New Jersey may be a small state, but there have been several times when we’ve had the whole nation watching us. For both triumphs and tragedies, we have made headlines over the centuries. The following are just a few events that put all eyes on our state.
1. Vice President Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, who had served as the nation's first Secretary of the Treasury and whose face is still on the $10 bill, duel to the death in Weehawken.
On July 11, 1804, one of the most famous duels in American history happened right here in New Jersey. The duel killed Hamilton, and Burr was indicted on murder charges but never tried.
2. New Jersey was home to the original Hollywood, after the first movie studio was built in West Orange. The nation marveled at Edison's films.
Edison's Black Maria was a marvel at the time (1894) and people watched the studio's films in awe. Subjects ranged from magic shows to boxing matches.
3. The entire world watched the Lindbergh Kidnapping unfold.
The infant son of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped from his East Amwell home on March 1, 1931. Heavily covered by newspapers, the tragic story created one of the nation's first tabloid frenzies. The child's body was eventually found and a killer was convicted, but there are still doubts as to whether or not he was guilty and if he worked alone.
4. The Hindenburg Explosion in Manchester Township rocked the nation, diminishing the popularity of airship travel.
One of the most photographed disasters of the time, the Hindenburg's explosion on May 6, 1937, was widely covered. Though the entire ship was quickly engulfed in flames, there were a surprising amount of survivors.
5. On October 30, 1938, CBS radio station aired simulated news broadcasts claiming aliens had landed in West Windsor.
An adaptation of H.G. Well's novel, "The War of the Worlds", many took it as fact, causing mass hysteria. A monument commemorating the "landing" can be visited in Van Nest Park.
6. The 1967 Newark Riots lasted six days and resulted in the deaths of 26 individuals.
Riots caused by racial tensions broke out near the housing projects seen above and spread throughout the city. The social unrest was sparked by the arrest of a black cabdriver by two white police officers for a minor violation. These tragic riots echo recent events in Baltimore, Maryland and Ferguson, Missouri.
7. The tragic rape and murder of 7 year old Megan Kanka made headlines and changed laws.
On July 27, 1994, Megan Kanka was killed by her neighbor, a convicted sex offender, in Hamilton. The warranted outrage led to the establishment of "Megan's Law" and a national sex offender registry.
8. The 1998 Tom's River Little League team won hearts AND the World Series.
Tween girls everywhere fell in love and several of the players went on to play professionally.
9. When Hurricane Sandy hit on October 30, 2012, many areas were affected but parts of New Jersey were devastated.
The New Jersey shoreline took massive damage, along with areas along the Hudson and Hackensack Rivers. The storm took a major toll on the state and the nation watched us recover. We came together to support each other and rebuild. While it was a difficult time, the country learned we were Jersey Strong.
We’be been through quite a lot but our state has endured. We’ve celebrated victories and overcome obstacles with the world watching. New Jersey may be small in size but we sure are mighty.What other New Jersey events can you think of that made headlines?