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350 Years of New Jersey History
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innovation, liberty, diversity graphic

A Place in New Jersey History:

Innovation, Liberty and Diversity in
New Jersey’s historic buildings and sites

Places that made history in the Garden State, selected by the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office, Department of Environmental Protection

New Jersey—350 Years of Innovation, Liberty and Diversity
richly illustrated in 36 selected historic buildings and sites.

Tangible evidence of the dreams, aspirations and great accomplishments of New Jersey’s people over three-and-a-half centuries abounds in the built environment of the Garden State.   Many exceptional examples of historic places link us back to the ways diverse, innovative, freedom-loving New Jerseyans shaped their destiny and in so doing had a profound impact on our nation and the world.

The State Historic Preservation Office has chosen 36 representative sites that illustrate this.  Each month of the 2014 anniversary year, three outstanding locations on the 350th themes of Innovation, Liberty and Diversity will be spotlighted here.  Come back often to learn about them, and better still, make plans to visit them!

In fulfilling its mission to protect and promote public and private stewardship of New Jersey’s architectural and archaeological heritage, the State Historic Preservation Office identifies and documents National Historic Landmarks and properties listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places, and monitors the impact of public projects on historic properties.





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A Place In New Jersey History:
innovation yellow graphic Bell Labs Horn Antenna

New Jersey-350 years of Innovation

Bell Labs

Union County, Murray Hill
Holmdel Township, Monmouth County
National Historic Landmark

Liberty gray graphic USS New Jersey Firing Cannon off Coast of Lebanon 1984 New Jersey-350 years of Liberty

USS New Jersey

Camden County, City of Camden
National and State Registers
of Historic Places
Diversity blue graphic Mr. Charles Abbot circa 1904 New Jersey-350 years of Diversity

Abbott Farm

Mercer and Burlington Counties
Archaeological Site
National Historical Landmark

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Innovation: Bell Labs


New Jersey - 350 years of Innovation
Innovation yellow graphic
Bell Labs Horn Antenna Bell Labs

Union County, Murray Hill
Holmdel Township, Monmouth County
National Historic Landmark

Of the many corporate research campuses that sprouted up in 20th-century New Jersey, one stood head and shoulders above the rest, both in the public imagination and in the estimation of the people who worked there: Bell Labs. At Murray Hill in December 1947, three Bell Labs scientists announced their invention of the first transistor—perhaps the most famous invention made there. The transistor was essential to the miniaturization of all electronic devices, and it earned the Nobel Prize in physics for its originators. Bell Labs scientists and technicians brought us many things, from solar panels to the Unix operating system that powers so many of our computers.

Begun in New York City in 1925, the labs moved in 1941 to Murray Hill in New Providence, Union County. Murray Hill remained Bell Labs' primary headquarters, but a satellite campus was built in Holmdel, Monmouth County, where an office building designed by internationally-famous architect Eero Saarinen opened in 1961.

At its height, Bell Labs employed about 15,000 people in an astonishingly wide variety of specialized fields. Bell Labs not only had staff who could conceive innovations, they could also discover the science to explain them, make the working models to demonstrate them, and transform prototypes into actual products. Because of the aura that surrounded Bell Labs, it often seemed that the Bell Telephone System itself somehow belonged to New Jersey in the mid-20th century.

The story of Bell Labs is explained more fully in Jon Gertner, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation (2012); Jeremy Bernstein, Three Degrees Above Zero: Bell Labs in the Information Age (1984); and John Brooks, Telephone: The Wondrous Invention that Changed a World and Spawned a Corporate Giant (1976). Search the following terms online: Bell Labs, transistor, Unix, systems theory, and Horn Antenna.

Bell Labs Horn Antenna Bell Labs at Murray Hill

Horn Antenna, Bell Labs, Holmdel Township.

Bell Labs, Murray Hill.  Courtesy of The Porticus Centre, Beatrice Technologies, Inc., Subsidiary of Beatrice Companies, Inc.

For more information on this site and subject, search the following terms: “Bell Labs”, “Bell System History”, “Horn Antenna”

Liberty: USS New Jersey BB-62

New Jersey - 350 years of Liberty
Liberty Gray Graphic
USS New Jersey Cannon Fire off Coast of Lebanon 1984 USS New Jersey

Camden County, City of Camden
National and State Registers
of Historic Places

From the patriots of the American Revolution to the brave men and women serving today in our armed forces around the globe, New Jersey’s citizens have struggled and sacrificed to defend our liberties throughout the nation’s history.  The USS New Jersey (BB-62), the most decorated battleship in U.S. naval history, is a powerful symbol of the strength and courage of the men and women of her namesake state. 

