In 1666, puritans from the New Haven and Connecticut colonies, led by Robert Treat, founded the third settlement in New Jersey that would later become what is currently known as Newark. The New Haven and Connecticut colonies had forged an alliance, thus leaving Treat without a church. Robert Treat and the puritans sought to establish a colony with strict church rules similar to the ones that were established in Milford, Connecticut. Robert Treat originally wanted to name the colony “Milford,” however another settler with him, Abraham Pierson, said “ The community reflecting the new task at hand should be named ‘New ark’ or ‘New work.’” Shortly after, the name was shortened to Newark.
Robert Treat and the Newark settlers traded with the Hackensack Indians. Items such as gunpowder, lead, axes, guns, pistols, swords, kettle, blankets, knives and beer was traded. The church had control over the population for sixty seven years. It ended when Josiah Ogden harvested wheat on a Sunday following a lengthy rainstorm and was disciplined by the church for Sabbath breaking. Ogden left the church and corresponded with episcopalian missionaries, who arrived to build a church in 1746 and broke up the puritan theocracy.
The population in Newark did not accumulate until the early nineteenth century, which much of it was due to a Massachusetts transplant named Seth Boyden. When Boyden came to Newark in 1815, he immediately began improving manufacturing, culminating in the process for making patent leather. Boyden’s help led to an increase in manufacturing by 90% in the year 1870, resulting in a $8.6 million dollar revenue being brought into the city. Newark also prospered from the construction of the Morris Canal in 1831. The canal connected Newark with the New Hinterland which at the time was an Iron producing farm.
The Downtown area of Newark is known as the central business center. Downtown Newark is the site of the original puritan settlement of Newark. Downtown Newark is the home to the city’s major cultural venues such as the NJPAC, Newark Symphony Hall, the Prudential Center, the Newark Museum, Military Park and New Jersey Historical Society. Much of the city retail and commercial developments are centered on Board Street (the city’s widest north/ south boulevard, which once carried street cars headed for Elizabeth and points south) and Market Street. Both Broad Street and Market Street are a bustle of activity crowded with numerous shops and many street vendors. Everyday alone, the downtown area has thousands of people pass through it’s streets whether to commute to work, take public transportation or to just enjoy all that the downtown area has to offer.