Built circa1760 by unknown architects and builders, Ogden-Conrad Homestead was originally the home of New Jersey Governor and United States Senator Aaron Ogden (1756-1839).
In the mid-20th century the property became the home of Theodore Conrad (1910-1994), a renowned architect, architectural model maker and city preservationist who inspired a generation of young architects and activists.
From his Ogden Avenue estate, Conrad, who was born, raised and passed away in the Heights, crafted hand-tooled models of major buildings by world-famous architects, including Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier and Lever House by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
In the early-1950s, Conrad’s model-making workshop studio, located inside an industrial annex attached to his house, was at the height of production. Only a handful of the most talented apprentices worked there.
Around 2016 the house and yards were altered and/or demolished.
This large Queen Anne mansion is among the most recognizable buildings in Jersey City. It was designed in 1907 by the German architects Herman and William Nuemann for sugar refining magnate Joseph H. Rudiger and his family. It still stands today, carefully restored by Jersey City’s Hope Susan Baratt.
Reservoir Number 3
- Erected 1871-1880, Reservoir No. 3 was one of three water supply stations planned for Hudson City (Jersey City Heights).Enclosed by enormous Egyptian-inspired walls, the Summit Avenue waterworks once pumped purified Passaic River water to surrounding municipalities and nearby Ellis Island.Long abandoned, Reservoir No. 3 has emerged as a nature and wildlife sanctuary and offers a peaceful 13-acre inner-city refuge from congestion, noise and pollution.
Built in 1874 when Jersey City’s German immigrant population was growing exponentially, Pohlmann’s Hall was a community center of sorts for the newcomers. As an athletic club, hotel, meeting room, event space, and theater all in one, it saw a great deal of use in the late 19th century. At the advent of moving pictures, it became an early film space. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, so designated for its significance to the community.
50 Reservoir Avenue
The 5-story building is “Tudor Gothic,” a rare derivative of the High Gothic Revival prevalent in the late 1920s, when it was built. It was the first apartment building in the Heights with an elevator. The building, located at 50 Reservoir Avenue, is still residential and retains its fine exterior brick and terra cotta materials. It was designed by Hugh Kelly, an architect responsible for designing some of Jersey City’s most important buildings, including the New Jersey National Guard Armory on Montgomery Street, the L. Schiavone & Bonomo Bros. administration building on Aetna Street, and the Goodman Furniture Warehouse on Bergen Avenue. During the 1950s and 1960s, Kelly became renowned as a pioneering planner and designer of expansive towers-in-the-sky housing projects in New York City.
Second Reformed Church of Hudson City
The Second Reformed Church of Hudson City was built from 1909-1910, and designed by Alfred Frederick Leicht, a young German immigrant architect who began his career in Jersey City, and later relocated to Los Angeles. The stained glass windows are by Henry Birckenstock Studios from Mt. Vernon, New York.
William Geiger, Jeweler
German immigrant William Geiger was a popular jeweler in the Heights during the early twentieth century. The Central Avenue storefront, which still features the Geiger name in 1920s-era architectural stained glass, was utilized until 2017 as a jewelry and watch store. Vacant, the space’s future use and preservation are unknown.
Pershing Field Park
Pershing Field Park dates to the turn of the 20th century. The space was originally envisioned as a reservoir, but the city eventually decided to use it as a park. It was laid out by Charles Lowrie, a prominent New York landscape architect, who planned two other parks in Jersey City.
The park is now home to the Pershing Field Memorial Arch, which was originally part of the Fourth Regiment Armory building, erected between 1893-1895, at Bergen Avenue between Montgomery and Mercer streets. The armory building burned in 1927, and its remains were slowly relocated relocated and rebuilt at this location, Pershing Field Memorial Park, Summit Avenue, with an entrance at Carlton Avenue. It was dedicated in 1941.
For the 1941 dedication of the newly-restored arch in Pershing Field Memorial Park, a 3-stanza poem composed by Thomas J. Lillis was published in The Jersey Journal, reminding readers that, in 1934, as the torched armory edifice was being dismantled, Lillis, an engineer in the county engineer’s office, was compelled to write the verse, which “inaugurated the movement to save the arch and created considerable interest in the endeavor.” Due to Lillis’s efforts, the arch was pulled from the rubble, marked stone by marked stone, stored and rebuilt at the park in 1941.
Mayor Thomas J. Whelan House
Thomas J. Whelan (1922-2002) was mayor of Jersey City from 1963 until 1971. A pioneer in initiating development in Jersey City, he was forced in 1971 to resign his seat at the conclusion of the infamous “Hudson Eight” extortion and conspiracy trial, having been found guilty with government associates of corruption. He served seven years in federal prison before being released and relocating to Florida. His Graham Street house still stands, largely intact, in the Western Slope section of The Heights.
