Welcome to Sparta’s 175 Anniversary Column.  Each week will feature history, facts, stories and photos about Sparta, as well as announcements about the celebrations that will happen throughout the year.

On February 13,1845 Sparta Township was formed by separating from Hardyston Township.

Sparta Township traces its name back to Phebe Ogden according to “Sparta, NJ Head of the Wallkill” by William R.Truran.  In his history of Sparta, Truran provides two possible reasons for Ogden to have selected the name with Greek roots.

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  • First, he posits, she may have had aspirations that the youth of the newly formed township would “emulate the Spartan youths.”
  • A second possibility offered by Truran was that it could have been due to the “relatively primitive conditions on the frontier here, compared to her more cosmopolitan surroundings in Elizabethtown.”  Ogden’s family had moved to Elizabethtown to avoid British troops searching for patriots such as they during the Revolutionary War.

In the earliest years of Sparta there were several town centers with names that are familiar to present day residents.  They included Ogdensburg, Sussex Mills, Hopewell and Edison.  Sparta remained relatively unchanged in terms of size until 1914 when Ogdensburg seceded to become the borough it is today.

This column will be updated weekly as part of the 175 anniversary of Sparta Township.  Should anyone wish to contribute content to the column please email jdericks@tapinto.net.