The origins of the borough began in 1941, when the federal government acquired 91 acres (370,000 m2) in Randolph Township as the site of a 300-unit housing project for war industry employees. The borough's name is derived from the victory gardens planted at homes and parks during World War II to provide additional supplies of fruits and vegetables. The federal government paid for all infrastructure. Streets are named for U.S. Presidents.
Randolph Township residents approved a referendum as part of a September 1951 special election in which voters were asked if the township's Victory Gardens neighborhood should be removed from the township and created as an independent municipality for its 1,300 residents covering 92 acres (37 ha). Residents of other areas of Randolph Township argued that the compensation paid by the federal government for the more than 250 students attending the Randolph Township Schools did not adequately cover the cost of their public education, that the housing and other structures in Victory Gardens was out of compliance with the Township's building and zoning ordinances and that the overwhelming Democratic Party political leanings of residents of Victory Gardens were out of sync with the largely Republican Party township.
Victory Gardens was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on June 20, 1951, from portions of Randolph Township, based on the results of the referendum passed on September 18, 1951.
A project approved in 1973 brought the construction of 184 units of garden apartments on a site covering 12.4 acres (5.0 ha), providing additional rateables and offering permanent housing for an estimated 400 people, that would contrast with the temporary original structures built in the 1940s that had long passed their expected lifespan.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 0.146 square miles (0.378 km2), all of which is land.
The borough borders the Morris County municipalities of Dover and Randolph.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,520 people, 533 households, and 398.2 families residing in the borough. The population density was 10,419.2 per square mile (4,022.9/km2). There were 566 housing units at an average density of 3,879.8 per square mile (1,498.0/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 58.49% (889) White, 16.25% (247) Black or African American, 0.66% (10) Native American, 2.43% (37) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 17.43% (265) from other races, and 4.74% (72) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 62.96% (957) of the population.
There were 533 households out of which 41.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.0% were married couples living together, 21.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.3% were non-families. 20.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 3.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the borough, the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 34.2% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 6.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.3 years. For every 100 females there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 90.8 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $53,269 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,599) and the median family income was $52,500 (+/- $6,885). Males had a median income of $34,063 (+/- $5,135) versus $33,750 (+/- $9,755) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $18,340 (+/- $1,640). About 11.9% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.6% of those under age 18 and 0.0% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 1,546 people, 564 households, and 381 families residing in the borough. The population density was 10,582.6 people per square mile (3,979.4/km2). There were 588 housing units at an average density of 4,025.0 per square mile (1,513.5/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 51.36% White, 21.41% African American, 0.06% Native American, 5.43% Asian, 15.27% from other races, and 6.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 50.65% of the population.
15.27% of Victory Gardens residents identified themselves as being of Colombian ancestry in the 2000 Census, the highest percentage of the population of any municipality in the United States.
There were 564 households out of which 39.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.3% were married couples living together, 17.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.3% were non-families. 25.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.21.
In the borough the population was spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 39.3% from 25 to 44, 19.2% from 45 to 64, and 5.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $44,375, and the median income for a family was $43,594. Males had a median income of $32,841 versus $24,875 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $20,616. About 8.9% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.4% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.
Victory Gardens is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Victory Gardens, the most common system used in the state, is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2016, the Mayor of Victory Gardens is Democrat David L. Holeman Jr., whose term of office ends December 31, 2016. Members of the Borough Council are Vera Cheatham (D, 2016), Ondria Garcia-Montes (D, 2018), James R. Glass (D, 2016; elected to serve an unexpired term), Veronica Hedgepath (D, 2018), Wayne Jacobus (D, 2017) and Ismael Lorenzo Sr. (D, 2017).
Joan Cegelka won election in November 2013 to serve the balance of the term expiring in 2014 that had been held by David Holeman before he took office as mayor, with Vera Cheatham winning re-election to a full three-year term and Independent Hector Lorenzo Jr. knocking off incumbent Sonia Hall for terms starting January 1, 2014.
