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The oldest lighthouse in the United States, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, is located in New Jersey. The lighthouse was built in 1764 and still functions as an aid to navigation.
Salem County, located in southwestern New Jersey, has a rich history that dates back to colonial times. The area was originally inhabited by the Lenni Lenape Native American tribe before European settlers arrived in the late 17th century. In 1675, the first European settlement was established by Swedish and Finnish immigrants along the Salem River, which became known as Elsinboro.

During the American Revolutionary War, Salem County played a significant role. The county was a hotbed of patriotic sentiment, with many residents actively supporting the cause of independence. The county's strategic location along the Delaware River made it a key point for transportation and military operations. The Battle of Fort Mercer, a pivotal engagement during the war, took place in Salem County in 1777.

Throughout the 19th century, Salem County thrived due to its agricultural and maritime industries. The county became known for its thriving glass industry, with factories producing glass bottles and window panes. Salem County also had a bustling shipping industry, with the Salem River and the Delaware Bay providing access to markets in Philadelphia and beyond.

In the 20th century, Salem County experienced various economic shifts. While agriculture and industry remained important, the county also became a significant hub for energy production. Salem County is home to the Salem Nuclear Power Plant, which has been in operation since the 1970s. Additionally, the area is known for its picturesque farmland, historic architecture, and small-town charm, attracting visitors and residents alike.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Salem County, New Jersey.

  • 1675: European settlement begins in Salem County
  • 1694: Salem County officially established by West Jersey Legislature
  • 1739: Salem incorporated as a city
  • 1778: Salem attacked and plundered by British forces during the American Revolution
  • 1801: First cast iron plow invented in Alloway Township, Salem County
  • 1835: Salem Railroad Company chartered
  • 1868: Salem County Courthouse built
  • 1904: First successful glass factory established in Alloway Township
  • 1952: Construction of the Delaware Memorial Bridge connecting Salem County to Delaware begins
  • 1985: Cowtown Rodeo established, becoming the oldest weekly running rodeo in the USA
  • 2001: Salem Nuclear Power Plant begins commercial operation