The New International Encyclopædia/Trenton (New Jersey)
TRENTON. The capital of New Jersey and the county-seat of Mercer County, 57 miles southwest of New York and 33 miles northeast of Philadelphia; on the Delaware River, at the head of steamboat navigation, on the Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia and Reading railroads, and on the Delaware and Raritan Canal (Map: New Jersey, C 3).
An electric railway covers the city in every direction, and four suburban trolleys radiate in all directions to numerous towns and villages. Cadwalader Park, a beautiful public resort of 100 acres, is supplemented by several smaller parks. Riverside Park, embracing two miles of river front, is being laid out (1904). A graceful granite shaft 160 feet high and surmounted by a bronze statue of Washington, of colossal size, marks the spot at the ‘head of town’ where Washington planted his cannon at the battle of Trenton. Among other monuments is one of granite in Riverview Cemetery over the grave of Gen. George B. McClellan.
Conspicuous public buildings are the State Capitol, the new white marble city library, which has some 30,000 volumes, the new $300,000 county court-house, Young Men's Christian Association building, Masonic Temple, the high school, and three large theatres. A State armory, to cost $250,000, is in course of construction (1904). There are 28 public schools with about 200 teachers and about 9000 pupils; also a public school of industrial arts, one Catholic college, and the State Normal and Model schools. The State schools have over 1000 students. There are three hospitals, two day nurseries, and two children's homes. The State Deaf Mute School, the New Jersey Odd Fellows' Home, the New Jersey Home for Girls (reformatory), a State Hospital for the Insane, the State Prison, and the State Arsenal are also here. The Inter-State Fair held each fall at Trenton is one of the largest exhibitions of its kind in the East.
Trenton is a noted industrial centre. In the census year 1900 the various manufactories had $26,175,000 capital, and an output valued at $31,646,000. The potteries, 40 in number, and employing 5000 hands, produce annually $5,000,000 worth of table ware, plumbers' supplies, electrical fixtures, and artistic porcelain. Of national reputation is the John A. Roebling's Sons Company, wire and cable manufacturers, whose works cover 30 acres, employ about 5000 hands, and produce $15,450,000 worth of goods annually. Other notable establishments are the American Bridge plant, the .Jordan L. Mott Iron Works, the De Laval Steam Turbine Works, a dozen big rubber concerns, large tile factories, and the Trenton Iron Works. There are also watch works, numerous brick yards, builders' hardware works, woolen mills, shirt waist factories, carriage factories, anvil and tool shops, breweries, an oilcloth and linoleum factory, church and school furniture works, boat-building yard, etc. The shipping facilities by rail, canal, and river are excellent and considerable freight is handled. There is also a large retail trade with the rich agricultural country which supplies Trenton markets.
The government is vested in a mayor, elected biennially, a common council of 28 members, and the usual administrative boards. The assessed valuation of property is about $35,000,000; and the public debt is less than $2,000,000. Trenton's municipal expenditures aggregate about $700,000 annually, of which about $90,000 is for schools; a like sum for the police department; $80,000 for the fire department; and $60,000 for street lighting. The water supply from the Delaware is stored in a new $500,000 reservoir of 110,000,000 gallons' capacity. The water-works are owned by the municipality.
Population, in 1790, 1946; in 1810, 3002; in 1850, 6461; in 1870, 22,874; in 1880, 29,910; in 1890, 57,458; in 1900, 73,307. The total in 1900 included 16,793 persons of foreign birth and 2096 of negro descent.
First settled about 1676, Trenton was generally known as ‘The Falls’ until in 1719 it received its present name in honor of William Trent, Speaker of the House of Assembly. It was incorporated as a borough in 1746, was selected as the State capital in 1790, and was chartered as a city in 1792. In 1776 it was occupied by the British, who pursued General Washington to this point. Late in December, 1776, Washington, stationed with his army on the other side of the river, planned a movement against Trenton and Bordentown, where General Donop with a small Hessian force was stationed. Trenton was occupied by a garrison of about 1500 Hessians under Colonel Rahl. General James Ewing with about 550 men was to cross the Delaware just below Trenton, seize the Assanpink, and thus sever communication between Donop and Rahl; Colonel John Cadwalader was to cross at Bristol, below Bordentown, and attack Donop from the south, and General Putnam with about 1000 men was to coöperate with about 1000 men from Philadelphia. The main movement, however, was to be made by Washington in person, who with 2400 men was to cross at McConkey's Ferry, nine miles above Trenton, and assail Rahl at Trenton. The movement was set for the night of December 25th-26th. By reason of storms and of the river being clogged with ice, Ewing and Cadwalader were unable to effect a crossing, while Putnam was detained in Philadelphia. Washington, however, with the aid of Marblehead fishermen under Glover, crossed in spite of all obstacles by 3 o'clock in the morning of the 26th, began his march to Trenton at about 4 o'clock, and at about eight completely surprised the garrison, which, after a night of Christmas festivities, had taken little precaution against surprise and had made little preparation for resistance. Rahl was soon forced to surrender, and Washington secured about 1000 prisoners. The American loss was 2 killed and 3 wounded, while the Hessians lost about 40 killed or wounded. Soon afterwards Washington recrossed the Delaware to his former position. This success, together with that at Princeton on January 3, 1777, greatly revived the spirits of the Americans, and did much to prevent the threatened disintegration of Washington's army. Consult; Lee, History of Trenton (Trenton, 1895); Raum, History of the City of Trenton (Trenton, 1871); and Stryker, The Battles of Trenton and Princeton (Boston, 1898).