History of the Jersey City Medical Center
The hospital began as the "Charity Hospital” when the Board
of Aldermen of Jersey City bought land at Baldwin Avenue and Montgomery
Street during 1882 for a new hospital. The locale was chosen to remove
the hospital from the industrial development at and around Paulus Hook
section. It was renamed the Jersey City Hospital in 1885 and had expanded
to 200 beds. In 1909, the original hospital building was reserved for
men and a second wing was added for women. When Frank Hague became mayor
of Jersey City in 1917, he planned to expand the hospital. He had the
original building renovated and constructed a new 23-story structure for
surgery. The new facility opened in 1931, and George O'Hanlon was
the first director. With money from the Works Progress Administration
new buildings were added during the great depression. Housed in a 10-story
Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital was added to the complex in 1931. At its peak of operation in the late
thirties, quite possibly more babies were born there than in any other
hospital of the Nation; the total for 1936 was 5,088. Of the 6,096 mothers
admitted in that year, only 20 died – a maternal mortality of about
one-third of 1 percent. The infant mortality was 2.5 percent. Both figures
were well below the national average.
In addition to the surgery building and the maternity hospital, the campus
included the nurses' residence (Murdoch Hall), hospital for chest diseases (Pollock), a psychiatric hospital, and an outpatient clinic. The Medical Center's
services were free. The formal dedication of the Jersey City Medical Center
Complex was on October 2, 1936, with Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicating
Jersey City Medical Center was one of the first medical centers in the United States and the first
in New Jersey. Many people in Northern New Jersey still call it “The
Medical Center” because of its reputation to handle all kinds of
medical issues. In 1988, the Medical Center became a private, non-profit
organization. In 1994, the State of New Jersey designated the Medical
Center as a regional trauma center, and in the late 1990s it was approved
as a core teaching affiliate of Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The hospital
also has a teaching affiliation with the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.
In 2004, JCMC moved to new quarters at Grand Street and Jersey Avenue.
The site is near the light rail, ferries to NYC, PATH trains and the Liberty
Science Center. The facility is currently operated by RWJBarnabas Health
and is the regions “state designated trauma center” and the
only hospital (medical center) in Hudson County to do open heart surgery.
Several additional buildings are currently being planned for the site
as the community around the hospital continues to grow and flourish.
History of Jersey City – We are Proud to be Part of this Great City
Jersey City: America's Golden Door
Living in Jersey City 1997-1998 A publication by Ruby Press, Inc., &
Antonicello & Company, Inc.
History of a Working City
Jersey City, the second largest city in New Jersey, is the site of the
first permanent European community in the state. Starting in the 1630's,
fur trappers, farmers and agents of Dutch investors left their home base
in New Amsterdam for new frontiers on the west bank of the deep, wide
river now known as the Hudson. Conflict with the native Lenapes doomed
these early settlements, but in 1660, under the aegis of Peter Stuyvesant,
governor-general of New Netherland, a fresh start was made atop the Palisade
Hill in a new town known as Bergen. From this beginning, farms spread
throughout the region, and a school, a religious congregation, and the
apparatus of self-government developed rapidly. Despite the construction
of a major stage coach road in 1764, and the town’s precarious position
between the forces of the British and American Revolutionists, the quiet
and essentially rural nature of Bergen persisted until the early years
of the 19th century. Then, in 1804, the west bank of the Hudson once again
began to attract attention. A group of investors, led by three New Yorkers,
purchased land along the waterfront for a new development which they called
the Town of Jersey.
Robert Fulton, the investor and entrepreneur, soon bought land in Jersey
for a dry dock and in 1812 began to run his steamboats to and from Manhattan.
Linking with the stagecoaches to Newark and Philadelphia, the Fulton ferries
were the harbinger of Jersey City’s future as a major transportation
terminus, and the mainland connection for people and freight headed to
and from New York. By the mid-1830's, with the simultaneous arrival
of both the railroad and the Morris Canal, Jersey City’s role in
the regional economy was sealed. Good transportation and access to fuel
from the coalmines of Pennsylvania attracted industry which, in turn,
drew a growing population. By 1838, the young town was sufficiently robust
to separate from Bergen as the new and independent municipality of Jersey
City. In the 1880's, Irish and German immigrants, fleeing famine and
revolution in their homelands, gave the city another boost and established
a pattern which endured. To this day, Jersey City remains the first home
for many newcomers to America.
Expansion of the railroads along the waterfront, growing industrialization
and a steady supply of workers to man the factories and run the trains
continued through the Civil War. By 1870 Jersey City’s population
and economy had so outpaced its neighbors that the citizens voted to merge
into one larger city. Thus, Jersey City acquired its own mother town,
Bergen, along with Hudson City which had become independent in 1855. Three
years later, Greenville joined the merger, giving Jersey City its current
boundaries. For the next century, Jersey City was known for its rail terminals—the
Erie, the Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley and the Jersey Central—and
for the endless 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.
