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35 Surprising Facts About New Jersey

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There are countless facts about New Jersey! From being an integral part of the American Revolutionary War to having the tallest roller coaster in the world, read on to learn some of them.

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Facts About New Jersey 

Located in the northeastern US, New Jersey is one of the most well-known states. It has made significant contributions to the business and medicine industry. It’s also known for its beautiful culture, food, and history.

So, let’s get into discussing the facts about New Jersey to explore it more! 

1. New Jersey Has the World’s First Drive-in Movie Theatre

Drive-in movie theatres are one of the most romantic things out there! You might’ve seen them being featured in many Hollywood romcoms and series. However, have you wondered where they first started?

Well, Richard Hollingshead opened the first patented drive-in movie theatre, Hollingshead’s Drive-in, on 6th June 1933. It was located on Admiral Wilson Boulevard in Pennsauken Township. 

Richard got the idea after he saw the struggle of people who weren’t able to fit in comfortably in the seats of tiny cinema halls!

2. The Tallest Roller Coaster Is in New Jersey

These facts about New Jersey show that the state is all for fun!

Kingda Ka is the tallest roller coaster in the entire world, and also the fastest one in North America. It has a height of 139 metres or 456 feet (scary, right?). 

Well, if you want to try the coaster, you can find it at the Six Flags Great Adventure Park in New Jersey. 

3. New Jersey Is the Fourth-Smallest State in the United States

New Jersey covers an area of 22,589.88 square kilometres. Hence, it’s the fourth-smallest US state after three other states – Rhode Island (4,000 square kilometres), Delaware (6445.7 square kilometres), and Connecticut (14,357.3 square kilometres).

Facts About New Jersey

4. The State Has Several Engineers and Scientists 

Apart from being a fun state, New Jersey is also one of the most accomplished ones! 

The state has the most number of scientists and engineers per square mile compared to any other place in the world. In 2010, it had over 260,655 scientists and engineers in 8,722.58 square miles. 

Therefore, after doing some quick maths, you’ll find that there were 29 to 30 scientists and engineers in just one square mile! I’m sure the number has only increased after massive advancements in the science and tech industry. 

5. The First Official Baseball Game Took Place in New Jersey

Here’s one of the fun facts about New Jersey for sports lovers.

The first baseball game was organised in Hoboken, New Jersey in the year 1846. The game was held at the Elysian Fields between the New Yorkers and the Knickerbockers.

Although it was a baseball game, the rules were massively different compared to the modern baseball games. 

6. New Jersey Has a Coastline Along the Atlantic Ocean

New Jersey is a paradise for those who love a combination of beaches and city life. 

The state has a magnificent coastline of 130 miles or 209 kilometres along the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, you’ll easily find more than 20 beach towns in New Jersey for a perfect getaway from the usual monotony of life!

New Jersey also has around 60 beaches along its coastline. The most popular ones include Diamond Beach (for its cleanliness), Stone Harbor (for kayaking), and Manasquan (for surfing).

7. The Monopoly Game Was First Introduced in New Jersey

Let’s be honest, we all have played Monopoly at some point in our lives, especially our childhood. So, here’s one of the Monopoly-related facts about New Jersey.

The precursor to the present Monopoly game was “The Landlord’s Game” created by Elizabeth Magie. 

However, in 1935, Charles Darrow created a modified version of this game and named it “Monopoly”. He also patented and popularised it in New Jersey, along with Parker Brothers, an American toy and game manufacturer.

Facts About New Jersey

8. New Jersey Has Over 600 Diners

These food facts about New Jersey are enough to make a foodie go crazy about the state!

New Jersey has the most number of diners amongst all the other US states. Many people also refer to it as the “Diner Capital of the World”. 

The first diner in the state named “Lunch Wagon” was started by Jerry O’Mahony in 1912. After that, the increase in the number of diners was inevitable!

Today, the most iconic diners in New Jersey include Tops Diner, The Edison Diner, and Pompton Queen Diner & Restaurant.

9. The Eastern Goldfinch Is the State’s Official Bird

Let’s talk about some bird-related facts about New Jersey.

The New Jersey Legislature declared the adorable Eastern Goldfinch as New Jersey’s official bird on June 27, 1935. The bird is known for its alluring and vibrant yellow colour.

10. There Are Many Fortune 500 Companies in New Jersey

Here’s another one of the impressive facts about New Jersey. 

Along with having the most number of engineers and scientists per square mile, New Jersey also had 28 Fortune 500 companies. 

Some of these include Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick), Cognizant (Teaneck), Prudential Financial (Newark), and Bed Bath & Beyond (Union). 

11. New Jersey Produces a Lot of Tomatoes, Blueberries, and Cranberries

There’s a reason behind why New Jersey is called the “Garden State”. It has a prosperous agriculture industry and is also one of the top ten producers of many vegetables and fruits. 

