Originally named Kinkora, the village was planned and created by Charles Roebling to house the Roebling Steel Plant workers. His grid design accommodated 750 brick houses along 100-ft wide streets with medians planted with shade trees. Main Street was flanked by a water tower on one end, and the main gate to the factory on the other. Roebling placed shops, banks, a post office around the village center's circle. Roeblings owned everything. Homes were rented only ... no leases or purchases. Tenants could be evicted without cause.
The following is from the 1918 Industrial Directory of New Jersey, N.J. Department of Labor, Trenton.
Roebling is situated on the Delaware River, about midway between Kinkora and Florence. The entire town site and all that it contains is owned by the John A. Roebling & Sons Company, of Trenton, N. J. It has an electric lighting and water supply plant of the best kind, and is supplied with gas by the Public Service Corporation. Every part of the town is perfectly sewered, and the inhabitants, who are practically all employees of the Roebling Company, and their families, are, for the most part, Slavs, Russians, Swedes, Hungarians and Germans.
The houses in which the workmen live are built of red brick with slate roofs and have large yards, with alleys between streets. In addition to having running water in every house, distilled water for drinking and cooking is furnished every day. Throughout the entire town streets are paved with crushed stone, and the sidewalks, which are wide, have fine grass borders on both sides of the flagging. For the convenience of the community, there is one large, well appointed hall, available for all kinds of public gatherings; also one hotel, restaurants, boarding houses, barber shop, drug store, bakeries, offices, free library, emergency hospital, and all other requisites of comfortable and orderly community life.
The various religious denominations hold services every Sunday in the town hall. Of social and fraternal organizations there are Odd Fellows, Shepherds of Bethlehem, Patriotic Order Sons of America, Hungarian Workmen's Society, Workmen of the World, and others.
For fire protection there are high pressure street hydrants, with hand engine and hose carriage, and a company of volunteers.
The great Roebling Wire Works are the center of all activities of the town, and land, public buildings, dwellings, with all other forms of real property, are owned by the Roebling Company. There is one large school furnished and supported by the company for the education of resident children.
Roebling, being exclusively a company town, offers no opportunities for other lines of employment. The influence of its presence, however, on the value of property and growth of industry and population over the immediately surrounding country cannot be otherwise than beneficial, as a very large business is done at its station, and shipping facilities are good. There are seventeen trains in and out of the town daily, trolley cars every half hour, and seven mails each way per day.
As stated above, the sole industry of the town is the great wire and wire cloth mills of the John A. Roebling's Sons Company, in which 2,100 men are steadily employed. In addition to the mill employees, from one to two hundred workmen are constantly engaged laying out streets and walks, mowing grass, and otherwise maintaining the condition of neatness and order which is a noticeable characteristic of the place. About 75 per cent, of the population is made up of foreign born people. The New Jersey Wire Cloth Co., employing 500 persons, is located here, and is owned by the John A. Roebling's Sons Company also.