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17 Amazing Facts About New Jersey History

By Amy Wood in New Jersey Neighborhoods, in New Jersey Home Builder, in New Jersey History


6 hours ago

New Jersey might not get as much press as New York or Los Angeles, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting place. In fact, the Garden State has some very interesting history, and there are many fascinating facts you probably don’t know about the state. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Native Americans first inhabited the New Jersey area about 15,000 years ago. That’s long before Columbus ever set out to find the New World!
  2. When settlers did land in America, New Jersey was one of the 13 original colonies.
  3. Between 1611 and 1614, part of New Jersey was known as New Netherlands. The three Dutchmen who first surveyed it named it after their homeland.
  4. In 1638, part of New Jersey became New Sweden, when it was settled by Swedes.
  5. When New Jersey did get its current name, it was named for Jersey Island, off the coast of the United Kingdom.
  6. During the war for independence, New Jersey was the site of more than 100 battles, and it became known as the Crossroads of the Revolution.
  7. New Jersey was also home to the first Native American reservation, which was created in 1758 and sold to the state by the inhabitants in 1801.
  8. New Jersey became a state in 1787. That was also the year the state became the third to ratify the United States Constitution.
  9. The Atlantic City boardwalk isn’t only the longest in the world (at six miles), but it’s also the oldest, having been constructed in 1870. It was originally built to keep sand from being tracked into beachfront buildings.
  10. In 1858, in Haddonfield, New Jersey, William Parker Foulke unearthed the first complete dinosaur skeleton found in North America. In 1868, Hadrosaurus foulkii (which had already proven that dinosaurs were real and could be bipedal) was also the first to be mounted for public display.
  11. Salt water taffy, that chewy, stringy candy delight, was invented on the Atlantic City boardwalk in the 1880s.
  12. During the 19th century, Thomas Edison worked from a laboratory in Menlo Park, where he invented countless items we still use today and patented thousands more.
  13. The Holland Tunnel, which connects New York with New Jersey and plunges to depths of up to 93 feet below the Hudson River, was opened in 1927 and became the world’s first mechanically ventilated underwater tunnel!
  14. The Jersey Shore became a major attraction in the 1920s, around the same time the state became the first to ratify prohibition. Needless to say, bootlegging and gangsters seen in shows like Boardwalk Empire are based on fact from the era!
  15. During the Great Depression, which hit New Jersey in 1933, the state issued begging licenses to destitute residents!
  16. Charles Augustus Lindbergh, also known as The Lindbergh Baby, was abducted around this time from his home in Hopewell, New Jersey.
  17. In 1937, Manchester, New Jersey was the site of the Hindenburg tragedy, when the airship suddenly caught fire.

There you have it. Some of the most interesting facts about early New Jersey history. The state has seen many other historic moments since the early days and has also been home to many famous people, including Bruce Springsteen, Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame, Zach Braff and many others. But don’t take our word for it. Come and visit us in New Jersey, and discover all the interesting facts yourself!

New Homes: Country Classics at Frenchtown

Amy Wood

Vice President of Operations at Country Classics

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