Trenton

40.22058, -74.75972

Trenton Travel Guide

City Map

City Introduction

Trenton is the capital and one of the largest cities in the US state of New Jersey. Its history began when English Quakers settled here in 1679. In 1719, the town was named Trenttowne after William Trent, who had acquired much of the area’s land from the family of the first Quaker leader. Trenttowne was later shortened to the present Trenton. In 1776, the Battle of Trenton was fought around the city, and it was George Washington’s first military victory during the American Revolutionary War.

After the war, New England and several northern states wanted Trenton to be the nation’s capital, but the South demanded that the capital be located south of the Mason-Dixon line. Trenton instead became New Jersey’s capital in 1790. Trenton grew steadily throughout the 1800s, when much of the surrounding city was merged with the capital, and where the iron and steel industry provided many jobs.

Today, Trenton is a pleasant city with a fine location along the Delaware River. The city’s downtown is manageable in size and easy to see on walks that, for example, can start at Trenton City Hall, which was built in 1907. The city hall is located along State Street, which is one of the city’s main streets through downtown. Heading west from City Hall, you can see Trenton’s high-rise buildings dating from various architectural periods from the Broad Street Bank Building of 1900 to modern buildings.

Along the western part of State Street and its side streets are the city’s best-known sights. In Barrack Street, you can visit the Old Barracks Museum, which is a museum located in Trenton’s old barracks from 1758. The barracks were built to house British soldiers during the French and Indian War, which lasted from 1754 to 1763. The barracks also played a role in the Battle of Trenton, where the city’s Hessian garrison lost to George Washington’s Continental Army.

West of the barracks is the state of New Jersey’s government area, with the New Jersey State House as its centerpiece. The State House is the seat of the state senate and assembly, which make up the two houses of the political system. The construction became relevant when Trenton became the new capital after Perth Amboy in 1790. The State House was built from 1792 and has since been expanded several times. You can tour the State House, one of America’s oldest government buildings still in use for its original purpose.

Across the streets from the State House, you can see the World War II Memorial, which was established in 2008. Southeast of the State House, you can see the Patriots Theater, which is a 1930 concert hall that was built to commemorate World War I with the name Trenton War Memorial. Continuing west on State Street, you can visit the New Jersey State Museum. The museum is to be considered the state’s national museum with cultural and natural history collections and exhibitions that tells the development of the state.

You can also walk a little south of downtown, where another of Trenton’s interesting museums is located. It is the William Trent House, which was built for William Trent in 1719, and the house is therefore the city’s oldest building. Trent founded Trenton, and over time, in addition to Trent himself, three governors have lived in the house, which stands as a beautiful example of early Georgian colonial architecture.

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