Home Culture 12 Interesting Weehawken Facts You Probably DIdn’t Know

12 Interesting Weehawken Facts You Probably DIdn’t Know

by Hoboken Girl Team
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Weehawken’s historical importance may have been popularized by the hit musical Hamilton, {Guns drawn, Aaron Burr sings to Alexander Hamilton as they plan the details of their famed duel}, but the tiny city is bursting with over 400 years of history long before the play. Here, we’ve compiled a list of 12 interesting facts about the town, but our suggestion: wait for the next beautiful day and walk the streets to see yourself. Reading the historical markers that dot Boulevard East, taking in the ornate architecture and feeling history firsthand is kind of breathtaking, and the views aren’t too bad either. For now, read on to learn some interesting facts about Weehawken.

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1. The first documented European discovery of Weehawken Cove was on October 2, 1609, when Henry Hudson’s boat the Half Moon anchored just two blocks north of Hoboken’s 14th Street {something to think about the next time you’re sipping a margarita at Pier 13}!

2. Hoboken and Weehawken have traded land many times over the past four centuries and in fact, some of Hoboken’s most famous landmarks {particularly most of North Hoboken’s waterfront and stretching all the way to Stevens} were actually once Weehawken territory.

3. The red brick water tower on Park Avenue is one of Weehawken’s defining features — it was built in 1883 Frederick Clarke Withers and modeled after the PIazzo Vecchio in Florence. Though it hasn’t been in use in many years, it’s occasionally opened to the public and is still used as a landmark for ships to let them know they’re approaching the New York Harbor.

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4. The Eldorado Amusement Park was a 25-acre pleasure garden that spanned Boulevard East enticed visitors from Manhattan. Billed as “The Most Beautiful Amusement Resort in the World”, Eldorado featured a cliffside castle, landscaped gardens, a 30-foot fountain, boxing matches, vaudeville performances, sporting events and an amphitheater that seated up to 15,000 people and featured a day-time circus and nighttime world-class theater productions and was visited in droves by Manhattan-ites looking to cross the river for an escape from the sweltering city summers.

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5. To move NYC-dwellers the 150+ feet up the cliffs from the river bank, many sets of stairs and wagon lifts were built, but the most interesting was the construction of Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel’s elevator {yes, that Eiffel}. In addition to designing the eponymous tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty, Gustav Eiffel designed what was at the time, the largest elevator in the world, just for Weehawken guests to ride.

6. The ever-popular Weehawken Ferry has been running {intermittently} since 1700. Yep, 76 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed, a Weehawken-Manhattan ferry patent was granted to New York Governor Richard Coote for passageway across the Hudson.

7. The city played a super important role during the Revolutionary War; because it was situated high over the water, Weehawken was used as a lookout to keep an eye on the British as the redcoats controlled the waterways and New York. Revolutionaries like Washington, Hamilton and Lafayette {whose headquarters were in Weehawken} frequented the locale.

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8. The famed duel to the death between Vice President Aaron Burr and former Secretary of State Alexander Hamilton in 1804 may be Weehawken’s most popular piece of history. You can check out the memorial site on Hamilton Avenue and then head north on Boulevard East to Hamilton Park for a taste of history and the most sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline you’ll find anywhere.

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9. Three years before the famed Hamilton-Burr duel, Alexander’s 19-year-old son Philip was fatally wounded in the same spot while defending his father’s honor. The dueling grounds were home to at least 18 documented duels, despite the owner of the land personally breaking up would-be fights whenever he heard about them.

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10. Before the Lincoln Tunnel started shuttling tens of thousands of us in and out of Manhattan each day, there was the Lincoln Highway. The first transcontinental highway, it ran from San Francisco to Times Square, but after the first mile from Broadway and 42nd St travelers had to, you guessed it, board a ferry across the Hudson where the highway picked up just two blocks from where the Lincoln Tunnel now sits. The highway then followed a circuitous route up the Palisades on Pershing Road and out through Jersey City and Newark.

READ: Hoboken TBT: The Willow Terrace

11. Hoboken may have Frank Sinatra, but Weehawken has Fred Astaire and his older sister, Adele. The Astaire’s mother moved them from Nebraska to pitch them as a vaudeville sibling duo in Manhattan. Astaire became a mainstay in the golden years of Hollywood, starring in big-screen classics like Holiday Inn, Easter Parade, and Funny Face.

12. Part library, part museum, the Weehawken Public Library was once a mansion owned by American Brew Master William Peter. Designed in the style of a German castle in 1904, the 17-room library features elaborate decorations, stained glass, ornate marble, and multiple fireplaces alongside its 40,000 volumes. Located on the corner of Hauxhurst Ave, the castle overlooks the Helix and subsequent skyline.

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Do you have any fun facts to share about Weehawken? Comment below!

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