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History Timeline

Walk through the Pinelands historical timeline to understand the past and present.


• 170 to 200 million years ago Atlantic Coastal Plain begins to form.

• 100 million years ago Start of sequence in which the Atlantic Ocean repeatedly covered the coastal plain and then withdrew, depositing layers of geologic material now beneath the Pinelands.

• 10,000 years ago End of the last Ice Age; present plant and animal populations begin to develop; earliest native Americans appear.

• 1624 European exploration of coastal inlets and bays reported.

• 1674 Earliest permanent European settlers occupy area north of present Burlington County line.

• 1700–1760 Many hamlets and coastal towns settled based on shipbuilding, commerce and timber-based trades.

Cranberry picker - Whitesbog
Elizabeth White
Pinelands Exploration Map Whitesbog Al Horner
batsto mansion new jersey pinelands pine barrens
joseph wharton photo
Cranberry picker – Whitesbog
Elizabeth White
Pinelands Exploration Map Whitesbog Al Horner
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• 1700 – present Transportation network, roads and railroads, built throughout the Pinelands. U. S. Route 9, the Shore Road, is an historic road that runs along the coast in what is now the Pinelands National Reserve.

• 1758 Brotherton Reservation, this country’s first Indian reservation, is established at Indian Mills in Shamong Township, Burlington County.

• 1760 – 1860 Iron, charcoal, and glass industries flourish.

• 1830 New Jersey census lists 655 sawmills in the state; today there are about 75 sawmills in the state.

• 1840 John Webb establishes New Jersey’s first cranberry bog in Ocean County near Cassville.

• 1864 L.N. Renault Winery established in Galloway Township.

• 1878 Joseph Wharton, a Philadelphia financier, proposes exporting Pinelands water to Philadelphia. The New Jersey legislature rules against this.

• 1905 New Jersey State Forest Service established.

• 1916 Elizabeth White of Whitesbog, Burlington County, in cooperation with Dr. F. V. Coville of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, develops the first cultivated blueberry.

• 1917 Fort Dix, U.S. Army training base in Burlington and Ocean Counties, is the first major federal facility established in the Pinelands.

• 1920’s Medford Lakes, Burlington County, is developed as a summer colony with many of its buildings designed in a log cabin style.

• 1920’s Russian immigrants settle at Rova Farm in Jackson Township, Ocean County. This is one of several ethnic settlements located in the Pinelands today.

• 1926 The first State Forest Nursery for growing tree seedlings for sale to landowners throughout New Jersey is established.

• 1928 Emilio Carranza, a Mexican aviator on the return leg of a goodwill flight between Mexico and New York, dies in a Pinelands airplane crash during a thunderstorm on July 13th. A memorial to him is located on Carranza Road in Tabernacle Township, Burlington County. There is an annual memorial service held at the monument on the Saturday closest to the date of his crash. The service is open to the public.

Carranza Memorial
Carranza Memorial

• 1929 – 1941 The Blue Comet, New Jersey Central’s luxury coach train, provides service between New York and Atlantic City and stops at Pinelands towns like Lakewood, Lakehurst, and Hammonton.

• 1948 A program of prescribed burning, a practice that is continued today, is established in New Jersey.

• 1955 State of New Jersey acquires 100,000-acre Wharton Tract as state forest.

• 1963 A series of wildfires in the Pinelands burns over 183,000 acres during the weekend of April 20-21. This is the largest wildfire in the recorded history of the region.

• 1978 Section 502 of the National Parks and Recreation Act establishes the Pinelands National Reserve.

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