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Bayonne City

City of Bayonne administrative offices are located at 630 Avenue C, Bayonne NJ 07002; phone: 201-858-6000.

Bayonne [1] was a largely rural and agricultural community up until the nineteenth century when its location near Manhattan, the onset of the Industrial Revolution and the rapid increase in immigration generated significant demand for development. During the nineteenth century Bayonne rapidly developed as a residential community, influenced by the trolley system which opened in 1863 and connected Bergen Point to Jersey City. In the 1850's, Bergen Point was considered a resort destination with the 200-room LaTourette Hotel which was a popular vacation retreat for people from New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Bayonne's industrial development was concentrated in the Constable Hook area. The first industry to locate in Constable Hook was the Hazzard gunpowder factory, which established itself in the early 1800's. Industrial development, however, did not expand greatly until the late 1870's when the Tidewater Oil Company and Standard Oil Company built refineries and pipeline terminals in Constable Hook. In the decades that followed, major chemical plants, foundries and a multitude of other industrial uses located in Bayonne.

The City of Bayonne has a history that dates to the earliest period of colonial settlement in New Jersey and New York, when Henry Hudson anchored his ship off of Constable Hook in 1609 and explored present-day Bayonne. The first land grant in Bayonne occurred when John Jacobson Roy was awarded 300 acres in Constable Hook in 1646. Early settlement was hindered by difficult conditions and the presence of Native Americans, however, by 1658 the Dutch acquired sufficient land to establish a small outpost in the City. The early residents of Bayonne resided primarily in Constable Hook and subsisted on farming and fishing.

Additional settlements in the area now known as Bayonne were established as the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, later known as New York and New Jersey under the English, prospered and grew. These settlements were called Centreville, Pamrapo and Bergen Point. During the 18th and early 19th centuries, much of present-day Bayonne remained agricultural and residential. Constable Hook was a farming and fishing community with scattered industry such as the Hazard Powder Company factory, which was founded in 1798. Centreville was located on Broadway from 8th Street to 26th Street and consisted of homes, a school, a store and a hotel. It was the most populous of the communities located in the area of present-day Bayonne. Pamrapo was located in the northeastern section of Bayonne and was primarily a residential community dependent upon farming and fishing. Bergen Point was a wealthy village of large estates, hotels and yacht clubs that were attracted by its waterfront location, beaches and open spaces. These communities were consolidated into the newly formed City of Bayonne in 1869, however, elements of them persisted well in to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The opening of the Morris Canal in 1838 and the construction of the Central Railroad of New Jersey through Bayonne in 1864 precipitated the rapid growth and industrial development of the 19th century that transformed the City into a major manufacturing and transportation center. Major industrial developments during the late 19th century included the Port Johnston coal terminal on the Kill Van Kull, the Standard Oil Refinery in Constable Hook and the Texaco refinery and terminal in Bergen Point. Other areas of the City including the Newark Bay waterfront experienced rapid growth and industrialization as well. By the turn of the century, Bayonne had evolved from a collection of small farming and fishing villages into one of the largest and most important industrial cities in the State. This would continue well into the 20th century, fueled by the nation's industrial growth and an influx of immigrants who provided a ready source of labor for the City's factories.

Bayonne continued to grow and prosper in the 20th century. The enormous wave of immigration in the early 20th century fueled the City's population growth, which peaked at 88,979 in 1930. Constable Hook and parts of Bergen Point developed as major industrial areas while the central and western sections of the City experienced significant residential growth. The City benefited from the creation of extensive parkland and open space on Newark Bay and the Kill Van Kull. Major transportation projects such as the Bayonne Bridge, the Central Railroad's Newark Bay Bridge and the New Jersey Turnpike Hudson County Extension connected Bayonne to the region and reduced the City's relative isolation. The City created a major port and expanded its land area by constructing the Military Ocean Terminal, which was completed by the U.S. Navy in the 1940's.

During the second half of the 20th century, Bayonne entered a period of maturity characterized by full development, population stability and relatively slow growth. From 1970 to present, the City has experienced an economic shift as the importance of industry decreased and the service sector grew rapidly. Major industrial employers such as Texaco, Maidenform and the Military Ocean Terminal left the City during this period. Bayonne, however, has entered a period of renewed growth and development. The HBLRTS will provide residents and businesses with high quality mass transit and connections to Jersey City, New York City and northern New Jersey. The vacant former Texaco refinery is targeted for mixed-use redevelopment with housing, recreation and accessory commercial uses. Most importantly, the Military Ocean Terminal will be redeveloped as a mixed-use complex providing employment, recreation and tax ratables for the City. There is even a strong likelihood of residential growth in the future as new housing is constructed, immigration continues and new residents are attracted by Bayonne's schools and quality of life.

  1. City of Bayonne, NJ, Master Plan, 2015, www.bayonnenjorg, accessed August, 2015.
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