Honorable Tech. Sgt. John W. Meagher House
Tech Sgt. John Meagher (1917-1996), U.S. Army, Company E, 305th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division, once lived at this house. He was the first Heights resident to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor in recognition of his Saving Private Ryan-worthy actions near Ozato, Okinawa, Japan on June 19, 1945 in the face of unrelenting enemy fire. On June 14, 1946, at the invitation of President Harry S. Truman, Sgt. Meagher, a graduate of Dickinson High School, appeared in Washington, D.C. for the medal ceremony with his wife Ann and other family members.
Meagher’s 1946 citation reads, in full: “He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. In the heat of the fight, he mounted an assault tank, and, with bullets splattering about him, designated targets to the gunner. Seeing an enemy soldier carrying an explosive charge dash for the tank treads, he shouted fire orders to the gunner, leaped from the tank, and bayoneted the charging soldier. Knocked unconscious and his rifle destroyed, he regained consciousness, secured a machine gun from the tank, and began a furious 1-man assault on the enemy. Firing from his hip, moving through vicious crossfire that ripped through his clothing, he charged the nearest pillbox, killing 6. Going on amid the hail of bullets and grenades, he dashed for a second enemy gun, running out of ammunition just as he reached the position. He grasped his empty gun by the barrel and in a violent onslaught killed the crew. By his fearless assaults T/Sgt. Meagher single-handedly broke the enemy resistance, enabling his platoon to take its objective and continue the advance.” – The U.S. Army Center of Military History
Christ Hospital Nurses’ Home
Christ Hospital Nurses’ Home was built in 1927-1928 and was designed by Jersey City architect John T. Rowland.
White Manna restaurant
White Mana, a futuristic fast food restaurant conceived in 1935 and first revealed at the 1939 World’s Fair, opened in The Heights on June 2, 1946.
The pioneering pod-like structure features geometric floor tiles, porthole window bands, and chrome barstools encircling a stainless steel drum counter.
Framed archival images and news articles related to the famous structure are displayed on interior walls, and White Mana memorabilia is sold at the counter.
White Mana was declared a municipal landmark by the City of Jersey City in 1997. Today the cylindrical dining capsule, owned and operated by Mario Costa, continues to draw crowds in search of affordable eats amid vintage Great Depression-era design.
Charles F. Staples Mansion
Charles F. Staples (1832-1908) was a prominent businessman who lived with his wife and children on Reservoir Avenue in a stupendous house that was, at the time, the most architecturally eclectic edifice in The Heights, with exaggerated scaling and structural proportions; a mammoth mansard roof, a stylistic element imported from France; an imposing central tower; a deep front garden outlined by great trees and a carriage round; a wide porch summited by a pediment shield engraved with the Staples crest and coat-of-arms; imported encaustic tiles, the kind seen only on Gothic Revival church floors of the period; and a mouth-dropping hallway staircase fit for a coastal mansion.
Staples operated a “refuse” factory on nearby Lienau Place, a concern that, despite providing employment to locals, often drew complaints from neighbors; resulted in constant and considerable fines and lawsuits; and found its way into front-page newspaper accounts.
Staples owned a considerable amount of real estate in The Heights, which added to his great wealth. Staples’s wife, Celestine M. Plum, helped to establish and build Waverly Congregational Church on Booraem Avenue.
The Staples Mansion retains its original architectural features and is now divided into spacious condominium units – a development that saved the structure from being demolished in the early-2000s.
August W. Hutaf House
August W. Hutaf (1879-1942) was a renowned commercial artist and advertising executive during the early twentieth century, specializing in newspaper comic strips, picture postcards, theatre programs, and book illustrations. He was also highly accomplished in oil painting, mission pottery, and cartography.
Born in Hoboken, Hutaf moved to 213 Hancock Avenue in the Heights in 1899 where he spent his formative years as an artist. An Evening Journal article in 1904 states that Hutaf “has won for himself a host of friends, who wish him all good luck on his way to fame and fortune.”
During World War I, Hutaf became one of the country’s leading war poster illustrators and was part of a contingent of specialized artists known as “poster men.”
107 Bower Street
Like many other Arion Halls constructed across the country in the 1890s in German immigrant neighborhoods, this one in the Heights was built primarily to house the local Arion society, a singing group of traditional German repertoire. The name Arion comes from a Greek poet and lyre player in the 7th century. In addition to the choral group, the building became a kind of community center for the German population in the Heights through the early 20th century. Arion societies accross the US waned in popularity at the start of World War I, with the spate of anti-German sentiment.
Grace Lutheran Church
The chapel-like building, which dates to the late 1890s, was renovated in 1924, and is now closed and boarded up after over 100 years of service to the Heights community. Dodge & Morrison of New York were the architects. All the stained glass windows in the small nave were designed by Katherine Lamb Tate, who was the last Lamb family craftsman at the famed J. & R. Lamb Studios.
