Millville was originally incorporated as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 24, 1801, from portions of Fairfield Township. Portions of the township were taken to form Landis Township on March 7, 1864. Millville was reincorporated as a city on March 1, 1866, based on the results of a referendum passed that same day.
Known as "Shingle Landing" in its earliest days, a sawmill was believed to have existed at Leaming's Mill at around 1720. The area also had a public road, a boat landing, and a bridge-like structure.
In 1790, Joseph Smith and Henry Drinker purchased 24,000 acres (97 km2) of land known as the Union Mills Tract. They also formed the Union Estates Company and built lumber mills along the Maurice River and established a dam to power these new mills. Joseph Buck, an American Revolutionary War veteran who served under General George Washington, was part of a group that purchased the land in the area and laid out the plans for what would become Millville.
In 1806, an Irish immigrant, James Lee, opened the area's first glass factory, making use of the large amounts of silica sand and the ample wood that could be used to operate the plant.
In the early 1850s, the Smith and Wood Iron Foundry and New Jersey Mills were constructed. In 1860, a bleachery and dye house were added to New Jersey Mills, which then became Millville Manufacturing. David Wood then constructed a dam, forming the largest man-made lake in the state, which powered the entire manufacturing organization. By 1870, the mill had 600 employees, and in 40 years this number doubled.
In 1862, Charles K. Landis laid out the city of Vineland about two and a half miles east of the Maurice River. In 1864, Vineland was separated from Millville Township and joined the new Landis Township.
The Millville Airport was dedicated "America's First Defense Airport" on August 2, 1941, by local, state, and federal officials. In less than a year, construction of military base facilities began, and in January 1943, the Millville Army Air Field opened as a gunnery school for fighter pilots. Gunnery training began with Curtiss P-40 Warhawk aircraft, but after a few weeks was changed over to the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. During its three-year existence, thousands of soldiers and civilians served here, with about 1,500 pilots receiving advanced fighter training in the Thunderbolt.
Child workers at Wheaton Glass Works, 1909. Photo by Lewis Hine.
Following World War II, the airfield was declared excess to the governments needs, and returned to the City of Millville. Most of the airport buildings were converted to apartments for the many veterans returning from the war. The last of the apartments vanished in the early 1970s, and the airport soon became a hub of industry and aviation for Southern New Jersey.
Up to the late 1990s the Millville downtown area was depressed and somewhat isolated, examples including the abandoned Levoy Theatre and Wheaton Glass Factory, with investors reluctant to venture in its development. Major redevelopment has occurred in the past several years; establishing the scenic Riverfront and Downtown areas into an artists' haven including many studios, shops and restaurants. Older abandoned buildings have been restored with continued major development is planned.
Today Millville has an arts district named the Glasstown Arts District. A public art center with galleries and studios is the hub of activity, and is open six days a week. Seven full-time galleries and ten part-time galleries and studios are open mostly on weekends and on the third Friday of each month. WheatonArts and the Creative Glass Center of America includes a major collection of early American glass with contemporary glass from CGCA Fellows and working glass artists in a restored 19th century glass factory. The Levoy Theatre successfully re-opened on September 9, 2012
There were 10,648 households, of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.2% were married couples living together, 20.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.5% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.19.
In the city, 25.8% of the population were under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 25.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.6 years. For every 100 females there were 90.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.7 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $44,925 (with a margin of error of +/- $4,459) and the median family income was $55,000 (+/- $4,433). Males had a median income of $46,186 (+/- $3,934) versus $35,336 (+/- $2,860) for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,364 (+/- $1,573). About 16.2% of families and 19.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.2% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
There were 10,043 households out of which 35.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.5% were married couples living together, 17.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.65 and the average family size was 2.15.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.9% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $40,378, and the median income for a family was $46,093. Males had a median income of $36,915 versus $26,669 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,632. About 12.1% of families and 15.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.8% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.
Millville has a Ukrainian community and is home to Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church and St Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church
In 1801, Millville was first organized as a township; It became a city in 1866. Until 1913, Millville operated under a Mayor-Council form of government where the mayor was elected by the people. In 1913, a change of form of government to the Walsh Act was passed and the commission form of government became the way the city was run. Under this form of government as used in Millville, five commissioners are elected and one of these is selected from among its members to serve as the mayor and another as vice mayor. each commissioner is assigned a department to oversee.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 17,500 registered voters in Millville, of which 4,652 (26.6%) were registered as Democrats, 2,802 (16.0%) were registered as Republicans and 10,033 (57.3%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 13 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 57.6% of the vote here (6,523 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain, who received 39.8% (4,515 votes), with 11,330 ballots cast among the city's 17,715 registered voters, for a turnout of 64.0%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 50.9% of the vote here (5,082 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush, who received around 46.8% (4,677 votes), with 9,992 ballots cast among the city's 15,685 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 63.7.
