211 Route 31 North
Washington, NJ 07882
The Village of Port Colden is located on the eastern edge of the Township, along the Morris Canal. Port Colden, founded when the Morris Canal was completed in 1831, was named after Cadwallader D. Colden, President of the Morris Canal Company. The early development of this village is credited to William Dusenberry, who was convinced that an important town would occupy this location. The surrounding farmers referred to his investments in this community as "Dusenberry's Folly". It did, however, experience a short-lived heyday during the operation of the Morris Canal through the town. Inclined Plane Number 6 West is still evident outside the community.
In the 1840s, a finishing school for ladies called St. Matthew's Hall was built in the village. This building was converted into a hotel and a stagecoach stop in 1850, called the Colden House. It fell into disrepute as a hangout for ruffians from the Morris Canal, and its use as a hotel was abandoned in 1895. The structure currently houses offices.
In 1874, the village contained a hotel operated by M. Deremeer, several stores and smithies, a public school, a boat yard for repair of the canal boats, the John Opdyke distillery, and about thirty-five residences. The village also contained Lock Number 6 on the Morris Canal, a large canal basin, and was bounded on the south by the lines of the Morris and Essex Division Railroad. A large brick making factory was situated just west of the village.
During the late 19th century, the former Easton-Washington Traction Company built and operated a trolley line along Route 24 from Phillipsburg, and an attempt was made to lure passengers to the trolley by offering free movies at Silver Spring Park in Port Colden. However, with the closing of the Canal, the village lost its importance. In 1918, this small community did not have any industry, but its inhabitants produced agricultural products including grains, potatoes, vegetables and fruits. Port Colden was described in 1937 as "a ghost town, its few houses and old yellow hotel are a faint echo of the days when the community was a port on the now abandoned Morris Canal".
Since July 1998, Port Colden has been listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
Easton-Washington Traction Company Trolley Barn - outside
Easton-Washington Traction Company Trolley Barn - inside
Nunn Store (later Skinner store) on the Morris Canal Port Colden Boat Basin
Lock 6 West was located near the Nunn store (later Skinner store) on the Morris Canal.
Lock 6 West - at Port Colden on the Morris Canal raised and lowered boats 10 feet
Port Colden inclined plane 6W
Port Colden School - early 1900’s and today
Octagon School House built 1792 (picture 1895) near Port Colden
Margie Hatchers Store - Port Colden, NJ - The dirt road leads to what was the former Easton-Washington Traction (Trolley) Line Car Barn at Port Colden. picture 1936