JOURNEYS INTO NEW JERSEY
We take Trenton as our capital as a given. But it was not always that way.
As in our nation's history, Philadelphia and New York were national capitals before Washington D.C. Similarly, New Jersey had a number of capitals before Trenton.
Not too long ago, we described how for many years as a colony New Jersey had been divided between East Jersey and West Jersey. Each had its respective capital – Perth Amboy for the east and Burlington for West Jersey. Even after the colony was united into one by the British, the two capitals endured until 1776.
But there were others. Elizabeth is described as having been New Jersey's first capital. Governor Phillip Carteret made Elizabethtown the capital of the province of New Jersey and the first legislature met here on May 30, 1668.
In Elizabeth, almost four centuries later, signs of the early New Jersey capital can still be seen around town: Places such as Boxwood Hall, Bonnell House and the Belcher-Ogden Mansion.