On July 27, National New Jersey Day recognizes the third state to join the Union. Find out what’s unique and captivating about the Garden State!

Early History

When Giovanni Da Verrazzano first explored the shores of the Atlantic coast. As he explored lands that includes New Jersey, Da Verrazzano discovered diverse communities of people who were later called the Delaware Indians.

In 1160, the Dutch founded New Jersey’s first European settlement, but in 1664 the British took control. At this time, the land was divided into half and named the New Jersey after the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel.


Leading up the American Revolution, the colony as a whole was equally divided in its loyalties to the crown. Colonists who remained undecided were just as liked to support the rebel cause as they were to support the king. The same applied to colonists in New Jersey. 

Due to New Jersey’s central location among the thirteen colonies, more battles during the Revolutionary War took place here than any other state.

While the state was the third to enter the union, New Jersey signed the Bill of Rights before any other state. 

Industry and Innovation

During and after the war, New Jersey industry grew. Rapidly, innovation and technology took place in New Jersey. One well-known innovator found a home in Menlo Park. There, Thomas Edison nourished his ingenuity.

While industry and innovation grew, so did the state’s population. Today New Jersey’s  population density thrives at the highest of any state in the United States.

While it may be an industrial powerhouse, its nickname the Garden State is precise. New Jersey supplies the world with cranberries, blueberries, and tomatoes.

New Jersey Flavor

While we thank New Jersey for a few delicious foods we can enjoy anywhere, the state produces a large number of dishes travel is a must.

During the summer months, enjoy the fresh blueberries from New Jersey. At the turn of the 20th century, the intuitive Elizabeth White helped domesticate the wild blueberries found along the Eastern seaboard. Today, blueberry production in New Jersey is a global business.

Pork roll is to New Jersey as carrots are to Bugs Bunny. The cured, smoked pork product creates debates between residents of the state. Trenton loves their pork roll so much, in fact, they hold an annual Pork Roll Festival. However, pork roll does exist west of the Delaware River.

Now, for most of these other dishes, come visit or pay for postage. Folks from New Jersey have a different idea about what a sloppy joe is. Tomato. To-mah-to. This one sounds delicious. Their version places slices of pastrami or corned beef (or both), coleslaw, Russian dressing and swiss cheese, and layers it between three slices of rye bread.

Also, New Jerseyan’s make their pizza pie on the flip side. That is to say – they like their sauce on top. Its called tomato pie with seasoning crushed tomatoes on top of the other ingredients. Crust on bottom, of course.

Lastly, salt water taffy, sandy beaches and long boardwalks of Atlantic City all go together . Both  salt water taffy and America’s boardwalks got their start there.


Join National Day Calendar in recognizing this unique and captivating state on National New Jersey Day.  Use #NationalNewJerseyDay to share on social media.

Each week following the week of Independence Day 2017, National Day Calendar will be announcing a National Day in honor of each state in the order they entered the union. We start with Delaware on July 13 and will complete the celebrations with Hawaii on June 27, 2018, allowing for some time off for the holidays.

Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley- Revolutionary Hero – (October 13, 1754 – January 22, 1832)

Mary Ludwig is one of many women who later earned a nickname Molly Pitcher.  During the Revolutionary War, it was common for women to follow their husbands, brothers, and sons into battle to provide meals and medical. One of their many duties would be to haul pitchers of water from rivers and streams to the men during combat.

During the battle of Monmouth in June of 1778, Mary carried water as she normally would, but when her husband turned up wounded, she stepped in as his replacement. Joseph Martin Plumb witnessed her actions and recorded his observations. His eyewitness account included seeing an enemy cannon shot pass between Mary’s legs, tearing her petticoat and leaving Mary unscathed. Mary returned to the cannon and began readying it to fire.

Will the real Molly Pitcher stand up?  She is likely every woman who followed a loved one into battle, who picked up arms to stave off the enemy.  The few records of those who earned the name allow the honor to be placed on these women.

Aaron Burr – Politician – (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836)
Grover Cleveland – President – (March 18, 1837 – June 24, 1908)
Roebling Family- Engineers
Elizabeth Coleman White – Hortoculturalist- (October 5, 1871-November 11, 1954)
William Carlos Williams – Physician and Poet – (September 17, 1883 – March 4, 1963)
Dorothea Lange – Photographer – (May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965)
Frank Sinatra – Singer – (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998)
Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. – Army General – (August 22, 1934 – December 27, 2012)
Judy Blume – Author – February 12, 1938
Jon Bon Jovi – Singer-Songwriter – March 2, 1962
Queen Latifah – Rapper – March 18, 1970
Shaquille O’Neal – Basketball Player – March 6, 1972
New Jersey State Official