22 Fun Facts About New Jersey | Beyond the Turnpike

fun facts about New Jersey

22 Fun Facts About New Jersey | Beyond the Turnpike

  1. It’s against the law to sell a car on Sundays in New Jersey.
  2. Albert Einstein House, where he lived for all his time in the US is in New Jersey.
  3. NJ has the largest number of scientists and engineers per square mile in the U.S.
  4. Grover Cleveland is the only U.S. President from New Jersey.
  5. New Jersey’s state insect is the Honeybee.
  6. Trenton, NJ served as the temporary capital of the United States in 1784 and 1799.
  7. New Jersey was the first state to sign the Bill of Rights.
  8. New Jersey’s motor vehicle laws were the first to require a driver’s license.
  1. The first Miss America Pageant was held in 1921 in Atlantic City.
  2. The first submarine ride took place in the Passaic River, New Jersey.
  3. The first automatic traffic light in the U.S. was in New Jersey.
  4. New Jersey is the only state with all its counties classified as metropolitan areas.
  5. New Jersey has no official state song.
  6. The first ever FM radio broadcast was made from Alpine, NJ, by Major E. Armstrong.
  7. New Jersey has the highest-density of population in the U.S.
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1. New Jersey is the diner capital of the world with over 525 diners.

New Jersey proudly holds the title ‘Diner Capital of the World,’ with over 525 diners – more than any other state. This impressive tally isn’t just about quantity; it reflects a rich tradition where diners are woven into the state’s cultural fabric. 

These establishments offer a nostalgic culinary experience and act as community hubs where stories and coffee are shared liberally. 

2. New Jersey was named after the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel.

One of the interesting New Jersey facts is its namesake origins from the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel. This name was chosen to honor Sir George Carteret, a bailiff for the Channel Islands, who was granted the land by King Charles II as a reward for his loyalty during the English Civil War. 

The state’s name thus carries a legacy of allegiance and royal favor, linking it historically and culturally to one of Europe’s notable islands.

3. New Jersey’s Revolutionary War history includes over 100 battles.

During the Revolutionary War period from 1775 to 1783, New Jersey was a crucial battleground, hosting over 100 conflicts. Known as ‘The Crossroads of the Revolution,’ its strategic location and key transportation routes played a significant role in the military actions. 

These battles were pivotal, influencing the outcome of the war and shaping the future of the United States.

4. The world’s first boardwalk was built in Atlantic City in 1870.

A video about the world’s first boardwalk in New Jersey.

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In 1870, New Jersey introduced a novel concept to its coastline by constructing the world’s first boardwalk in Atlantic City. This initial structure, intended to keep sand out of the oceanfront hotels, quickly evolved into an iconic feature of the shore. 

The boardwalk not only revolutionized the way beaches were enjoyed but also significantly boosted New Jersey’s tourism industry, cementing Atlantic City’s status as a beloved seaside destination.

5. New Jersey is a leading producer of Cranberries.

New Jersey is a prominent player in the agricultural sector, especially known for being one of the leading producers of cranberries in the US. The state’s unique Pine Barrens, with its acidic, low-nutrient soil and abundant fresh water, provides the perfect conditions for cranberry growth. 

Each year, New Jersey’s bogs yield millions of pounds of cranberries, contributing significantly to the national supply and supporting local farming communities.

6. New Jersey was a major hub during the Industrial Revolution.

During the Industrial Revolution, New Jersey emerged as a major industrial center due to its strategic location between the major markets of New York and Philadelphia. The state’s extensive transportation network facilitated the rapid movement of goods and raw materials. 

Key industries in New Jersey during this period included textile manufacturing, iron production, and the processing of natural resources like timber and coal.

7. The first professional baseball game was played in Hoboken, NJ.

Another interesting fact about New Jersey is its pivotal role in the history of baseball. The first professional baseball game was played in Hoboken, NJ, on June 19, 1846, between the New York Nine and the Knickerbockers at Elysian Fields.

