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History of Hoboken
HOBOKEN 1907

Originally published in 1907
THIS WEB VERSION COPYRIGHT 2003 GET NJ

THE City of Hoboken was incorporated March 28th, 1855, at which time it had a population of 6,727. On March 15th, 1859, a portion of the city, including Castle Point, was annexed to Weehawken, but in 1876 this section was re-annexed to Hoboken. The growth of the population of the city after its incorporation is shown in the following table:

1850 9,659
1890 43,64
1865 12,976
1895 54,083
1870 20,297
1900 59,364
1875 24,766
1905 65,000
1990 30,999
1906 70,000
1885 37,721

The figures given in the above table indicate that the development of the city for the past 5o years was continuous and rapid, the average annual increase in the population being more than 1,000. Only brief reference is made here to the early history of the city, the principal object of the Board of Trade in issuing this pamphlet being to call attention to the commercial and manufacturing advantages of Hoboken at the present time. Attention is also: called to the public works, and institutions, public and private, of the city in their hearing upon its development and upon the welfare of its inhabitants.

For twenty-five years or more after its incorporation Hoboken was a popular resort for residents of the Metropolis, who spent Sundays in the Elysian Fields, in the northern end of the city, which was a kind of picnic ground where thousands of pleasure seekers enjoyed themselves at the summer gardens anti under the shade trees which lined the "River Walk." One of the favorite places of the pleasure seekers was connected with the "Colonnade Hotel," which is shown in the accompanying cut.

John Stevens, the founder of the city, had five sons – John C., Robert L., Richard, James and Edwin A. Richard died young, and on the death of the father his sons, John C., Robert L. and Edwin A. bought out the other heirs. Subsequently (1856) Edwin A. inherited from Robert L. and bought from John C. the whole estate which included all the lands within the present limits of the city, excepting that portion known as the Coster Estate.

As early, as the year 1838, when the Hoboken Land & Improvement Co. was incorporated by all act of The Legislature of the State of New Jersey, it was given power to purchase, improve, mortgage and dispose of lands and other estates in and about Hoboken, for the purpose of grading and laying out the streets and squares, erecting wharves, etc. The capital stock of the company was all owned by the heirs of John Stevens. The Hoboken Ferries (now owned by the Lackawanna R. R.) belonged to this company until 1903.

As will be inferred from its charter the company erected many of the earlier buildings and is to-day the owner of many dwellings in the city.

In selling its lands the Hoboken Land and Improvement Company restricted them to certain businesses and required the purchaser to erect brick or stone buildings not less than three stories in height.

These restrictions resulted in building tip the city in a substantial manner and free from some objectionable features that prevail elsewhere.

This company constructed the section of railroad from Hoboken to Newark, thus enabling the Morris & Essex R. R. to reach Hoboken. It assisted financially in the completion of the Erie tunnel, in the construction of the railroad from the Eric tunnel to the Del. & Hudson Canal Co.'s coal locks at Weehawken, now known as the New Jersey Junction R. R., an important link in the West Shore system. It also assisted financially in the construction of the former horse car lines, and gave the terminal tract of land on south side of Hudson Place and east of Hudson Street to the North Hudson Co. Ry.

In these and many other ways the Hoboken Land & Improvement Company helped in the development of the city.

As a result of the favorable location of Hoboken, its proximity to the City of New York and accessibility from all parts of the country, its growth was steady and rapid, so that the Elysian Fields pleasure grounds referred to above soon disappeared and made way for building and factory sites.

The city contained 270 acres of upland and 450 acres of meadow. In 1885 two hundred acres of the former and too acres of the latter lands were built upon. At the present time less than 150 acres of meadow remain, but this land is rapidly being filled in and made available principally for factory sites, so that in the first decade of this century probably all property within the city limits will be improved.

The rapid development of the city is in no small measure due to the great trans-Atlantic steamship companies which are located on its river front. These include the North German Lloyd Steamship Co., the Hamburg-American Packet Co., the Netherlands American Steam Navigation Co., the Scandinavian American Line and the Wilson Line.

Other important factors to advance the growth of the city were a good and adequate water supply, ample banking facilities, good street railway service and other public utilities, including the telegraph and telephone. Important factors, too, were the educational institutions, both private and public, which have been maintained at a high standard. Their accommodations have at all times been ample.

