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The King of Drakesville

By Linda Tancs

In what would become Drakesville, New Jersey (present-day Ledgewood), European settlers pioneered Morris County’s iron industry in the 1700s. The area was originally named for Abraham Drake, who owned a mill and a tavern. One of his grandsons, Jacob, later achieved prominence as a colonel of the western battalion of the Morris County militia during the Revolutionary War and as a member of the first New Jersey Legislature. Despite the Drakes’ fame, the local economy really prospered under the helm of Theodore King, who invested in mining, real estate and hotels and founded a steamboat company as Lake Hopatcong began to court tourists. The pioneering spirit of these early settlers is commemorated through rehabilitated buildings located at Drakesville Historic Park in the Ledgewood historic district of Roxbury Township. You’ll find the King Store there, flanked by the King Homestead as well as the Silas Riggs House, a so-called saltbox house because of its extended, rear sloping roofline reminiscent of the design of salt containers of colonial times.

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