- Capital City:
- Garden State
- Liberty and Prosperity
- December 18, 1787 (3rd)
- Origin of State's Name:
- Named for the Channel Island of Jersey in honor of Sir George Carteret, one of the two men to whom the land was given
- Largest Cities:
- Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Trenton
- Border States:
- Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania
- Land Area:
- 7,419 sq. mi., 46th largest
- State Bird:
- Eastern Goldfinch
- State Flower:
- Violet (viola sororia)
- State Tree:
- Red Oak (quercus borealis maxima)
- State Song:
Italian Giovanni da Verrazano, in 1524, was the first European to explore the area we know today as New Jersey. One of the original 13 states (it joined the Union in 1787), it was named after the island of Jersey in the English Channel. New Jersey is referred to as the "Garden State" because of its fertile farmland. General George Washington won a key Revolutionary War battle at Trenton when he crossed the Delaware River from Pennsylvania and surprised the Hessian soldiers stationed there. Trenton is the state capital, and the flower is the purple violet. "Atlantic City, a resort town and former home to the Miss America pageant, attracts visitors from around the world."
This candy manufacturer has a history of community involvement in Hackettstown, where it has been headquartered since 1958. Throughout the year, M&M/MARS Candies supports children's festivities by partnering with community organizations to disperse its candies, bring walking "M" Characters for special appearances, and provide prizes and gifts. Among popular local events are the Hackettstown Chocolate Festival during Halloween weekend; the Easter Egg Hunt held on the company's plant premises for more than 2,000 area children and their families; and the employee Easter Basket Contest, in which candy and toy-filled baskets are donated to local charities. The company also hosts an annual antique car show, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Other involvement includes activities at the Spring Festival; fund raising at the Hackettstown Hospital Cotillion; and sponsoring one of the local Little League teams.
The roots of M&M/MARS can be traced to 1911, when Frank C. Mars and his wife began making buttercream candies in the kitchen of their Tacoma, Washington, home. Operations moved to Minneapolis in 1923, where the MILKY WAY® Bar was produced and became an instant success. In 1926, the company moved to a new plant outside Chicago where the MARS® Almond Bar, 3 MUSKETEERS® Bar and SNICKERS® Bar were introduced.
Founded in 1940 as M&M Limited by Forrest E. Mars, Sr. (son of Frank Mars) in Newark, the company began by manufacturing "M&M's"® Plain Chocolate Candies. These new confections were conceived as a neater, more convenient way to eat chocolate. During World War II, they were included in American soldiers' C rations because they withstood extreme temperatures. In the hot tropics, these candies were especially practical. After the introduction of "M&M's"® Peanut Chocolate Candies in 1954, the combined success of the two candies eventually required a larger manufacturing facility, and the firm moved to its Hackettstown plant.
Bergen County Senior Picnic
This annual event, which is sponsored by the Bergen County Division of Senior Services, was first held in August 1967, 34 years ago. The county-wide picnic, which is attended by thousands, originated as a day for seniors to become informed of the services which are available to them throughout the area. Over the years, the event has transformed into a social event as well. Musical entertainment, dancing, food, and a flea market have contributed to the increased popularity of the Senior Picnic.
By visiting various tables that are set up around Van Saun County Park, Paramus, seniors are able to speak with representatives and obtain informational literature from a variety of government and several other types of agencies. The picnic acts as an excellent resource for the senior population of Bergen County.
Old Barracks Museum
During the French and Indian War, from 1755 and 1763, British soldiers were sent to North America to aid colonists. Because British soldiers were quartered in people's houses, the New Jersey colonial government built five barracks in different towns for the soldiers. During the Revolutionary War, the barracks sheltered American troops and were used as a military hospital to inoculate soldiers against smallpox. Only the Trenton Barracks, built in 1758, still remains as a restored museum.
In 1776, Trenton was a manufacturing town of 100 buildings and 1,000 people, located on the main trade route between Philadelphia and New York. Toward the end of the Revolutionary War, between December 8, 1776 and January 3, 1777, two battles were fought in Trenton and the town changed hands five times. When the campaign began, the Americans, led by General George Washington, were being driven out of New Jersey. When it ended, the British had lost effective control of the colony.
With the support of several patriotic women, many who were Daughters of the American Revolution, the Old Barracks Association brought the south section of the barracks in 1902, and opened it as a museum in 1903. The state of New Jersey bought the north section in 1914 for the museum. Throughout the year, the museum offers special events, including celebrations of the Battles of Trenton, George Washington's birthday, African-American history, and women's history. Historical interpreters, wearing period dress, explain colonial and Revolutionary New Jersey. The museum's 1998 restoration re-created the barracks and hospital rooms, which are used for special school programs. The museum also has an interactive history lab, where students and the public can "visit" the workshops of the historian, curator, the historic architect, and the archaeologist.
The Raritan River Festival
Established in 1980 to raise public awareness of the river as a valuable natural resource, this two-day festival is held in New Brunswick and in Highland Park across the river. It features canoe races, specially designed "boat floats," musical entertainment, arts and crafts shows, and tours of the historic waterfront via water taxi. Displays in Boyd Park educate visitors on the history and restoration of the Delaware and Raritan Canal and towpath. An entire section of the park is set aside for children's activities, and a free children's book of activities designed to teach about the history, geography, ecology, and wildlife of the river basin is distributed. Each year more than 30,000 visitors attend the festival. In 1980 folk singer Pete Seeger sailed down the Hudson River from New York to New Jersey on his sloop "Woody Guthrie", arriving in New Brunswick to help kick off the first Raritan River Festival. Since then, Seeger and many other nationally known performers have provided the entertainment.