Our History

History of the Jersey City Medical Center

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 structure, the 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 the building. 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 Barnabas 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.

Retail Economy
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.

Industrial Development
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 to markets.

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.

Housing
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.

[ top ]

95 Old Short Hills Road, West Orange, New Jersey 07052
PHONE: 1-888-724-7123