Jackson Hill, Jersey City

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Jackson Hill is a neighborhood in the Bergen-Lafayette and Greenville sections of Jersey City, New Jersey.[1] It is part of the city's Ward F.[2] The neighborhood is situated on Bergen Hill (the lower end of the Hudson Palisades) which also lends its name to the Bergen Hill Historic District just north of Communipaw Avenue.[3][4]

Madison Avenue in Jackson Hill

The district has long been the heart of the African American community in Jersey City.[5] Its name is in part inspired by Thomas and John Vreeland Jackson, brothers born in 1800 and 1803, who were freed slaves who bought land in current day Greenville in 1831 and in 1857 laid out Jackson Lane between their houses. During the Civil War the Jackson property became a safe house and critical link of the Underground Railroad.[6] [7]

Martin Luther King Drive was once called Jackson Avenue.[5] with a short block not included in a street realignment still bearing the name.[8] In 1976 it was renamed in honor of the slain civil right leader Martin Luther King, Jr.,[9] who had twice spoken in the city.[10] At the time of the renaming there was discussion whether the street had originally been named for the Jackson brothers or for US President Andrew Jackson. A 1924 Jersey Journal newspaper article ascribes it to Jeremiah Jackson, a local landowner in the mid-19th century.[11][12] Historically, the avenue was one of the city's major shopping districts. but went into decline.[5][13][14][15] In 2011, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency created Jackson Hill Main Street special improvement district along the commercial corridors of MLK Drive and its northern continuation, Monticello Avenue.[16][17]

Among the notable sites in the Jackson Hill are two listed on National Register of Historic Places, St. Patrick's Parish and Buildings and Ficken's Warehouse, both on Grand Street.[4]


The Claremont section (center) was laid out as early as 1860 and roughly corresponds with Jackson HIll.

The name Claremont appears in mid-19th century maps of Greenville Township, neighbouring Bergen City, and Jersey City, which were consolidated by 1872.[18] The area was laid out on Bergen Hill west of Bergen Point Plank Road, now Garfield Avenue. Today's Claremont Avenue created the border of what has become known as the Greenville and Bergen-Lafayette sections of the city. The Central Railroad of New Jersey maintained a station by the name south of the junction of its main and Newark branch line[19][20] until service was discontinued in 1967.[21][22] Claremont Bank, which later become part of the Trust Company of New Jersey, began in the area.[23] The Claremont Branch Library opened in 1954, and was renamed the Cunningham Branch in 2004.[24] Claremont Terminal east of the neighbourhood is a maritime facility created from tidal flats in the Upper New York Bay opened in 1923.

The Hub[edit]


The Hub is a shopping center just south of Martin Luther King Drive station of the Hudson Bergen Light Rail[25] which has been the traditional border between Bergen-Lafayette and Greenville.[9]

Over the years MLK Drive and some adjacent residential side streets deteriorated as a result of economic disinvestment. Since 1975 the Municipal Council of Jersey City has adopted a number of resolutions and ordinances aimed at revitalizing sections of avenue. They include Jackson Avenue Renewal Plan (1975), original MLK Plan (1979), the Turnkey Redevelopment Plan (1980), and the Green Villa Plan (1983). The current MLK Redevelopment Plan was first adopted in 1993. [26]

MLK Drive is runs for 26 blocks south of Communipaw Avenue and the Hub has been the center piece of revitalisation efforts.[27][28] Open in 2000, is one of city's most ambitious economic revitalization projects. Primarily funded by the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation, a significant investment of public capital has been the catalyst for private investment in the area. The success of the project is questionable since rentals have been erratic.[29]

Other projects along the MLK corridor have included the Cunningham Branch of the Jersey City Public Library, the city's newest named for former and only African-American Mayor of Jersey City, Glenn Dale Cunningham,[30] and Jackson Greene, a new urbanism townhouse complex.[31][32][33][34] In 2014, a new postal facility at the Hub was designated in honour of Shirley Tolentino.[35][35][36]

The Hudson County Urban League is the 100th affiliate of the National Urban League operating from two locations in Hudson County, New Jersey.[37][38][39] The building at 236 Martin Luther King Drive in Jackson Hill neighbourhood of Jersey City was listed on New Jersey Register of Historic Places designation (ID#2863) as the First Fidelity Bank on September 19, 1995.[4] The headquarters, renovated in 2002,[40] also houses the Jersey City office of Donald Milford Payne, Jr., the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 10th congressional district since 2012.[41] Nearby is Fishers Confections, opened in 1919, a city landmark.[42]

City Hall Annex[edit]

In 2009, the city's divisions of Community Development, Tenant/Landlord Relations and Housing Code Enforcement moved satellite offices of the Department of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce at the Hub[43]

