Elizabeth, a city and the capital of Union co., New Jersey, on Newark bay and Staten Island sound, 11 m. W. S. W. of New York; pop. in 1850, 5,583; in 1860, 11,567; in 1870, 20,832, of whom 6,752 were foreigners. It is situated on elevated ground on both sides of the Elizabeth river, a small stream emptying into the sound. It is regularly laid out, with broad streets shaded with trees, and contains several small parks and numerous handsome residences. Many retired merchants and persons doing business in New York reside here, and it has long been noted for its wealth, its good schools, and its refined society. Elizabethport, the portion bordering on the bay and sound, can be reached by vessels of 300 tons. It is the seat of nearly all the manufactories, and annually ships large quantities of coal and iron, brought by rail from the Pennsylvania mines. The railroads passing through the city are the New Jersey, the Central of New Jersey, the Newark and Elizabeth, and the Perth Amboy and Elizabethport. It is nearly connected by horse car with Newark, 5 m. distant, and a line of steamboats plies between New York and Elizabethport. The principal manufactories are 2 of cordage, 1 of edge tools, 1 of gas machinery, 1 of carriages and spokes, 1 of boots and shoes, 2 of zinc, 1 of combs, 1 of lampblack, 1 of saws, 1 of stoves, 1 of straw hats, 1 of trunks, 2 potteries (vitrified stone drain pipe), 5 breweries, 3 planing and moulding mills, and several large iron founderies.
The largest establishment is the factory of the Singer sewing machine company, one of the most extensive in the world, recently erected in Elizabethport. There are 2 national banks, with an aggregate capital of $600,000, 3 saving banks, 1 life insurance and 3 tire insurance companies. The city is divided into eight wards, and is governed by a mayor and a common council, consisting of two members from each ward. The police force consists of a chief and 40 patrolmen. There is a volunteer fire department, and a fire alarm telegraph is in operation. The water works, owned by a private company, supply the greater portion of the city from the upper part of Elizabeth river. The city is lighted with gas, and has 24 m. of streets paved, in about equal proportions, with wooden and stone pavement, and about 27 m. of sewers. The assessed value of property (about one third of the true value) in 1873 was $15,563,-625; total taxation, $408,994 32, of which $268,000 were for city purposes. The debt amounted to $600,000, besides which there were outstanding $3,000,000 improvement bonds, for which the treasury is to be reimbursed by assessments on the property improved.
The principal public buildings and institutions are the court house and county jail, the city hall, 4 public school houses, 6 hotels, the city almshouse, the orphan asylum, and the old ladies' home. The public schools (2 high, 4 grammar, and 5 primary) are under the charge of a board of 16 commissioners, and have an average attendance of about 2,500 pupils. The amount appropriated for school purposes in 1873 was $32,000. There are a business college, a collegiate school for young men, and five other private schools. The periodicals are three daily, one semi-weekly (German), three weekly, and one monthly. There are 24 churches, viz.: 3 Baptist, 1 Congregational, 4 Episcopal, 1 German Lutheran, 1 German Moravian, 5 Methodist (1 German), 5 Presbyterian, and 4 Roman Catholic, besides a nunnery. - Elizabeth, formerly called Elizabethtown, was settled in 1665, and was the colonial capital from Feb. 24, 1755, to Sept. 13, 1757. A city charter was granted in 1865.