A significant part of New Jersey’s rich cultural history, the Raritan River has served as a transportation and trade route since pre-colonial times. The Naraticongs, a branch of the Lenape and part of the Iroquois Nation, were the first known settlers of the Raritan Valley. The Dutch and English arrived in 1683 and also made use of the River for its fertile soil and transportation opportunities. The Raritan was crossed by troops during the American Revolution, and a battle was fought close by in 1777. During the Industrial Revolution, the River became home to mills and other factories. A vibrant view of its historic past still exists along the Raritan River, present in museum exhibits and preserved buildings, like East Jersey Olde Towne in Piscataway Township’s Johnson Park and the Cornelius Low House and Middlesex County Museum.
Visit the websites of the Raritan Headwaters Association and the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions for more information about the history of the River.