Skip to main content

Jersey City Past and Present: Chronology

Chronology and Timeline for Jersey City Past and Present

  • Lenape people lived on the eastern and western banks of the Hudson River.

1497

  • John Cabot explored the coast of North America for England.

1524

  • Giovanni da Verrazano sailed for France and entered New York Bay.

1609

  • Henry Hudson on the Half Moon sailed for The Netherlands looking for a northwest route to the Indies; he sailed from Newfoundland to the Chesapeake Bay and returned northward to enter New York Bay.

1610

  • Dutch West India Company received charter from The Netherlands.

1623

  • The Dutch West India Company established its headquarters at New Amsterdam for colony of New Netherlands on east and west shores of the Hudson River. First settlers came to colony.

1630

  • Dutch settlement began on the western shoreline of the Hudson River at Communipaw.
  • Michael Pauw granted an estate he called "Pavonia" through the patroon system
  • Island of Harsimus claimed by Dutch West India Company as part of grant to Michael Pauw.

1633

1634

  • Jan Evertse Bout became superintendent of Communipaw settlement at Pavonia. He built first house at Communipaw Bay (later South Cove).

1636

1638

1643

  • Indians wars began at Pavonia during tenure of William Kieft.

1647

1658

1660

1661

  • First public road built connecting Communipaw settlement with Bergen Township.

1662

Related entries:

English Control and Dutch Culture (1664-1775)

1664

  • Peter Stuyvesant surrendered New Netherlands to the English. Charles II and the Duke of York conveyed all the land between the Delaware and the Hudson Rivers to John, Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret as the proprietors of the colony of New Jersey.
  • Sip Manor House built by Nicholas Varleth at Newkirk Street and Bergen Avenue.

1668

Governor Philip Carteret of New Jersey approved a new charter for the Town of Bergen.

1669

Site of Newkirk family homestead granted by Governor Philip Carteret.

1680

Congregation of Dutch Reformed Church erected Octagonal Church at southeast corner of Bergen Avenue and Vroom Street.
It replaced original church.

1682

Begen Township was the government seat of Bergen County (to 1690s).

1690

  • Construction of Summit House by Matthias Newkirk.
  • Cornelius Van Vorst purchased Paulus Hook property from Abraham Isaacsen Planck. This included almost half of present-day Jersey City.
  • Elsworth Tavern, owned by Verdine Elsworth, opened overlooking the Hudson River at present site of Grand and Hudson Street.

1740

John Van Vorst home constructed on Palisade Avenue.

1760?

First part of Van Wagenen home (Apple Tree House) constructed.

1760

  • Jacob Prior constructed a tidewater mill at Mill Creek.
  • Retirement Hall built by Captain Thomas Brown, a merchant and slave trader.

1762

Eagle (Tise) Tavern) (later Eagle (Tise) Tavern) constructed on Bergen Avenue near Glenwood Avenue.

1764

Ferry service established between Paulus Hook and New York City.

1773

Second Bergen Church built at southwest corner of Bergen Avenue and Vroom Street.

The Revolutionary War Era (1776-1789)

1776

  • General George Washington ordered fortifications of Paulus Hook but is taken by British.
  • Patriots abandon Paulus Hook and retreat to Bergen Township.
  • Bergen Township fell to British and was abandoned by patriots (October).

1779

  • Major Henry "Light horse Harry" Lee of Virginia captured Paulus Hook fort from the British on August 19.
  • Van Vorst home at Harsimus was occupied by the British after the Battle of Paulus Hook.

1780

  • Story of patriot Jane Tuers (home stood at southeast corner of Bergen Avenue and Mercer Street).
  • Gen. George Washington met Major Gen. Marquis de Lafayette at the "Apple Tree House."
From Townships to Municipality (1790-1869)

1790

Columbian Academy founded on site of Martin Luther King Elementary School (No. 11).

1804

  • Cornelius Van Vorst property sold to Associates of the Jersey Company.
  • Anthony Dey of New York acquired Paulus Hook with ferry privileges from Cornelius Van Vorst.
  • Founding of Township of Van Vorst.

1812

Robert Fulton purchased land on Steuben Street and Green and Morgan Streets for his shipyard.

1815

  • Isaac Edge windmill built at foot of Montgomery Street.
  • George Tise placed the cornerstone of the former Stuyvesant Tavern on the rear wall of his new tavern.

1816

Col. Richard Varick built Prospect Hall overlooking the Hudson River.

1820

Paulus Hook incorporated as the City of Jersey in the County of Bergen by the New Jersey Legislature (January 28);
five freeholders were chosen annually to constitute the Board of Selectmen of Jersey City.

