|Postcard circa 1915
of the Jersey Journal building
located at the northeast corner of Bergen and Sip Avenues
Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library
|Reproduction circa 1891 of an image of the Evening Journal building located at 37 Montgomery Street. Source: McLean (1895)|
of the Joseph A. Dear and sons
circa 1930 (?)
Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library
Journal Square takes its name from Jersey City's longtime daily newspaper,The Jersey Journal, just as Times Square in New York City is named after The New York Times. The bright red signage atop the five-story building at 30 "Journal" Square proudly identifies the headquarters of what has been a mainstay of Jersey City's political and cultural life.
In 2014 the newspaper moved out of the city to One Harmon Plaza in Secaucus, its fifth location. The historic Jersey City building will be preseved and renovated for commercial and retail space. The iconic sign will remain as a reminder of both the publication and the city's business hub. The property was purchased by Kushner Companies and KABR Group in 2012 as part of the revitalization of Journal Square.
John T. Rowland, Jr., a native of Jersey City and prolific architect, designed the building in 1921 at the time of the renovation of the area for new bridges over the Pennsylvania Railroad cut and the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad (now PATH) station at Summit Avenue. Facing north across the open plaza of Journal Square, the building was given a prominent location in the newly reconstructed district.
Before settling in
1925 at its namesake building, the newspaper offices relocated several
times during its history. Originally published as the Evening Journal
on May 2, 1867, the newspaper started out in a two-rooml office at 13 Exchange
Place gradually expanding operations into other nearby buildings. As the
newspaper flourished, the publishers, the Evening Journal Association,
constructed a new office building in 1874.
Robert Larkins, an editorial page editor, once called the Jersey Journal, "a paper with an independent political outlook with Democratic leaning." However, when the paper started as the Evening Journal, he describes the paper as "the pronounced and vigorous advocate of Republican principles and general policy of the Republican Party. It has supported and advocated the election of the national and state candidates of that party," wrote associate editor Alexander McLean in 1895" (Quoted in Weiss, 1992).
The paper began as
a four-page broadsheet edition with six columns to the page. Its founders,
William Dunning and Zebina K. Pangborn, were both Republicans and former
Union Army officers. They supported the party's overall Reconstruction
program of the Republican Party and its civil rights program of equal
rights for African-Americans, but they took an independent editorial stand
against the arrival of Irish Catholics into the city. Active in city politics,
Pangborn served as the chairman of the 1870 city charter commission.
Dear was succeeded as editor
by his son Joseph
A. Dear II. A graduate of the Hasbrouck Institute in 1889 and Princeton
in 1893, he was appointed for three terms to the New Jersey Court of Errors
and Appeals (1926-1944) under New Jersey's Constitution of 1844. Like
his father, he supported Republican politics but also wrote editorials
favoring the progressive reform ideas of Woodrow Wilson, such as the Walsh
Act for municipal government reform and the formation of the League of
Nations after World War I.
According to Jersey Journal reporter Peter Weiss, the paper's general support of Democratic politics came during the Depression era and its reform policies. After Hague's tenure, the Jersey Journal supported his nephew Frank Hague Eggers for mayor and opposed the successful candidate John V. Kenny. In 1950 the Jersey Journal campaigned against the commission form of government that brought Hague to power and advocated a return to the mayor-council form of government, which was adopted. When a return to the commission form of government was again suggested in 1982, the Jersey Journal defended the status quo.
In 1945, S.I. Newhouse, Sr., bought the Jersey Journal from the Dear family. Today it is one of the newspapers published by the Newhouse-owned Advance Publications that includes The Star-Ledger and numerous daily and weekly newspapers. Newhouse began his vast newspaper holdings with its purchase of the Staten Island Advance and Ledger of Essex County in 1935.
The Jersey Journal purchased the daily Jersey Observer in 1951 and the Bayonne Times in 1971. The Observer or "The Obie" began as a weekly in 1892 in Hoboken and was the Hudson Observer from 1911 to 1924. To reflect the merger, the masthead of the Jersey Journal was changed to the Jersey Journal and Jersey Observer in 1998. When the Hudson Dispatch closed in 1991, the Journal began a Hudson Dispatch edition.
In 1996 Jersey City's daily newspaper moved the printing of the newspaper from 30 Journal Square to the Bergen Record's Commercial Printing facility in Rockaway, NJ, to allow for color printing. It briefly published a Spanish-language weekly newspaper, El Nuevo Hudson that was discontinued in February 2009. In 2002 it began publication of the local weeklies, The Bayonne Journal, Kearny Journal, and Waterfront Journal.
On April 25, 2005, the Jersey Journal changed the look and format of the newspaper. It published its first tabloid edition of the paper, abandoning its broadsheet format after 138 years and following the trend for tabloids in urban communities.
The Jersey Journal's future has been threatened with problems related to a reduction in circulation from as many as 100,000 newspapers a day in 1970 to approximately 40,000 and a loss of advertising revenue. In March 2002 negotiations between Newhouse owners and unions representing the employees prevented a shut down of the newspaper's operations.
| By: Carmela Karnoutsos
Project Administrator: Patrick Shalhoub