Founded in 1664, Elizabeth, NJ is one of America’s oldest and most historic cities. Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and other famous figures visited this city, which remains an important center of American history and culture. Here are just a few of Elizabeth’s historic sites for you to discover.
Dating all the way back to 1664, The Snyder Academy has the distinction of being one of the oldest historical sites in New Jersey. In 1772, Alexander Hamilton attended the academy to prepare for college and it’s now an important stop on the city’s Hamilton Tour. Today, Snyder Academy houses an eclectic mix of historical artifacts and newly renovated facilities. Its mission is to educate the public about the early history of New Jersey while also serving the community.
The Elizabeth Public Library was built in 1912, a gift from Andrew Carnegie to the city. It stands on the site of the Red Lion Inn, which played an important role during the Revolutionary War. Due to its rich history, the Elizabeth Public Library is the first stop on Elizabeth’s Walking Tour. The library is home to extensive collections of books, newspapers, and magazines from all over the world and in multiple languages. The Elizabeth Public Library also hosts hundreds of programs every year, from magic shows for children to jazz and rock performances.
Boxwood Hall is a mansion that was built around 1750 by Samuel Woodruff during his term as Mayor of Elizabeth. Elias Boudinot, a member of the Continental Congress, lived here from 1772 to 1795. While living in Elizabeth, Alexander Hamilton often visited Boxwood Hall and developed a close friendship with Elias and his family. Today, Boxwood Hall is a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public every weekday. Visitors to Boxwood Hall learn about life in colonial America as they wander through this beautiful mansion.
The stunning Liberty Hall originated as a Georgian-style home and dates back to 1772. It was built by William Livingston, a lawyer who served as the first Governor of New Jersey. During his time in Elizabethtown, Alexander Hamilton lived here with the Livingston family. Throughout its history, Liberty Hall hosted many other celebrated guests, including several presidents. Now a museum, Liberty Hall offers public and private tours where visitors can explore the mansion’s rooms, gaze at collections of furniture and ceramics, and walk the sprawling gardens.
Elizabeth's Historic Walking Tour is a self-guided 3.5-mile tour that takes you on a journey through the city’s history. On the tour, you’ll pass many historical buildings and sites, including the Belcher-Ogden Mansion and the Bonnell House, one of the oldest homes in New Jersey. Other stops include The Snyder Academy of Elizabethtown, First Presbyterian Church, Elizabeth River Trail, and the Elizabeth Public Library. The walking tour offers visitors a unique opportunity to discover the history of Elizabeth at their own pace.