Our Town/History

Alexander Hamilton

Elizabeth City Hall

Singer Factory, Corner of Trumbull & Second Streets

Courtesy of  Elizabeth Public Library

Singer Logo

Early Days

On October 28, 1664, the Indians of Staten Island sold a tract of land lying between the Raritan River and the Passaic River, extending westward from Newark Bay, to John Bailey, Daniel Denton and Luke Watson. It included what is now the City of Elizabeth.

First known as Elizabethtown, Governor Sir Philip Carteret made it the capital of New Jersey. Home to influential early Americans such as Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, Elizabethtown was the scene of many key revolutionary battles and the hub of colonial political activity during the 1700’s.

Industrial Revolution

During the later part of the 19th century and into the 20th century, Elizabeth was at the forefront of the industrial revolution. Companies like the Singer Manufacturing Company (sewing machines) built huge factories here and employed tens of thousands of workers. Industries at the time included shipbuilding, automobile plants, ironworkers, breweries, machinery manufacturers and oil refining.

In the later part of the century, the City was able to transform itself into even more of a transportation hub with the development of Newark Airport, the Goethals’ Bridge, and the New Jersey Turnpike. Its seaport evolved into one of the world’s largest shipping ports with the development of containerization. Meanwhile, because of its location, Elizabeth grew into a major retail destination.

A Place Where History Lives

Spend a day in Elizabeth and see the history of the United States come to life. There are numerous historic markers, locations and buildings, which are registered with the State and Federal governments. Elizabeth Avenue is known as one of the oldest streets in North America.

Historic Midtown and Elizabeth Avenue districts offer a startling array of historical sites, which bring the Colonial history of the City to life. Click here to learn about more Elizabeth Avenue Area attractions.


Links to Related Sites of Interest:

City of Elizabeth

Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce

Elizabeth Public Library

The New Jersey Historical Society

Exit 13A – Shop Play Stay

State of New Jersey

Union County Government

Union Public Schools