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About Hackensack

Remembering where their journeys had begun, the Manhattan Dutchmen who crossed the Hudson to establish a trading post on a lesser river about 4 miles west called their site New Barbados. For 274 years the name as well as the architecture of some buildings and institutions retained the Dutch stamp. Not until 1921, in an act that traded euphony for a city charter, did New Barbados become Hackensack, an American Indian term meaning “place of sharp ground.”

Due to its location on the road that linked Manhattan and its bastion at Fort Lee with the Passaic River, the village was a strategic point during the Revolution. Gen. George Washington and his troops stopped in the village after evacuating Fort Lee. Intrigue and skirmishes were common throughout the war; in 1780 a plundering party of Hessians and Britons burned the New Barbados courthouse.

The Green at the south end of Main Street was the core of New Barbados. It contained in one small area the courthouse for government and justice, the pillories for punishment and the Church on the Green for absolution. Built at the Green's northeast corner in 1696 and reconstructed several times since, the church is one of the oldest in the state. Its Dutch Colonial architecture served as a prototype for several churches in the area.

A major 20th-century project in the vicinity was the draining of tidal marshes known as the Meadowlands south of Hackensack in nearby East Rutherford.

The New Jersey Naval Museum, home of the USS Ling, is a memorial to those who served aboard U.S. submarines during World War II. The museum at 78 River St. offers weekend guided tours; phone (201) 342-3268.

Visitor Information

Greater Hackensack Chamber of Commerce: 5 University Plaza Dr., Hackensack, NJ 07601; phone (201) 489-3700.

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