Hamilton Park At Jersey Avenue and East Hamilton Place Pavonia Avenue, McWilliams Place and Ninth Street Hamilton Park Historic District
680 Jersey Avenue
National Register of Historic Places
New Jersey Register of Historic Places
At Jersey Avenue and East Hamilton Place
Pavonia Avenue, McWilliams Place and Ninth Street
Hamilton Park Historic District
Park is at the center of the Hamilton Park Historic District in
downtown Jersey City. Over the years it
has maintained its bordering tree-lined streets with rows of Victorian
brownstones from the post-Civil War era; Hamilton
Square Condominiums, the former Saint Francis Hospital complex, faces
the park's east side. The 5.4-acre "residential square" park
is not far from the entrance to the Holland Tunnel to the north and the
Newport Mall to the east.
A flour merchant,
Coles served in the New York senate (1799-1802) and was one of the thirty-five
investors in the Associates
of the Jersey Company. In 1804, he purchased the northern half of Harsimus
Island where he laid out the city's first blocks of what became downtown
Jersey City. Development of the
area progressed slowly, and so the park project languished. In 1827, Coles
laid out plans for a park on a map in the northern center of the Harsimus
area, but he died shortly thereafter. In the meantime, a large section
of Harsimus separated from Bergen Township and was incorporated as Van
Vorst Township in 1841. It was a year after Hudson County became separate
from Bergen County, and three years after Jersey City became an independent
When the Coles family heirs continued to press for control, the township's attorney brought the case to court and secured the public testimony of two elderly associates of John B. Coles (Grundy 35). They corroborated that back in 1804 Coles wished for the development of a park for public use. The testimony thereby resolved the dispute, and the park was conveyed to the township. However, by the time of the decision, the Van Vorst Township was no longer a separate political unit; it joined the new municipality of Jersey City in March of 1851. The park remains not only as a memorial to Alexander Hamilton but also as a reminder of the legacy of John B. Coles to Jersey City.
Today the park has a large gazebo, basketball court, children's playground, and tennis court.
The boundaries of the Hamilton Park Historic District are Sixth Street, Bay Street, Manila Avenue (formerly Grove Street), and Coles Street. The district includes McNair Academic High School and Cordero Elementary School. Saint Francis Hospital had a presence on the park from 1864 when the Society of the Sisters of St. Francis purchased a house on East Hamilton Square. They laid the cornerstone for a hospital building in 1870. Preservation of the park and its environs is the mission of the Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association founded in 1975.
| By: Carmela
Project Administrator: Patrick Shalhoub