Flemington is a borough in and the county seat of Hunterdon County, in the U.S. state of New Jersey. Most of the borough is located in the Amwell Valley, a low-lying area of the Newark Basin, and the Raritan Valley, the South Branch of the Raritan River, which flows through the center of Flemington. Northwestern portions of the borough sit on the Hunterdon Plateau. As of the 2020 United States census, the borough's population was 4,876, its highest decennial count ever and an increase of 295 (+6.4%) from the 2010 census count of 4,581, which in turn reflected an increase of 381 (+9.1%) from the 4,200 counted in the 2000 census.
Flemington is an independent municipality completely surrounded by Raritan Township and is located near the geographic center of the township. Flemington was incorporated as an independent borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 7, 1910, based on the results of a referendum held on April 26, 1910, and was formally separated from Raritan Township.
Before European settlement, the land that comprises Flemington, as was all of Hunterdon County, was the territory of the Lenni Lenape Native Americans. In 1712, as part of a land parcel of 9,170 acres (37.1 km), the Flemington area was acquired by William Penn and Daniel Coxe.
The surrounding fertile farmland dictated that the beginnings of Flemington were agricultural. Early German and English settlers engaged in industries dependent on farm products. As time passed poultry and dairy farms superseded crops in agricultural importance. An example of early settlement families was Johann David and Anna Maria Ephland, who emigrated in 1709 from Germany through London to New York and settled on his 147.5-acre (0.597 km) farm in 1717. They raised their seven children, and two from his previous marriage, on the farm that now makes up the core of Flemington.
On December 14, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, a party of British dragoons led by Cornet Francis Geary raided a store owned by Thomas Lowrey near the Presbyterian Church in Flemington to seize a supply of guns. On their return to Pennington, local militia led by Captain John Schenck ambushed them and killed their commander. This skirmish is now known as the Ambush of Geary.
In 1785, Flemington was chosen as the County Seat of Hunterdon. Fire destroyed the old courthouse in 1826 and the City of Lambertville made an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to have the seat relocated there. Flemington remained the County Seat and the Courthouse which stands today on Main Street was built.
Present-day Flemington was originally formed as a town by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 14, 1870, within portions of Raritan Township. It became a village as of June 11, 1894, still within Raritan Township. Flemington was finally incorporated as an independent borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 7, 1910, based on the results of a referendum held on April 26, 1910, and was formally separated from Raritan Township. The borough's incorporation was confirmed on April 27, 1931. the borough was named for Samuel Fleming.
In 1856, the Hunterdon County Agricultural society purchased 40 acres (16 ha) of land that would accommodate the people, exhibits and livestock for the County (Flemington) Fair. The purpose of this Fair was to promote competition between farmers, stock raisers and machinery manufacturers. The fair was held every year at the Flemington Fairgrounds which also was the site of Flemington Fair Speedway, later Flemington Raceway.
From 1992 through 1995, the speedway hosted the Race of Champions, a race for modified racers. The speedway hosted a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race from 1995 to 1998. In 2003, the County Fair adopted a new name, the Hunterdon County 4-H and Agricultural Fair, and moved to the South County Park in East Amwell Township.
On February 13, 1935, a jury in Flemington found Bruno Richard Hauptmann guilty of the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh's baby boy. The Union Hotel, opposite the courthouse in which this trial took place, housed several journalists reporting on the event.
In the 2010s, local controversy erupted over proposed re-development of the shuttered Union Hotel.
By 1980, 65% of Flemington borough had been included on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and is now on the National Register of Historic Places as the Flemington Historic District.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.08 square miles (2.79 km), all of which was land. Flemington is completely surrounded by Raritan Township, making it part one of 21 pairs of "doughnut towns" in the state, where one municipality entirely surrounds another.
The 2010 United States census counted 4,581 people, 1,815 households, and 996 families in the borough. The population density was 4,252.2 per square mile (1,641.8/km). There were 1,926 housing units at an average density of 1,787.8 per square mile (690.3/km2). The racial makeup was 78.48% (3,595) White, 3.93% (180) Black or African American, 0.31% (14) Native American, 5.81% (266) Asian, 0.02% (1) Pacific Islander, 8.71% (399) from other races, and 2.75% (126) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 26.15% (1,198) of the population.
