About Salem County

DISCOVER THE POSSIBILITIES IN SALEM COUNTY
In an age of urban sprawl, Salem County stands out as an unspoiled oasis with a genuine, “down-home country” feel that pervades every facet of the county.  Its agricultural, historical, cultural and economic characteristics are surpassed only by the people here who work as a team to preserve the features that make the county great while planning to keep it viable for future generations.

Salem, which means “peace,” is a place steeped in history and tradition. The county is the site of the first Quaker Colony in North America established in 1675.  The majestic Salem Oak, which still stands today, is said to be the site where John Fenwick, a member of the Religious Society of Friends, entered into a treaty with the Lenni-Lenape tribe for the land that is Salem County today.  The exchange between John Fenwick and the Lenape Indians planted the seed that would grow into Salem County’s rich history.

Even in those early days, Salem County had a reputation for being a peaceful place, and that quality attracted many settlers.  Swedes, Finns, English, Germans, Africans, Irish, and French Huguenots soon made the County home before the Revolution.  In time, Salem became home to distinctive architecture, a rich maritime heritage, and many Revolutionary War and Underground Railroad sites. To this day, residents and visitors can journey to places where lives were risked and sometimes lost in this country’s fight for freedom.

Salem County features some of the finest wildlife areas in New Jersey. The county’s natural features include six rivers, more than 34,000 acres of meadow and marshland, tidal and freshwater wetlands, 40 lakes and ponds, beaches, expansive woodlands, a critical underground aquifer, numerous streams, and important headwaters.

Much like times past, Salem County is still a place of open spaces, making it attractive to the agricultural industry and business developers alike. While 42.6 percent of the land is under active farm cultivation, county developers, and builders are cultivating the terrain for new businesses and industry to take their place among the already established and flourishing areas of manufacturing.

The County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, which has met continuously in Salem City, the county seat, since 1694. Peaceful surroundings, coupled with a solid, diverse educational system, a variety of state-of-the-art health care options, and distinct small-town communities, make Salem County a great place to live, to work, and to play.