The Sourland Region

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Central New Jersey’s Sourland Mountain region extends roughly from the Delaware River at Lambertville, to Hillsborough, some 20 miles away. This 100+ square mile region includes diverse and important natural features, including unbroken forests and sensitive stream headwaters, as well as bird and amphibian habitats.

 

Sourland Mountain’s cultural history is equally diverse as its landscape. The Lenape Indians first settled the region, as early as 10,000 years ago. Dutch farmers in the region’s valleys followed them in the 1600’s, bringing some of the area's first black slaves. The British came soon after, who also utilized slavery for labor in the fields and industry.

 

By the 19th century, mills clung to the mountainside. Lumber, quarries, agriculture, and pottery production aided in the development of the region; black freedmen in the later part of the century supplied labor for these industries.  Artists, writers, and even a signer of the Declaration of Independence sought the inspiration and security of the region, as did boot-leggers, and Charles Lindbergh, whose time on Sourland Mountain made it world-famous, if only for a short time.

 

African Americans had a very close relationship with the mountain. Until the creation of the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum, their story had been largely neglected or ignored; explore the links above to learn how they shaped the unique physical and human geography of the Sourland Mountain region.