1824

  • Jersey City Glass Works (later P.C. Dummer & Company) founded by George Dummer and Associates at Washington and Essex Street.
  • American Pottery Manufacturing Company opened by David Henderson at corner of Essex and Warren Streets.

1825

  • William Colgate established a factory at Harsimus.
  • Jersey Porcelain & Earthenware Company founded by P.C. Dummer.

1827

Dixon Crucible Company founded.

1829

Second charter of incorporation (January 23) changes name of community to Jersey City.

Volunteer fire department and night watchmen initiated.

Harsimus Cemetery began at Newark Avenue.

1831

St. Peter's R.C. Church founded (January 29). It was the first parish in Jersey City and Hudson County. It was dedicated
in 1839.

1833

  • Treaty between New York and New Jersey to settle riparian rights to Hudson River.
  • American Pottery Manufacturing Company founded by David Henderson.

1835

Greek-revival Barrrow Mansion built in Van Vorst Historic District.

1836

  • Morris Canal extended to Jersey City.
  • New Jersey Railroad cut through Bergen Hill near present site of Journal Square and filled in much of Mill Creek.

1837

Third charter of incorporation of Jersey City; it separated from Bergen Township and was granted its own mayor and
city council.

1838

  • Jersey City separated from Bergen Township and became an independent municipality; Charter for the City of Jersey City adopted (February 22); it permitted the election of a mayor and common council; Dudley Gregory became first mayor of Jersey City.
  • Buck's Hotel on York Street was used for first meeting of mayor and council (April 16).
  • Beacon Racetrack opened in Jersey City Heights area.

1839

The current Provident Savings Institution Bank is founded by Dudley S. Gregory. It was Jersey City's first banking firm.

1840

Southern portion of Bergen County separated from the north becoming Hudson County.

1840s

  • New Jersey Railroad built depot on west side of Hudson Street North of Montgomery Avenue.
  • Bay View-New York Bay Cemetery opened on Ocean Avenue and Garfield & Chapel Avenues.

1841

  • Cunard Line began at Jersey City docks.
  • Third and present building of Old Bergen Church.
  • Township of Van Vorst (former Harsimus) separated from Bergen Township and received a charter (March 11)
    to be an independent municipality (most of downtown Jersey City, excluding Paulus Hook). Ten years later is joined the municipality of Jersey City.

1844

First Presbyterian Church building moved to Paulus Hook from New York City.

1845

Old Hudson County Court House opened at Newark Avenue

1847

Dixon Crucible Company relocated from Massachusetts to Jersey City.

1848

New York Bay Cemetery laid out on the Jersey City Bergen Point Plank Road (now Garfield Avenue).

1849

Central Railroad of New Jersey opened its first terminal at the Jersey City waterfront.

1850s

Erie-Lackawanna Railroad reached Jersey City as its eastern terminus.

1851

  • In March, the Township of Van Vorst became part of Jersey City, becoming the Third and Fourth Wards.
    Horticulturalist Peter Henderson designed Victorian-style Van Vork Park.
  • Construction for Reservoir 3 begun on Summit Avenue.

1852

Town of Hudson separated from North Bergen and was chartered by the New Jersey Legislature in April.

1853

  • Associates of the Jersey Company sold their rights to the waterfront and ferry service to the New Jersey Railroad.
  • Grace Van Vorst Church on Erie Street is consecrated.

1854

Hilton-Holden Homestead built at Clifton Place. It became part of the Underground Railroad.

1855

  • Township of Bergen was chartered. It extended from present-day Journal Square to approximately Communipaw Avenue. It had a population of 4,792.
  • City of Hudson was chartered in April; it had a population of approximately 3,000. The first mayor was Gen. E.R.V. Wright. It is popularly referred to as Jersey City Heights.

1856

  • Keeney & Halladay laid out grid for Lafayette section.
  • Hasbrouck Institute at Mercer Street is opened as a private school for young men. It moved to Crescent Avenue
    in 1893.

1857

Speer Cemetery on Vroom Street made a public burial ground on former DeMott estate. .

1859

First police headquarters constructed at Cooper's Alley and Gregory Street.

1861

  • City Hall of Jersey City constructed at Cooper Place.
  • Central Railroad of New Jersey opened a station in Greenville.

1863

Greenville received charter, making it a separate town from Bergen.

1865

North Baptist Church founded on Jersey Avenue.

1866

  • Library Hall became the town hall of the Township of Bergen.
  • Holy Name Cemetery on West Side Avenue began as a Roman Catholic burial ground.