Public School No. 28
Designed by John T. Rowland Jr., No. 28 School is named after teacher and astronaut Christa McAuliffe (1948-1986).
St. John’s G. M. E. Church
St. John’s German Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in 1866 by Erie Railroad laborers working on the nearby Bergen Tunnel project. First located at the corner of Central and Hopkins avenues (now the site of Public School No. 6), the congregation moved across from Leonard Gordon Park on Hudson Boulevard (now JFK Blvd.) between Manhattan Avenue and Sherman Place, laying the cornerstone for the current edifice in 1907. As of October 2017 the church property has been listed online as for sale.
Trinity United Methodist Church
Trinity United Methodist Church was designed and erected 1967-1969. It was designed by Ann Willis (1935-2009) of Jersey City, who studied under Edgar Tafel (1912-2011), a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright. It is a superb example of 1960s-era Brutalism, an important motive of mid-century architecture increasingly under threat. Trinity is a serene, sculptural work of formworked concrete, with an imposing exterior wall and single sloping gable.
Washington Village was a-city-within-a-city, a Heights-based real estate development business venture initiated in 1853 by the Washington Village Land Association. The name Washington Village was an attempt to romanticize the development and attract builders and buyers. The venture, like many land development ventures occurring in the area (such as Lafayette in Communipaw), was short-lived, but many of the historic housing stock observable in The Heights still exists, albeit under aluminum siding.
St. Trinitatis Evangelical Lutheran Church
Built in 1891-1892, St. Trinitatis Lutheran Church primarily served the large German immigrant population in the Heights.
Built ca. 1872, the Mount Mansion is a stunning Victorian-era vernacular edifice that stands out on Sherman Place for its intact 19th-century architectural beauty and bucolic landscaping. Occupied by the Mount family since 1929, the house – flanked in abundance by old growth trees, wrought-iron fencing, stone paths and a 100-foot-long yard with ponds and sculptures – features interior stained glass windows, high ceilings, ornate crown moldings, mammoth pocket doors, deep parlors, and a central staircase that leads to the shadowy upper floors and cavernous attic space once used by Pauline Ward Mount.
The house’s greatest architectural element, however, is not even part of the main house proper. From the Sherman Place sidewalk viewers are able to see a completely restored and adaptively reused rear carriage house that is virtually, without exaggeration, the size of a one-family.
Pauline Ward Mount (1898-1990) was an accomplished painter, sculptor, teacher, art collector, and advocate for women’s rights. Born in Upstate New York and raised in Flushing, Queens, she moved to Jersey City in 1920 after marrying World War I lieutenant and medical officer Dr. Elmer Marshall Mount. During the 1930s she studied painting in the studio of Albert P. Lucas (1861-1945), a Jersey City native and nationally renowned painter; starting in the early 1940s she taught art courses at State Teachers College (now New Jersey City University) and also offered private art lessons to locals from her Sherman Place attic. According to her son, Dr. Marshall Mount, who continues to reside in the stately mansion with his wife Caroline Katz-Mount, Pauline Ward Mount was a popular teacher who is still remembered today by former students. “My mother was the most generous of teachers,” Dr. Mount said in a recent interview, “who shared everything she knew, combined praise with gentle criticism, and helped creativity along with a glass of champagne.”
Ogden Avenue Bridge
Designed in 1905 by civil engineer Thomas H. McCann, and built by Hudson County, the Ogden Avenue Bridge connects Riverview Park to the Heights neighborhood. Below is a scan of the original plans for the bridge, drawn by McCann.
Built in the 1890s, these steps connect Jersey City Heights with Paterson Plank Road, near a Hoboken light rail station.connect . The original steps slowly fell into disrepair, creating a dangerous environment, and were torn down in 1993. They were reconstructed for about $1 million in 2013.
Franklin National Bank Building
In the mid-20th century, Central Avenue, from Leonard Street to Fleet Street was the main commercial corridor in the Heights. These ads from the Jersey Journal shows some of the vast commercial selection available on the avenue at the time.
- Ogden-Conrad Homestead
- St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church
- Rudiger Mansion
- Reservoir Number 3
- Pohlmann’s Hall
- 50 Reservoir Avenue
- Second Reformed Church of Hudson City
- William Geiger, Jeweler
- Pershing Field Park
- Mayor Thomas J. Whelan House
- Honorable Tech. Sgt. John W. Meagher House
- Christ Hospital Nurses’ Home
- White Manna restaurant
- Charles F. Staples Mansion
- August W. Hutaf House
- 107 Bower Street
- Liederkranz Hall
- Arion Hall
- Grace Lutheran Church
- Public School No. 28
- St. John’s G. M. E. Church
- Trinity United Methodist Church
- Washington Village
- St. Trinitatis Evangelical Lutheran Church
- Mount Mansion
- Ogden Avenue Bridge
- 100 Steps
- Franklin National Bank Building
- Central Avenue