Northern New Jersey was the site of some of the earliest European
settlements in what would become the United States of America.
During the American Revolutionary War, New Jersey was a strategic
location between the capitol of the fledgling United States,
New York City, and the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
Important materials necessary to the war effort were produced
in Northern New Jersey.
The Continental Army made its home here during the war and history
from this period can be found in nearly every village and town
in northern New Jersey. Battle fields,camps, skirmish sites and
headquarters can be found near Morristown and north in the Preakness
Valley. In the northwestern part of the state, iron mines and
foundries supplied raw material for guns and ammunition.
The people of New Jersey had a great influence on the formation
of the United States government. William
Paterson, before being governor of New Jersey, was a delegate
to the Philadelphia Convention of 1787. At this convention, the
Constitution of the United States was written by the "peoples
representitives using reason and experience to decide how to govern
themselves"*. William Paterson put forth the New Jersey Plan
which promoted states rights. In William Paterson's plan, each
state would receive one vote in a single legislative body. This
plan was eventually combined with the Virginia Plan, where votes
were assigned porportionally by population, to form the present
bicameral system of the Senate (two votes per state) and House
of Representitives (apportioned by population of a state).
Lab at Edison's "Invention Factory" in West Orange,
New Jersey around 1910
The Industrial Revolution in America started by the founding
of the northern New Jersey town of Paterson. Today, the United
States and the world enjoy the fruit born of seeds planted in
northern New Jersey during the Industrial Revolution. Alexander
Hamilton, Secretary for the Treasury and President of the Bank
of New York during the end of the eighteenth century, selected
the Great Falls area (also known as the Passaic Falls) for an
ambitious experiment. He promoted the natural power of the Great
Falls as an excellent location for textile mills and other manufacture.
Paterson, New Jersey attracted skilled craftsmen and engineers
from Europe to run the mills and produced a large concentration
of creative and able people. During the mid nineteenth century
the engines and material to tame a continent were made here. Thomas
Edison installed one of the first hydro electric powerplants in
the world using the Great Falls as an energy source. This powerplant
still provides electricity today.
Costello Memorial in Paterson, New Jersey
In West Orange, Edison created the first technical research and
development facility with his "invention factory". The
electric light, improved motion pictures and sound recording were
among the hundreds of inventions produced here.
Later, Bell Telephone established a research facility, Bell Labs,
where the radio telescope and the transistor were discovered.
Northern New Jersey is a great place to explore!
It is a place where one can discover a historical timeline that
extends from prehistory to the invention of the transistor. The
staff at rt23.com is actively documenting this wonderful history.
Please join us in a journey though the history of northern New
Jersey and stop by often for new articles. Don't forget to check
our Calendar of Events
for historical reenactments, museums and other interesting sights