The meanings of some New Jersey town names are quite obvious. Ocean City, for example, is so named for its location along the Atlantic Ocean. Other town names have more complex origins. Some were named for local heroes or businesses, while others reflect unique landmarks. The following are some of my favorite local neighborhood name stories, be sure to add yours in the comments!
According to the town's website, Ho-Ho-Kus got its name from the Delaware Indian term "Mah-Ho-Ho-Kus", meaning "the red cedar." Though it may have been HoHoKus, this town has two hyphens simply to make it more unique. Residents voted on the punctuation and are proud to be one-of-a-kind!
One of the tiniest towns in New Jersey, Teterboro was named after Walter C. Teter, a New York investment banker. Once named Bendix Township, neighboring towns have tried to have Teterboro dissolved so that they might split its assets - numerous factories and a popular airport.
3. Glen Rock
Glen Rock was named for a 570-ton boulder, believed to have been deposited by a glacier. Residents are well aware, but many New Jerseyans are not. The boulder still sits in the center of town.
4. Cape May Court House
It may not come as a surprise that Cape May Court House is home to the Cape May County Court House, though you may be interested to learn that it was named after Dutch explorer, Captain Mey and is one of only a handful of four word census designated places in the United States.
Shamong got its name from a combination of Native American words, oschummo ("horn") and onk ("place"). Once inhabited by Lenape Indians, the town has also been known as Indian Mills.
The county seat of Bergen County, the name "Hackensack" was derived from the Achkinheshcky Indian Tribe. The word means "mouth of a river."
7. Egg Harbor Township
8. Neptune City/Neptune Township
These adjoining towns in Monmouth County were named after the Roman Water God, Neptune and their proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.
The township is named after Tewkesbury, England, and the two established a sister city relationship in 2003.
The name "Salem", in both the city and county, is derived from the Hebrew word shalom, meaning "peace".
This town was named after Josiah Hardy, who was royal governor of New Jersey from 1761–1763. The original British spelling of Hardiston was Americanized to Hardyston after the American Revolutionary War.
12. Cherry HIll
Though the town has been around since the 1700's, it didn't officially get its current name until 1961. Cherry Hill was a 19th-century farm on Kaighn Avenue / Route 38, owned by Abraham Browning. Several local businesses adopted the name, but the town was Delaware, until a mailing issue forced the borough to be renamed.
Roebling, site of the Roebling Steel Mill, was founded by Charles Roebling, son of John A. Roebling. John A. Roebling & Sons company built and provided the steel for the Brooklyn Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, among others. The town is also home to the famous Roebling Engineering and Design Museum.
The borough's name derives from a Native American term meaning "high ground", though it may have been named for Nella, the wife of Lucious Parker, who developed Hi-Nella Estates in the late 1920's.
Once inhabited by the Lenni Lenape Tribe, John and David Brainerd came to the area in 1778 and built a church to convert the local Native Americans to Christianity. The church was called Tabernacle in the Wilderness. While the church is long gone, the name remains.
What other towns do you know of with interesting histories and names? Are there any towns you would like to know the meaning of? Let me know in the comments.