One of four Iowa class battleships built, construction of the New Jersey began at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1940.  The ship was launched on December 7, 1942, exactly one year after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States' entrance into World War II.  She began active combat duty in early 1944 and in August of that year became the flagship of Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey, Jr., Commander of the Pacific Third Fleet and a native of New Jersey.  The New Jersey and her crew served valiantly in many of the major campaigns in the Pacific Theatre of the war, earning a total of nine battle stars. 

The New Jersey was decommissioned in 1948, but reentered active service in 1950 during the Korean Conflict and again in 1968—the only U.S. battleship recalled to active duty during the Vietnam War.  The New Jersey was commissioned for a fourth and final time in 1982, seeing combat service during the Lebanese Civil War in 1983-1984.  The ship was decommissioned for the final time in February 1991. 

In November 1999, the New Jersey returned to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where her story began almost 60 years earlier.  A few months later, the Navy announced that the ship would be donated to the Home Port Alliance of Camden and opened to the public for use as an educational museum.  Following an extensive restoration, the New Jersey made the short trip up the Delaware River to her new home along the Camden waterfront, where visitors may explore this incredible example of 20th-century naval technology, and learn about the role of the ship and its courageous sailors in defending our nation's freedom.

(Top Photograph) USS New Jersey's guns firing off the coast of Lebanon, 1984.  Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense

William F. Halsey, JR. dining with crew, 1944

Battleship USS New Jersey #BB-62 view of sarboard
Adm. WIlliam F. Halsey, Jr. dines with the crew 1944. Courtesy U.S. National Archives USS New Jersey on the Camden waterfront.  Courtesy Home Port Alliance for the USS New Jersey

For more information on this site and subject, visit http://www.battleshipnewjersey.org/
or search the following terms:  “USS New Jersey”  “Battleship New Jersey”

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Diversity: Abbott Farm

New Jersey - 350 years of Diversity
Diversity Blue Box Mr. Charles Abbot circa 1904 Abbott Farm

Union County, Murray Hill
Holmdel Township, Monmouth
County National Historic Landmark

The Abbott Farm National Historic Landmark is located near Trenton on the terraces overlooking the Delaware River and tidal marshes comprising a rich diversity of environmental and cultural resources. The Abbott Farm was named after its owner, Charles Conrad Abbott (1843-1919), a noted scientist, naturalist, and American archaeologist, who authored numerous publications beginning in 1872 on the Native American artifacts he uncovered on his farm. These discoveries sparked a forty-year international debate and controversy regarding the antiquity of humans in the New World, and played a significant role in the developmental stages of American archaeology and geology. Many of American’s most distinguished geologists, paleontologists, and archaeologists and several leading European scholars participated in the debate. The controversy made Abbott Farm one of the best known eastern North American archaeological sites to European and American scientists and to the American public.

Building on the works of Charles Abbott and Ernest Volk, State Archaeologist Dorothy Cross conducted large-scale excavations at the Abbott Farm (1936-1940), through assistance of the Works Progress Administration, identifying the expansive remains of Native American Archaic through Woodland period (6,000-1,500 B.P.) settlements, burying grounds, and resource processing locations. While less visible, evidence was also identified for all periods of Native American occupation of North American including Paleo-Indian (12,000 B.P.) through European Contact.

The Abbott Farm is one of the most significant prehistoric archaeological sites in the eastern United States with archaeological studies continuing to the present day.

(Note: Before Present (B.P.) is a time scale used in scientific disciplines to specify when events in the past occurred. Because the "present" time changes, standard practice is to use January 1, 1950 as commencement date of the age scale, reflecting the fact that radiocarbon dating became practicable in the 1950s.)

(Top Photograph) Charles Conrad Abbott circa 1904. Courtesey findagrave.com

1980s Archeaological Excavations Abbott Farm Painting of Native American circa 1590    
1980s Archaeological excavations of Area D.
Courtesy New Jersey State Museum
John White painting of an Algonquian tribal member circa 1590.  Courtesy The British Museum(Above right)
For more information on this site and subject, search the following terms:  “Abbott Farm”  “Charles Conrad Abbott”  “Native American Archaeology Abbott Farm”

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Last Updated: January 4, 2016