Robbinsville History

Robbinsville History


Robbinsville (then known as Washington Township) was formed by an act of the New Jersey Legislature in March, 1859 after a group of independent-minded citizens petitioned to separate from East Windsor Township.

One year later, the first town election and annual meeting was held to establish Washington Township with its 1,279 citizens and about 21 square miles. Originally, the area now known as Robbinsville was part of Piscataway in East New Jersey.
The East Jersey Board of Proprietors established two large land grants south of the Assunpink in 1690 – one to Augustine Gordon and the other to Robert Burnet (both Scotch Quakers). A third grant north of the Assunpink went to Colonel Andrew Hamilton in 1701. Later, our area became part of New Brunswick in 1723; part of New Windsor Township in 1731; part of Windsor in 1751; then became the southern portion of East Windsor in 1797 when Windsor was divided into East and West.

The eastern boundary is the Old Post Road, so named when the Colonial Post Office was established in 1692, which served as the boundary between Monmouth County and Middlesex County (and later Mercer).  The southwestern boundary with Hamilton was the original Province Line that separated East and West Jersey in 1687. The development of our 21 square miles in all likelihood began along the Post Road in New Sharon and New Canton.  What is now Allentown-Robbinsville Road (Route 526) opened in 1725 as a main route to Trenton. When Robbinsville-Edinburg Road opened in 1754 to Princeton, Newtown was settled around the Cross Keys Tavern. The post office at Newtown was renamed Robbinsville in 1844 after the Honorable George R. Robbins, a member of Congress.

Windsor, previously known as Centreville, came later as it developed around the commercial activity spurred on by first the Bordentown-Amboy Turnpike in 1816. The Camden-Amboy Railroad was chartered in 1830 and is one of the earliest railroads in the United States.  By 1833 travel was revolutionized thanks to the introduction of steam locomotive service, the “John Bull.” Both Windsor and Newtown benefited from twice daily freight, passenger and mail service. Read about The John Bull Trail HERE.


By 1883, Washington Township had six one-room schoolhouses, four grist mills and a saw mill.   There was a shoe factory, brickyards, a tannery, a hat factory and, of course, there were several successful farms.

On November 6, 2007, by a vote of 1,816 to 693, residents here approved a measure that changed the township's name from Washington Township (which also was the name of five other municipalities in New Jersey) to Robbinsville Township.

The official changeover took place on January 1, 2008. Today, Robbinsville boasts a diverse population of over 15,000 (2020 Census) and is considered one of the key warehouse hubs in all of Central New Jersey. Robbinsville also has protected hundreds of acres of preserved land to prevent further residential housing in a nod to its farming roots.

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