The 20th Century in New Jersey

Let us revisit the 20th Century, perhaps the most momentous century in human history.   I would like to do a piece on as many of the important, interesting events in the 20th Century as I possibly can, in no specific sequence whatsoever.

In the meantime, here in chronological order are important moments in the last century in one state–New Jersey…

In 1904, Thomas Edison films The Great Train Robbery.  In 1908, the Hudson and Manhattan tubes, which today are now PATH, opens under the Hudson River.

Standard Oil strikers throw bricks at Bayonne police, 1915, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Div.

In 1915, Standard Oil workers strike in Bayonne (left).  On July 30, 1916, there is the Black Tom ammunition depot explosion in Jersey City.  In 1919, textile workers in Paterson strike for a 44-hour week.

In 1921 the Port of New York Authority is established and in 1922, WOR begins broadcasting.  Standard Oil of New Jersey establishes an eight-hour work day in 1925. In 1927, the Holland Tunnel is opened, and in 1928 Newark Airport and the Goethals Bridge open.

The George Washington Memorial Bridge, Bayonne Bridge, Kill Van Kull bridge and Holland Tunnel open in 1931.  In 1933, the Pulaski Skyway is completed.  In 1933, the first drive-in movie theater opens in Camden.

Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, Circa 1940.  Library of Congress,

The Morro Castle catches fire off the coast of New Jersey in 1934, and the Hindenburg explodes over Lakehurst Naval Air Station in 1937.  Also in 1937, Roosevelt Stadium opens in Jersey City.

In 1938, Orson Welles broadcasts the radio play War of the Worlds about Martians landing in West Windsor.

In 1942, the United States government seizes the Bayonne General Cable plant, ending a strike.  The transistor is developed at Bell Labs in Murray Hill in 1948, and the New Jersey Civil Rights Acts passes in 1949.

In 1951, the first 53 miles of the New Jersey Turnpike opens, and the Garden State Parkway opens in 1955. In 1961, the first enclosed shopping mall on the East Coast opens in Cherry Hill. Rioting rocks the City of Newark six days in July of 1967.

Rutgers College becomes coed in 1972.  In 1976, Liberty State Park in Jersey City is opened.  In 1979, the Pinelands Preservation Act passes.

In 1981, the Brendan Byrne Arena opens and in 1983, the Mt. Laurel II decision is issued by the New Jersey Supreme Court.  In 1985, Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City is demolished to make way for housing.  In 1989, the construction of Interstate 78 is completed.

In 1997, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center opens in Newark.  In 1998 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled New Jersey’s right to control 24.5 of the 27.5 acres of Ellis Island.  Hurricane Floyd slams the East Coast in 1999, Bergen, Essex, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Union Counties are declared disaster areas and the Raritan River crests at a record 42.13 feet, flooding Bound Brook and Manville.

The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service begins operation in 2000, the last year of the century.

Top header image:  Col. Roosevelt on his tour thru New Jersey before the convention.  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Div.

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