New Jersey Historic Preservation Office
Identify: Identification of historic properties… Protect: Protection of historic properties… Preserve: Tools for historic preservation… Sustain: Education, outreach, and technical assistance…


This monthly feature highlights recent and fascinating National Register listings and eligible properties,
tax act projects, compliance review success
stories, as well as outstanding local efforts in
New Jersey’s historic preservation.

Gethsemane Cemetery
A Window into 19th-Century Life

Little Ferry, New Jersey

Gethsemane Cemetery Gate
Credit: Janet Strom

Gethsemane Cemetery was an African American cemetery and Hackensack’s potter’s field established in 1860. This small, one-acre parcel in sandy soil was southeast of town, adjacent to the Hackensack River. (It is located in present-day Little Ferry, which was part of Hackensack at that time.)

Gethsemane was a family cemetery for the African Americans. The families buried at Gethsemane were a stable group of hardworking men and women, and all too often, their young children. The men were typically laborers; the women, domestics. Causes of adult deaths are listed from diseases such as tuberculosis and heart attacks.

Gethsemane Cemetery is significant for several reasons, including its major role in the enactment of New Jersey’s early civil rights legislation outlawing burial segregation.

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People, Programs & Resources for
New Jersey's Heritage...

New Jersey's Historic Preservation Office, located within the Department of Environmental Protection, brings expertise in a variety of fields essential to preserving historic resources.

We count among our staff historians, researchers, planners, architectural historians, architects, engineers, & archaeologists. We respond to more than 40,000 calls yearly from people working to preserve, protect and promote New Jersey's historic resources.

Whether you are interested in establishing a local historic district, nominating a building to the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, or interested in restoring your house, you can find information and guidance by following the links on this page.

News & Highlights:

Meetings & Events:

General Information:


501 East State Street
Station Plaza Building 5, 4th Floor
Trenton, NJ

Mailing Address:

Mail Code 501-04B
State of New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection
Historic Preservation Office
PO Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625-0420

TEL: (609) 984-0176
FAX: (609) 984-0578

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Photo Credits:
IDENTIFY - "White Manna Diner" courtesy Leon Yost;
PROTECT - "Trenton War Memorial Flagpole" courtesy Vitetta Group;
PRESERVE - "State House Annex" courtesy NJ Division of Building and Construction;
SUSTAIN - "Operation Archaeology" courtesy Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs.

This publication has been financed in part with federal funds from the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and administered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Historic Preservation Office. The contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of the Interior. This program receives federal financial assistance for the identification and protection of historic properties. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, or handicap in its federally assisted programs.If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to: Office of Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C Street, NW (NC200), Washington D.C. 20240.