A baseball match at the Elysian Fields, Hoboken
Illustration showing a small crowd gathered around the edges of a field watching a baseball game.
Starting in the 1630's, Dutch New Amsterdam settlers tried to set their new home base across the Hudson river. Despite conflict with the native Indian Lenapes tribe, in 1660, a new town known as Bergen was settled atop the Palisade Hill . Soon, farms, religious congregations, and the self-governed communities spread throughout the region. The quiet and rural nature of Bergen survived the American Revolution, but, in 1804, a group of New Yorker investors purchased land along the waterfront for a new development which they called the Town of Jersey. Robert Fulton, an entrepreneur, soon built a dry dock and in 1812 began to run his steamboats and ferries to and from Manhattan to Newark and Philadelphia, sealing area's future as a major transportation hub, connecting the mainland United States with New York and Long Island. Access to the Pennsylvania's coal mines attracted industry which, in turn, required population growth. In the 1880's, Irish and German immigrants, fleeing their homelands, gave the area another boost. It was a melting pot of nationalities and ethnic tensions battlefield. Expansion of the railroads along the waterfront, growing industrialization and a steady supply of workers continued through the Civil War. The area boomed with rail terminals, barges, lighters, and ferries which crossed the river and New York Bay, carrying coal, food, manufactured goods and passengers throughout the Greater New York area. American Can, Emerson Radio, Lorillard tobaccos, Colgate soaps, and toothpaste, Dixon Ticonderoga pencils - are just a few brand names tat were born here. In the years following World War II, the cities declined, following the collapse of the independent railroad lines and death of the factories. In 1980s the now empty west bank of the Hudson, once crowded with railroad yards, became the place of numerous developments, bringing new residents, new stores and restaurants, and new jobs. Liberty State Park, opened for the Bicentennial in 1976, acquired the abandoned terminal and plant of the Jersey Central and gave the area breathtaking views, ferries to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and the new Liberty Science Center.