.

The climate of Medford Township is classified as humid continental, with cold winters, hot summers, and year-round humidity. Annual precipitation for the area is 41 inches, and annual snowfall for the area is 23 inches.

Medford Township operates within the Faulkner Act (formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law) under the Council-Manager (Plan E) form of municipal government, implemented based on the recommendations of a Charter Study Commission as of January 1, 1980. The Township is governed by a five-member Council, elected at-large in partisan elections to four-year terms of office as part of the November general election on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats up for election in odd-numbered years. At a reorganization meeting held in January after each election, the Council selects a Mayor and a Deputy Mayor from among its members.

As of 2019, members of the Medford Township Council are Mayor Charles “Chuck” J. Watson (R, term on council ends December 31, 2021; term as mayor ends 2019), Deputy Mayor Frank P. Czekay (R, term on council and as deputy mayor ends 2019), Brad H. Denn (R, 2021), Lauren Kochan (R, 2019; appointed to fill an unexpired term) and Erik J. Rebstock (R, 2021).

In March 2019, Lauren Kochan was selected from three candidates nominated by the Republican municipal committee to fill the unexpired term of office ending in December 2019 that had been vacated the previous month by Chris Buoni, who announced that he was moving out of the township.

The township council selected Brad Denn in October 2014 from three candidates nominated by the Republican municipal committee to fill the vacant seat of James “Randy” Pace, who resigned from office after he moved out of state. Denn was elected to serve the remaining two years of office in November 2015.

Mayor Chris Myers resigned from the Township Council in December 2011, after it was disclosed that he had hired a male escort. He was replaced in January 2012 by Chuck Watson.

Jeff Beenstock was appointed in December 2011 to fill the vacancy of Dave Brown who resigned in November. James “Randy” Pace was elected in November 2013 to fill the remaining two years on council seat vacated by Joseph Lynn; Mark Sander had filled Lynn’s vacant seat on an interim basis, but declined to run for election for the balance of the term.

Victoria Fay was removed from her council seat in April 2011 after the other members of the council determined that she was a resident of Evesham Township in violation of a state law requiring elected officials to be residents of the municipality, having moved there in November 2010 during her pending divorce. She was replaced in April by Dominic Grosso, a former township mayor.

Courtesy of Wikipedia.org

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