Coastal Heritage

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Gateway Region

New Jersey’s Gateway Region covers the northeastern counties of Passaic, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Union and Middlesex, which are along the Hudson River and NY/NJ Harbor. Highlights of this region include waterfront and port communities, cultural influences from immigration and naval history.

PASSAIC COUNTY

Paterson MuseumPaterson Museum
Thomas Rogers Building
2 Market Street
Paterson, NJ
(973) 321-1260
www.patersonmuseum.com/index2.html

The Paterson Museum showcases the industrial history of the City of Paterson through changing and permanent exhibits and displays. These exhibits feature city history, the textile industry, the locomotive industry and submarine history.  John Phillip Holland built the first submarine in 1878 in Paterson.  It was a one – man submarine fueled by a steam engine that was tested out in the Passaic River. There is also a three-man submarine on display at the museum.

BERGEN COUNTY

Palisades Interstate Park
Palisades Interstate Park Alpine Approach Road, Alpine, NJ
and Hudson Terrace, Fort Lee, NJ
(201) 768-1360
njpalisades.org

Palisades Interstate Park is a joint New York/New Jersey park created in 1900 that contains 2,500 acres of parkland along the Hudson River. The New Jersey section of the park encompasses 10 miles of waterfront from the George Washington Bridge to the New Jersey state line. Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, boating and picnicking as well as visit historic sites including the Kearney House and Fort Lee Historic Park.

The Kearney House is a 1761 Hudson River homestead and 19th century tavern that depict life along the river in the mid-19th century. A river community along the Palisades called Closter Landing was an important port for boatmen, fishermen and dock-workers. The Kearney House was also the site of Revolutionary War engagements.

Fort Lee Historic Park is a thirty acre site where the Continental Army held its gun batteries over the Hudson River during the Revolutionary War. Visitors can explore recreated gun batteries and 18th century historic huts. There is also a Visitor Center which offers information and features displays on the role of Fort Lee and General Washington in the American Revolution.

New Jersey Naval Museum
New Jersey Naval Museum 78 River Street
Hackensack, NJ
(201)-342-3268
www.njnm.com

The New Jersey Naval Museum displays several submarines, wartime boats and torpedoes in an outdoor park and is also home to the USS Ling 297. The USS Ling 297 is a WWII submarine that is 312 feet long and weighs 2500 tons. Visitors can take a tour of the inside of the USS Ling 297 and stroll through the other outdoor displays that include the Patrol Boat Riverine, the only Vietnam-era patrol boat left in the Northeastern United States.

HUDSON COUNTY

Hoboken Historical Museum
Hoboken Historical Museum 1301 Hudson Street
Hoboken, NJ
(201) 656- 2240
hobokenmuseum.org

The Hoboken Historical Museum, located on the former Bethlehem Steel shipyard, provides visitors with a look into the history and cultural heritage of Hoboken. The museum features rotating exhibits of local artists and a pictorial tribute to the once booming waterfront city and shipyards of the area.

Hoboken is the home of Colonel Stevens, an inventor whose vessel, Little Juliana, was the first steamboat driven by twin-screw propellers. It traveled across the Hudson between the Battery and Hoboken. Colonel Stevens also launched the Phoenix, the first steam-driven vessel to make an ocean voyage. The success of the steamboats and Hoboken’s proximity to New York made it an important waterfront community.

Liberty State Park
Liberty State Park 200 Morris Pesin Drive
Jersey City, NJ
(201) 915-3440 or (201) 915-3402
nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/liberty.html

Liberty State Park, located along the Hudson River, provides visitors with breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Visitors to the park can enjoy walking the four mile walkway along the river, visit the Interpretive Center, take a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or explore the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal.

The Central Railroad of New Jersey was an important piece of immigration history. Immigrants who had been processed at Ellis Island from 1892 to 1954 used the Central Railroad to board trains that took them to their new homes in America. Visitors to the park can explore the Central Railroad terminal on their way to board ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

ESSEX COUNTY

New Jersey Historical Society Museum
New Jersey Historical Society Museum 52 Park Place
Newark, NJ
(973) 596-8500
jerseyhistory.org

The New Jersey Historical Society is the oldest cultural institution in the state. It has a historical museum, library and archives which preserve New Jersey’s cultural and historical heritage. The museum features changing exhibitions as well as collections which include costumes, furnishings, artwork, tools and other artifacts that represent the rich and wide variety of New Jersey’s history. The library houses a large collection of books, photographs, maps and other documents from the colonial era to the 20th century.

MIDDLESEX COUNTY

Perth Amboy Harbor Walk
Perth Amboy Harbor Walk Front Street, Water Street, Sadowski Parkway
Perth Amboy, NJ
(732) 442-4000
www.ci.perthamboy.nj.us

The Perth Amboy Harbor Walk is over a mile long walkway with scenic views of the Arthur Kill, Raritan Bay and Raritan River. Visitors can walk along the path and read about the coastal heritage of the area on interpretive signage that lines the walkway. Some of the sites along the way include the Historic Ferry Slip, Raritan Yacht Club, Great Beds Lighthouse, Kearny Cottage, Naval Armory and the Municipal Marina. Perth Amboy was known as “Port Optimus,” one of the nation’s oldest ports.

Kearny CottageKearny Cottage
63 Catalpa Avenue
Perth Amboy, NJ
(732) 826-1826
www.ci.perthamboy.nj.us

The Kearny Cottage is an 18th century building that was once the home of Commodore Lawrence Kearny and his family. Commodore Kearny was responsible for obtaining orient port trading for the United States. The building is setup as an 1840-1850s residence and also contains historical memorabilia from Perth Amboy.

Cornelius Low House and Middlesex County MuseumCornelius Low House and Middlesex County Museum
1225 River Road
Piscataway, NJ
(732) 745-4177
www.co.middlesex.nj.us/culturalheritage/museum1.asp

The Cornelius Low House is a historic home, circa 1741, of a wealthy merchant named Cornelius Low. The house sits on a bluff near the Raritan River which was once the thriving port community of Raritan Landing. The Middlesex County Museum is located inside of the Cornelius Low House and contains changing exhibits on state and local history.

East Jersey Olde Towne Village
1050 River Road
Piscataway, NJ
(732) 745-3030
http://co.middlesex.nj.us/culturalheritage/village.asp

East Jersey Olde Towne Village East Jersey Olde Towne Village, located within Johnson Park, is a collection of original, replica and reconstructed historic buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Most of the buildings have been relocated to East Jersey Olde Towne Village from other locations in New Jersey.  These buildings are representative of those found in a typical farm or merchant community of the Raritan Valley. Visitors can explore the buildings and learn about the history and culture of this once-thriving river port.

One of the historic buildings in East Jersey Olde Towne Village is the Indian Queen Tavern. Originally located along the waterfront of New Brunswick, this tavern provided food and a place to rest for steamboat travelers. The Indian Queen Tavern was also a site for Patriot meetings during the Revolutionary War.