The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Jersey City
JERSEY CITY, a city and the county seat of Hudson co., New Jersey, situated on the W. bank of the Hudson river, here about a mile wide, at its entrance into New York bay, opposite the city of New York, with which it is connected by five ferries, and 50 m. N. E. of Trenton. It is bounded N. by North Bergen, West Hoboken, and Hoboken, S. by Bayonne, and W. by Newark bay, Hackensack river, and Penhorn creek, and extends about 5 m. N. and S. by 3 m. E. and W. It is in the main regularly laid out, with wide streets crossing each other at right angles, but some streets do not conform to the general plan. There are numerous handsome. residences, and many substantial business structures and public buildings. Among the latter may be mentioned the city hall, court house and jail, a large market, the public school buildings, of which 14 are of brick, and the churches. There are four small public squares, of which two, Van Vorst and Hamilton, are provided with fountains, laid out in grass plots, and adorned with trees. Washington square is divided into four smaller squares by intersecting streets, and Bergen square, which is unimproved, is used as a parade ground. The population in 1850, as returned in the census, was 6,856; in 1860, 29,227; in 1870, 82,546, of whom 705 were colored and 31,835 foreigners, including 17,665 natives of Ireland, 7,151 of Germany, 4,008 of England, and 1,176 of Scotland. The number of families was 16,687; of dwellings, 9,867. The city is an outgrowth of New York, and has been built up by the overflow of its population; but the extraordinary ratio of increase is partly due to the absorption of contiguous municipalities. The township of Van Vorst, which had 4,617 inhabitants in 1850, was annexed in 1851; the cities of Hudson and Bergen, with 7,229 and 7,429 inhabitants respectively in 1860, were merged in 1870 (before the census); and in 1872 the township of Greenville was annexed. The population of Greenville in 1870 was 2,789, so that the population at the last census of the city as at present constituted was 85,335. Jersey City is the terminus of the Morris canal and of six lines of railroad, viz.: the Erie, the Pennsylvania, the Central of New Jersey, the Northern New Jersey, the New Jersey Midland, and the New York and Newark. Besides these, the Morris and Essex division of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western railroad, which has its terminus at Hoboken, passes through the north part of the city. The ferry boats to New York are commodious and well appointed, and ply every few minutes throughout the day and night. Horse cars run to different parts of the city and to Hoboken. Jersey City forms part of the New York customs district, and its commerce is not separately returned. It is one of the termini of the Cunard steamship line between the United States and Great Britain. The immense quantities of coal and iron brought by the canal and railroads create an important business. Manufacturing is extensively carried on, the principal establishments being the United States watch company, large glass works, three crucible works, three steel works, zinc works, three boiler works, a machine shop, three founderies, a foundery and machine shop, three railroad repair and supply shops, locomotive works, two sugar refineries, three breweries, two planing mills, and manufactories of chains and spikes, medals, car springs, pottery, soap and candles, saleratus, castor and linseed oil, copper articles, drugs and chemicals, jewelry, fireworks, hydrants and lathes, rubber, oakum, black lead and lead pencils, stove polish, &c. The crucibles made here are used exclusively in the mints of Europe as well as of this country. The business of slaughtering live stock for the New York market was formerly carried on very extensively at Communipaw, in the S. part of the city, bordering on New York bay ; but the stock yards have been removed, and an extensive abattoir, with stock yards, has been built in the N. part of the city near the river front, where cattle and sheep are slaughtered. This establishment was opened in the spring of 1874; it is connected by a branch with the Pennsylvania railroad, and drains into the river. Hogs are now only slaughtered on the Hackensack meadows beyond the city limits. Jersey City contains three national banks with an aggregate capital of $1,150,000, two state banks, eight savings banks, a trust company with $200,000 capital, and four insurance companies. It is governed by a mayor and a board of 12 aldermen (two from each