December 18, 1787
New Jersey Approved the Constitution
It is nicknamed the “Garden State,” and yet it is one of the most developed and industrialized states in America. Famous for its beaches and for hosting the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, it also exports manufactured goods around the world. What state is it? Approving the Constitution on December 18, 1787, New Jersey became the third state to join the Union, following Delaware and Pennsylvania. This diverse state has a long history. Prior to the American Revolution, New Jersey was part of the original land grant to the Duke of York. It was divided up among different caretakers in 1676, and divided again and again until Queen Anne, in April 1702, reunited the land into one province with one governor.
New Jersey gained its nickname of the “Garden State” in the 18th century, because it had so much rich and fertile soil. But over the next two centuries, farmland has given way to urban industry. In addition to exporting goods all over the world, New Jersey is also a popular tourist destination. One hundred twenty-five miles of coastline with cool ocean breezes tempt city dwellers to vacation here. President Grant was among the vacationers in the 1800s who flocked to resorts at Longbranch and Cape May. Open in 1870, the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk continues to draw visitors from all around the world.
New Jersey is home to Princeton University and Rutgers University. Singer Frank Sinatra was from “Jersey,” as were suffragist Alice Paul, football coach Alonzo Stagg, and musicians Bruce Springsteen and Lauryn Hill. It is also home to Lucy the Elephant, an American landmark built in Atlantic City in 1881. President Woodrow Wilson stepped inside the giant elephant-shaped building, Lucy, as did car manufacturer Henry Ford. New Jersey often is seen in the shadow of its metropolis neighbor New York. But residents know the amazing resources the state has to offer, as well as its diverse and lively personality.
New Jersey has more diners than any other state and is the shopping mall capital of the world, with seven malls in a 25-mile radius. The “Garden State” still manages to produce two-thirds of the world’s eggplants.
New Jersey is a state of many firsts too: the first ever baseball game was played in Hoboken; inventor Thomas Edison had his first lab here; and John P. Holland took his invention, the submarine, for its first ride down the Passaic River in New Jersey. Visit the “Garden State” and see for yourself what’s growing in New Jersey.