John A. Roebling's Sons Company, Trenton N.J., Block 3

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John A. Roebling's Sons Company, Trenton N.J., Block 3
John A. Roebling's Sons Company, Trenton N.J., Block 3 (5).jpg
Building 114, the Elmer Street Rope Shop North Extension (1929)
John A. Roebling's Sons Company, Trenton N.J., Block 3 is located in Mercer County, New Jersey
John A. Roebling's Sons Company, Trenton N.J., Block 3
Location Bounded by Hamilton Ave., Clark, Elmer, & E. Canal Sts., Trenton, New Jersey
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Area 7.33 acres (2.97 ha)
Built 1908-1929
Architectural style Industrial
NRHP Reference # 12000528
NJRHP # 5204[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 22, 2012
Designated NJRHP June 25, 2012

John A. Roebling's Sons Company, Trenton N.J., Block 3 is the northern portion of the former Roebling manufacturing complex in Trenton, New Jersey. The buildings date from 1908–1929 and the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 22, 2012.


John A. Roebling in 1866 or 1867

John A. Roebling, the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge, founded his steel wire manufacturing company on the site in 1849. The location, on the western side of the Chambersburg, now a neighborhood of Trenton, was chosen for its location alongside the Delaware and Raritan Canal, since buried underneath Route 129. The location also had easy access to the rail and port connections of the growing city. Under Roebling's sons the business grew, with the Trenton complex ultimately becoming Trenton's largest and most famous employer. The steel wire manufactured in block 3 was used for many famous bridges and projects, from the North Sea Mine Barrage in World War I to the Golden Gate Bridge during the Great Depression. The Roebling works made the greatest contribution to Trenton's reputation as an industrial center, memorialized in the motto "Trenton Makes, the World Takes" on the Lower Trenton Bridge. The business was sold by the Roebling's in 1953 and operations in Trenton stopped in 1974. Building 101 was used for some time to store paper goods.

Block 3 suffered a number of fires in the 1910s, some attributed to arson due to worker unrest. The current buildings on the site date to expansions in 1908, 1916–17, and 1929.[2] There were seven buildings in the block, five of which are extant:

Building Number Name Year Built Picture
101 Clark Street Rope Shop 1917 150px
102 Elmer Street Rope Shop (demolished) 1917 150px
103 Reel Spray (demolished) 1908 150px
104 Boiler House 1916 150px
105 Engine House 1917 150px
110 Carpenter Shop 1908 150px
114 Elmer Street Rope Shop North Extension 1929 John A. Roebling's Sons Company, Trenton N.J., Block 3 (5).jpg


The Roebling Machine Shop, just south of block 3 in a rehabilitated portion of the complex

The portion of the Roebling complex immediately to the south of block 3 has been rehabilitated as offices, a market, and a museum in the NRHP listed Roebling Machine Shop. Block 3 is adjacent to the Hamilton Avenue station of the River Line light rail line. It is also quite close to the Trenton Transit Center on the Northeast Corridor, the terminus of the River Line, providing easy rail access to New York City and Philadelphia. The Sun National Bank Center, a 10,500 seat arena home to concerts and sporting events, is across the street. The Trenton Ferry Historic District lies to the west. Nearby landmarks include the Italian People's Bakery and the New Jersey State Prison.

All the buildings in block 3 are currently in disuse and have experienced significant decay. The block has been the subject of many redevelopment efforts[3] and is currently slated for redevelopment as lofts, offices, commercial space, and a piazza for events. Funds have been raised to convert building 101 to the Wirerope lofts, with construction slated to begin in 2015. It is expected that the renovation of the rest of the complex, including the construction of new buildings and a parking garage, will follow.[4][5]

See also


  1. "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places — Mercer County" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection — Historic Preservation Office. January 22, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Hand, Susanne (April 17, 1997). "Roebling Machine Shop" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "ROEBLING COMPLEX REDEVELOPMENT AREA PLAN" (PDF). Department of Housing and Economic Development. City of Trenton. March 1991.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. McEvoy, James (March 12, 1015). "State awards $16M toward redevelopment of former Roebling steel mill in Trenton". The Trenton Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>