Building it

Choices and Consequences

Turnpike Construction Divides a City
Elizabeth, New Jersey


[see large picture]

Postcard, "New Jersey Turnpike winding its way through Elizabeth," 1950s
Coronet Greeting Card Co., Elizabeth, New Jersey
Collections of The New Jersey Historical Society

"Progress" has its consequences. If you look at this postcard, it's easy to see what happened to Elizabeth: the Turnpike Authority won out, and the road cut a wide swath through a residential area of the city. What you don't see are the individual lives that were affected by the move. Chances are, the people who were displaced from their homes did not see the Turnpike as "progress." Witness this account from the January 29, 1950, issue of the Newark Evening News: "Mrs. Margaret Rehberger, a widow with eight children, who owns a seven-room frame house at 141 Fourth Street, is philosophical like others in the road's path. She remembers hearing as a child the story of a family friend who lost her home when the Brooklyn Bridge was built. 'Now we're the ones swept away with the tide,' she said."