The Borough of Glen Gardner gets it’s name from “Glen” the area in which the town is situated, between two mountains with a stream (Spruce Run) running through the center and “Gardner” the name of the family of five inventive and business-minded brothers who put the town on the map.
The first inhabitants were the Lenni Lenape Indians with the first European settlers arriving just before the American Revolution.
The first of the Borough’s many names was Eveland, named after John Eveland who established a tavern in 1760 (currently the Glen Gardner Hotel) that operated for over 100 years by three generations of Evelands.
It is rumored that the first name change to Sodom came about after a wandering evangelist, angered by either a lack of response from his listeners or the smallness of the donation in the collection plate referred to the area as Sodom and sinful. Locals used the name in jest, but even in 1871, some persisted with the name, Sodom.
In 1820, a Mr. Clark opened a store that housed the town’s post office and by 1827, the town changed its name to Clarksville.
In 1852, the Central Railroad came to the area and a quarry (still in existence today) was created to provide stone and access along the mountain to lay the track. On Saturday, March 24, 1901 at 6:30am, tragedy struck the center of town when a train of oil tank cars caught fire, causing $75,000 in damages. Fortunately, no one was killed or injured.
In 1863, the five Gardner brothers, William, Oliver, George, John, and Joseph moved from New York City to what was then Clarksville and set up a business manufacturing picture frames, and later chair seats. By 1865, the business, located on Sanatorium Road, employed 700 people and in1871, the town’s name changed to Glen Gardner. All of the Gardner brothers eventually left town, except Joseph who started a general store in 1874 (now the Glen Gardner General Store). Their departure started the end of the town’s industrial era, and after the manufacturing factory burned down, the people that depended on its employment drifted away.
The local newspaper “The Avalanche” was established in 1884, so named because “It comes out in a rush”. Published every Wednesday, subscriptions were $1.00 per year and paid in advance.
Glen Gardner became incorporated as a Borough in 1919. In 1976, there were approximately 860 residents in the borough; in 1994 there were more than 1,600, and today in 2005, the population of Glen Gardner stands at 1,919 – what a coincidence!