Strange Facts about New Jersey
If you have settled on New Jersey for your retirement, you must already know a lot about the state. You are aware of the Jersey Shore and all its resort communities. You know that there are lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation and that New York City is but a short train ride away. There are probably some stranger things you don’t yet know about your new home.
New Jersey is a place of contradictions. There are more toxic waste dumps here than in any other state and yet the rural part of the state is quite lovely.
More of the population lives in urban areas than in any other state. Over 90 percent of people in New Jersey live in cities and suburbs, which means it is weighted heavily to the east side of the state.
Such an interesting state has a lot of weird facts. Read some more of them here.
- Once you have become a resident of New Jersey, don’t let outsiders tell you the state has no culture. It is not simply an offshoot of New York City, rather the state is responsible for creating many aspects of American culture. For instance, there are more than 600 diners in New Jersey, more than in any other U.S. state. Thank New Jersey for classic diner food. You can also thank this wonderful state for boardwalks. Those nice wooden walkways used for strolling across a beach without getting sand in your shoes originated here, in Atlantic City.
- Not just strange, but a little scary is the legend of the Jersey Devil. This spooky creature supposedly inhabits the Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey. There are many versions of how the devil came to be including that it was birthed by a witch called Mother Leeds. However it came to be, the devil has been spotted numerous times and is said to have wings, two hooved feet and two little arms. Although he was first seen in 1735, the most famous encounters with the devil occurred in 1909 when hundreds of different people reported having seen the creature. The ensuing panic resulted in school and business closings.
- No one knows what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. The infamous teamster disappeared in 1975 and was declared officially dead in 1982. Many have claimed that he is buried under Giants Stadium in East Rutherford. Although the idea was debunked by Mythbusters, many are not satisfied and still believe he rests there.
- Some stereotypes are true. New Jersey has more shopping malls in one area than anywhere else in the U.S. There are seven malls in 25 square miles. It also is the most densely populated state in the union. This is misleading though, because 90 percent of the population lives in the urban areas of the state. This leaves plenty of room for you out in the country. The state also has more toxic waste dumps than any other state: 108.
- New Jersey has an official state dinosaur: the Hadrosaurus. A nearly complete skeleton of this extinct creature was found in Haddonfield, hence the name. Its discovery in 1858 led to the science of paleontology.
- In 1914, people had the opportunity to get a piece of Ocean County for free. The founder of Beachwood, Bertram Chapman Mayo, offered free parcels of land in the New York Tribune in November 1914. The deal was that if you subscribed to the Tribune, you would get a Beachwood lot for free. What a deal! No other newspaper offer before or since was so great.
- New Jersey has been around for a while, so naturally it claims a lot of firsts. The first baseball game was played in Hoboken. The first intercollegiate football game was Rutgers versus Princeton in New Brunswick in 1869. Rutgers beat Princeton. Camden had the country’s first drive-in movie theater. The first Indian reservation was in New Jersey. In Menlo Park, Thomas Edison made the first phonograph, light bulb, and motion picture projector. This earned him the name, “The Wizard of Menlo Park.”