Lafayette Township is located in the Skylands Region of Sussex County, New Jersey, United States. Lafayette was formed as a Township-based on an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 14, 1845, from part of Frankford Township and Newton Township (the latter now dissolved). As per the 2010 United States Census, the township’s population was 2,538, showcasing an increase of 238 (+10.3%) from the 2,300 counted in the 2000 Census.
The Lafayette township was the first in the US to be named for Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, the French aristocrat who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
The prominent communities, localities, and place names located partially or completely within the township include the Branchville Junction, Harmonyvale, Hopkins Corner, Warbasse, and Warbasse Junction.
Lafayette Township borders the municipalities of Hampton Township, Andover Township, Frankford Township, Hardyston Township, Sparta Township, and Wantage Township.
Lafayette Township is under the governance of the Township form of New Jersey municipal government. It is one of the 141 municipalities (of the 565) statewide, the second-most commonly used form of government in the state.
The five members of the Township Committee are elected directly by the voters at-large in partisan elections. They serve three-year terms of office, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election in a three-year cycle. At an annual reorganization meeting, the Township Committee selects one of its members as the Mayor of the township.
As of 2020, members of the Lafayette Township Committee are Alan R. Henderson (R, term on township committee and as mayor ends December 31, 2020), Richard Bruning (R, 2022), Gregory J. Corcoran (R, 2020), Richard Hughes (R, 2022) and Kevin K. O’Leary (R, 2021).
Bounded north by the township of Wantage, south by Hampton and Andover, east by Sparta and Hardyston, west by Frankford and Hampton, Lafayette is situated upon the line of Frankford and Newton, near the center of the county. The town is divided into two zones, namely Lafayette, which is the site of the original hamlet of Lafayette, and lower Lafayette, the marketplace area of the town.
The real estate of Lafayette as estimated by the assessors of the county in 1880, was valued at $499,672, the personal property at $1270,703, adding the total valuation of taxable property to $656,600. The school and county tax amounted to $2789.09.
Lafayette township comprises 11,150 acres of land area, a very large proportion of which is utilized for farming and cultivation. The fertile soil is a mixture of clay, loam, and gravel with a little quantity of sand. In some places in the vicinity, you can find traces of limestone and slate which alter the productive quotient of the land. This limestone soil type is found in the center and western portions of the township, with a productive cultivation area running from northeast to southwest.
Lafayette has expansive areas of grazing lands and a thriving dairy industry. New York is one of the biggest ready markets of milk supply from the Lafayette township.
In terms of productivity and enterprise, the township of Lafayette competes well with other townships of Sussex County. The Paulinskill, its primary river rises in Sparta, Newton, Andover, and Hampton, the east branch flowing from Sparta township.
The ” Big Spring,” near Newton, is the main source of the western branch, which emerges at a corner between the town of Newton and the townships of Andover and Hampton. They meet in the township, and running north, then west into Frankford, where they are joined from the east by a small stream called Spring Drunk.