In December 2010, Councilmember Ondria Garcia-Montes was placed on probation for 12 months after an incident in which she falsely told police that a criminal suspect who was the subject of a search warrant was not in her apartment.
Dover serves as the lead agency operating a joint municipal court that include Victory Gardens and the neighboring municipalities of Mine Hill Township, Mount Arlington and Wharton. Established in 2009, the joint municipal court was forecast to offer annual savings in excess of $250,000 over the 10-year life of the agreement.
Victory Gardens is located in the 11th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 25th state legislative district.
New Jersey's Eleventh Congressional District is represented by Rodney Frelinghuysen (R, Harding Township). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (D, Paramus, 2019).
For the 2016–2017 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 25th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Anthony Bucco (R, Boonton Town) and in the General Assembly by Tony Bucco (R, Boonton Township) and Michael Patrick Carroll (R, Morris Township). The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).
Morris County is governed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, who are elected at-large to three-year terms on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats up for election each year as part of the November general election. The Freeholder Board sets policies for the operation of six super-departments, more than 30 divisions plus authorities, commissions, boards and study committees. Actual day-to-day operation of departments is supervised by County Administrator, John Bonanni. As of 2016, Morris County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Kathryn A. DeFillippo (Roxbury Township, term ends December 31, 2016), Deputy Freeholder William "Hank" Lyon (Montville, 2017), Douglas Cabana (Boonton Township, 2016), John Cesaro (Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, 2018), Thomas J. Mastrangelo (Montville, 2016) Christine Myers (Mendham Township, 2018), and Deborah Smith (Denville, 2018). Constitutional officers are County Clerk Ann F. Grossi (Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, 2018), Sheriff Edward V. Rochford (Morris Plains, 2016) and Surrogate John Pecoraro (Mendham Borough, 2019).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 523 registered voters in Victory Gardens, of which 234 (44.7%) were registered as Democrats, 58 (11.1%) were registered as Republicans and 231 (44.2%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were no voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 81.8% of the vote (301 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 17.7% (65 votes), and other candidates with 0.5% (2 votes), among the 372 ballots cast by the borough's 565 registered voters (4 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 65.8%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 77.4% of the vote (302 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 21.0% (82 votes) and other candidates with 0.5% (2 votes), among the 390 ballots cast by the borough's 575 registered voters, for a turnout of 67.8%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 63.7% of the vote (209 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 32.9% (108 votes) and other candidates with 0.4% (2 votes), among the 328 ballots cast by the borough's 515 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 63.7.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie and Democrat Barbara Buono each received 48.4% of the vote (90 cast), ahead of other candidates with 3.2% (6 votes), among the 224 ballots cast by the borough's 556 registered voters (38 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 40.3%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 58.4% of the vote (118 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 27.2% (55 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 8.4% (17 votes) and other candidates with 0.5% (1 votes), among the 202 ballots cast by the borough's 544 registered voters, yielding a 37.1% turnout.
Victory Gardens is a non-operating school district, with all public school students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in Victory Gardens attending the schools of the Dover School District in Dover, which has been consolidated between the two municipalities since 2010. Schools in the Dover district (with 2011-12 enrollment from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Academy Street Elementary School (grades K-6, 511 students), East Dover Elementary School (K-6, 439), North Dover Elementary School (PreK-6, 675), Dover Middle School (7-8, 475) and Dover High School (9-12, 868). Public school students in grades 7-12 from Mine Hill Township attend Dover Middle School and Dover High School as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Mine Hill School District. The high school was recognized with the National Blue Ribbon School Award in 2013.
As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 2.89 miles (4.65 km) of roadways, of which 2.78 miles (4.47 km) were maintained by the municipality and 0.11 miles (0.18 km) by Morris County.
County Route 665 (South Salem Street) runs through the northwest corner of the borough, connecting Randolph on both sides.
NJ Transit offers local bus service on the 875 route. NJ Transit had previously offered service in the borough on the MCM2 and MCM7 routes.