Folk life Specialist for the American Folk life Center, Library of Congress
Water has shaped New Jersey as much as it is possible to shape a state without creating an island or a peninsula. Whether salty, brackish, or fresh, water is everywhere in evidence- molding the state's contours and toponymy, its technology and character. It appears under many guises, as bogs, rivers, swamps, marshes, bays, inlets, cripples, spongs, puddles, spillways, and watersheds. The names for some of these are the sole reminders of the American Indians who first attended to them, names like Metedeconk, Manasquan, Hopatcong, Raritan, and Kittattiny. Other names for water places - Bivalve, Camden, Port Republic, Barnegat Light, Keansburg, Atlantic City, Sandy Hook, Tuckerton, Asbury Park, Whitesbog - reflect more recent waves of settlement and events - the oyster industry, shipbuilding companies, the Coast Guard, Captain Kidd, tourism, legalized gambling, World War I, prohibition and rumrunning, Bruce Springsteen, and the nation's first cultivated blueberries.