See You on The Avenue!

A History of Washington Street

“The Avenue: A History of Washington Street” explores the history of Hoboken through the lens of its main thoroughfare, beginning in 1804, with its creation as a north-south road through Colonel John Stevens’ country estate. Over the next 200-plus years, Washington Street would be shaped and changed, first by Stevens and his descendants, and later by World War I, local politicians, small businesses and large factories, and wave upon wave of new residents.

Using maps, photographs, objects, and media from the Museum’s collections, “The Avenue” traces the development of Washington Street, revealing the little-known histories of its lots, buildings, and the people who animated them.

In this digital version of the exhibit, take a virtual stroll up or down Washington Street (as photographed by McKevin Shaughnessy in 2021), stopping along the way to delve into the past through selected stories of people, businesses, addresses and civic or religious institutions.

The histories of two lots between Sixth and Seventh Streets, for example, show how local stories are often connected to a larger, national story. Other stories are uniquely Hoboken, home of “The Wackiest Mayor in America,” Tom Vezzetti (in office 1985-1988). These and other accounts reveal societal shifts, changes in land use, and changes brought by new populations and by developments in transportation and technology.

Hoboken is a a compact, walkable city, and Washington Street continues to exert a gravitational pull — it’s where people gather to shop, to eat, to find entertainment, to campaign for office or for reform, and for parades and festivals. “The Avenue” reveals both how much and how little Hoboken has changed over the years, despite ever-shifting economic cycles, transportation options, tastes and lifestyles, its essential appeal endures.

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Washington Street

Hoboken, NJ, USA