Before the Dutch arrived in the 1600s, Bayonne was home to Lenni Lenape Indians. After Henry Hudson sailed past the future site of Bayonne, Dutch settlers named the area Bergen Neck, which was located south of Bergen or present day Jersey City. The British defeated the Dutch and claimed Bayonne; however, American and British forces clashed at Fort Delancey during the American Revolution. Once the war ended, varied forms of transportation brought people, trade and commerce to the peninsula. The Morris Canal linked Bayonne with the rest of North New Jersey in 1836 and steamboats chugged back and forth from New York City as early as 1846.
The early 20th century brought European immigrants to Bayonne's shores and Standard Oil, with more than 6,000 workers, became the city's largest employer. Bayonne was incorporated May 1, 1902. Although Bayonne was once one of the largest oil reserve centers in the world, oil refining has been replaced by container port operations and jobs in the service sector.
Modern Bayonne is an urban residential community with a small town atmosphere located practically in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. The recent addition of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail System has dramatically decreased the commute time from Bayonne to New York City. Bayonne residents find that they are within seven minutes of Manhattan and all the exciting attractions, museums, professional theaters, sports, 5th Avenue shopping and fine dining the big city has to offer.
Local area attractions include the Bayonne Community Museum, which illustrates the development of the City of Bayonne as an industrial community at the turn of the 20th century, and the Chief John T. Brennan Fire Museum.
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