Jersey City Past and Present

Photo of Drawing of original Jersey City State building and grounds.

Explore Jersey City's History

Be sure to check out our main website for more information about the History of Jersey City.

Jersey City Past and Present

The Jersey City: Past and Present website is a digital project of New Jersey City University (NJCU).  Its goal is to inform viewers, in words and images, about Jersey City, bringing together the community and the university's Internet technology services.

The overall purpose of the project is to produce an encyclopedia-like resource about the history of Jersey City for use by a wide audience of scholars, librarians, teachers, students and the general public with an interest in the city's history.   Students and teachers may use the comprehensive electronic resource to bring the city's "past and present" into the classroom via the Internet.

Jersey City, New Jersey's second largest city, ranks among the early permanent colonial settlements in North America along with Jamestown, Plymouth and New Amsterdam.  It thereby draws upon more than over 350 years of history as a leading contributor to the founding of the American northeast region that the project demonstrates through its essays.

In the course of its development, the website project has forged relationships with local institutions, government agencies, and community groups.  The content and images are drawn heavily on the resources of the Jersey City Free Public Library and the Joan D. Lovero Collection in the New Jersey Room-- a unique repository for contemporary and historical information about Jersey City and Hudson County.  It has also benefited from collaboration with the following Jersey City institutions: the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy, Inc., the Jersey City Museum, and the Jersey City Central Railroad Terminal at Liberty State Park.

The project has been supported by several award granting programs:  Separately Budgeted Research grants from NJCU and from the Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, Title V, Higher Education Act.  In 2003, it received a Special Projects Grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of Cultural Affairs in the Department of State. These grants assisted with the research, writing and technical development of the p­­roject.

In 2004, the web site was awarded the Owen J. Grundy Prize in history from the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy, Inc.  The following year, it received a "certificate of commendation" from the American Association for State and Local History.

We invite our viewing guests to discover the history and development of the dynamic urban center that is Jersey City.

  • Do you know that New Jersey's oldest continuous school site is located in Jersey City?
  • Do you know that the Underground Railroad passed through Jersey City?
  • Do you know that Mayor Frank Hague is listed among the nation's most powerful political bosses?
  • Do you know that the Jersey City Railroad Terminal (low located within Liberty State Park) was the port of entry for millions of immigrants who were processed at Ellis Island?

To discover the history of this unique city on the Hudson River's west bank, scan the web site's index of over 200 entries.  Discover the many and varied people, events and developments responsible for its rich history. The entries are linked to an e-chronology, providing an overview of Jersey City from its colonial settlement to recent waterfront redevelopment into the twenty-first century.

Authors / Creators of Jersey City Past and Present

Project Administrator: Patrick Shalhoub, MA, MLS, is the Head of the Periodicals and Government Documents Department of the Congressman Frank J. Guarini Library at New Jersey City University

Historical Researcher: Carmela A. Karnoutsos, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of New Jersey City University, and is also an alumna of the university

E-mail your comments to: jchistory@njcu.edu