1867

  • The Evening Journal, Jersey City's first newspaper, began at Exchange Place.
  • The Lincoln Association of Jersey City began tradition of commemorating the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

1868

  • Township of Bergen was renamed Bergen City amd John Hilton became its first mayor.
  • Hudson City Savings Bank founded by Garret D. Van Reipen (second Mayor of Hudson City) at Five Corners location.

1870

Jersey City, City of Bergen and Hudson City merged into one municipality called Jersey City.

New Industries and New Immigrants (1870-1912)

1870

  • Jersey City denied home rule; Hudson City, Bergen and Jersey City consolidated.
  • P. Lorillard Tobacco Company moved to Jersey City from New York.

1871

  • New charter of incorporation for the City of Jersey City.
  • Pennsylvania Railroad began operations at Exchange Place and Harsimus Cove, making Jersey City its eastern terminus

1872

  • Jersey City High School founded (present-day Dickinson High School).
  • William Dickinson became Superintendent of Schools. High School is later named for him.

1873

  • Greenville merged with the municipality of Jersey City (August 11).
  • Alexander Hamilton (no relation to former Secretary of Treasury) fled to Mexico with the contents of the city treasury.

1874

Hudson Dispatch began publication.

1876

  • New Jersey legislature restored home rule to Jersey City with a new charter.
  • Erminnie Smith started the Aesthetic Society.

1877

St. Patrick's R.C. Church at corner of Bramhall Avenue and Grand Street began to serve the Irish immigrant community.

1878

St. Peter's Preparatory School and St. Peter's College founded.

1879

E.F.C. Young elected president of the First National Bank of Jersey City.

1880s

Central Railroad of New Jersey began development of railroad operation at Communipaw Cove.

1880

Peter Woodland, a Hudson River Terminal worker, buried at Bayview-New York Bay Cemetery.

1881

Armbruster's Greenville Schuetzen Park opened as an amusement park.

1884

  • Flemish-Renaissance style Heppenheimer Mansion built on Jersey Avenue.
  • The Academy of Music became Jersey City's first theater.

1886

  • Erie Railroad began construction of a terminal in Pavonia.
  • St. Joseph's Home founded at York Street.

1887

  • Academy of Music opened by Frank Henderson.
  • Odd Volumes founded as a charter member of the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Club.

1889

  • Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace initiated the York Street Project.
  • Present railroad terminal at Jersey City waterfront constructed by Central Railroad of New Jersey.

1890

  • American Sugar Refining Company established at Washington Street.
  • The Nurturing Place founded at York Street.

1891

St. Joseph's Home for Blind at Pavonia Avenue and St. Joseph's School for the Blind at Baldwin Avenue were founded.

1892

Electric trolley began operations in Jersey City.

1893

Whittier House, a social settlement house, founded by Cornelia Foster Bradford at Grand Street.

1894

Hudson (now Kennedy) Boulevard opened.

1895

  • Hudson County (now John F. Kennedy) Boulevard opened.
  • Mary Philbrook, from Jersey City, is first woman in New Jersey admitted to the bar.
  • Regiment Armory completed for the 4th Regiment of the New Jersey National Guard.

1896

Jersey City's City Hall at Grove Street and Montgomery Avenue completed.

1899

Pennsylvania Railroad began the marine freight terminal at Greenville yards.

1901

Jersey City Free Public Library opened.

1903

Publication of "The Housing Conditions of Jersey City" by Mary B. Sayles, a resident of Whittier House.

1904

Jersey City High School opened; it was renamed Dickinson High School in 1913.

1905

St. Mary's Residence at Washington Street opened to working women.

1906

  • First Colgate Clock installed on Jersey City waterfront.
  • Erie Railroad began construction of the Bergen Arches.
  • Jersey City High School (now Dickinson High School) opened; it was renamed in 1913.

1907

  • Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company Warehouse developed in the cobblestone district.
  • The Majestic Theater opened on Grove Street.

1908

  • Powerhouse is activated to generate energy to Hudson & Manhattan Tunnel (February 25).
  • Evening Journal renamed the Jersey Journal.

1910

  • Hudson River Railroad Tunnel opened.
  • Brennan Hudson County Court House on Newark Avenue replaces old Hudson County Court House.

1911

  • Hudson and Manhattan "Tube Trains" (now PATH) began service to New York.
  • St. Ann's Home for Aged founded at Old Bergen Avenue.

1912

Fairmount Hotel Apartment completed.

1913

Lincoln High School opened at Crescent Avenue.

Era of Mayor Frank Hague

1913

  • Lincoln High School opened at Crescent Avenue.
  • Main Post Office opened at Washington Street.
  • Jersey City adopted a commission form of government under the Walsh-Leavitt Commission Government Act of 1911. The voters elect a commission of five members from which one is chosen mayor. Mark Fagan was the first mayor under this plan. It replaced the aldermanic form of government.

