Jersey City - Rail Yards

Exploring the Dockside History

Newport, NJ—now a a white-collar corporate enclave of high rises, chain stores and franchise restaurants—was born on the ashes of former massive railroad yards. It’s a fascinating story of decline and revival and only really apparent as you walk along the water’s edge, seeing remnants of pier pilings and a set of gracefully done signs detailing the area’s transformation.

In addition, there was once five passenger terminals operated by competing railroad companies in the area. The Hoboken Terminal is now the only one in active use. All the others were demolished in the 1960s.

A combination of factors led to the area’s rapid decline in the 60s. Interstate highways, the switch from coal to oil to heat homes and the development of containerized cargo-—necessitating deep water ports—all contributed.

But like the mythical phoenix (“rising from the ashes with renewed youth to live through another cycle”), the waterfront of Jersey City/Hoboken was reborn as Newport—now a thriving and revitalized economic powerhouse.

The maps below detail the transformation of the waterfront docks. Be sure to drag the slider on the Historical Map Comparison on the bottom of the page to reveal the overlay.

The Waterfront

The growth of the railroads...

Source: 1891 Appleton, D. & Co. Map

Historical Map Comparison

Drag the slider below to fade between the two maps.

Railroad Yards - Then Same Location - Now
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Further Info