5 Interesting New Jersey Facts
Ideally located, New Jersey shares state lines with New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and the Atlantic Ocean. There are so many fun and interesting New Jersey facts, making it hard to choose only five! So if you’re looking for some bite-sized knowledge on one of the original 13 states, read on.
Full-Service Gas Stations
While pumping your own gas during summer and spring seems like no big deal. Imagine staying in your car during freezing cold wet or snow days while someone else pumped the gas for you.
However, New Jersey and Oregon are the only two holdovers from the full-service era of the 1970s of requiring a gas station attendant to pump gas into vehicles. And given New Jersey’s bitter-cold winters, that is just fine for most folks.
While “gas jockeys,” as they were once called, were often tipped for their services, that’s no longer the case. However, thanks to House Bill 4571, the state of Illinois may follow in New Jersey’s footsteps “provides that no gas may be pumped at a gas station in this State unless it is pumped by a gas station attendant employed at the gas station.” Chicagoans might be just as grateful given Chicago winter days can dip well below freezing.
New Jersey, the Garden State
New Jersey enjoys an outstanding agriculture industry. The “Garden State” is home to more than 9,000 farms covering 715,000 acres of lush, productive farmland. In the United States, New Jersey ranks: 5th in blueberry production, 3rd in cranberry production, 3rd in spinach, 3rd in bell peppers, 4th in peach production.
Considered the “blueberry capital of the world,” New Jersey native Elizabeth White marketed the first cultivated blueberries in 1916. Today North America still produces an overwhelming majority of the world’s crop with New Jersey being home to dozens of pick-your-own Jersey blueberries.
First Baseball Game in America
The Knickerbockers played the first baseball game in Hoboken, New Jersey, on June 19, 1846.
The New Jersey’s Elysian Fields is were home to a historical moment when New York Mutuals defeated the Knickerbockers 23-1 in 4 innings. Alexander Cartwright, the game’s father, served as the referee that later became known as the “umpire.”
What many people don’t know is that the first World Series was still 56 years away!
The First Drive-In Theater in America
Camden, New Jersey is the home of the first-ever drive-in movie theater, located on Crescent Boulevard in Camden, New Jersey. Eager motorists arrived to watch the first outdoor movie on June 6, 1933.
But here’s perhaps the most interesting fact about New Jersey, the cost to see the show? Twenty-five cents per car and each passenger with a cap of one dollar per car.
Drive-ins were once an icon of American culture. However, today it’s bittersweet to report fewer than 500 drive-in theaters in the United States operate today.
Notable Princeton, NJ University Alumni
Princeton is a town in New Jersey, known for the Ivy League Princeton University. But sometimes, it’s easy to forget just how old America’s most iconic Universities really are. Founded more than 275 years ago in 1746, Princeton University is a private institution with its campuses in two New Jersey towns-Plainsboro and South Brunswick.
The main campuses encompass 500 acres of land and are considered some of the most beautiful places in New York and New Jersey and include the Gothic–style Chapel. Here are a few of the notable people who have attended Princeton:
Michelle Obama graduated from Princeton University in 1985. She became a lawyer after graduating from Harvard in 1988 and is renowned for her extensive work as First Lady of the United States on social issues such as poverty, healthy living, and education.
Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, talks about the experiences that shaped her, from her childhood in Chicago to her years living in the White House.
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, more commonly known as F. Scott Fitzgerald, attended Princeton University but dropped out to join the army.
Fitzgerald is considered one of the pre-eminent authors in American literature due almost entirely to one book–The Great Gatsby. Leonardo De Caprio played Fitzgerald in the movie with the same name. Since The Great Gatsby has become required reading for virtually every American high school student, you’ve probably read it.
The founder and CEO of the world’s biggest online retailer – Amazon, Jeff Bezos graduated from Princeton with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in 1986.
Bezos is also the owner of The Washington Post and founder of the space exploration company Blue Origin. In 2013, Bezos purchased The Washington Post, and in 2017 Amazon acquired Whole Foods.
Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton in 1983 when she took time off being an actress to get a degree in Romance Languages.
While there was some controversy about the rigors of her coursework, she did graduate with high marks.
Brooke Shields ads in the 1980s helped catapult Calvin Klein’s career to super-designer status.