The city is especially proud of its school of mechanical engineering, the Stevens Institute of Technology, which has acquired a world-wide reputation and ranks with the best technical schools of the country.

The Stevens Institute was founded by Mr. Edwin A. Stevens, was incorporated in 1870, and opened its doors for the admission of students in 1871.

The public schools of the city, eight in number, were erected as follows: No. 1, Garden Street between Third and Fourth Streets, 1858, No. 2, Garden Street between Ninth and Tenth Streets, 1862, presented to the city by the Stevens family; No. 3, Adams between Third and Fourth Streets, 1870; No. 4, Park Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Streets, 1878; Not 5, corner Clinton and Second Streets, 1887; No. 6, Willow Avenue and Eleventh Street, 1891; No, 7, corner Park Avenue and Newark Street, 1897; No. 8, corner Jefferson and Seventh Streets, 1904; No. 9, corner Monroe and Second Streets, under construction, 1906, and the High School; condemnation proceedings have been begun to secure, at commodious site for this building, and the work of construction will begin as soon as title to the property shall have been secured.

The Stevens School, which is the academic department of the Stevens Institute, the Hoboken Academy, Eagan's and Schell's Business Schools, the Academy of the Sacred Heart, St. Mary's R.C. School and St. Joseph's R. C. School are the principal private educational institutions.

TOPOGRAPHY

FOR an excellent description of the geology of Hudson County the reader is referred to the paper by Israel C. Russell in the annals of the New York Academy of Science, Vol. II, p. 2. The area of Hoboken is nearly one and a half square miles. The length along the Hudson River front is about one and one-half miles. The range between high and low water is but five feet. The narrowest width of the Hudson River is between Twelfth Street in Hoboken to Twenty-third Street in New York City, where it is 3,700 feet. The channel depth is sixty feet and the silt bottom of the river is 150 to 200 feet deep to the rock.

GRADES

IN 1890 the Mayor and Council adopted a grade map, which provides for all new streets on the meadow portion to he about five feet above mean high water. The marsh lands are two feet below the same datum. The highest land is at Castle Point, where it is 1oo feet above the river, and the average height of the upland portion of the city is about 20. The easterly crest of the Palisades, lying along the west boundary of the city, ranges from 150 at the southerly end to 200 at the northerly one above mean high tide.

SEWERAGE

HOBOKEN, like most every city in the world, has had problems in the matter of correct drainage to solve, and has employed from time to time during the last forty years expert engineers to advise on the subject, but unfortunately, like in the history of many other cities, their advice was not always heeded. It may be said in short that the sewerage system of the uplands is modern and adequate to its purposes. That of the lowlands is what is called a tidal system, with its inherent defects. The improvement of this section of the city by the installation of an up-to-date system is now under contemplation by the city fathers. The total length of streets as mapped is 43 miles. Oif which 38 miles are improved. There are 20 miles of stone paved streets and 5 miles of asphalt streets.

TITLE OR DEDICATION MAPS

AS noted in the historical portion, the first map dedicating streets, called by lawyers the "Loss Map," was made by Mr. John Stevens in 1804. It covers that section of the city lying between Newark, Eighth, Hudson Streets and Willow Avenue.

In 1858 certain changes in the Loss Map were made by the Hoboken Land & Improvement Co.

In 1860 the Coster Map was made. It covers the low lands extending between the north and south boundaries of the city and between Willow Avenue and the west boundary.

In 1869 Messrs. Butts, Kerrigan and Greyer dedicated a small portion south of Newark Street, between Bloomfield and Garden Streets.

That portion of the city lying between Castle Point and Willow Avenue, and between Eighth and Eleventh Streets, was not dedicated by map, but the Loss plan has been carried out by the I-I. L. & I. Co. from time to time as that company sold lots thereon. In 1886 the H. I,. & I. Co. dedicated – subject to certain restrictions, – that portion between Eleventh and Fourteenth Streets and Washington Street and Willow Avenue, and, in 1890 dedicated Hudson Street, between Tenth and Fourteenth Streets.

In 1903 Castle Point Terrace between Eighth and Tenth Streets, was dedicated by Col. E. A. Stevens and Richard Stevens, Willow Avenue, north of Fourteenth Street was not dedicated by any map. The same may be said of the whole of Ferry Street and Hudson Place.

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Hudson County Facts Winter 2006 by Anthony Olszewski - Hudson County History
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