When talking about Chester in southwestern Morris County, you need to distinguish between the Borough of Chester, which is the shopping village, and Chester Township, the surrounding area which is decidedly more rural. At about 1½-square miles, the borough is located at the intersection of Routes 206 and 24 and offers quaint streetscapes lined with one-of-a-kind boutiques, antique shops and restaurants. Chester Township includes 29.8 square miles of farmland, newer residential developments and historic homes.
Incorporated in 1799, over 40%--or 12 square miles--of the township is preserved as open space. There are nature reserves, parks and deed-restricted agricultural property under the state Farmland Preservation Program, which buys the development rights while allowing the farmer to retain title and continue working the land.
The Borough of Chester was incorporated in 1930, and is a separate municipality that shares many services with the township such as a library, first aid squad, fire department, community pool, athletic programs, civic organizations and schools.