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Exploring the Rich History of Hoboken

Written by Diana Hernandez

Exploring the Rich History of Hoboken

Exploring the rich history of Hoboken has us finding fascinating stories and facts about our Mile Square City. Founded in 1849, Hoboken has a unique story to tell, from its role in the Industrial Revolution to its connection to the music of Frank Sinatra. So join us on a journey through time as we uncover the hidden stories and little-known facts that make Hoboken such a special place.

Steven’s Family

The Stevens family is one of the most prominent and influential families in the history of Hoboken. The family patriarch, Colonel John Stevens, was a Revolutionary War hero and a pioneering inventor and engineer. He founded the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken in 1870, a top engineering school.

John’s son, Edwin A. Stevens, continued his father’s legacy and became a successful businessman and philanthropist. He donated generously to the Stevens Institute of Technology and helped establish the Stevens Institute of Technology High School for Boys. The Stevens family also played a significant role in developing Hoboken as a thriving industrial and transportation hub. The city still displays the Stevens name in various places, such as the Stevens Institute of Technology, Stevens Park, and the Stevens Cooperative School.

Sybil’s Cave

The oldest man-made structure in Hoboken is Sybil’s Cave, which was constructed by the Stevens Family in 1832 as a joke on their property that had a natural spring. By the middle of the 19th century, the cave was a well-liked getaway spot not far from Hoboken’s central business district. A café supplied outdoor refreshments close to the cave. The cave is intact, but authorities have gated it and not opened it publicly.

Willow Terrace

The history of Willow Terrace involves philanthropist Martha Bayard Stevens (founder of Stevens Institute, Edwin A. Stevens’ wife). She always took an interest in commitment to working for the alleviation of poverty and injustice. Willow Terrace, two cobblestone streets lined with housing, were originally built for the workers of the Stevens estate. Martha believed they deserved better living conditions.

The Brass Rail

The history of The Brass Rail in Hoboken dates back to the 1890s. Established as a saloon, it became a popular gathering spot for locals and visitors. In the 1940s, renovations transformed the saloon into a restaurant, and it continued to evolve and adapt to changing times and trends. Finally, in the early 2000s, a new owner who undertook a significant renovation transformed it into the sleek and modern dining destination it is today.

Paranormal Activity at The Brass Rail

It is rumored that in 1904, a bride tripped down the stairs, broke her neck, and died at the saloon. Ever since she’s remained at the bar, her husband soon died after he killed himself by the same stairs while drunk. He has also been rumored to stay at the bar eternally. Guests and employees alike have reported strange happenings, including seeing the ghostly figures of the doomed bride and groom.

The Brass Rail has remained a beloved Hoboken institution, known for its delicious food, stylish atmosphere, and rich history.


Hoboken’s Fiore‘s is a beloved Italian bakery that has been a fixture in the city for over 100 years. Founded in 1913 by Vincenzo and Antonietta Fiore, the bakery has been passed down through three generations of the Fiore family. John Amato Sr. is the current owner, and John Amato Jr. helps him run the deli shop.

They do not have a menu, but they have a particular hero of the day. Thursday or Saturday is the only day you can get Fiore’s legendary roast beef and homemade mozzarella (mutz if you’re a local) sandwich. In addition to its sandwiches, Fiore’s also offers various fresh cold cuts, roasted red peppers, stuffed peppers, and more.

Throughout its history, Hoboken has been home to a diverse community of people from all walks of life. It has also been the site of many important events, such as the first organized baseball game and the birthplace of Frank Sinatra.

Today, Hoboken is a vibrant and thriving city that combines its rich history with modern amenities and attractions. Visitors can explore its historic landmarks, stroll along the waterfront, and enjoy its vibrant nightlife and cultural scene.

We will continue to update you with fun Hoboken History as we explore the mile square city.

Last Updated: April 14th, 2023

About the author

Diana Hernandez

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