County History & Historic Sites

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Somerset County is located in north-central New Jersey. Its 21 municipalities, which encompass 305 square miles, contain a diversity of landscape, population and development that reflects the varied lifestyles of its estimated 333,751 residents.

As one of America’s oldest counties, Somerset is steeped in colonial and Revolutionary War history. The County was established by charter on May 22, 1688, with land conveyances dating to 1651. Historic sites, monuments and buildings are found in virtually every town, preserved for future generations.

Located in the heart of the nation’s largest metropolitan area, Somerset County contains a balance between urban and suburban neighborhoods and rural countrysides. Fine residential communities, beautiful parks, excellent shopping areas, extensive farmlands, numerous historic sites and outstanding business and industry all make Somerset County a desirable place to live, work and play.

Weekend Journey through the Past
The annual Weekend Journey through the Past is an opportunity to step back in time and experience the  county's rich history.  Up to 30 historic sites countywide are open free to the public during the second weekend in October.


Tercentenary Booklet - 1988
A 76-page booklet detailing the histories of each of Somerset County’s 21 municipalities was published to commemorate the county’s 300th anniversary in 1988. Note: This is a large PDF file so it may take a while to open.
Tercentennial Booklet - 1988

Historic Sites and Districts
The Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission has published an illustrated listing of historic sites and districts listed on the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Places.
Historic Sites & Districts

Somerset County Board of County Commissioners
Somerset County is governed by a five-member Board of County Commissioners who are elected at-large for staggered three-year terms. The position of Commissioner is considered part-time, although due to the complexity of County government today, an increasing amount of time is spent by these elected officials on County business.
Meet the Current Commissioners
Somerset County Commissioners: 1922-2019

Somerset County Courthouse
The current Historic Somerset County Courthouse has been a landmark building in the County Seat of Somerville since its completion in 1909. A newer courthouse was built next to it in 1986. Both buildings are in use today.
Courthouse History

True Meridian Markers
Did you ever wonder about those two small markers near the Historic Courthouse in Somerville?
History of True Meridian Markers

Hall-Mills "Trial of the Century"
In the 1920s, the Hall-Mills murder trial brought national attention to the county seat of Somerville. The following posters give a chronology of the murder case and subsequent trial:
A Window to the Past: 1922-1926
The Grand Jury Acts: 1926
The Trial of the Century: 1926
An Unsolved Mystery: 1926-present

Somerset County has been one of New Jersey’s fastest-growing areas for the past 20-plus years. Learn more about the county’s diversity and other demographic information:
Somerset County Quick Facts
Somerset County Census 2010 Data
Somerset County Municipalities: Website Links

Famous Somerset County Residents
Adults as well as youngsters may be interested in this listing of famous people who live or have lived in Somerset County. Children can learn more about Somerset County for school projects by visiting the Kids’ Clubhouse.
Famous People
Kids’ Clubhouse

2023 Somerset County Directory
Our annual directory features contact information for County offices and programs as well as for our 21 towns.
County Directory

Founding Day Proclamation
To commemorate the county’s 325th anniversary in 2013, the Board of County Commissioners issued a proclamation commemorating Somerset County’s founding day.
Press Release & Photo