About Califon

History of Califon

The Borough of Califon encompasses about one square mile within the heart of Hunterdon County. Mostly rural until about 1850, mills provided encouraged the growth that eventually led to its incorporation in 1918. Califon was originally named California, as a result of townsman Jacob Neighbor’s excitement about the California Gold Rush. By 1875, California (Califon), became a regular stop for weekend excursion trains through the countryside. Riders were treated to a voucher for ice cream which encouraged them to explore the area. Local accounts claim that California became Califon when painters, hired to paint the sign on the new railroad station, became inebriated waiting for the background paint to dry. By the time they were ready to paint the town name, they could only spell Califon. And so it became!


What to do in Califon?

Califon is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The now abandoned rail line has been transformed into the Columbia Trail, a rail trail that extends from High Bridge to Washington Township. The 16-mile recreational trail boasts scenic views as it parallels the South Branch of the Raritan River. A favorite for fly-fishing and other recreational activities, the Ken Lockwood Gorge offers one of the most pristine wildlife management areas in New Jersey. The Columbia Trail crosses the gorge with a 60-foot trestle bridge.


The Flavor of Califon today:

Marked by the Califon Historic District, much of Califon today retains the charm of the past. Approximately 170 buildings in the Borough are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the Victorian-style homes and building in the heart of the community are marked with the names of the original inhabitants and the year of establishment. Califon today offers small town and country charm within a vibrant and thriving community.


What do residents of Califon have to say about their town?

  • Absolutely love it.Real old fashioned home town where everyone knows each other
  • Living in Califon New Jersey is like coming home to a vacation paradise every day….The schools here are excellent, there is shopping near by as well as medical care, dental care and chiropractic care
  • Califon, NJ is in horse country…..Hunterdon County where more than half of the acreage is in agriculture. Good housing stock, great schools, beautiful winding country roads which meander through rolling hills and forests.


And the Schools ……

The Borough is the proud home of Califon Public School for Pre-K to 8th grade. Califon School offers a caring and nurturing environment from the Administration & teaching staff, resulting in an excellent quality of education for our children. This excellence in education is continued at the blue ribbon regional high school; North Hunterdon-Voorhees H.S. District; located in Lebanon Twp.


All Califon photos Courtesy of Borough of Califon