What is now Nutley was originally incorporated as Franklin Township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 18, 1874, from portions of Belleville Township.

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Mills situated along the Third River in the area now known as Memorial Park I became Nutley's second major industry.

John and Thomas Speer, Joseph Kingsland, and Henry Duncan all operated mills in the town during the 1800s.

Current streets in Nutley are named after these mill owners.

Henry Duncan built several mills throughout the town and established the village of Franklinville consisting of 30 homes and a few small businesses which later became the center of Nutley.

John Treat and Thomas Stagg purchased lots adjacent to Van Geisen's in 16 respectively.

The Van Riper House is another building from the era.

The first brownstone quarry in Nutley is believed to have been in operation by the early 18th century and was the town's first major industry.

Jobs at the brownstone quarry in the Avondale section of Nutley provided work for many Italian and Irish immigrants.

One of Duncan's buildings has been modified and now serves as the town hall. During the late 1880s, painter Frank Fowler founded an artists' colony on The Enclosure, a dead-end street that is near the Third River, a stream that runs through the town's parks.

Later artist residents of the street included Frederick Dana Marsh, Reginald Marsh and muralist Michael Lenson.

a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serve the educational, cultural and historical needs of the community.