Originally, Elizabeth Town, Elizabeth, New Jersey, was named for the wife of the proprietor of the English Colony in 1664, Sir George Cartaret. Elizabeth was the first capital of New Jersey. A sub-station of the Elizabeth post office was located in Stone's Store - the first store in the world lighted by electricity, wired by Thomas A. Edison in the mid-1890s. This is not unusual for Elizabeth. It is a city of firsts. From the first English speaking colony to the first English speaking school, the first ice cream soda, the first anatomy lessons in medicine, the Singer sewing machine, the first submarine, and the first assembly line automobile producer in the state.
Elizabethtown developed along the Elizabeth River and was the port of entry and the first seat of New Jersey government.
Located directly across the narrow Kill from Staten Island, Elizabeth's historic buildings have become a magnet for architecture students. Examples abound, from pre-Revolutionary farmhouses and small city dwellings, 18th century Georgian, to one of the finest specimen of 14th century Gothic style (St. John's Episcopal Church) and some Romanesque Revival and Beaux Artes structures (Elizabeth Public Library) and one of the first skyscrapers (14 stories).
With a population topping 105,000 in the 2000 Census, Elizabeth has been recognized as a leader in urban enterprise and redevelopment including winning the coveted NASDA award for Urban Enterprise in 1998.