New Jersey officially recognizes 1664 as the year the state was founded when land owned by the Duke of York was given to Sir George Carteret and John Lord Berkeley. That transaction record proclaimed that “said Tract of Land is hereafter to be called by the name or names of New Cesarea or New Jersey.” That makes this year New Jersey’s 350th Anniversary! To celebrate this major milestone, we’ve undertaken a project we’re calling 35 New Jersey Firsts where we highlight 35 things that first came to life in New Jersey.
The first ferry service in the U.S. operated between Hoboken and Manhattan. On October 11, 1811, inventor John Stevens’ ship the Juliana, began operation as the first steam-powered ferry.
According to an account of Colonel Stevens from the Stevens Institute of Technology, during the early 1800’s the Colonel dreamed of developing his wooded estates in Hoboken into a resort for Manhattanites. But in order to attain his goal he needed a regular steam ferry service to link the city with his estates. To this end, in 1811 the Colonel purchased a commercial ferry license in New York state and put the steam boat “Juliana” into service. Service was interrupted by Colonel John’s old nemesis, NJ Governor William Livingston, who forced the Colonel to run the “Juliana” outside New York waters on the Connecticut River.
Finally, after Governor Livingston died, the Stevens family ran the ferry “Hoboken” between Manhattan and Hoboken by 1821. In subsequent years, the Stevens-owned Hoboken Ferry Company became a primary conduit for New Jersey commuters traveling daily to work in New York City; a fleet of ferries, including the Stevens designed first screw ferry “Bergen” and the fabulous “Netherlands crossed the Hudson scores of times a day.
A picture of the Juliana couldn’t be found for this article but the Netherlands is shown above.
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