Meetings of minds

LONG after the event, William A. Whitehead recalled how, through the 1845 founding of a historical society for New Jersey, he penetrated a circle of “several prominent gentlemen … whom I had never met before.”1 By many standards, Whitehead would have been regarded as an interloper. The men who gathered in Trenton that February worked … More Meetings of minds

Try, try again

MORE ancient and enduring than New Jersey’s status as a Revolutionary battleground has been its contest for self-definition. The state has often been coarsely cast as suffering a kind of bipolar disorder, forever torn between the megacities it faces across its two frontier rivers. The nature of that struggle is of course far more complex, … More Try, try again

Moving Day

“DO you want,” pronounced an eminent journalist, “an appropriate emblem of this country, and this age? Then stand on the side-walks of New-York, and watch the universal transit on the first of May.” We could suppose the scene to which Lydia Maria Child referred was some rite of rejuvenation, an urban awakening to the warmth … More Moving Day

Fathers of invention

NEARLY ten times its breadth from stem to stern, powered by a compound engine that rendered the ride both swift and smooth, the John Potter offered as elegant and efficient a link as could be had between Manhattan and the railhead of the Camden and Amboy. Its passengers continued their trip from wharves on the … More Fathers of invention

Four Corners

NEAR the end of 1915, workers for the Public Service Railway Company took up positions at the junction of Newark’s Broad and Market Streets, and began to count. On a single weekday, from before dawn until after dusk, observers at each corner tallied all pedestrians stepping off the curb or turning, all passengers on streetcars … More Four Corners

Speed

ON the modern map of Newark, Lombardy Street barely registers. Except for two disparate but imposing twenty-story towers flanking its entrance with their faces on Broad Street, it is devoid of buildings.  It points to the Passaic but, never coming within sight of the river’s edge, offers only a quick connection to streetcars and automobiles … More Speed

The storm of war

Hark! Hark! what sounds salute my ear? What means this thund’ring din I hear? Why roars the deep-mouth’d cannon? Why Does joy seem beaming in each eye           Which look’d of late so sad? Why are Fredonia’s flags display’d? Why beat the drums? Why this parade? Why peal the bells? Why mirth abounding? While with … More The storm of war