An Act to Incorporate the Hoboken Land and Improvement Co. Supplement and Other Acts. Hoboken, 1859.

An Act to Incorporate the Hoboken Land and Improvement Co. Supplement and Other Acts. Hoboken, 1859.



















Stevens family contributions to Hoboken’s history are well heralded (see The Stevens Family tab under History on our website – an illustrated multi-page story by Darian Worden). This small 1859 publication whose decorative typographic cover is shown above is a succinct tract that covers some significant aspects of the 19th century development of Hoboken.

The Hoboken Land & Improvement Company (H.L.& I. Co.) was a Stevens family enterprise for their real estate holdings. This work includes the state legislative acts related to their interests and the City’s including ferry service, railroads (both steam and horsecar), street layout and street grading. Pages 43-47 have a sketch history of Hoboken land ownership from Bayard to the deed transferring the Stevens property holdings to control of the H.L.& I. Co.

While the text is legal and dry,  it includes a lot of interesting nuggets such as the fares allowed (“RATES OF FERRIAGE” – pp. 15-17) to be charged for all kinds of goods traveling on their ferries which included everything from furniture to live animals and almost any other categories they could think of!  And on page 18, AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE CERTAIN STREETS, MARKED OUT ON A PLAN OF THE CITY OF HOBOKEN, TO BE CHANGED, you can learn how some of our City’s streets came to be located although you really need to look at map while reading it.

The copy in our collections is available in our on-line catalog with images of all pages, complete text transcribed plus a PDF which you can open to see all pages, keywords (use all): “an act to” Stevens

or read the full text below

Continue reading

Posted in HHM | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1889 Trade Card: The Hudson Salt Water Swimming Baths, Hoboken.























A beautiful chromolithographed advertising card for a commercial pool on the Hudson River very near Sybil’s Cave. River Walk is now Frank Sinatra Drive on our maps, but then it was a waterfront path that led from Hudson Square Park (now Stevens Park) north  to Elysian Fields. The view is not the Hudson River, but a sentimental artistic depiction of a river scene.

A single bath was twenty-five cents for adults and fifteen cents for children under 15 years of age. Seems modest? But typical annual income in 1889 for most of the working class was only about $500 a year, circa $10 per week. And a work week for adults was usually six days and much more than just forty hours. Even though these baths opened at 5 A.M. and stayed open into the evenings until 9 P.M. (except Sunday), going to them would have been a luxury, both in time and expense.

Would the baths have been intended for those with greater leisure or flexibility in work schedules?

The card is in the Museum Collections, online catalog keywords: 2013.001.0066 or “Hudson Salt Water Swimming Baths”


Posted in HHM | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fire at 308-312 Clinton Street, Feb. 9, 1899.

This photo of a post-blizzard scene of a fire includes huge amounts of ice enveloping the destroyed buildings. The Hoboken Fire Department ladder truck is seen encrusted with ice on the raised ladder. The alarm came in at 8:25 PM, so the fire was fought overnight. It had to have been one of the worst environments for combatting a fire in residential buildings.

It reminds us that such conflagrations are not common today even if we seem to have a winter as bad as this one.

The image is in the Museum Collection from a negative film copy courtesy of the Hoboken Public Library. They hold the original photograph and it is also available through the Rutgers Digital Highway where they have placed on-line versions of several hundred of their historical images.

The copy is seen with some more info online in our collections database, keyword: 2001.137.0008

Museum Collections

Posted in HHM | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Menu from Schnackenberg's Confectionery and Luncheonette, 1110 Washington Street, circa 1940s.

Schnackenberg’s is back (props to Eugene and Joyce Flinn).  Dorothy Schnackenberg Novak, a daughter of founder Henry Schnackenberg, recently donated this early menu to the Museum from the days when coffee was five cents and Tutti-Frutti was an ice cream flavor (made downstairs!) before it became a rock-and-roll song. Her father opened it in 1931 (Dorothy came along a bit later) and she was there when it closed for renovation in 2012. She still lives above the shop and, like many in town, is happy in its return.

See larger views in our online catalog, use keyword: 2013.071.0001

Museum Collections

Posted in HHM | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
Elephant being unloaded from ship at Hoboken, Sept. 24, 1924

Elephant being unloaded from ship at Hoboken, Sept. 24, 1924

The sight of an elephant being lifted from a ship’s cargo hold is very dramatic. This animal is just one of many that a major dealer in exotic animals brought to America. Some were for zoos and others for circuses. Remarkably, there is tracking information about most of them.

While Hoboken’s piers after World War I reverted to mostly civilian passenger use, the United States Lines also handled freight and sometimes live cargo such as animals. This press photo is one of the historical views in Museum Collections about what went on at our piers.

Read more about this photo (the man with elephant is identified) in our online catalog, use keyword: 2014.001.0048

or just enter: elephant

Museum Collections


Posted in HHM | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Or Adding Some Zip to our Museum Collections

C-curity zipper made in Hoboken ca. 1905-1913

Zippers are a taken-for-granted part of everyday life, but a century ago, the inventors and first manufacturers of the zipper were struggling. The early development of the practical zipper happened in Hoboken at the Automatic Hook and Eye Company at southwest corner of Adams and Eleventh Streets. We recently received a gift from Susan Gary James of one of earliest zippers made here. It had been in the family for many decades and appears to have been a saleman’s sample (early ones were sold door-to-door.)