Cumberland County is governed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, who are elected at-large in partisan elections to serve staggered three-year terms in office, with two or three seats coming up for election each year. At an annual reorganization meeting held each January, the freeholders select one member to serve as Freeholder Director and another as Deputy Director. As of 2014[update], Cumberland County's Freeholders (with committee liaison assignments, political party, residence and term-end dates listed in parentheses) are Freeholder Director Joseph Derella (Administration / Public Safety; D, Millville, term ends December 31, 2015), Freeholder Deputy Director Douglas M. Long (NA; D, Upper Deerfield Township, 2015), Darlene Barber (Education; D, 2016, Upper Deerfield Township), Carol Musso (Community Services; D, Deerfield Township, 2014), James Sauro (Agriculture; R, Vineland, 2014), Thomas Sheppard (Health; R, Lawrence Township, 2016) and Tony Surace (Public Works; D, Millville, 2014). The county's constitutional officers are County Clerk Gloria Noto (Vineland, 2014), Sheriff Robert A. Austino (Vineland, 2014) and Surrogate Douglas M. Rainear (Bridgeton, 2018).
As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's 10 schools had an enrollment of 6,023 students and 499.1 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.07:1. Schools in the district (with 2011-12 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Child Family Center (631 students) for preschool, six K-5 elementary schools — Bacon Elementary School (304), Holly Heights Elementary School (502), Mt. Pleasant Elementary School (251), Rieck Avenue Elementary School (455), Silver Run Elementary School (554) and Wood Elementary School (227) — Lakeside Middle School for grades 6-8 (1,131), Memorial High School for grades 9 and half of 10th (739) and Millville Senior High School for grades 11, 12, and the other half of the 10th grade (1,229).
St. Mary Magdalen School is a Catholic school serving children in grades K-8 operating under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden. The school opened in 1882 with an enrollment of 45 students. Former Camden Bishop Joseph Galante announced in January 2012 that the school would close in June due to poor finances resulting from a declining student body.
Portions of Millville are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3½% sales tax rate (versus the 7% rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants.
The city had a total of 172.73 miles (277.98 km) of roadways, of which 107.90 miles (173.65 km) are maintained by the municipality, 42.39 miles (68.22 km) by Cumberland County and 22.44 miles (36.11 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
^About Cumberland County Government, Cumberland County, New Jersey. Accessed July 28, 2014. "By law, Cumberland County is allowed 7 freeholders, who serve staggered, overlapping three year terms. Two are elected in two successive years, three in the third year, elected from the county at-large. A Director of the Board is selected by his colleagues for a one year term."
^Marko, Deborah M.; and Kov, Daniel. "GOP keeps two seats on freeholder boardRainear re-elected as surrogate; Mercado ousted", The Daily Journal (New Jersey), November 6, 2013. Accessed July 28, 2014. "GOP candidate Tom Sheppard wins a three-year seat. His running mate, James Sauro, wins a one-year seat. The pair will be the only GOP representatives on the seven-member freeholder board. Darlene Barber, a Democrat in her first race, won the other three-year freeholder seat that was available.... In the surrogate race, incumbent Democrat Douglas Rainear defeated Republican newcomer Timothy Codispoti."
^What are SDA Districts?, New Jersey Schools Development Authority. Accessed August 14, 2012. "SDA Districts are 31 special-needs school districts throughout New Jersey. They were formerly known as Abbott Districts, based on the Abbott v. Burke case in which the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the State must provide 100 percent funding for all school renovation and construction projects in special-needs school districts.... The districts were renamed after the elimination of the Abbott designation through passage of the state’s new School Funding Formula in January 2008."
^About Us, Maurice River Township School District. Accessed August 24, 2014. "The Maurice River Township School District consists of one elementary school and is a sending district to the Millville School District for its high school students.... Maurice River Township transports approximately 180 students to the Memorial and Senior High Schools in Millville."
^History, Saint Mary Magdalen School. Accessed June 14, 2012. "St. Mary Magdalen Regional School is one of the oldest Catholic schools in the Camden Diocese. Father Charles J. Giese, who was appointed to Saint Mary Magdalen Church in June 1881, opened the school with forty-five students and a teacher named Alice Marshall in 1882."
^Kubersky, Seth. "Live Active Culture", Orlando Weekly, May 7, 2009. Accessed March 29, 2011. "I spent a few minutes on the phone with Graham Fenton, one of the performers helping to tell that story. Fenton is no stranger to Orlando: A fellow Jersey boy (raised about an hour south of Philly in Millville, N.J.), Graham moved here after attending Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University when his wife, Nicole Kaplan, was cast in Finding Nemo, the Musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom."
^Gray, Matt. "Former NFL player, city commissioner Steve Romanik dies", The News of Cumberland County, September 16, 2009. Accessed March 29, 2011. "Former Millville City Commissioner and Chicago Bears quarterback Steve Romanik died this morning, according to his family.... Romanik described his father as someone who was proud to serve Millville, and proud of his inductions into both the Millville Thunderbolt Club Hall of Fame and the Villanova University Football Hall of Fame."