Despite being a small state, New Jersey produces around 80 million pounds of tomatoes, 41 million pounds of blueberries, and 51.2 million pounds of cranberries. 

Apart from these fruits, New Jersey also produces peaches, cucumbers, spinach, asparagus, and many more. 

12. Some Famous Music Artists Are From New Jersey

If you’re into the American music scene, here are some music-related facts about New Jersey.

Many world-renowned music artists are from New Jersey. For instance, Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey. He has over 250 singles and has mesmerised the audience with his charismatic voice!

Whitney Houston is another famous singer who was born in Newark, New Jersey. She’s well-known for her song, “I Will Always Love You”. 

Certain popular bands like My Chemical Romance and Misfits also started in New Jersey!

13. The First Miss America Pageant Took Place in New Jersey

The Miss American Pageant has an extensive history behind it. 

On September 7, 1921, the first Miss America pageant was organised in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The whole purpose behind celebrating this event was to attract more tourists and extend their stay during the Labour Day holiday.

Margaret Gorman from Washington, D.C became the winner of the first Miss America beauty pageant!

14. New Jersey Has the Oldest Lighthouse in the United States

Since I was a kid, lighthouses have always intrigued me! Hence, this was one of my favourite facts about New Jersey. 

The state is home to the oldest lighthouse in the entire US, The Sandy Hook Lighthouse. It’s situated just 2.4 kilometres from Sandy Hook’s Tip, a barrier spit. Moreover, it has a height of 31 metres or 101 feet.

It’s estimated that the construction of the lighthouse was completed on June 11, 1764. Since then, the lighthouse has been open to visitors!

15. The First Full Dinosaur Skeleton in North America Was Found in New Jersey

If you’re into palaeontology, these facts about New Jersey are for you.

The first complete dinosaur skeleton in the whole of North America was discovered in Haddonfield, New Jersey. A quarry worker, John Foulke, discovered the skeleton. Hence, the dinosaur was given the name, Hadrosaurus foulkii.

The dinosaur was a part of the Hadrosaurids group, also known as duck-billed dinosaurs due to their peculiar snout.

16. New Jersey Has the Most Number of Italian-Americans 

This is one of the random facts about New Jersey that I came across while reading up about it.

You’ll find the most number of Italian-Americans in New Jersey! As per the U.S. Census Bureau, over 1.45 million residents in the state have Italian heritage. 

Some towns in New Jersey like Toms River have an Italian-American population of 22.6%.

Well, New Jersey is certainly *chef’s kiss*!

17. New Jersey Is Larger Than Some Countries

You might be confused after reading these facts about New Jersey. After all, isn’t it one of the smallest states in the US?

It turns out that despite its tiny size, New Jersey is larger than some countries, including Kuwait, Malta, Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Maldives.

18. New Jersey Has a Rich History 

Here are some historical facts about New Jersey. 

Did you know that New Jersey was one of the original 13 colonies? It was also an important part of the American Revolutionary War as it was located centrally to the other colonies. Hence, many battles took place in New Jersey. 

The battle, the Battle of Trenton, was also fought in Trenton, New Jersey. It was a turning point in the Revolutionary War.

19. The Title of “Medicine Chest of the World” Is Given to New Jersey

New Jersey has achieved major feats in many industries, including the medical field.

The 14 largest research-based biopharmaceutical companies out of 20 such companies are based in New Jersey. The state also spent around $8.7 billion on research and development in 2013.

20. The World’s Largest Light Bulb Is in New Jersey

Here are some intriguing facts about New Jersey!

In 1879, Edison invented the first incandescent light bulb. Hence, you’ll find a 134-foot tower in Edison, New Jersey, featuring the world’s largest bulb (13 feet tall) to pay respect to Edison’s contributions. 

In fact, the Thomas Alva Edison Memorial Tower is located in Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory, where Edison finalised the bulb.

21. The Most Densely Populated State in the United States

New Jersey has around 1,300 people per square mile, followed by Rhode Island with a density of 1,100 people per square mile. 

22. The Ellis Island and Liberty Island Are a Part of New Jersey

People often think that Liberty Island and Ellis Island are a part of New York State. However, Liberty Island is located in the waters of Jersey City in New Jersey. Still, it’s under the jurisdiction of the New York state. 

On the other hand, Ellis Island is also located in New Jersey, but some part of it is also in New York. It’s under the jurisdiction of both the states.

23. New Jersey Was Once Known as a Mosquito State

Here’s one of the funny facts about New Jersey!

The state is popular for having just too many mosquitoes. The people of New Jersey often crack jokes about mosquitoes being the state bird (it’s actually the American Goldfinch).

There is some art dedicated to New Jersey mosquitoes too, like “The Mosquitoes Parade: A Jersey Review” and many Jersey mosquito postcards!