It was also known for its factories and for products that were household
names: American Can, Emerson Radio, Lorillard tobaccos, Colgate soaps,
and toothpaste and Dixon Ticonderoga pencils. It was both a melting pot
of nationalities* and a hard battlefield for ethnic tensions which did
not subside so readily as proponents of Americanization had hoped. For
much of the 20th century, Jersey City was known for its political organization,
dominated for over thirty years by Frank Hague, whose legendary ability
to get out the vote gave him enormous powers in both state and Washington.
criticized by some as the consummate machine boss, he was hailed by others
as a leader who ran a clean city and created one of the finest hospital
complexes in the world, The Medical Center. By selecting Mary Norton to
run for the House of Representatives, he achieved one of his goals, becoming
the first Democratic city mayor to send a woman to Congress. His choice
was well received by his constituents as Mrs. Norton won election for
13 consecutive terms, serving from 1926 to 1951.
In the years following World War II, Jersey City changed, partially because
of the lure of the suburbs and partially because of the collapse of the
independent railroad lines and death of the factories. By the late 1960's
and early 1970's, the decline of the city’s economic base appeared
irreversible but, to the surprise of many natives who had convinced themselves
that the future was bleak, the process which began centuries before repeated
itself. The now empty west bank of the Hudson, once crowded with railroad
yards, was again an inviting frontier. In the mid-1980's, the waterfront
became the proverbial Gold Coast as new developments arose, bringing with
them new residents, new stores and restaurants, and new jobs. Now the
leading names doing business in Jersey City are principally in the fields
of commerce and finance. The move of shipping away from the old finger
piers along the Hudson and East Rivers to the container ports at Port
Jersey, Port Newark and Port Elizabeth has been followed by the arrival
in Jersey City of the offices of major shipping lines. Modern freight
trains still travel through the city bringing orange juice to the new
Tropicana plant and carrying cars from the Port Authority auto port on
the site of the old Greenville Yards of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Liberty State Park, first opened for the Bicentennial in 1976, acquired
the abandoned terminal and plant of the Jersey Central and gave the area
a major recreational facility with breathtaking views, ferries to Ellis
Island and the Statue of Liberty, and the sparkling new Liberty Science
Center. Jersey City is by no means a problem-free community. However,
it has bucked the trend by showing a population growth in the 1990 Census
to the present level of 228,537. With a number of new middle and moderate-income
housing units, an increase in professional and service jobs, a continuing
sense of neighborhood, and a vitality apparent on every street, Jersey
City proclaims that the American city is still a force to be reckoned with.
The Philosophy Must Work!
Since 1994, 20 major firms relocated to Jersey City, bringing in more
than 6,000 jobs. Many of them based their decision to relocate on the
successful track record of the 1980s which witnessed a renaissance in
Jersey City. Nearly 30 firms moved to or opened offices within the city
during the decade, and the skyline not only of the waterfront but downtown
as well, was totally transformed from rail yards and warehouses along
the Hudson to sleek, modern office towers and developments.
Several billion dollars were invested in Jersey City during the 80s and
early 90s. This investment renovated not only the appearance and image
of Jersey City, but also the city's infrastructure.
Aside from bridges, highways, public transportation and the usual things
thought of as infrastructure, Jersey City's "information infrastructure"
was re-wired with fiber-optic cable and other high-tech devices, making
it an ideal location for corporations depending on a solid information
link with the rest of the world.
Wall Street West
Jersey City was the only one of New Jersey's six largest cities to
gain both in population and employment through the recession of the late
80s and early 90s, a time when many other cities throughout the country
watched all of the economic gains they had made during the 80s disappear.
The largest gain for the community was in the "FIRE". industry
sectors: Financial, Insurance & Real Estate. Many people refer to
Jersey City as 'Wall Street West" because of the phenomenal growth
in these sectors. Some firms chose Jersey City because it is just minutes
from Manhattan's financial district. Others because of the billions
of dollars of capital investment in office developments and information
infrastructure. Still others because many top financial firms are already
located on the west bank of the Hudson.
Employment in Jersey City's retail sector grew 27.5% over the past
decade, compared with 7.5% for the rest of urban New Jersey during the
same period. Increasing population and rising per capita income, combined
with an emphasis on neighborhood retail development, bodes well for continued
growth in the retail sector.
Although situated in the heart of the largest urban market in the U.S.,
Jersey City has significant industrial capacity, located primarily in
four major industrial centers: Greenville Yards located in Port Jersey
Industrial Park, Claremont Industrial Park, Montgomery Industrial Park,
and Liberty Industrial Park. Manufacturers located within these parks
cite several reasons for choosing Jersey City: abundant skilled bluecollar
labor force, excellent access to all types of transportation, and proximity
Jersey City is also becoming a significant distribution center for the
New Jersey/NYC metro area, and wholesale-related employment grew by 45%
between 1982 and 1990.
If current population trends continue, Jersey City will be the State's
largest city by 2010! The city works hard at its goal to become America's
"most livable city" by providing safe, clean streets, reducing
property taxes, and improving the range of educational choices.
The City is a national model for affordable housing and has developed innovative
solutions to help low income families become homeowners. Within Jersey
City, there exists a wide range of housing options.
Add all of these elements together, the growth, the location, the trends,
the opportunity, and you get a dynamic community rapidly stepping up to
take its proper place within the fabric of not just the metro area, but
of the entire state.
Jersey City has a glorious history and an even greater future. Companies
that choose to locate here will be catching a rising tide. Jersey City
truly is America's Golden Door, and anyone looking- for opportunity
has only but to knock.