As early as 1722, a rich deposit of magnetite iron was mined in the Hibernia section of Rockaway Township. In 1765, Samuel Ford (nephew of Col. Jacob Ford, Sr.) and several investors became partners in the "Adventure Furnace" with owner Lord Stirling, later a general in the Continental Army. Within two years the furnace and area were re named "Hibernia." The furnace, managed by Joseph Hoff, served as an important supplier of munitions to patriot troops.
Hibernia experienced rapid growth after the Civil War. In the 1870's the Glendon Iron Company built the Hibernia Underground Railroad to transport iron on the right travelling east from more than a mile inside the Hibernia mine, first by animal power, then by steam. Ore was transported on rails along Green Pond Road to be refined in furnaces as far away as Trenton and Phillipsburg. Round trip passenger service to Rockaway Borough began on June 3rd 1889, from the Hibernia Supply Company store and U.S. Post Office.
By 1906 the mining communities of Lower and Upper Hibernia had grown to include retail businesses, a hotel, two churches, two schools, single and multiple family homes. The population, numbering almost two thousand, included immigrants from Ireland, Cornwall, Wales and Eastern Europe. Mine flooding and competition from Midwest
ore closed the mines in 1913. Hibernia produced over five million tons of ore during its mining history, placing it among the top three iron producing mining areas in the State of New Jersey.
( photo captions )
1. Hibernia mine entrance
2. Single Family House (Rented to Flanigan Family)
3. Beach (Single Family House)
4a. Mine Buildings: Air Compressor House, Engine House, Boilers and Stacks (2)
4b. Carpenters Shop and Store House
5. S. Hiler (Single Family House)
6. Lyons/Everment (Two Family House)
7. Elevated Trestle, Underground R.R.
8. Glendon Iron Company Miners' Row Houses (Two Family Homes)
9. G. Richards (Three Family House)
10. Methodist Episcopal Church
11. Methodist Episcopal Parsonage
12. Hibernia Supply Company (Store and U.S. Post Office)
Photo courtesy of the Historical Society of Rockaway Township