is a township in Morris County, New Jersey, United States. As of the United States 2000 Census, the township population was 15,824. Denville is known as the "Hub of Morris County" for its location along major transportation routes at the center of the county. In 1988, as part of the town's 75th anniversary celebration, a time capsule was buried that contained "artifacts" from that era.
Denville was formed as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 14, 1913, from portions of Rockaway Township.
Native Lenape Native Americans were known to travel the Minisink Trail for centuries before Europeans arrived in New Jersey. Part of that trail cut across what is now southern Denville, roughly following the course of Route 10 and Mount Pleasant Turnpike. Some research has indicated that there was a Lenape campsite along the trail in Denville, on or near the Ayres / Knuth Farm Historic Site along Route 10.
When Dutch and English settlers began to arrive in the new world in the early 17th century, the Minisink Trail was the likely route they traveled to explore the interior. Daniel Denton, one of the purchasers of what is known as the Elizabethtown Tract in 1664, led an expedition into the interior of northern New Jersey. In 1670, he wrote the first English language description of the area. Some researchers would later conclude that it was Denton who lent his name to the naming of Denville.
Some researchers have suggested that European settlers began to come to the Denville area as early as 1690. These early settlers were primarily Dutch and English from Long Island, Quakers from Philadelphia, and Germans. William Penn and several other proprietors began to survey and stake out lands in the Denville area around 1715. These surveys are the first documentation of Denville. Between 1730 and 1760, several forges and mills were erected in Denville along the Rockaway River and the Denbrook. A number of communities associated with the forges and mills began to emerge. Ninkey and Franklin in southern Denville developed around the forges there of the same names. Denville village developed around the Job Allen Iron Works. Early developers of Denville, such as the Hussa family and A.B Crane & Co., were intrinsic in shaping the residential and lake communities.
A letter from early Denville settler John Hinchman in the year 1800, recounts some of the oral history of Denville from 50 years earlier, as stated to him by some of the elders of the time. Hinchman explains in his letter that the naming of Denville can be traced to a "den" of wild animals located in the swampy regions along the Denbrook and Rockaway River. The animals would bask on a knoll that juts out into the meadows where they were hunted by the native Lenape. This "den", Hinchman states, was the basis for the name of Denville and the Denbrook.