Most New Jersey towns created before 1800 were unplanned with irregular street patterns. Usually situated on major roads or waterways, these villages grew in a random manner. Belvidere, the first county seat erected in New Jersey on a new site after 1800, was laid out in a clear rectangular fashion with a central public square which faced the courthouse.
Plotted as early as 1799, the land for the square and the public buildings was donated in 1825 by entrepreneur Garret Dorset Wall of Trenton. Dwellings on the perimeter of the Belvidere Historic District are basically vernacular structures dating from 1875-1900. The name Belvidere itself is reminiscent of classical revivalism which was quite popular in the early 19th century. Actually, the term Belvidere is of Italian derivation and translates into “place having a beautiful view.” This was probably the literal meaning for Warren County’s seat of government, which was described in the late 18th century as having a spectacular view, all the way to Philadelphia on a clear day.
Belvidere, New Jersey Historical Timeline
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