Hoboken (hōˈbōkən, –bəkən) [key], city (1990 pop. 33,397), Hudson co., NE N.J., on the Hudson River adjoining Jersey City and opposite Manhattan; settled by the Dutch c.1640, inc. as a city 1855. A port of entry and railroad terminal, it has food-processing industries and electronic, chemical, and metal products factories. Hoboken is the seat of Stevens Institute of Technology.
The site changed title many times before John Stevens gained possession in 1784. He built his home at Castle Point (a rock formation overlooking the river) and laid out the town in 1804. Stevens built (c.1825) and ran on his estate the first locomotive to pull a train on tracks in the United States. John Jacob Astor lived in Hoboken; his home was a gathering place for authors, including Washington Irving, and William Cullen Bryant. Hoboken became an important industrial and commercial center in the late 19th cent. with a major port, shipyards, and warehouses.
In the 1970s and 80s professionals, artists, and students flocked to the city for its affordable, renovated housing and easy access to New York City. Hoboken's reputation has grown accordingly, and it has become a cultural community with art galleries, musical events, entertainment, and developing businesses. A major riverfront development project was launched in the late 1990s, and the city became an alternative office location for companies based in Manhattan. In 2012 the city suffered extensive flooding damage from Hurricane Sandy.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.