NJ’s smallest town, Tavistock, has a population of 9
Much has been written about the tiniest municipality in the state, Tavistock, before. People, myself included, find it and its story so intriguing. Especially in a state where we are so densely populated that we can’t imagine living in a town with less than 900 residents, let alone 9. But the town and the story of its inception are worth reading about again especially as an homage to its 100th anniversary, which is coming up next year.
According to an article on NJ.com, it all started in 1921. Frank Middleton, an executive of the Victor Talking Machine company in Camden and a resident of Haddonfield, found a unique way to bypass the blue laws that prohibited golfing on Sunday: He simply created a new town within the old town.
A 180-acre parcel of farmland just over the Haddonfield borough line in 1920, on the edge of what was then Centre Township. The town was incorporated on February 16, 1921. He then poached a few hundred members from the town golf club and made them members of the new one. Now he had himself some company!
No problem getting a foursome out of all the golf enthusiasts who looked forward to finally being able to play on Sundays. Tavistock is 0.28 square miles small, with one road called Tavistock Lane that is home to the town’s three elegant residences and its country club. The Tavistock Country Club flanks the private Tavistock Golf Course, which of course is the town’s whole point.
But don’t think you get off cheap when you live in a town with only nine residents. Because they have to pay neighboring Haddonfield for police, fire, and public works (as well as tuition to send the two Tavistock children to Haddonfield schools) the town boosts one of the highest property tax bills in the state, the average being about $31,000.
In 2010, the census counted a population of five in Tavistock, but in 2012, a new family moved in, leasing land from the country club and building a new home on it. That one move nearly doubled the population, upping it from five to nine.
The town hasn’t changed much since its not-so-humble beginnings in 1921, and that’s apparently just fine for its small sprinkling of residents.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.