1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Newark (New Jersey)

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NEWARK, the largest city of New Jersey, U.S.A., a port of entry, and the county-seat of Essex county, on the Passaic river and Newark Bay, about 8 m. W. of New York City. Pop. (1890) 181,830; (1900) 246,070, of whom 71,363 were foreign-born, and 6694 were negroes; (1910 census), 347,469. Of the total foreign-born population in 1900 (48,329 of whom had been in the United States at least ten years), 25,139 were from Germany, 12,792 from Ireland, 8537 from Italy, 5874 from England, 5511 from Russia and 4074 from Austria. Of the total population, 143,306 were of foreign parentage on both sides, 56,404 German, 30,261 Irish, 13,068 Italian, 8951 English and 8531 Russian. Newark is served by the Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley, the Erie, the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western and the Central of New Jersey railways, and by steamboats engaged in coastwise and river commerce. By electric lines it is connected with most of the cities and towns within a radius of 20 m., including Jersey City, Paterson and the residential suburbs, among which are the Oranges, Montclair, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Belleville and Nutley. It has a frontage on the river and bay[1] of 10½ m., and a total area of 23.4 sq. m. The site is generally level, but the ground rises toward the western part. Broad Street, 120 ft., and Market Street, 90 ft. wide, the principal thoroughfares, intersect. The most prominent public buildings are the City Hall, completed in 1906; County Court-House, designed by Cass Gilbert (b. 1859), with sculpture by Andrew O'Connor and decorations by Howard Pyle, Will H. Low, Kenyon Cox, H. O. Walker, C. Y. Turner, F. D. Millet, George W. Maynard and Edwin H. Blashfield; United States Government Building; Public Library, finished in 1901, and City Hospital. There is a Roman Catholic Cathedral, and the city is the see of a Roman Catholic and of a Protestant Episcopal bishop. The Prudential Life Insurance Company and the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company have fine office buildings. Many of the older buildings are of a brown sandstone, quarried in or near the city. In Military Park is a monument to Major-General Philip Kearny (1815-1862), and in Washington Park is a monument to Seth Boyden (1785-1870), a Newark inventor of malleable iron, of machinery for making nails, and of improvements in the steam-locomotive. Newark has also a monument to Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen (1817-1885), secretary of state in the cabinet of President Chester A. Arthur, and to Abraham Coles (1813-1891), a poet and physician, both of whom lived here. On the banks of the Passaic is a house having as a part of its walls the old walls of Cockloft Hall, in which Washington Irving frequently sojourned, and of which he gave a charming description in Salmagundi. In the vicinity are the remains of Peterborough, the home of Colonel Peter Schuyler (1710-1762), who served against the French in 1746-48 and in the French and Indian War. At the corner of Broad and William streets stood until 1835 the parsonage in which Aaron Burr was born.

In 1910 Newark had 658 acres in public parks, of which 637 acres were under the administration of the Essex County Park Commission. To Washington, Military and Lincoln parks, the older ones near the heart of the city, there have been added Branch Brook (277 acres), Weequahic (265.8 acres), West Side (23 acres), and East Side (12.5 acres) parks. The principal cemeteries are Mount Pleasant, overlooking the Passaic in the northern part of the city, and Fairmount in the western part; about 1894 the remains of the early settlers were removed from the Old Burying Ground to Fairmount Cemetery and placed in a large vault marked by a monument.

As parts of its public school system the city maintains twelve summer or vacation schools, evening schools, a normal and training school for the education of teachers, a school of drawing, and a technical school, the last for evening classes. The Newark Academy, founded in 1792, is the leading private school; and there are various Roman Catholic academies. In the township of Verona (pop. in 1905, 2576), about 7 m. N. by W. of Newark, is the City Home for boys, in which farming, printing and other trades are taught. The Public Library (opened in 1889) contained about 160,000 volumes in 1910, and the library of the New Jersey Historical Society about 26,000 books, about 27,000 pamphlets and many manuscripts; the Prudential Insurance Company has a law library of about 20,000 volumes; and the Essex County Lawyers' Club has one of 5000 volumes or more. Among the charitable institutions are the City Hospital, Saint Michael's Hospital, Saint Barnabas Hospital, Saint James Hospital, the German Hospital, a Babies' Hospital, an Eye and Ear Infirmary, a City Dispensary, the Newark Orphan Asylum, a Home for Crippled Children, a Home for Aged Women and three day nurseries. The municipality owns and operates the water-works, and the water is brought from reservoirs in the Pequanac Valley 20-30 m. N.W. of the city.

The city charter (1857) provides for government by a mayor, elected biennially, and a unicameral council, elected by popular vote. By popular vote, also, the board of street and water commissioners is chosen. The council chooses the city clerk, treasurer and tax receiver, and the mayor appoints the city attorney, police justices, the board of education, the trustees of the public library, and the excise and assessment commissioners, and, subject to the ratification of his choice by the council, the comptroller, auditor and the tax, police, health and fire commissioners.

