The Cooper Grist Mill, on Route 24 West of Chester was erected in 1826. It is one of the few water-powered mills still operating in New Jersey.
Historic Chester, NJ was once known as “Black River” was established in the early 1700’s. Its rich history includes professions in the early days such as farming the area’s rich lands, mining, milling, and innkeeping until iron ore brought prosperity to the area in the latter half of the 1800’s. The majority of the buildings erected along Main St. during this boom period were used as shops for the merchants. Today, many of these same buildings are still used in that same capacity. Mining declined and the area returned to farming as the primary business of the Chester area. Farms, their bountiful farm stands and “pick-your-own” fields, continue to operate in the Chester area.
The Borough of Chester experienced a major change in the 70’s with the establishment of unique retail shops featuring crafts, collectibles, clothes, gifts, eateries and numerous antique stores. Throughout the 90’s the town evolved from a well known antique center to a more diversified shopping area offering a selection of specialty stores. While there are still several excellent antique and memorabilia stores, there are also over 100 shops including jewelry, unique gifts, furnishings, pets, confections, restaurants, clothing and accessories to name a few. A modern-day visit to Chester allows you to go back in history, if only for a brief day.