1914

Margaret S. Herbermann, MD was appointed the first woman surgeon to Jersey City Hospital, later the Jersey City
Medical Center.

1916

"Black Tom" explosion (July 30).

1917

Frank Hague elected mayor of Jersey City, beginning an era of political control in Hudson County.

1920s

Headquarters for The Trust Company of New Jersey developed by William Heppenheimer.

1921

  • School for Crippled Children opened at Clifton Place.
  • Dempsey-Carpentier fight takes place at Boyle's Thirty Acres (July 2).

1924

  • Colgate clock installed at Jersey City waterfront.
  • Hotel Plaza built in Journal Square area at Sip Avenue.

1925

Mary T. Norton elected the first Congresswoman from Hudson County, representing Bayonne and Jersey City.

1927

  • Holland Tunnel opened.
  • Trust Company of New Jersey headquarters opened at Journal Square.
  • The founding of the New Jersey State Normal School (now New Jersey City University) is approved by the state legislature.

1928

The Stanley Theater opened at Journal Square.

1929

  • The Loew's Jersey Theater opened at Journal Square.
  • Replacement Colgate Clock installed at Jersey City Waterfront.
  • The New Jersey State Normal School opened; it offered a three-year teacher training program for elementary, kindergarten-primary, and secondary teacher training.

1930s

Founding of Snyder High School on Bergen Avenue.

1931

  • Medical Center Complex and Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital opened.
  • Dedication for opening of A. Harry Moore School.
  • Lena Edwards, MD, became a staff physician at the Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital.

1932

Pulaski Memorial Skyway, connecting Jersey City and Newark, is opened.

1935

The New Jersey State Normal School became the New Jersey State Teachers College (now New Jersey City University)
and offered a four-year Bachelor of Science in Education degree.

1936

New Jersey State Teachers College offered a degree program in Health Education and Nursing in cooperation with the
Jersey City Medical Center.

1937

  • Roosevelt Stadium opened at Droyers' Point under the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA).
  • New Jersey National Guard Armory construction completed under a federal WPA project.

1941

Murdoch Hall constructed as part of the Medical Center Complex for the training of nurses.

1942

Miss America Diner opened on Westside Avenue.

1944

Fitgerald-Holota Memorial Park dedicated at intersection of Grove Street and Newark Avenue.

1946

Jackie Robinson broke the "color line" in professional baseball at Roosevelt Stadium.

1947

Frank Hague retired as Mayor of Jersey City.

1949

John V. Kenny brings an end to Hague regime.

1950

Dedication of Statue of Christopher Columbus at Journal Square.

Challenges and Changes in the Post-War City (1950-1975)

1960

Charter revision for Jersey City's municipal government.

1961

Jersey City adopted Plan C under the Optional Municipal Charter Law (Chapter 210 of New Jersey Laws 1950).
The voters citywide elect a mayor and three council members, and the voters of each ward (six) elect one council person.
The council is headed by a council president chosen from its nine members. It replaced the commission form of government
in place from 1913.

1962

  • Father Divine purchase Fairmount Hotel for his Peace Mission Movement.
  • Jersey City State College (now New Jersey City University began the administration of the A. Harry Moore School.

1964

Lena Edwards, MD, received Presidential Medal of Freedom from Lyndon B. Johnson.

1969

Dedication of Martin Luther King, Jr., School (Public School No. 11) at historic site of Bergen Columbian Academy.

1973

McNair/Academic High School opened.

1974

Hudson County Community College began its development in Journal Square area.

Towards a Better Future (1976 - Present)

1976

New Jersey and federal government agreed to preserve and develop former Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal
site as Liberty State Park. It opened on Flag Day, June 14th.

1982

The Kenmare High School opened at York Street.

1984

Afro-American Historical and Cultural Society Museum opened at Greenville Branch of the Jersey City Free Public Library.

1991

The Hudson Dispatch taken over by the Jersey Journal.

1993

  • Liberty Science Center and Hall of Technology opened at Liberty State Park.
  • Restoration of the Loew's Jersey Theater begun by Jersey City Economic Redevelopment Corporation and Friends of the Loew's.

1995

Renovated Fairmount Hotel Apartments opened as a senior residence.

1998

  • Jersey City State College is restructured and renamed New Jersey City University.
  • Commemorative statue of Jackie Robinson placed in front of PATH terminal at Journal Square.

1999

Christopher Columbus Square dedicated at Liberty State Park.

2000

Hudson_Bergen Light Rail of NJ Transit opened between Bayonne and Jersey.

2001

Jersey City Museum on Montgomery Street opened in renovated warehouse.

Loading ...