In 2013 Jersey City established a ‘banking development district’, at the Hub which creates incentives for banks to establish full service branches within it, including the opening of accounts with municipal funds.[44]

The Jersey City Employment & Training Program (JCETP), headed by former governor Jim McGreevey opened a new center called Matin's Place in September 2014.[45][46][47] Among those at the opening of the facility were Brendan Byrne, Thomas Kean, Steve Fulop, Chris Christie, Robert Menendez and Nancy Pelosi.[48] The Department of Public Safety, which oversees the police and fire departments, will open offices at the Hub in Fall 2014.[5][29]

In August 2014, the city initially approved a plan to enter an agreement with the Brandywine Corporation, which owns and manages the Hub, to build an annex to Jersey City City Hall. Brandywine would pay for construction, which the city estimates would cost between $14 million and $20 million, while the city would take care of maintenance and pay a rent of about $45 million over a period of twenty years. The city, which would lease the 60,000-square-foot facility from developer would then have the option to buy the annex for $1.[49][50][51]

A plan was approved in March 2015.[52]


MLK Drive HBLR station

In addition to the Hudson Bergen Light Rail station at Martin Luther King Drive the Garfield Avenue station is nearby. The line runs along the right-of-way that was originally part of the Newark and New York Railroad and had a station on Jackson Avenue until 1946, when service was discontinued. Until 1947 Public Service Railway's # 7 Jackson streetcar line ran along it.[53] In 2005 the New Jersey Legislature designated the stop the "Thomas and John Jackson Station."[54]

A sculpture honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. is located at the station. A plaque installed by New Jersey Transit (NJT) in 2001, honors the Jackson's role in the 19th Century Underground Railroad.[7]

