Belleville New Jersey NJ Historical Photographs, History, Photos

Hillside Pleasure Amusement Park, Belleville NJ
Hillside Pleasure Park and its' newly constructed Roller Coaster, circa 1905, hand-colored photo

Hillside Pleasure Park, circa 1905.

belleville new jersey history photo Hillside Pleasure Park, circa 1905.  At the turn of the century Belleville had its own amusement park. Called Hillside Pleasure Park, it was located on the west side of Washington Avenue at Greylock Parkway and was easily reached by Trolley, a pre-requisite for Amusements parks during this time. Hillside Park began as a picnic ground next door to a saloon. It grew into a major Amusement Park with the addition of a roller coaster, parachute jump, carousel and other rides. Hillside Park also had a pavilion for dancing, a race track and grandstand, and a man-made lake with boats for rent. Later it was known as Riviera Park. 


The Morris Canal is the waterway pictured here, it ran from Newark Bay, up and over the mountains of western New Jersey all the way to the Delaware River, the first American Canal to climb hills. Starting in 1831, it transported coal, iron ore, timber and other goods both eastward and westward, until the faster Railroads took most of it's business by the 1890's. In 1924 it was officially shut down and filled in. In the Newark portion the Subway line was placed. The view above shows the Canal in Belleville in 1903, Harrison Street at Mill Street, looking north.

By circa 1907, this landmark dividing Newark and Belleville was 
already called the 'Old Arch Bridge'. Hand Colored.

First National Bank, circa 1905, Belleville NJ
First National Bank, Belleville New Jersey, circa 1905

Washington Ave vintage photo, Belleville NJ
Washington Ave, Belleville, NJ circa 1903, note Trolley.  (hand colored black & white photo)

Belleville, New Jersey, historic photo
Washington Ave, Belleville, NJ circa 1918

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The General Alexander Macomb House, 125 Main Street, Belleville, New Jersey.
Erected circa 1784-1797, frame addition to south end and all windows replaced
about 1870. Fire escape circa 1920. Photo above taken 1935, house demolished in 1940.

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This was originally the home of Sarah Macomb, a widow who lived here with her young daughter. Around 1799 she took in her 17 year old nephew, Alexander Macomb, (1782-1841) who lived with her while he attended Newark Academy. In 1803 he married his cousin Catharine and they continued to live here while he pursued his Military career. He became most famous as the Commanding Officer of a series of stunning US victories during the war of 1812.

Major General Alexander Macomb Jr., 1782-1841,
Senior Officer and Commanding General of the
U.S. Army from 1828 to 1841

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This SOHO RR Station was the smallest Railroad Depot in NJ !  It was often referred to as the "Mushroom Station" since it gave that appearance. It's construction was a simple roof and platform built around the base of a Large Oak Tree. It was located near the Essex County Isolation Hospital. Circa 1905

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Y.M.C.A. of Belleville, New Jersey, circa 1895-1905, notice boy at far right

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Postcard view of Mill Street Bridge over the Passaic River, mailed 1906

Richmonds Diner, 709 Washington Ave, "Open 24 hours", circa 1950

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Public School No. 3, Belleville, NJ,
postcard mailed 1906

A Speech made by Senator Frank Lautenberg on the floor of the US Senate on January 31, 1989.

Mr. President, I rise to honor the town of Belleville, an historic New Jersey town. On January 28, 1989, the citizens of Belleville celebrate its 150th birthday. Belleville's founders were Dutch. Instrumental in its founding was Peter Minuit, who purchased New Amsterdam from the Indians in 1613. In 1626, the Dutch settlers established an Indian trading post across the Hudson, and in 1633 settled Bergen--now New Jersey City. They expanded to Hackensack, to Acquackanonk, now Passaic, and to Second River, today known as Belleville.
Belleville has played an important role in New Jersey history. During the Revolutionary War, Second River maintained fierce loyalty to the New World and was subjected to many British raids during the conflict. Gen. George Washington and his troops passed through Second River on November 22, 1776. During his stay in Newark, General Washington planned strategy which led to the crossing of the Delaware and the capture of the Hessians in Trenton. These events were important turning points in the Revolutionary War. Second River played an important role in the industrial revolution as a result of its location at the junction of two rivers. In Second River, Josiah Hornblower, a distinguished citizen, used the first steam engine in the United States in copper mining in 1753. In 1797, he and Nicholas Roosevelt and Col. John Stevens built the first steamboat in New Jersey. Second River's contribution to industry continued as it provided waterpower to run the water wheel of the Hendrick's Copper Mill, and access to the Passaic where coal and supplies could be brought in by boat from New York. At one time the plant was turning out 350 tons of sheet and bolt copper per year.
On June 26, 1797, under the leadership of Josiah Hornblower, the citizens of Second River changed its name to Belleville, French for `Beautiful Village.' On February 23, 1839, Belleville, which included parts of the present towns of Bloomfield and Nutley was set aside and a township committee was established. For 150 years Belleville has contributed greatly to the State of New Jersey and today this tradition continues. From its early beginnings it has evolved into a 20th century metropolitan community about to come into the 21st century. It boasts strong economic growth supported by an outstanding transportation system, Government and education facilities. May Belleville continue to thrive into the 21st century to celebrate its bicentennial. Belleville, NJ 07109

Belleville Gardens Club Restaurant, circa 1925

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Manufacturers Bank at Belleville, bank note issued 1837

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Manufacturers Bank at Belleville, bank note issued 1838

Peoples National Bank & Trust Company of Belleville, issued 1929

This page was first placed online in 2002 as a community service by First Baptist Church of Bloomfield, NJ. Our church was founded in 1851 by residents of Essex County who desired to meet together for worship and the study of God's Word. Over the years, many Belleville residents have been members of the Church. During all the time spanned by these photos, First Baptist has had an involvement in the community life of the area, and a spiritual impact in the lives of it's people. Now, over 160 years later, that spiritual impact is as important as ever!

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This Belleville History page is from
a free community service of First Baptist Church
1 Washington St,  Bloomfield, NJ 07003  -  tel 973-743-2400