This historic event took place at Elysian Fields and marked a significant moment in sports history, establishing New Jersey as a foundational site for professional baseball. This game set the stage for the development of baseball as a major American sport.

8. NJ’s Blueberry capital, Hammonton, holds an annual festival.

fun facts about New Jersey
Red, White and Blueberry Fest in NJ is an annual festival.

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Hammonton, New Jersey, known as the ‘Blueberry Capital of the World,’ celebrates its renowned status with the Red, White & Blueberry Festival annually, typically taking place annually on a Sunday in late June. 

The festival features a range of activities, including a blueberry pancake breakfast hosted by the Hammonton Kiwanis Club, a classic car show, and live music from local bands like Stealing Savannah. Attendees can also enjoy blueberry-themed foods such as blueberry cannolis, pies, and fresh crates of blueberries.

9. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, phonograph, and projector in NJ.

Thomas Edison, in New Jersey, invented the phonograph in 1877, marking a breakthrough in sound recording. He demonstrated his commercially viable incandescent light bulb on New Year’s Eve, 1879, at Menlo Park, revolutionizing lighting technology. 

By 1888, he had developed the motion picture projector, pioneering early cinema through devices like the Kinetograph and Kinetoscope.

10. NJ has a unique law against ‘frowning’ at a police officer.

One of the weird facts about New Jersey is that it technically has a law against frowning at a police officer. This unusual rule is part of broader legislation that prohibits any “gesture of contempt, contumely, or derision” towards law enforcement officers. 

Classified as a disorderly person’s offense, this law could lead to fines and other penalties. However, there’s no evidence of recent enforcement of this specific statute.

11. Central NJ is known as the world’s medicine chest.

Central New Jersey is known as the “world’s medicine chest” due to its significant concentration of pharmaceutical companies, making it a global leader in medicine production and innovation. The region hosts a vast array of pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms. 

Over the years, this has established New Jersey as a vital hub for the life sciences industry, characterized by robust research, development, and manufacturing capabilities.

12. NJ has a volcano; the dormant Beemerville Volcano is located in Sussex County.

fun facts about new jersey
The Beemerville Volcano in NJ, more commonly known as Rutan Hill.

READ ALSO: 20 Interesting Facts About Mount Elbrus.

The Beemerville Volcano, also known as Rutan Hill, is located in Sussex County, New Jersey. This ancient geological feature stands out in the region, rising to about 1,020 feet. Though it last erupted around 440 million years ago, its presence is a testament to the dynamic earth processes of the past. 

Today, Rutan Hill is characterized by a flat top due to extensive erosion and ice age glaciation. Despite its dormant status and transformation into mostly residential areas, the site remains a point of interest for geologists and locals alike. 

13. In 1804, New Jersey built one of the first railroads in America.

New Jersey secured a pioneering position in America’s railroad history by obtaining the first American railroad charter in 1815. This visionary plan, endorsed by John Stevens, aimed to connect the Delaware and Raritan Rivers, foreshadowing significant future developments.

Despite these early plans, actual construction and operational railroads in New Jersey, like the Camden & Amboy Railroad, did not begin until the 1830s.

14. NJ is home to the largest elephant statue in the world, Lucy the Elephant.

New Jersey is home to the largest elephant statue in the world, known as Lucy the Elephant. Located in Margate, Lucy stands six stories tall and is covered with 12,000 square feet of sheet tin. 

Weighing 90 tons, this architectural marvel was constructed in 1881 by James V. Lafferty as a unique promotion for real estate sales. Lucy has since become a celebrated landmark and a symbol of inventive marketing from the late 19th century​.

15. It’s illegal in New Jersey to pump your own gas at the station.

Another unique New Jersey fun fact is that it’s the only state where it’s illegal for drivers to pump their own gas. This law, enacted in 1949, aims to enhance safety by preventing accidents related to fuel dispensing. 

The Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act restricts self-service at gas stations, maintaining full-service norms where attendants manage the fuel pumps. Despite periodic debates and legislative attempts to change this law, it remains firmly in place.

16. NJ is home to the longest twin-span suspension bridge in the world.

fun facts about New Jersey
The George Washington Bridge that connects NJ with NY.

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The George Washington Bridge, linking New York and New Jersey, is noted for its impressive engineering as the world’s longest twin-span suspension bridge. Opened in 1931, it features a total of fourteen lanes of traffic split between two levels. 

The bridge spans 1,450 meters in length with a main span of 1,067 meters, making it a major architectural and transport landmark.

17. The first European settlers in New Jersey were the Dutch in 1620.

The first European settlers in New Jersey were from the Netherlands, arriving in 1620, followed by the Swedes in 1638. The Dutch founded their first trading post at Bergen, now part of Jersey City, initiating the European presence in the region. 

The Swedes established their settlements primarily in southern New Jersey, contributing to the area’s early European development​.

18. The world’s tallest water tower is located in Union, New Jersey.

The Union Watersphere in Union, New Jersey, is the world’s tallest water sphere. This iconic structure reaches a height of 212 feet and is topped with a spherical water tank. Built-in 1964, the Union Watersphere has become a recognizable landmark visible from major highways nearby. 

It originally served as a functional water tower, embodying a distinct architectural style and contributing to the local community’s water supply

19. The famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr took place in NJ.

The famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr took place on July 11, 1804, in Weehawken, New Jersey. This duel, a culmination of a long-standing political rivalry and personal animosity between the two, resulted in Hamilton being fatally wounded. 

The location, below the cliffs of the New Jersey Palisades along the Hudson River, was a known dueling ground due to its relative seclusion and the less stringent enforcement of anti-dueling laws compared to New York.​

20. New Jersey’s annual revenue is around $2.8 billion from gambling.

fun facts about New Jersey
Gambling in New Jersey is a billion dollar industry.

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New Jersey’s gambling industry generates substantial revenue, with casinos, sports betting, and online gaming collectively bringing in nearly $5.8 billion in 2023. Of this, $2.85 billion came from land-based casino operations.

This marked a significant achievement, as it was the first time annual gambling revenues in the state surpassed the $5 billion mark, highlighting the substantial economic impact of the gambling sector in New Jersey.

21. The Statue of Liberty is actually located in New Jersey waters.

One of the interesting facts about New Jersey that few people know is that the waters surrounding the Statue of Liberty are part of New Jersey. Although Liberty Island, where the Statue stands, is an exclave of New York, the surrounding waters are within New Jersey’s territorial jurisdiction. 

This geographical quirk is due to historical agreements and rulings, including a U.S. Supreme Court decision, that recognize New Jersey’s rights to the submerged land around the island

22. NJ has the most shopping malls in one area worldwide.

New Jersey holds the record for the highest concentration of shopping malls in a single area globally, with seven major shopping centers located within a 25-square-mile radius in North Jersey. 

This cluster of malls capitalizes on the state’s dense population and strategic location near major urban centers like New York City and Philadelphia, making it a prime destination for both local shoppers and tourists​.

FAQs

New Jersey was founded in 1664 when the British took control from the Dutch settlers who had established early communities in the region.

Yes, New Jersey was originally a colony. It was one of the original 13 colonies of the United States, established by the British during the early 17th century.

As of the most recent estimates, New Jersey has a population of approximately 9.2 million people, making it one of the most densely populated states in the U.S.

New Jersey is known for its significant role in American history, vibrant cities, beautiful beaches, and as a major hub for the pharmaceutical industry.

New Jersey is famous for its Jersey tomatoes, fresh corn, and blueberries. It’s also well-known for Taylor Ham (or pork roll), saltwater taffy, and submarine sandwiches.

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