district), but the chief functions are exercised by the boards of police commissioners (five members), of public works (three), and of fire commissioners (five), chosen by the state legislature, and by the board of finance and taxation (five members), chosen by the board of aldermen. The county board of health has supervision of all contagious diseases. For police purposes the city is divided into five precincts, and the force consists of a chief of police, an inspector, 5 captains, 19 sergeants, and 155 men. The fire department has under its control 10 steam engines, three hand engines, five hook and ladder trucks, and a fire alarm telegraph, and the force consists of a chief engineer, an assistant, two district engineers, and 325 men, of whom 91 are permanently employed and 234 required to respond at call. The streets are well paved and sewered, and the city is supplied with gas by two companies, which have a united capital of $1,050,000. The water works are at Belleville, on the Passaic river, 6 m. N. "W. of the city. The water is pumped into the receiving reservoir by five engines, whence it is brought in pipes to the distributing reservoir within the city ; another distributing reservoir is in course of construction. These works also supply Hoboken. The assessed value of property in 1871 was $61,330,987; in 1872, $68,496,855; in 1873, $62,292,138, the decrease being due to the non-assessment of railroad property, which under recent laws is exempt. The estimated expenditures for the year ending Nov. 30, 1874, are $1,376,480, of which $317,000 ($185,000 for lamps and lights) is on account of the board of public works; $60,000, of hospital, dispensaries, poor, &c.; $265,000, of schools; $219,500, of police; $149,430, of fire department ; $228,000, of interest; the rest miscellaneous. The bonded debt, April 1, 1874, amounted to $13,082,775, including $422,000 held by the commissioners of the sinking fund, of which $5,286,500 consisted of assessment bonds, $4,530,300 of water bonds, and $3,265,975 of general debt. The principal charitable institutions are the city hospital, the home for aged women, and the children's home. There are two young men's Christian associations, a city mission and tract society, and numerous temperance societies, masonic and odd fellows' lodges, &c. The public schools are under the charge of a superintendent, who is appointed by the board of education, which consists of 12 members, two being elected from each aldermanic district. According to the report of the superintendent for the year ending June 30, 1873, there were 16 school houses owned by the city and 5 buildings leased, affording 10,850 seats. The schools were divided as follows: 1 normal, 1 high, 15 grammar, 20 primary (2 colored), and 7 evening. The number of children of school age (5 to 18) was 30,758 ; enrolled in day schools, 16,762; average attendance, 8,320; number of teachers, 250 (18 males and 232 females) ; value of school property, $674,416 72. The number enrolled in the evening schools was 2,812; average attendance, 792. The normal school is held on Saturdays for the instruction of teachers and candidates for employment as such. The expenditures, which are met partly by a state and partly by a city tax, were $235,142 75, of which $180,446 14 were for salaries. The number of private schools was 30 (10 denominational and 20 secular), with 5,973 pupils. Since the date of the report another school house has been opened. There are two daily and three weekly (two German) newspapers. The post office has two sub-stations. The number of churches is 59, viz.: 6 Baptist (1 German), 2 Congregational, 10 Episcopal, 2 German Evangelical Lutheran, 14 Methodist (1 German and 2 colored), 6 Presbyterian, 2 United Presbyterian, 8 Reformed, 8 Roman Catholic (1 German), and 1 Universalist. Although the peninsula upon which Jersey City stands was granted by letters patent from Sir William Kieft, director general of the Dutch West India company, in the year 1638, it was used for farming purposes solely for more than 150 years, and it was not till the beginning of the present century that it began to be settled. In 1802 the whole population of the place, then called Paulus Hook, consisted of 13 persons, occupying but one house and out buildings. In 1804 the "associates of the Jersey company" were chartered by the legislature of New Jersey, and laid out the whole of Paulus Hook into blocks and streets. In 1820 "the city of Jersey" was incorporated with a board of selectmen; in 1838 it was reincorporated under the name of "Jersey City," with a mayor and common council.