Not a lot of people know that NJ’s first-ever city is Jersey City. And not a lot know that it also had a different name originally.

Like a lot of NJ’s prominent big cities, Jersey City is steeped in history. It traces its roots back to 1660 when it was founded by the Dutch.

Originally known as Netherlands, Hudson, Paulus Hook, or in Dutch, "Hoeck" meaning Point of Land, it holds the distinction of being the oldest city in New Jersey and the birthplace of our nation's Religious Freedom and the right to own land.

Welcome to Jersey City sign at the Holland Tunnel (Google Maps)
Welcome to Jersey City sign at the Holland Tunnel (Google Maps)

The city's story began in 1630 when Michael Reyniersz Pauw received the land, but due to unfulfilled promises, it passed to Peter Stuyvesant, who established a settlement in Bergen, marked by self-government and Dutch influences.

“Bergen" was the name of New Jersey's first permanently settled village, at 800 square feet, at what is now Bergen Square in Jersey City. On September 22, 1668, Governor Cartaret granted the village a charter, and it became the "Towne of Bergen."

The name Bergen, used throughout Hudson County, is taken from the original Bergen, New Netherland settlement at Bergen Square.

Jersey City (Google Street View)
Jersey City (Google Street View)

Alexander Hamilton later designed Downtown Jersey City after the Revolutionary War, naming streets after war heroes.

A significant chapter unfolded during the Underground Railroad era, where Jersey City served as a crucial stop for former slaves seeking freedom. The Hudson River, known as the "River Jordan," facilitated their journey on ferries, fishing, and coal boats.

World War II saw Jersey City attracting millions of European immigrants, turning it into a melting pot. However, post-industrial decline led to disrepair.

Developers revitalized the waterfront, transforming it into a skyline adorned with museums, tall towers, and the largest planetarium in the United States.

Jersey City's story is really an amazing transformation from its historical beginnings, through its industrial growth to what it is now:, a vibrant contemporary city.

Travel back in time to a colorized Atlantic City circa 1919

Atlantic City was once considered 'America's Playground,' one of the most popular destinations along the eastern seaboard. This video shows what the boardwalk looked like during its peak. These are some standout screengrabs.

Gallery Credit: Joe Votruba

New Jersey's best tourist town for all 4 seasons

Lambertville was just named best winter destination in New Jersey. I wholeheartedly disagree. It is the best destination at ANY time of year.

Gallery Credit: Dennis Malloy

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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