Of the 1,815 households, 28.5% had children under the age of 18; 37.6% were married couples living together; 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present and 45.1% were non-families. Of all households, 37.1% were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.20.
22.3% of the population were under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 33.9% from 25 to 44, 24.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.3 years. For every 100 females, the population had 105.5 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 106.9 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $54,261 (with a margin of error of +/− $15,065) and the median family income was $66,042 (+/− $12,761). Males had a median income of $45,934 (+/− $5,574) versus $47,917 (+/− $11,616) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $31,407 (+/− $3,648). About 14.0% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.0% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States census there were 4,202 people, 1,804 households, and 997 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,927.4 inhabitants per square mile (1,516.4/km2). There were 1,876 housing units at an average density of 1,754.2 per square mile (677.3/km). The racial makeup of the borough was 89.71% White, 1.19% African American, 0.31% Native American, 3.12% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 3.14% from other races, and 2.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.98% of the population.
There were 1,804 households, out of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.7% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.7% were non-families. 37.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the borough, the population was spread out, with 22.2% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 36.9% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $39,886, and the median income for a family was $51,582. Males had a median income of $38,594 versus $31,250 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $23,769. About 5.0% of families and 6.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.5% of those under age 18 and 3.0% of those age 65 or over.
Flemington is governed under the borough form of New Jersey municipal government, which is used in 218 municipalities (of the 564) statewide, making it the most common form of government in New Jersey. The governing body is comprised of the mayor and the borough council, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The borough council is comprised of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The borough form of government used by Flemington, the most common system used in the state, is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2023, the mayor of Flemington Borough is Republican Marcia A. Karrow, whose term of office ends December 31, 2026. Members of the Flemington Borough Council are Council President Jeremy Long (D, 2025), Council Vice President Kimberly A. Tilly (R, 2023), Susan D.M. Engelhardt (D, 2025), Malik Johnston (D, 2023), Anthony "Tony" Parker (D, 2024; elected to serve an unexpired term) and Elizabeth Rosetti (D, 2024).
In January 2019, the borough council selected Jeffrey Doshna from a list of three candidates selected by the Democratic municipal committee to fill the seat expiring in December 2020 that was vacated by Betsy Driver when she took office earlier that month as mayor. Doshna served on an interim basis until the November 2019 general election, when Republican Kimberly A. Tilly was elected to serve the balance of the term of office.
In March 2022, Democrat Caitlin Giles-McCormick, who had started her new term of office on January 1 of that year, resigned from office.
The borough's police department operates under Chief of police Jerry Rotella, with one sergeant, one corporal, two detectives, 10 patrolmen and a parking enforcement officer. The department offers a Police Explorer program composed of 20 youth participants.
Flemington is located in the 7th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 16th state legislative district. Prior to the 2011 reapportionment following the 2010 census, Flemington had been in the 23rd state legislative district.
For the 118th United States Congress. New Jersey's Seventh Congressional District is represented by Thomas Kean Jr. (R, Westfield). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2027) and Bob Menendez (Englewood Cliffs, term ends 2025).
For the 2022–2023 session, the 16th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the New Jersey Senate by Andrew Zwicker (D, South Brunswick) and in the General Assembly by Roy Freiman (D, Hillsborough Township) and Sadaf Jaffer (D, Montgomery Township).
Hunterdon County is governed by a Board of Chosen Commissioners comprised of five members who are elected at-large on a partisan basis to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats up for election each year as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization meeting held each January, the commissioners select one member to serve as the board's Director and another to serve as Deputy Director, each for a one-year term. As of 2023, Hunterdon County's Commissioners are
Commissioner Director Zachary T. Rich (R; West Amwell Township, term as commissioner ends December 31, 2025; term as director ends 2023),
Deputy Director Jeff Kuhl (R; Raritan Township, elected to to serve an unexpired term ending 2024; term as deputy director ends 2023)
John E. Lanza (R; Raritan Township, 2025),
Susan Soloway (R; Franklin Township, 2024) and
Shaun C. Van Doren (R; Tewksbury Township, 2023). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are
County Clerk Mary H. Melfi (R; Flemington, 2026),
Sheriff Fredrick W. Brown (R; Alexandria Township, 2025) and
Surrogate Susan J. Hoffman (R; Kingwood Township, 2023).
