“History Lives Here” in the City of New Brunswick

A sign detailing the history of New Brunswick City Hall now sits in front of the building’s main entrance at 78 Bayard Street.

In celebration of the legacy of our community, the City of New Brunswick and DEVCO have partnered on a project to install a series of signs in sites of historical significance around town, intended to provide the public with a closer look at the rich history of the City.

Signs have been installed at the following sites in New Brunswick:

  • City Hall, 78 Bayard Street
  • New Brunswick Theological Seminary, 35 Seminary Place
  • Henry Guest House, 58 Livingston Avenue
  • Gray Terrace (former site of the home of Robert Wood Johnson I, current site of The Yard on College Avenue)
  • New Brunswick Free Public Library, 60 Livingston Avenue
  • Revolutionary War site on Holy Hill, Seminary Place
  • Christ Church Episcopal, 5 Paterson Street
  • First Reformed Church, 9 Bayard Street

“The phrase ‘History Lives Here’ anchors this project in recognition of the many significant stories that have taken place right here in our home town,” said Mayor Jim Cahill. “We are proud to be able to showcase the history of our community in this new way and look forward to sharing these stories with all who live, work and visit in the City of New Brunswick.”

A sign detailing the history of the New Brunswick Free Public Library now stands on library grounds at 60 Livingston Avenue.

This ongoing program will expand to additional sites in New Brunswick in the future.

In addition to the installation of these signs, City Hall has opened a public exhibit in celebration of its 90th anniversary, showcasing New Brunswick in the 1920’s, the decade in which City Hall first opened its doors to the public.

Much of the building remains as it was at the time of construction, including the original marble wainscoting, granite steps, record vaults and lighting. The wooden pews in Council Chambers are the same that were installed 90 years ago and continue to seat the public during meetings held today.

Trinkets from the 1920’s-1930’s, once trash and now treasured, are available for viewing in a display case located on the third floor of New Brunswick City Hall.

This exhibit, coordinated by the Mayor’s Office through the Art at City Hall program, is visible on the second and third floors of City Hall and contains photographs, newspaper articles and artifacts depicting the City of New Brunswick during this era. The items are sourced from City archives and the private collections of local residents.

The exhibit is available for the public to view during City’s Hall’s regular business hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Chartered in 1730, the history of the City of New Brunswick dates back to settlement by the Lenni Lenape Native American tribe, followed by European settlers in 1681. Since that time, New Brunswick has been featured many times in the pages of history, in instances such as battles and settlements during the Revolutionary War, the founding of Rutgers University and as a site of major commerce and trade growth with the development of the Raritan River.

Funding for the Art at City Hall program has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders through a grant provided by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts /Department of State.

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