Located just over the Hudson River from New York, Hoboken, New Jersey is a city known for its baseball, photography, steamboat, and engineering history. Centered around Washington Street, Hoboken is a mix of new waterfront developments and historic brownstones and buildings. Many may associate Hoboken with Frank Sinatra, though the city has a fascinating and complex history dating back to the late 18th century when the Stevens family started to acquire property there. Here is part one of Untapped New York’s guide to Hoboken, starting with the first 10 secrets. Stay tuned for part 2!
1. Sybil’s Cave dates back to 1832
Though often closed off and obscured today, Sybil’s Cave is the oldest manmade structure in Hoboken, dating back to 1832. The cave was created by the Stevens family on their property, now the site of the Stevens Institute of Technology, as a natural spring with a Gothic-style entrance. Visitors during the Victorian Era would pass by the cave during their walks along the Hudson River. A cafe sold water and refreshments near the garden area. According to one report, the water, which sold for a penny, was “slightly impregnated with magnesia.”
The majestic cave was also the site of a gruesome crime when Mary Rogers, the so-called “Beautiful Cigar Girl,” was founded murdered. The unsolved murder inspired Edgar Allan Poe‘s detective novel The Mystery of Marie Rogêt. Her fiance Daniel Payne committed suicide near the cave as well, which greatly reduced traffic to the natural spring. As such, as the surrounding area became more built up and industrial, the cave fell into disrepair, and it was destroyed in the 1930s. The cave was rediscovered in 2007, and a new gate was built on the site.