• The History of Maxwell Place and the Maxwell House Coffee Plant

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    This TBT is dedicated to the Maxwell building{s}, which used to be the locale of a nationally-known coffee creator. If you haven’t already guessed, {it shouldn’t be hard} — it’s the Maxwell House Coffee Plant. Since coffee is what makes the world go round and keeps us alive most days, we’re covering the history of this upscale condo development as it once was — a coffee factory — as this week’s Hoboken TBT. Here’s the history behind Maxwell Place {formerly known as the Maxwell House Coffee Plant} in Hoboken:

    maxwell-house-coffee-plant-history

    The image above was taken by Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Inc. and shows the “Good to the Last Drop” sign and the Nungesser-Dickinson Seed Company painted lettering on tall building that is north of the plant {taken prior to the factory’s grand opening}.

    It all began in 1939 when the Maxwell House Coffee plant opened in the Mile Square. The plant, owned by General Foods Corporation, extended from 11th to 12th Streets along the Hudson River and Sinatra Drive in Hoboken and was open through the late ’80s, according to the New York Times. It was the largest employer in town. Imagine all the delicious smells in the air, for realz {in fact you can still smell them now uptown from time to time — not kidding!}.

    Once 1990 hit, General Foods declared that the franchise located in Jacksonville, Florida won the matchup between its Hoboken and Jacksonville locations — and so the Hoboken plant had to close. The Hoboken operation lost the competition because of its costs as the main factor — having to pay higher salaries along with the then circumstances of the coffee market {a lower amount of coffee consumption and the over-the-limit supplies at a variety of Maxwell House locations}. Word on the street was that there was also a ton of asbestos in the building which was another large factor in the closing.

    See More: An Adorable Uptown Coffee Shop {with an Honorable Cause}

    Two years after the decision was made to close the Hoboken plant, the doors were officially shut — and sadly, it left many unemployed. After that, only a minor repair business for large workboats remained in the area as the last waterfront business in our Mile Square City at the time.

    A little more about the history of the locale:

    maxwell-house-historical-plaque-696x928 (1)

    via

    After several years of vacancy, in 2003, the Toll Brothers converted the plant’s spot into one of the most sought-after condo communities in Hoboken, which is of course now known as Maxwell Place.

    maxwell-place-hoboken

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     The new apartment complexes {with some parts still under construction to this day, woof} consist of a combo of fancy residences, dining, and retail therapy — Tutti Nails, Local Barre, W. Kodak, Massage Envy, and La Isla {Uptown} to name a few  — plus a quick walk to Amanda Banana’s at Pier 13 in the summer, please and thank you. And who can forget the views?

    maxwell-place-views

    Many were {/are} very upset that the coffee building was torn down and turned into cookie-cutter condos. While it’s fun to learn about Hoboken’s history, it’s hard not to feel a little sad and hope that Hoboken continues to hold onto its rich past.

    It’s nice to remember the way things were {while embracing some of the new of course — it’s all about balance}. Here’s to hoping that our #HobokenTBT series can shed a little light on what once was — and encourage you to explore our little city!

    Regardless, now when you walk uptown on Sinatra Drive, be sure to drink some {local} coffee to honor the Maxwell House Coffee Plant.

    See More: Hoboken TBT — The History of Columbus Park


    Have old-school/vintage photos of Hoboken that you want to share {with a story}?

    Or know of a historical spot we should cover next?

    Email hello@hobokengirl.com. We’d love to hear from you!


    Written by:

    Aida is a full-time reporter for the Town News, a part of North Jersey Media Group, and she received her Bachelor’s in Journalism from NJCU back in 2012. When she isn’t out investigating sources and digging up interesting Hoboken history, she is training at CKO kickboxing in Hoboken. Aida is Instagram and food-obsessed {and you can see her love of both by searching the hashtag #adamandaidatakethecity}. Aside from eating her way around town, Aida spends time shopping in NYC, reading actual books {no e-books to be found}, and spending quality time with her boyfriend, parents, older brother, and cocker poodle, Benji.


    2 comments

    • If you want to see the maxwell coffee building along with its historic smokestack watch the movie Analyze This With Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro. Filmed in the maxwell building and parts of the waterfount

      Reply
    • You do know that coffee smell you get up town is from the sewage treatment plant, right? Not from the old Maxwell house plant. They use coffee ground stop mask the smell of feces.

      Reply

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