Newark has long been one of the leading manufacturing cities of the country. The manufacture of shoes and other leather products, particularly patent leather, became an important industry early in the 19th century; in 1770 there was one tannery here; in 1792 there were three; a large one, still in operation, was built in 1827; in 1837 there were 155 curriers and patent leather makers in the city, which then had an annual product of leather valued at $899,200; in 1905 the value of the leather, tanned, curried and finished was $13,577,719. The manufacture of felt hats (product, 1905, $4,586,040, Newark ranking third in this industry among the cities of the United States), carriages, chairs and jewelry (an industry established about 1830; product, 1905, $9,258,095), developed rapidly early in the 19th century, and there are extensive manufactories of malt liquors (product, 1905, $10,917,003), and of clothing (product, 1905, $3,937,138), foundries and machine shops (product, 1905, $6,254,153), and large establishments for smelting and refining lead and copper, the product of the lead smelters and refining establishments being in 1905 the most valuable in the city. Among the other important manufactures in 1905 were: chemicals, valued at $3,964,726; slaughtering and meat packing, $2,933,877; varnish, $2,893,305; stamped ware, $2,689,766; enamelled goods, $2,361,350; boots and shoes, $2,382,051; reduction of gold and silver, not from ore, $2,361,350; corsets, $2,081,761; paints, $1,812,463; silverware and silver-smithing, $1,780,906; tobacco, cigars and cigarettes, $1,742,862; hardware, $1,616,755; buttons, $1,281,528, and saddlery hardware, $1,151,789. In 1905 an art pottery was established for making “crystal patina” and “robin's egg blue” wares, in imitation, to a certain extent, of old oriental pottery, and Clifton India ware, in imitation of pottery made by the American Indians. The total value of Newark's factory products increased from $112,728,045 in 1900 to $150,055,227 in 1905, or 33.1%. In 1905 the value of the city's factory product was almost one-fifth of that for the whole state, and Newark ranked tenth among the manufacturing cities of the entire country. In the same year Newark manufactured more than one-half (by value) of all the jewelry, leather and malt liquors produced in the state.

Insurance is another important business, for here are the headquarters of the Prudential, the Mutual Benefit Life and the American Fire, the Firemen's and the Newark Fire Insurance companies. The city's foreign trade is light (the value of its imports was $859,442 in 1907; of its exports $664,525), but its river traffic is heavy, amounting to about 3,000,000 tons annually, and being chiefly in general merchandise (including food-stuffs, machinery and manufactured products), ores and metals, chemicals and colours, stone and sand and brick.

Newark was settled in 1666 by about thirty Puritans from Milford, Connecticut, who were followed in the next year by about the same number of their sect from Branford and Guilford. Because of the union of the towns of the New Haven Jurisdiction with Connecticut, in 1664, and the consequent admission of others than church members to civil rights, these Puritans resolved to remove and found a new town, in which, as originally in the New Haven towns, only church members should have a voice in the government. They bought practically all of what is now Essex county from the Indians for “fifty double hands of powder, one hundred bars of lead, twenty axes, twenty coats, ten guns, twenty pistols, ten kettles, ten swords, four blankets, four barrels of beer, ten pairs of breeches, fifty knives, twenty horses, eighteen hundred and fifty fathoms of wampum, six ankers of liquor (or something equivalent), and three troopers' coats.” Their first church was in Broad Street, nearly opposite the present First Presbyterian Church, with cupola and flankers from which “watchers” and “wards” might discover the approach of hostile Indians, and as an honour to their pastor, Rev. Abraham Pierson (1608-1678), who came from Newark-on-Trent, they gave the town its present name, having called it Milford upon their first settlement. The town was governed largely after the Mosaic law and continued essentially Puritan for fifty years or more; about 1730 Presbyterianism superseded Congregationalism, and in 1734 Colonel Josiah Ogden, having caused a schism in the preceding year, by saving his wheat one dry Sunday in a wet season, founded with several followers the first Episcopal or Church of England Society in Newark — Trinity Church. Partly because of its Puritanic genesis and partly because of its independent manufacturing interests, Newark has kept, in spite of its nearness to New York City, a distinct character of its own. The College of New Jersey, now Princeton University, was situated here from 1747 to 1756, for all but the first few months under the presidency of the Rev. Aaron Burr, who published in 1752 the well-known Newark Grammar, long used in Princeton and originally prepared for Burr's very successful boys' school in Newark. The city received large additions to its foreign-born population immediately after the revolution of 1848, when many Germans settled here — a German daily newspaper was established in 1857. Newark was incorporated as a township in 1693, was chartered as a city in 1836 and received another charter in 1857; from it the township of Orange was formed in 1806 and the township of Bloomfield in 1812.

See H. L. Thowless, Historical Sketch of the City of Newark, New Jersey (Newark, 1902); F. J. Urquhart, Newark, The Story of its Early Days (Newark, 1904); and J. Atkinson, The History of Newark, New Jersey (Newark, 1878).


  1. The river channel before improvement had a navigable depth of 7 ft. at mean low water; the depth was increased to about 10 ft. by the Federal government before 1902; in 1907 further improvement was authorized by Congress, the channel to be made 300 ft. wide and 16 ft. deep.