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New Jersey (NJ): State Guide and Fun Facts


When was New Jersey Founded? 1664

Who Founded New Jersey? Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret

First settlers: Delaware, Munsee and Algonkian Native American Tribes

Square Miles: 8,722

US Rank: 47th

State Flower: Violet

State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch

State Motto: Liberty and Prosperity

Capital City

Trenton – The capital of New Jersey is a moderate sized city, with a population of 82,882 in 2008. It has been the capital of the state since 1790, but was a city long before, at least as early as 1719. The city was once a center for manufacturing in the early 20th century, however this declined around the 1960s, as it did across much of the country. This left Trenton searching for their next biggest employer, which today is the state of New Jersey.

 

What is New Jersey famous for?

1. Atlantic City – New Jersey’s Atlantic City is a prime destination for party and casino-goers from all over the country. It lays claim to the second highest (after Las Vegas) number of casinos, revenue and size of the entertainment district. The city is home to a well-known boardwalk, a handful of casinos, beaches and malls. While Atlantic City is in constant motion, as host to countless reunions, bachelor and bachelorette parties, family vacations and more, the city’s remains small, at only 35,770 in 2008.

2. Princeton University – One of the country’s foremost universities, Princeton University is an Ivy League school located in Princeton, New Jersey. It was founded in 1746 by the New Light Presbyterians. Despite its religious founding, the school no longer claims any secular affiliations.

Nassau Hall remains the oldest building on Princeton’s campus, and was designed and built in 1754 by Robert Smith. The building originally housed classrooms, a library and a chapel. For a brief period of time in 1783, Princeton was the capital of the United States, and Nassau Hall was home to the American Government. After this brief occupation, the hall was reopened to the university, and others were built around it soon after.

3. Frank Sinatra Birthplace – “Ol’ Blue Eyes” as he came to be known, was born in 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey. The singer gained popularity as a soloist in the 1940s and remains a fixture in the entertainment industry through present day, even after his death in 1998 at the age of 82.

What is New Jersey’s economy?

1. Finance, insurance and real estate – These three industries are the largest revenue generators in the service industry in New Jersey. In addition to finance, insurance and real estate, community services, health care services, hotels, casinos and laboratories also make up a large percentage of the service industry’s total revenue.

2. Fishing – Fishing is a major industry in New Jersey. The state has 130 miles of coastline and specializes in clams, blue crab, flounder, lobster, mackerel, scallops, squid and swordfish.

3. Manufacturing – Manufacturing remains important to the economy of New Jersey. Major manufacturing industries include chemical and pharmaceutical production, and the manufacture of personal hygiene items such as shampoo, conditioner and lotion. New Jersey is also home to a number of bakery, drink, meat, coffee, sugar and vegetable manufacturers.

 

New Jersey Historical Landmarks

1. Thomas Edison Homestead – The inventor of the light bulb, as he is most well known, was born in Milan, Ohio in 1847. In 1866, Edison moved to Llewellyn Park in West Orange, New Jersey. He named his estate Glenmont, and established the home as a place for himself and his wife to live as well as a laboratory for several years. The home has been preserved, and offers tours today through the Nation Park Service.

2. Westland Mansion – Grover Cleveland called this Princeton, New Jersey gem ‘home’ form 1897 until 1908. The house was designed by Robert Stockton in the 1850s out of stone, yellow stucco and traditional shutters. The home remains privately owned, having been sold in 1947 after the death of Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston, President Cleveland’s wife.

3. Speedwell Ironworks – This ironworks factory, located in Speedwell, New Jersey is home to the origination of the electric telegraph, invented by Alfred Vail and Samuel Morse. The area today is a museum with nine buildings such as the family’s home, a wheelhouse with a large operating waterwheel, a carriage house, a Georgian mansion and the old Factory Building. All have been restored to illustrate what the working life was like on the premises. The old Factory Building was the location at which the electric telegraph was first used on January 11, 1838.

4. Lucy the Elephant – James Lafferty, an inventor born in 1856, was an imagineer of his time, and envisioned what came to be known as zoomorphic architecture. More specifically, Lafferty was interested in building a six-story elephant-shaped building. He went as far as to apply for and receive a patent, granting him sole permission to build structures shaped like animals.

The elephant, which came to be known as Lucy, was built just south of Atlantic City to attract tourists to the area. She was not the only elephant-structure in the area. A second elephant, twice Lucy’s size, was built on Coney Island in BrooklynNew York, but was unfortunately destroyed in a fire around the turn of the 20th century. Lucy survived, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974, forever protecting her from demolition or destruction.