Bus service is provided by New Jersey Transit bus routes NJT 6, NJT 81 and NJT 87.[55][56][57] through Greenville to Merritt Street, with the NJT81 continuing to Bayonne. Northbound the NJT6 and NJT87 travel to Journal Square, with the NJT87 continuing through Jersey City Heights to Hudson Place (Hoboken). The NJT81 travels through Downtown Jersey City to Exchange Place. Service is also provided on Ocean Avenue and Bergen Avenue by A&C Bus Corporation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Neighborhood". Jackson Green Townhomes. Retrieved 2014-09-20. 
  2. ^ "Jersey City Ward Map". openjerseycity.org. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  3. ^ Bergen Hill Historic District map
  4. ^ a b c "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places - Hudson County". New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  5. ^ a b c d Thorbourne, Ken (June 23, 2014). "Signs of despair -- and hope on MLK Drive in Jersey City". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  6. ^ Karnoutsos, Carmela. "Underground Railroad". Jersey City Past and Present. New Jersey City University. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  7. ^ a b "Jackson History A Proud Past". Jersey City Redeveloment Agency. 2013. Retrieved 2014-08-21. We are proud to have associated our Jackson Hill name with that of Jackson Avenue and the 19th century brothers Thomas and John Vreeland Jackson. 
  8. ^ Hudson County New Jersey Street Map. Hagstrom Map Company, Inc. 2008. ISBN 0-88097-763-9. 
  9. ^ a b Gabrielan, Randall (1999), Jersey City in Vintage Postcards, Arcadia Publishing 
  10. ^ "Martin Luther King, Jr. speeches in Jersey City". Cityofjerseycity.org. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  11. ^ "Was Jackson a president or a slave". The Jersey Journal. January 5, 1976. 
  12. ^ Heck, John W. (November 11, 1924). "Jeremiah Jackson, the patron saint of Jackson Avenue". The Jersey Journal. 
  13. ^ Thorbourne, Ken (June 24, 2014). "Tough sledding for commercial development on Jersey City's MLK Drive". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  14. ^ "JC Shoppring Districts". Jerseycityonline.com. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Jackson Hill Proud Past". Jersey City Redeveloment Agency. 2013. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  16. ^ Hortillosa, Dawn (June 5, 2012). "Jackson Hill Main Street Special Improvement District Opens". Jersey City Independent. Retrieved March 8, 2013. 
  17. ^ McDonald, Terrence (December 14, 2011). "Jersey City creates new SID for Monticello Avenue/Martin Luther King Drive area". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved March 8, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Greenville". Jersey City A to Z. New Jersey City University. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
  19. ^ "Central Railroad of New Jersey". www.stationreporter.net. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
  20. ^ "COSTLY FREIGHT COLLISION; One Train Dashes Into Another at Claremont, N.J., in Spite of Signals." The New York Times. October 1897. Retrieved 2014-09-02. 
  21. ^ Adams, Arthur G. (1996), The Hudson Through the Years, Fordham University Press, ISBN 0823216772 
  22. ^ Adams, Arthur G. (1996), The Hudson River Guidebook, Fordham University Press, ISBN 0823216799 
  23. ^ Gabrielan, Randall (1999), Jersey City in Vintage Postcards, Arcadia Publishing 
  24. ^ "Glenn D. Cunningham Branch". Jersey City Free Public Library. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
  25. ^ "The Hub, at the Heart of Jackson Hill". Jackson Hill Main Street. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  26. ^ "MLK Redevelopment Plan" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  27. ^ "Lighting a Candle or Cursing the Dark" (PDF). MLK Plaza Lifeline. February–March 2006. Retrieved 2014-09-18. 
  28. ^ Ben-Ali, Russel (July 28, 2002). "Jersey City residents have a hand in Hub". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2014-09-18. 
  29. ^ a b Thorbourne, Ken (June 24, 2014). "Hub shopping center's revolving door of tenants keeps spinning in Jersey City". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  30. ^ "Glenn D. Cunningham Branch". Jersey City Free Public Library. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  31. ^ http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/23/prefab-lives/?_r=0
  32. ^ Reyes, Daniel (January 18, 2013). "First affordable townhome of planned 22 lowered on foundation in Jackson Hill ceremony". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  33. ^ Thorbourne, Ken (June 27, 2014). "Affordable housing complex near completion on Jersey City's MLK Drive". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  34. ^ "Jackson Green". www.jacksongreenhomes. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  35. ^ a b McDonald, Terrence T (March 22, 2013). "Bill introduced to name MLK Drive post office after late, 'trailblazing' Judge Shirley A. Tolentino". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2014-09-18. 
  36. ^ House of Representatives (March 24, 2014). "Judge shirley a. tolentino post office building". beta.congress.gov/. Retrieved 2014-09-18. 
  37. ^ "National Urban League of Hudson County". Ulohc.org. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  38. ^ Tolk, Prescott (April 12, 2002). "Home at last Urban League of Hudson County is ready to move into Greenville". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  39. ^ Thorbourne, Ken (June 28, 2014). "Urban League of Hudson County takes cue from its tireless leader". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  40. ^ "Urban League of Hudson County Headquarters Building". NJ Future. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  41. ^ "Jersey City Office". payne.house.gov/. December 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-18. 
  42. ^ Bhattacharya, Sudip (December 20, 2014). "Long-time Jersey City chocolatier dies, leaves behind legacy of sweet memories". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2014-12-20. 
  43. ^ Clark, Sara (September 22, 2009). "Jersey City brings new services to the HUB shopping plaza". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  44. ^ Wright, E. Assata (April 9, 2013). "Jersey City Council poised to declare the HUB a 'banking development district'; declaration may finally attract bank to unserved community". Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  45. ^ Thorbourne, Ken (June 28, 2014). "Former NJ Gov. McGreevey and Jersey City community leader helping ex-offenders". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  46. ^ Patrick Villanova, of The Jersey Journal (2014-09-11). "Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Christie to be there when Jersey City opens prisoner re-entry center". NJ.com. Retrieved 2015-12-31. 
  47. ^ Terrence T. McDonald, of The Jersey Journal (2014-09-15). "Christie joins 3 ex-governors, Jersey City mayor, Nancy Pelosi at opening of prisoner re-entry center". NJ.com. Retrieved 2015-12-31. 
  48. ^ "Chris Christie holds hands with Nancy Pelosi: The Auditor". The Jersey Journal. September 16, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  49. ^ McDonald, Terrence T. (August 21, 2014). "Jersey City would pay $45M in rent over 25 years for proposed City Hall annex". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  50. ^ Melissa Hayes (2014-09-15). "Christie, Pelosi attend prisoner re-entry center ceremony - News". NorthJersey.com. Retrieved 2015-12-31. 
  51. ^ "Plan introduced for separate". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2015-12-31. 
  52. ^ Terrence T. McDonald, of The Jersey Journal. "Jersey City council approves $36M plan to build City Hall annex". NJ.com. Retrieved 2015-12-31. 
  53. ^ French, Kenneth (February 24, 2002). Images of America: Railroads of Hoboken and Jersey City. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 25–29. ISBN 978-0-7385-0966-2. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  54. ^ "Assembly 577 Directs NJ Transit to designate a Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Transit System station in Jersey City the Thomas and John Jackson Station" (PDF). New Jersey Legislature. March 8, 2005. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  55. ^ NJT 6 schedule
  56. ^ NJT 81 schedule Archived July 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  57. ^ NJT 87 schedule

Coordinates: 40°42′44″N 74°04′38″W / 40.7121°N 74.0773°W / 40.7121; -74.0773

External links[edit]