• 50 Years - A Million Thanks
A Walk Through Hoboken with David Hartman and Historian Barry Lewis
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Colonial Industrial Post-Industrial

Manhattan's Knickerbockers Base Ball Club lost the first organized game of baseball 23-1.
olonel John Stevens had plans for Hobuck, which he quickly renamed Hoboken. He created a six-mile path along the Hudson, known as the River Walk, and a mineral water spa called Sybil's Cave. He built a tavern and a hotel, and a large stretch of woods and meadows was turned into an expansive garden called the Elysian Fields that became a favorite resort for upper class Manhattanites looking to get out of the city. Years later, in 1846, this was the site of the first organized baseball game, played between the Knickerbocker Club from Manhattan and a local team called the New Yorks. There was a six cent fine for cursing and a two bits charge for questioning an umpire's call. After four innings, the Knickerbockers fell behind 23-1, at which point they abandoned the game in favor of a visit to the nearby tavern.
The Lackawanna Railroad terminal is still in use today.
From the beginning, ferry service across the Hudson to Manhattan was instrumental in the development of Hoboken.

Knowing that the key to cultivating a successful getaway destination was to make Hoboken accessible, Stevens expended a great deal of effort investigating and developing transportation methods. In 1811, he launched the nation's first regular steam ferry service, between Manhattan and Hoboken. In 1825, he created America's first working locomotive, which ran around in circles on a small, round track. The engine had to be imported from England, but the event was nonetheless indicative of the direction Hoboken was headed.

The Hoboken Land and Improvement Company built many of the homes still in Hoboken today.
By the late 1800s, the great Delaware, Lacckawanna & Western Railroad converged with the Hamburg-American and North German Lloyd shipping lines on the Hoboken shoreline, where ferries shuttled passengers back and forth across the Hudson. Since 1908, the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) subway train has provided continuous service between New Jersey and Manhattan.

Colonel Stevens seems to have endowed his progeny with a similar bend for progressive engineering. Robert Livingston Stevens, a gifted engineer and railroad pioneer, created the country's first yacht club in 1844. A spare-time sailing enthusiast, he designed a racing yacht for his brother, John Cox Stevens, called the America. In 1851, John Cox took the ship to victory in a series of races off the coast of the Isle of Wight in England, thus spawning the America's Cup sailing series. In 1870, Edwin Stevens founded Stevens Institute of Technology, the oldest college of mechanical engineering in the country.

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Hoboken was the seat of a vast shipping and industrial complex, in no small part thanks to the planning of the Stevens family. After Colonel Stevens' death in 1838, Hoboken property was owned by the Hoboken Land and Improvement Company, which was controlled by the Stevens family and ended up constructing many of the houses and buildings that remain in Hoboken today. As the Hoboken Land and Improvement Company began to sell off its land to industries, the character of Hoboken changed from a weekend resort to bustling business center. Between 1900 and World War I, more than 250 manufacturing plants took up residence in Hoboken. In 1889, there were just over three thousand manufacturing employees in Hoboken; by 1909, that number had increased threefold.

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