10 Historical Facts About Hoboken {You Probably Didn’t Know}

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The town that we all know and love has a rich history — that has made it the gem it is today. Hoboken is responsible for a number of famous foods, breweries, renowned artists and inventions that have transformed everyday life not only in NJ, but across the country. Since we know you’re short on time, we went ahead and gathered some of our favorite fun facts — it doesn’t mean that they’re ALL here, but just a sampling to give you some things to discuss at happy hour tonight.

1. Native American Roots

Lenni Lenape Native Americans camped in the Hoboken area back in the day. They called the land “Hopoghan Hackingh,” which means “Land of the Tobacco Pipe.” They used abundant serpentine rock in the area to carve their own tobacco pipes.

2. Island Life

Hoboken was once an island! The land was surrounded by the Hudson on both sides and an estuary that was at the base of the New Jersey Palisades. No wonder the flooding is no bueno.

3. There are Turtles Everywhere…Literally.

The Hudson’s shores used to be overrun with snapping turtles. Those living along the river began using them to make turtle soup, which gave rise to the Hoboken Turtle Club. Early club members were a few guys you may know of, including George Washington, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Casual, NBD.

4. Ahoy, Matey!

The first ever steam-powered ferryboat began running between Hoboken and Manhattan in 1811. Who would have thought that this tradition began so many years ago — and that we would still be boarding ferries?

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5. WWI Situation

World War I called for approximately two million U.S. soldiers to be shipped off to Europe – from Hoboken’s very own docks.Heaven, Hell, or Hoboken” became a rallying cry for soldiers hoping to be home for the holidays and away from battle. Hoboken served as both a starting point and a destination to those fighting in the first world war.

6. Famous Peeps

Hoboken has yielded historical talent {beyond Ol’ Blue Eyes}! The famous photojournalist Dorothea Lange is a Hoboken native, and artist Alexander Calder studied at Steven’s Institute of Technology. Sorry, Frank!

7. The Zipper’s Roots

Hoboken is greatly responsible for the invention of the mighty zipper. In the 1890’s, Whitcomb Judson improved upon zipper-like clasps and created the sliding feature.

8. Ice Cream for Everyone

Before Ben & Jerry’s…an Italian immigrant living in Hoboken named Italo Marchiony created and patented a waffle holder for ice cream – or what we now call the waffle cone! Where would we be without Italo?

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9. Blimpie Roots

In 1964, three Jersey City sandwich lovers opened the first Blimpie Sandwich Shop together on Washington Street. The art of sandwich-making was never the same. Just an FYI — it was an uptown location, even though the current Blimpie is located at 110 Wash.

10. Brewery Heaven

Sorry Pilsener Haus, our country’s first brewery ever was opened here in Hoboken! In 1663, Dutch Settlers brought their knowledge to our shores and opened their very own brewery. How fitting – it’s no wonder Hobokenites love a good drinkie or two.

 

And there you have it. Bet you learned at least a few things about our little city! Stay tuned for round two. 

What are some fun facts you know about Hoboken? Leave in the comments below!

 


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Monica is a a New Jersey native and a junior at Rutgers in New Brunswick, studying Journalism and Media Studies in addition to Spanish. She writes for The Tab Rutgers as a student writer and is currently a Hoboken Girl editorial intern. In her spare time, Monica enjoys writing, reading, running, traveling and eating.