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Communipaw
Between Newark and New York Bays

Lithograph of the Communipaw settlement during the middle of the 19th Century
View looking west from Communipaw (or South) Cove (now Liberty State Park)
Courtesy, M. Waldron-Ascolese
Detail of the 1855 Woods Map of Jersey City, Bergen, and Hoboken showing the location of the Communipaw village along waterfront near Phillip Street and Communipaw Avenue.
Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library

The settlement of New Netherland by the Dutch West India Company (1621-1664) on the western side of the Hudson River contributed several locations and place names that would become part of present-day Jersey City. They are Pavonia, Communipaw, Harsimus, Paulus Hook and Bergen.

The area of Communipaw was a peninsula of alluvial soil between Newark and New York Bays that extended into the Hudson River. It may be traced back to the time of occupation by the Hackensack Indians who encamped there for the summer as the Village of Gemonepan/Gemoenepaen. By the time of Dutch arrival about 1612 or 1613 following the exploration of Henry Hudson in 1609, there was an Indian trail between present day Communipaw and Summit Avenues, which extended from Communipaw to the "heights" or Bergen. Communipaw was near Paulus Hook in today's lower Jersey.

The Dutch built a house at Communipaw in 1633, one of the first two in the vast area under the control of the Dutch West India Company. The house was occupied by Jan Evertse Bout, also known as Jan de Lacher, who gave the area the name of "Jan de Lacher's Hoeck" at Communipaw Bay in 1634. This became South Cove, in the present day Lafayette section at Phillips Street. Bout was the second of three superintendents that Patroon Michael Pauw appointed to oversee his extensive land claim.

Over time the Dutch built houses on what was the shoreline that runs along present day Phillips Street. A ferry service ran between Communipaw and New Amsterdam.

In the 1660s, Communipaw was a fortified village with homes surrounded by a wooden palisade, similar to that of Bergen Square (Lovero 13). Located on New York Bay, it was also a harbor facility used by the nearby settlers of Bergen Township on the heights. Dutch families, such as the Van Hornes, Garrabrants and Brinkerhoffs settled at Communipaw. They built homes and farmed at Communipaw and sold their goods in New York City, across the harbor, to the nineteenth century.

During the nineteenth century, the earlier shore line of Communipaw was extended a mile into New York Bay with land fill. The New York Bay inlet known as Communipaw Bay or South Cove was later filled in by the Central Railroad of New Jersey.

Reference:
Lovero, Joan D. Hudson County: The Left Bank. Sun Valley. CA: American Historical Press, 1999.

By: Carmela Karnoutsos
Project Administrator: Patrick Shalhoub