As of March 2011, there were a total of 2,037 registered voters in Flemington, of which 521 (25.6%) were registered as Democrats, 633 (31.1%) were registered as Republicans and 880 (43.2%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 3 voters registered as Libertarians or Greens.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 50.4% of the vote (732 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 47.5% (689 votes), and other candidates with 2.1% (31 votes), among the 1,467 ballots cast by the borough's 2,157 registered voters (15 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 68.0%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 49.9% of the vote (794 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 47.1% (750 votes) and other candidates with 2.1% (34 votes), among the 1,591 ballots cast by the borough's 2,118 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.1%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 50.0% of the vote (761 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 49.9% (760 votes) and other candidates with 1.3% (25 votes), among the 1,523 ballots cast by the borough's 1,966 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 77.5.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 68.1% of the vote (656 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 29.3% (282 votes), and other candidates with 2.6% (25 votes), among the 994 ballots cast by the borough's 2,117 registered voters (31 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 47.0%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 54.6% of the vote (601 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 32.2% (354 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 10.2% (112 votes) and other candidates with 1.8% (20 votes), among the 1,101 ballots cast by the borough's 2,032 registered voters, yielding a 54.2% turnout.
Students in public school for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade attend the Flemington-Raritan Regional School District, which also serves children from the neighboring community of Raritan Township. As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of six schools, had an enrollment of 3,079 students and 327.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 9.4:1. The district consists of four K–4 elementary schools, one intermediate school for grades 5 and 6 and a middle school for grades 7 and 8. Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Barley Sheaf School (350 students; in grades K–4, located in Flemington), Copper Hill School (413; Pre-K–4, Ringoes), Francis A. Desmares School (447; K–4, Flemington),
Robert Hunter School (388; K–4, Flemington), Reading-Fleming Intermediate School, (682; 5–6, Flemington) and J. P. Case Middle School (781; 7–8, Flemington). Flemington is allocated two of the nine seats on the regional district's board of education.
Public school students in ninth through twelfth grades attend Hunterdon Central Regional High School, part of the Hunterdon Central Regional High School District, which serves students in central Hunterdon County from Flemington and from Delaware Township, East Amwell Township, Raritan Township and Readington Township. As of the 2018–2019 school year, the high school had an enrollment of 2,844 students and 238.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.9:1. Seats on the high school district's nine-member board of education are allocated based in the population of the five constituent municipalities who participate in the school district, with one seat allocated to Flemington.
Eighth grade students from all of Hunterdon County are eligible to apply to attend the high school programs offered by the Hunterdon County Vocational School District, a county-wide vocational school district that offers career and technical education at its campuses in Raritan Township and at programs sited at local high schools, with no tuition charged to students for attendance.
As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 13.85 miles (22.29 km) of roadways, of which 12.09 miles (19.46 km) were maintained by the municipality, 0.17 miles (0.27 km) by Hunterdon County and 1.59 miles (2.56 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Several major roads that pass through the borough. These include U.S. Route 202, Route 31 and Route 12.
Flemington Circle is the largest of three traffic circles in the Flemington area and sits just to the southeast of Flemington's historic downtown. U.S. Route 202 and Route 31 approach the circle separately from the north and continue south concurrently, and the circle is the eastern terminus of Route 12. It is one of only a rapidly diminishing number of New Jersey's once-widespread traffic circles still extant according to its original design. The circle sees significant congestion on weekends because of the new developments and big-box retailers. The circle also sees a higher rate of traffic accidents and violations than any other region of Flemington and Raritan Township. Unlike most circles, traffic on US 202 does not yield on entry; US 202, being a main four-lane divided highway, gets the right of way.
One other traffic circle exists on Route 12 at Mine Street west of the Flemington Circle, where Route 12 traffic has the right of way. The intersection of Route 12 and Main Street west of the Flemington Circle was converted to a roundabout in 2009.
Trans-Bridge Lines provides frequent daily bus service, west to Doylestown / Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and east to Newark Liberty International Airport, the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan and John F. Kennedy International Airport. Round-trip tickets to the PABT cost $15.
The Hunterdon County LINK provide local bus service on Routes 16 / 19 / 21 which operate to / from Raritan Township, Route 23 to / from Bridgewater Commons Mall and Somerville; Route 15 to Hampton; Route 14 to / from Lambertville; and Route 17 / 18 between Milford and Clinton.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Flemington include: