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Title Hoboken History, No. 3, Spring 1992.
Object Name Serial
Catalog Number 2005.006.0004
MULTIMEDIA LINKS CLICK HERE to view the PDF; note - please be patient while file opens.
Collection Hoboken Historical Museum Archives
Credit Museum Collection.
Summary Hoboken History, Number 3, Spring 1992. The Magazine of the Hoboken Historical Museum. Booklet. pp. 20 including covers, illustrated. 8-3/8" wide x 11" high. 4 copies. PDF on file.

Full text is in notes.
General contents:
Front cover: engraved view of the exterior of Frank Cordts Furniture at the corner of Washington and Second Streets in 1905

Peter Lee: Servant to five generations of the Stevens Family. 3-page article; first and third pages (includes two photos) derived from 'Once Upon a City,' Macmillan, NY, 1958.

Ferry Tale III. Three-page article completing parts 1 & 2 from issues 1 & 2. Includes sidebar on the "Binghamton," Hoboken's last steam ferryboat.

Street Cars to the Sky. Part 1, The Horse Car Days. By Joseph Eid. 4-pages with illustrations.

Hoboken Under Foot. Photo portfolio by Robert Foster of ground signs and other ground hardware: Geismar's, Snyder's Says Hats, Hoboken Bank for Savings, coal chute covers, trolley tracks, Holland American terazzo floor logo, fire doors, boot-scraper.

Dead Man's Cave was my playground. By Jason E. Davis. 2-page reminiscence of childhood play near the "Hundred Steps" in southwest Hoboken.

Sybil's Cave: Lost for 55 years, may be found again. General history with a photo of bottle used to sell cave water as Hoboken Spring Water. Recounts Edgar Allen Poe association.
Publisher Hoboken Historical Museum
Published Place Hoboken
Published Date 1992
Copy# 0
Physical Description 4to booklet
Search Terms Binghamton, ferry
Castle Point
Cordts Furniture Co. (Frank Cordts)
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad
Hoboken & Hudson Horse Car Railroad
Hoboken Bank for Savings
Hoboken Ferry Company
Hoboken, ferry
Holland America Line
Holland Tunnel
Hudson & Manhattan Railroad
Hudson Tubes
Hundred Steps
Ithaca, ferry
Lackawanna, ferry
North Hudson County Railway Co.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
River Walk
Snyder's Hats
Stevens Castle
Sybil's Cave
Year Range from 1992
Year Range to 1992
Notes 2005.006.0004

Hoboken History


He lived at Stevens Castle for 98 years
Street Cars to the Sky
Dead Man's Cave
Hoboken Under Foot

Hoboken Historical Museum Hoboken N.J.
Number 3 Spring 1992

Published by the Hoboken Historical Museum President: John De Palma Museum Founder: Jim Hans

Editor: Paul Lippman Production Editor: Barbara Lippman Photography Director: Robert Foster Advertising Manager: Kathy Rogers

Published four times a year.
Business address:
PO Box 707, Hoboken NJ 07030

News of the Hoboken Historical Museum

The following officers and trustees of the Museum were elected at our meeting on January 13:
President: John De Palma
Vice-President: Hugh Kilmer
Treasurer: Gerard Lisa
Corresponding Secretary: Kathy Rogers
Recording Secretary:
Trustees: Barbara Lippman
Maureen Allex
Robert Foster
Steve Kilnisan
Paul Lippman
Geri Fallo
Stephen Hefler
George Kirchgessner
Mary Stoeffhaas
Since each day of the week causes conflicts for at least one board member, we are now rotating the days of our business meetings. These are the dates of the upcoming board meetings for this quarter:


All these meetings will be held at 7:30pm, at Traders of Babylon, 259 First Street. All members are invited to attend.
We welcome your participation in this magazine. Your knowledge and memories of life in Hoboken are eagerly sought. We'd like to hear from you. You do not have to be a historian or a writer. Just drop us a line - an anecdote, a memory, an old photograph, are all welcome.
To receive HOBOKEN HISTORY four times a year, you need only become a member of the Hoboken Historical Museum. It costs only $20.00 a year and includes the magazine and discounts on Museum souvenirs and reproductions of documents and memorabilia. We hold meetings once a month, except in July, and you are welcome to attend, and find out how you can join in the Museum's activities.
Mail your check or money order for $20.00 to the Hoboken Historical Museum at the address above.

The Museum's first sale and antiques show of 1992 will take place at the Martha Institute, Park Avenue and 6th Street, on Saturday, April 25. Proceeds will help support the Hoboken Photo Project.
In addition to this indoor sale, the Museum plans to conduct its regular outdoor flea markets at Church Square Park in June and September.

Shop or sell at the Great Hoboken Treasure Hunt! THE MUSEUM'S FIRST 1992 ' FLEA MARKET AND ANTIQUES SHOW SATURDAY, APRIL 25 o 11 TO 6 Indoors & outdoors at the Martha Institute Park Ave. and 6th St.

Vendors can reserve space, indoors or a limited number of sidewalk spaces, by calling Bob Foster at 656-2240, now.


Peter Lee
Servant to five generations of the Stevens family

Hoboken's history has more than its share of interesting people. The life of one of them spanned nearly a century, from our origins as little more than a cluster of houses at a ferry landing to a bustling and prosperous city at the end of the 19th Century. He is Peter Lee, a servant to Hoboken's most prominent family for nearly a century.
Before 1850, Robert Livingston Stevens (1787-1856) ordered construction of the 46-room mansion visible in the background of the staff photograph on page 5.
One of the family's servants was Peter Lee, who had been born a slave in 1804, probably on the Stevens estate. Lee rose to be the major-domo of the household. He kept the young sons of the family in line, and protectively followed through the streets of Hoboken Martha Bayard Stevens, the wife of Edwin Augustus Stevens I (1795-1868). Lee's proudest task was to welcome guests to the frequent hospitality of Castle Point. And twice a year the mansion was turned over to the servants for balls; Lee would have been the host at these events. He rejoiced in being a family retainer, and served the Stevens family for all but two days of his 98 years. When he was emancipated from slavery by the State of New Jersey, he mysteriously disappeared. A man was appointed to his position, but Lee turned up after two days to reclaim his old job by thoroughly thrashing his unfortunate successor.

Even when old age made Lee's hands tremble so much he spilled the wine at table, he insisted on his privilege of serving. Although he professed democratic equality for all, he delighted in the reflected glory of the family and its aristocratic friends.
The old servant was a stubborn character. His obstinacy led to a renowned episode with a local jeweler in which he persuaded the salesman, after much dispute, to accept $12 for a $10 watch! He was finally induced to retire after the death of Martha Bayard Stevens in 1899, but refused to put aside the gray and blue livery of the Stevens family which he wore proudly for the rest of his life.
Peter Lee continued to live in the Stevens household until his death on January 29, 1902. He was laid to rest in the Stevens family plot in the Hoboken Cemetery in North Bergen. In Lee's memory a tablet was placed by the family in the Church of the Holy Innocents erected at Sixth and Willow in 1872 by Martha Bayard Stevens (1831-1899). SOURCE: Once upon a City, Macmillan, New York. 1958.



New Jersey has been looked upon as prominent among what were called the Free States of the Union before the Civil War. But among the first of the institutions established in New Jersey by its early settlers was the system of slavery. This was the case not only here, but in all the American colonies. The settlers of New England, as well as those of the South, used slaves as laborers on their farms; and the trade in slaves was a very important branch of industry.
A great many slaves must have been brought direct from Africa to New Jersey, for at Perth Amboy there was a barracks in which captives who landed there from slave ships were confined until they were sold and sent out into the country.
When the House of Representatives for the province of New Jersey met at Burlington in 1704, an act was brought before it for the regulating of Indian and African slaves.
After a time, slaves became so numerous in New Jersey, laws were passed restricting their importation, and a considerable tax was levied upon each one brought into the state.
Slavery grew and flourished until it became a part of the New Jersey social system, but about the end of the seventeenth century, Quakers began to believe that property in human beings was morally wrong. Opposition to slavery in New Jersey grew, and people in New Jersey other than Quakers began to consider slavery an injustice and an evil. By the beginning of the nineteenth century anti-slavery feeling became very strong in the state and in 1820 an act was passed by the Legislature for the emancipation of slaves in New Jersey.
Under this law, slaves were not set free all at once, but a system of gradual emancipation was adopted by which young people obtained their freedom when they came of age, while masters were obliged to take care of old people as long as they lived.
By this plan slavery was gradually abolished in New Jersey, so that by 1840 there were only 674 slaves in the state and by the eve of the Civil War in 1860, 18 slaves remained, all of whom must have been very old.
In 1820, when the emancipation law was passed, Peter Lee was 16 years old. Within a few years he would have been set free by the Stevens family. At this time he disappeared, but stayed away from his birthplace for only a few days and then returned to reclaim his old job, but as a servant not a slave.

SOURCE: Stories oj New Jersey by Frank R. Stockton, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick N.J.


Identified by descendants of Mrs. Edwin Augustus Stevens are:
[Left to right, top row] Dilly Shane, kitchen maid; PETER LEE; Fannie Niedbeck, lady's maid of Mrs. Edwin A. (Martha Bayard) Stevens; Selma and Annie Johnston; Christine Muller; James McFadden, and Henry Tangerman.
(Front row) Lizzie McKeon, laundry maid; Henry Ott, footman and later butler-valet of Richard Stevens; Benjamin Coleman; beyond "Zurich" the dog, Nora Lacey, parlor maid; Polly French [?], lady's maid, who asked her mistress Mrs. Archibald Alexander (Caroline Bayard Stevens), to choose between her and a second marriage, carrying out her threat to return to France when Mrs. Alexander became Mrs. Henry O. Wittpenn in 1915; and Mary McQuillen.


Hoboken's Ferry boats go to war, and are torpedoed by the H&M Tubes and the Holland Tunnel

President Theodore Roosevelt, seated in his office in the White House in Washington, pressed a button on his desk and a train began its first journey from New York to Hoboken through a tunnel beneath the Hudson River. It was February 25, 1908 and the Hudson & Manhattan Tubes, now called PATH, were open for business.
Hoboken's ferry line was undismayed even though the number of passengers carried during the first week after the opening of the Tubes was smaller than the week before. In an interview, Captain John M. Emery, manager of the marine department of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Com-pany, confidently shrugged off the ferry's underwater competition.
"Forty per cent of our business," he said, "is carrying commuters, who pay us to take them from their homes in New Jersey to Manhattan. If they do not choose to cross the Hudson in our ferries, it does not mean any monetary loss to us. Then, too, the tunnel cannot carry automobiles, and a large part of our business consists of transportation of trucks and automobiles. We get 25 cents each for automobiles and for trucks from 25 to 50 cents. On the first day the tunnel opened, our fares dropped off two thou-sand. But the next day the shortage was only 800, and it has continued to grow less each day since.
"I do not believe the tunnel will cut into us very much, even after the entire system is in full operation. Anyway, the number of commuters in New Jersey is constantly growing, so there will be enough business for all of us."
Emery took a dim view of automobiles abroad his ferryboats. A rule was put into effect in 1908 that only four cars could be carried at one time on a boat, two up front and two in the rear. This made it possible to push a burning car off the boat. The rule was never rescinded.

The Ferry Boat Race
Possibly to garner publicity for the ferry, a race was conducted in 1909 between the ferryboats Ithaca and Lackawanna from Hoboken to Newburgh, N.Y. and back.
The Hoboken Observer, the newspaper after which Observer Highway is named, wrote excitedly about the event.
"The Ithaca, with picked coal and her engines keyed up to the highest notch of safety in the matter of speed, ran neck and neck with the Lackawanna a good part of the way up the river and toward the end of the journey ran ahead of her rival with the ease and grace of a salmon jumping from an inexperienced spearsman.
"Newburgh is 65 miles from Hoboken. The run was made by the Ithaca in three hours and thirty minutes. The time of the Lackawanna from Hoboken to Newburgh was three hours and forty-eight minutes.
"The time of the Ithaca from Newburgh to Hoboken was three hours and thirty-five minutes. The time of the Lackawanna over the same course was three hours and fifty-five minutes.
"Thousands who travel daily on the two boats...little realize that they are capable of moving faster than the average battleship."

Hoboken Ferries go to war.
In 1918 the Federal Government took over the nation's railroads and ferries. Hoboken became a World War I port of embarkation for the American armies sent to Europe. Beginning May 15, 1918, the ferries transported 242,330 officers and men to Hoboken to board ships to France, and after the war carried 127,432 officers and men back to New York from returning troop transports docking in Hoboken. Altogether, 1,777,109 doughboys embarked for overseas from Hoboken in World War I.
The greatest number of men carried in one day was on August 8, 1919, when 9,803 soldiers were taken to New York city aboard Hoboken ferries to march in the victory parade.
The War over, the ferries were returned to civilian ownership on March 1, 1920. But a new kind of wars broke out: labor strikes.
Four strikes had been called while the ferries were under government control. From 1910 through 1920, there had been two strikes while the ferries were not controlled by the government. And in the 1920s there were further strikes.
In 1909 Harbor Union No. 1 called a strike of tugboats. It didn't include ferry boats. When the strike was called the union head had led the men to believe that there was $35,000 in the Harbor Union treasury, but when the strike had been on for a few days, the men found out that instead of $35,000 in the union treasury there was only $300. Neverthe-less, the strike lasted three weeks.
The next strike was called in 1918, and lasted for only four days. The ferry workers lost again. Subsequent strikes in 1919 and 1920 also failed, and the ferries kept rurining. But most of the men who went out did not get their jobs back.
In 1918 when the US entered World War I, ferry passengers became troubled by the German names of some of the ferries. The Bremen and Hamburg were renamed Maplewood and Chatham, But the name change did not save the Bremen. In 1919 it was badly damaged by fire while tied up at the north side of 14th Street, Hoboken.
Despite competition from the Hudson Tubes, the Hoboken ferry thrived. Two new boats were added to the fleet in 1922, the Hoboken and the Buffalo. Our city's namesake vessel was built in Elizabethport, N.J. by the John W. Sullivan Co. It was 221 feet long, 62 feetwide, weighed 1292 tons, and cost$355,399. She was placed in service on the 14th Street route.
Then the underwater potential doom of the ferry hit. The Holland Tunnel opened November 12, 1927. Vehicle traffic on the ferries dropped off immediately by thirty to forty percent. An extra crew was taken off the Christopher Street route and in 1928 the Christopher Street ferry shut down for the night at 9PM and all day Sunday. In 1942 single-deck ferry-boats replaced double deckers on the Christopher Street route.
But Harry J. Smith and John M. Emery, chroniclers of the history of the Hoboken ferry in 1931, ended their book on an optimistic note: "While it is true that ferryboats have been superseded in many sections of the United States by bridges and tunnels, the growth of vehicle and passenger traffic in the metropolitan district of New York is so rapid that possibly another hundred years will elapse before this system of transportation is abandoned."
Then, with the posting of a simple sign at the ferry terminal in Hoboken in 1967, the 300-year history of the original Hoboken ferry ended.
But Hoboken does not give up easily. You can cross the Hudson river to Manhattan aboard a ferry from Hoboken today. The Hoboken ferry lives again, this time with swift modern vessels that reduce the crossing time to eight minutes. No farm wagons, no steam whistles. But the tradition lives on, this time under the sponsorship of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Smith and Emery were right. Another hundred years will elapse before this system of transportation is abandoned

Hoboken's Last Steam Ferryboat
The final voyage of a Hoboken steam-powered double-ended ferry took place on the afternoon of Wednesday November 22, 1967, but a century-old Hoboken tradition of floating on the Hudson in style did not die. The final ferry was the Binghamton, which now graces the river at Edgewater.
The Binghamton was built at a cost of $211,478 and went into service in March, 1905. True to Hoboken tradition, it endured a fire in August when flames swept the Hoboken ferry terminal. Towed to safety in mid-river, the Binghamton went on after repairs to run continuously between Hoboken and Barclay Street, Manhattan until 1967. In those 62 years the Binghamton carried more than 125 million passengers more than 200,000 miles. Many a Hoboken resident of today can remember crossing the Hudson aboard the Binghamton.
Today,the Binghamton, a National Historic Land-mark, is the only double-ended steam ferry still afloat on the Hudson, permanently moored three miles south of the George Washington Bridge.
Retired from ferry service, it is now a restaurant. Its bar (pictured above) still serves the gregarious and thirsty, with its stained glass, varnished woodwork, and polished brass still gleaming in turn-of-the-century splendor.

People Kilnisan, Steven
Lee, Peter
Clickener, Cornelius V.
Stevens, Edwin A.
Charles, Edmund
Bonn, John H.
Davis, Jason E.
Eckstein, Fred
Caption pg [1] front cover
Imagefile 033\20050060004.TIF
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