24. New Jersey Has Its Dance

The Square Dance is an integral part of New Jersey’s culture. It’s also called the “the American Folk Dance of the State of New Jersey”. 

In the Square Dance, four couples are standing on each side, making a square shape. New Jersey also has an association for such dancers, the Northern New Jersey Square Dancers Association.

25. Trenton Was Once the US’ Capital

After the victory of the American Patriot forces against the British in the American Revolutionary War, Trenton served as the independent country’s capital in November and December of 1784. 

However, in 1785, the capital was shifted to New York City after the Southern states wanted a location south of the Mason-Dixon Line. 

26. The History Behind the State’s Name 

The name “New Jersey” is derived from the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel.

It is because Sir Carteret, who was given the land of New Jersey, was the lieutenant governor of Jersey. He contributed immensely to the English Civil War. 

27. Lakes and Ponds Make Up About 482 Kilometres of New Jersey

New Jersey is home to over 400 lakes and countless ponds. 

Lake Hopatcong is the largest freshwater lake in New Jersey. It covers an area of 10 square kilometres and offers many things to do, including swimming, kayaking, water sports, and more. 

Other beautiful lakes in New Jersey include Round Valley Reservoir (9 square kilometres), Greenwood Lake (7.7 square kilometres), and Spruce Run Reservoir (5.2 square kilometres).

Let’s get into some touristy facts about New Jersey. 

As New Jersey has a lovely coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find many stunning beach towns. 

Asbury Park is one of the best towns for history and architecture enthusiasts. It has also gained popularity for its welcoming and cheerful vibe. There are many live events for those interested in music and dance. It also has a small-town charm with quaint restaurants lining up the streets! 

Facts About New Jersey

29.  Friday the 13th Is Shot in New Jersey

If you’re into horror movies, you probably know the iconic movie series – Friday the 13th! The franchise is known for its tight storylines, scary elements, and the locations too. 

As someone who loved watching Friday the 13th, I was surprised to find that most filming locations were in New Jersey. 

For instance, townships like Blairstown, Hope, and Freehold in New Jersey were a part of many famous scenes in the movie.  Camp Crystal Lake is also a fictional location as the real location is Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco in Hardwick township.

30. The Largest City in New Jersey Is Newark

Although the capital of New Jersey is Trenton, Newark is the largest city by size and population. It covers an area of 64 square kilometres and had a population of 311,549 in 2021.

The smallest city is Walpack Township as it has a population of just seven residents!

31. New Jersey Has Several Shopping Malls per Square Mile

New Jersey is a treat for all shopping enthusiasts with its splendid malls. 

The state also has the most number of shopping miles per square mile. In just a radius of 25 square miles or 64 kilometres, you’ll find 25 huge malls! Hence, there’s almost one mall for one mile. 

The second-largest mall in the US, American Dream, is also located in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It covers an area of 3,000,000 square feet.

32. Follow Traffic Rules in New Jersey! 

If you’re a rash driver or don’t like seat belts, here are some facts about New Jersey to keep in mind!

Out of all the US states, New Jersey has the strictest seat belt laws. According to the New Jersey Supreme Court, you could face a criminal charge or even a decade in prison if you don’t wear a seatbelt! 

33. The Oldest and the Longest Boardwalks is in New Jersey

Many things were first constructed in New Jersey, including boardwalks.

Boardwalks are essentially wooden walkways built along the beaches. Now, The Atlantic City Boardwalk in New Jersey is the oldest and the longest boardwalk in the whole world.  

This boardwalk was opened to the public in 1870 and had a length of 8.8 kilometres. The first Miss America beauty pageant was also organised here! 

34. New Jersey Has Many Pine Barrens

As the name suggests, pine barrens are barren fields with pine forests growing on them. In this area, both the soil and water are low-nutrient and acidic. Therefore, growing any type of vegetation is a task. 

Pine barrens are truly a fascinating phenomenon. Today, they’re spread across more than seven counties of New Jersey. Out of these, the largest pine barren is the New Jersey Pine Barrens. It covers an area of 1.1 million acres!

Some common trees that you’ll find in pine barrens include red pine, jack pine, and blackjack oak.

35. The Hindenburg Disaster Took Place in New Jersey

This is one of the tragic facts about New Jersey.

Hindenburg was a German airship and it was also the largest rigid airship. However, on May 6, 1937, the airship exploded while landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey! This led to the death of 35 passengers out of all 97 passengers onboard. One ground crew member also died. 

Further Reading – Facts About New Jersey

New Jersey has a lot to show for itself. After all, many things, like Monopoly, Broadwalks, and Baseball, were started here. Apart from that, the state also offers brilliant opportunities for engineers and scientists. 

I hope these facts about New Jersey prove its excellence as a state! If you want to know more about the US, you can check out my other posts.

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