Main Menu | NJ Bicycle Routes | Great Jersey City Stories | New Jersey History | Hudson County Politics | Hudson County Facts | New Jersey Mafia | Hal Turner, FBI Informant | Email this Page
Removing Viruses and Spyware | Reinstalling Windows XP | Reset Windows XP or Vista Passwords | Windows Blue Screen of Death | Computer Noise | Don't Trust External Hard Drives! | Jersey City Computer Repair
Advertise Online SEO - Search Engine Optimization - Search Engine Marketing - SEM Domains For Sale George Washington Bridge Bike Path and Pedestrian Walkway Corona Extra Beer Subliminal Advertising Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Pet Care The Tunnel Bar La Cosa Nostra Jersey City Free Books

A Guide To Its Present And Past
Compiled and Written by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of New Jersey
American Guide Series

Originally published in 1939
Some of this information may no longer be current and in that case is presented for historical interest only.

Edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

Jersey City
Part 6

The city was an important station on the Underground Railroad. Slaves were sent North hidden in the dead air space between cabins on Erie Canal boats. During the Civil War thousands of troops passed through the railroad stations and the city contributed full quotas of men. Railroad and political battles colored the latter part of the nineteenth century. The monopolistic hold of the United Railroads (later the Pennsylvania) on the Jersey City water front was broken when the Jersey Central dumped New York refuse on. tidal flats and built a terminal. Another terminal was established when the Erie Railroad blasted a tunnel through Bergen Hill.

The political struggles supplied such incidents as the Hudson County "Horseshoe," which gerrymandered nearly the whole Democratic vote into one assembly district, and an election in which ballots were printed on tissue paper so that more could be stuffed into each ballot box. Consolidations with neighboring communities were preceded by street and sewer contracts whose addition to the merged public debt caused an intolerable tax burden. The election of Mark Fagan, a New Idea Republican, as mayor in 1901 temporarily halted political scandals.

Construction of a railroad tunnel to Manhattan had been attempted as early as 1874. But it was not until William G. McAdoo, later Secretary of the Treasury, became interested in the project that it was completed (1909-10) . The Hudson Tubes brought an increase in the number of factories and in the working population.

The Black Tom explosion on the Communipaw water front during the night of July 30, 1916, has been called the only successful German war plot in the country, although international litigation to fix responsibility and damages has not been concluded. Ammunition-laden railroad cars blew up with such violence that residents of Connecticut and Maryland felt the shock. The damage was estimated at $20,000,000, of which the greater part was in Jersey City. Loss in broken windows in the metropolitan area amounted to more than $1,000,000. Only seven lives were lost, although 75 mm. shells struck Ellis Island and other nearby places. After the United States entered the war, the city's factories were busy supplying materials to the Government.

St. Peter's College, chartered in 1872, closed during the war when more than half of its faculty and students enlisted. The college, conducted by the Society of Jesus, reopened in 1930 and now has more than 400 students.

Improvement of transportation facilities continued after the World War. Construction of the Holland Tunnel for vehicular traffic under the Hudson River was begun in 1920 by the Port of New York Authority and completed in 1927 at a cost of $48,400,000. The tunnel, used by an average of 32,500 vehicles daily, has been a money maker from the start. Twin tubes of two lanes each lie 72 feet below water level; the longer measures, 8,557 feet (exceeding by 342 feet the length of the new Lincoln Tunnel at Weehawken). They are handsomely finished in white tile. Patrolmen are stationed at close intervals through the tubes. If a motorist has a flat tire, the nearest patrolman presses a button and within five minutes a tractor arrives. The tire is changed free or, if the driver has no spare, his car is towed from the tunnel without charge. Blowing of horns is prohibited because the loud echo might make the nervous driver swing over into the adjoining lane, thus breaking another rule. Air in the tunnel is changed every minute and a half by blower fans.


Return To
New Jersey: The American Guide Series
Table of Contents

Hudson County Facts  by Anthony Olszewski - Hudson County History
Print Edition Now on Sale at Amazon

Read Online at
Google Book Search

The Hudson River Is Jersey City's Arena For Water Sports!

Questions? Need more information about this Web Site? Contact us at:
297 Griffith St.
Jersey City, NJ 07307