Most people who live in NJ are aware that we have some of the oldest towns in America

But did you know that New Jersey’s oldest town is older than the United States itself? It’s pretty amazing to think about, but it’s true.

This past July 4th, America celebrated its 247th birthday. But many people may not realize that the State’s oldest town, Jersey City, is over a century older, having been around since 1660.

Welcome to Jersey City sign at the Holland Tunnel (Google Maps)
Welcome to Jersey City sign at the Holland Tunnel (Google Maps)

Jersey City's history dates back to its Dutch founding, known by various names like Netherlands, Hudson, Paulus Hook, or "hoeck" in Dutch, meaning Point of Land.

It's not just old, it's also where the concept of religious freedom and land ownership rights in the nation began.

According to, the story started in 1630 when the land was deeded to Michael Reyniersz Pauw.

He couldn't establish a settlement, but the land retained the name Pavonia.

Later, Peter Stuyvesant, governor-general of "New Netherlands," took over and created a settlement with schools, religious congregations, farms, and homes, marking the beginnings of self-government in Bergen.

Interestingly, Alexander Hamilton played a part in planning Downtown Jersey City's layout after the American Revolutionary War, naming streets and neighborhoods after war heroes.

NJIT Jersey City campus (via Amazon Prime Video The College Tour)
NJIT Jersey City campus (via Amazon Prime Video The College Tour)

The article gives another surprising fact. Jersey City also played a vital role in the Underground Railroad, providing a stop for former slaves and enslaved African Americans on their journey to freedom in New York City, New England, and Canada.

By 1838, Jersey City became officially established, attracting Dutch immigrants and others from Europe, adding diversity and cultural richness.

Jersey City's history, from its Dutch origins to its importance in American history and the Underground Railroad, solidifies its status as NJ's oldest town, a testament to centuries of heritage and culture.

Jersey City home transformation: From falling apart to full luxury

41 Bentley Ave. was basically falling apart. It was typical of many homes you see in the older sections of Jersey City, before the developers get to them, that is. Many of them are rundown, neglected with the population of the town not having the means to repair and update them.

Most popular town names that NJ shares with the rest of the country

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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