Prior to becoming a separate Municipality, Manville was a portion of Hillsborough Township, which geographically is the largest Township in the County of Somerset and tenth largest Municipality in the State of New Jersey. The Township of Hillsborough was itself founded in 1771. Farmland was carved from the wilderness during the century prior to the Revolutionary War. During the war itself, a number of skirmishes were fought and raids staged in the area. Famous Generals such as George Washington and Nathaniel Green wintered in the area, as well as marching their troops through the area that today is located within Manville’s corporate boundaries.
Following the War, the quiet farm life that had existed earlier, was resumed. Much activity took place in the Manville area due to its strategic location at the confluences of the Millstone and Raritan Rivers. Later, development was accelerated by the construction of the Delaware-Raritan Canal providing barge services between the City of New Brunswick and City of Trenton.
The early Twentieth Century brought dramatic and far-reaching change. The Johns-Manville Products Corporation, the world’s largest producer of asbestos, decided to locate its plant here due to the advantages of the confluences of the waterways, railroads and major highways in the area, which would, in 1929, become Manville.
With the locating of Johns-Manville, several million dollars of industrial development took place within the span of a few years. In conjunction with the location of the world’s largest asbestos plant in the area, came rapid residential and commercial development in areas adjacent to the manufacturing facility. Consequently, in 1929, a referendum was held approving the creation of a separate municipality to be legally known as the Borough of Manville, named officially after the Johns-Manville Corporation.
Since 1929 the Borough of Manville has been a separate municipal corporation of the State of New Jersey. The form of government is the Mayor and Council system, which calls for an elected Mayor and six elected council people. The Mayor is elected for a four- (4-) year term and two council people are elected each year for three- (3-) year terms. Legislative functions of government are administered by the Mayor and Council which meet on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at the Municipal Complex. Administrative functions are delegated to the Borough Administrator who operates on a full-time basis.