The early zipper was a crude affair compared to the ones we use now. The  first ones were intended for use on shoes and boots. If footwear of the era did not use laces, then they had buttons – a very time-consuming way to make sure your shoe or boot stayed on your foot.

For more about this zipper and to see the early patents by Whitcomb Judson and Gideon Sundback related to it, check our on-line catalog, keyword: 2014.014.0001

Just one of the many neat things that came from Hoboken.

Museum Collections

Posted in HHM | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
Storm Sandy Hoboken-residents rescued by frontloader-10-31-12-McKevin Shaughnessy

Storm Sandy-Hoboken residents rescued-photo by McKevin Shaughnessy

Superstorm Sandy was a historic event in Hoboken, and the Hoboken Historical Museum is gathering stories from residents and visitors to document the storm’s immediate and ongoing impact on our community. Everyone’s story, no matter how great the storm’s impact, is a valuable part of our history.

We are inviting people to reach out to us to record their stories through a wide range of options.

  • Add your story to our blog by posting in the comments area below.
  • Call 201-537-6778, enter 10#, and follow the instructions to record a brief recollection of two to four minutes.
  • Send us an email with your story and digital images to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
  • You may also mail us your written stories and storm-related photographs to PO Box 3296, Hoboken, NJ 07030, or drop them off at the Museum, 1301 Hudson St.

Selected stories may be added to the Museum’s collections and used in our programs and presentations.

Posted in HHM | 7 Comments

My infatuation with Hoboken dates from the first time I stepped foot here, took a look at the cityscape and breathed the caffeinated air (Maxwell House was still roasting coffee in those days). But I lived here for close to a decade before I knew more than a handful of people.

Now I know hundreds of people from all over town, and can truly call Hoboken my hometown. It all started with a call from an acquaintance who was desperate for volunteers for the Museum’s Annual House Tour. I showed up for my four-hour shift, and got to know the other volunteers and the staff at the Museum. It was so much fun, I volunteered every time that friend called, and before long, found myself in charge of the Museum’s volunteer program!

Pretty soon, through the other volunteers I met at the Museum, I got involved in all kinds of interest groups around town – the Hoboken Dog Association, the Hoboken Garden Club, the Quality of Life Coalition, and more. Now I really feel like I belong…which happens to be the name of the exhibition the Museum is planning for the second half of the year. “I Belong” will be an exploration of the various social, fraternal, civic and sporting clubs that have been woven through Hoboken’s social fabric since the 18th century. It opens July 29.

If you’re looking for a way to get more involved in the community, or learn more about Hoboken’s history, I invite you to send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We need volunteers to help staff our booth at the two upcoming city festivals, The Green Fair April 21 and Spring Arts & Music fest on May 6. Both run from 11 am to 6 pm, and we need volunteers in two-hour shifts. No advance training necessary, all we ask for is a friendly smile and a willingness to pitch in.

Following these festivals, we’ll need volunteers for the Baby Parade, May 20, the Secret Garden Tour, June 3, and more events through the summer and fall. Find out more on our volunteer page.

Welcome aboard!

Posted in HHM | Leave a comment

Welcome to the Hoboken Historical Museum. And we really mean “welcome”! The Museum aims to be one of the most welcoming organizations in town—we celebrate long-time residents with oral history chapbooks, we help new residents learn the rich lore of this unique waterfront town, we bring everyone together for Baby Parades, House Tours and Secret Garden Tours, we invite toddlers every other Thursday for Uptown Storytime and school/scout groups for fun educational programs, and we greet visitors just passing through who want a handle on what Hoboken is all about.

Through our exhibits, our collections and our programs, we celebrate the one-of-a-kind characters and the shared interests that unite us with the people who lived here long ago. Our current exhibit, “Driving Under the Hudson: A History of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels,” is a perfect example of that. A bold engineering project that required a leap of faith on the part of state and local officials, the tunnels today are an important part of daily life for both Hoboken, New York and our neighboring communities.

Whether you were born here, recently moved here, or are just curious about the “Mile Square City,” we invite you to stop by 1301 Hudson St., six days a week (Tues.-Thurs., 2 – 7 pm; Fri. 1 – 5 pm; Sat.-Sun. 12 – 5 pm), and see what our talented curator and collections manager have dug up lately. If you stop in, say hi to our friendly staff and volunteers, Bill, Eileen, Michelle, Vicky and Dennis, or whoever happens to be helping out that day.

And please explore our website 24 hours a day, at your convenience, and see what’s been added to our highly searchable online collections archive. Or check out our events calendar for upcoming programs, or browse through our past exhibitions to learn more about Hoboken’s past.

We’ll use this blog to highlight elements of our exhibits and events, or aspects of Hoboken’s history that didn’t quite make it into an exhibit. We welcome your questions, feedback and suggestions through the comments section of this blog. Please bear in mind that we’re not a large organization and can’t research all incoming questions, but we’ll try to help point you in the right direction if we can.

– Melissa Abernathy, Communications & Volunteer Coordinator

Posted in HHM | Tagged | 2 Comments