In the 1870’s when Jews first came to Hoboken, it was a city of emigrants. While the native born Americans still owned most of the property the population of 50,000 was principally German with significant numbers of Irish and Italian people. The emigrants worked in the shipyards, the rail yards and the manufacturing large and small that sprang up in the one and a half city square mile city on the banks of the Hudson and New York Harbor.
The first Jews in Hoboken came from Germany with a short stop in Manhattan. The 1880 census reveals much about them. Husbands and wives list themselves as being born in Germany, their older children being born in New York, very young children born in New Jersey. They may have spoken Yiddish at home and with each other, but on the census they record their language as German. These first Jewish settlers in the town, like those who came later, were merchants, sales people, dealers, metals workers, agents, bookkeepers. Using the ages and place of birth of the children, the first Jewish settlers were in New Jersey by 1870.
The closest other Jewish communities, apart from those a ferry ride away in Manhattan, were in Jersey City right on the bluff above Hoboken and those in living in Newark. The closest kosher butcher in New Jersey was Isaac Cohen in Newark. In my own family, Kashrut became eating kosher cuts of beef, chickens salted at home and separating milch from fliessig.
Hoboken City Hall about 1950.
Most Hobokenites were working class but this street included the residents of the upper class
The fire house dating to the early 20th century
Hudson Square Park one of several city squares near the turn of the 20th century
Hudson Street 1910. The Empire was a theater. The awnings and the white sign across the street are Tannenbaum's Emporium
The public library which opened in 1897 built by city of Hoboken on land donated by the Stevens family
Hoboken High School in 1916 when my grandmother Gertie Waller graduated.