Uncovering the History of South Amboy, NJ

The personal injury attorneys in South Amboy, NJ, at Garden State Justice Group offer this brief look into the area's history. 

South Amboy

The city of South Amboy, New Jersey, is located on the Raritan Bay, just 22 minutes away from New Brunswick. The town takes up 1,715.2 acres, but 42.76% is water.


The Lenape Native American Tribe was the first settlers in the area and gave it the name Ompoge, meaning level ground. In 1684, European settlers came into the area and renamed it New Perth after an associate of a Scottish proprietary company, James Drummond, Earl of Perth. Perth was partners with William Penn, a fellow settler and owner of much of the land in the region.

Later a combination of the Lenape and colonial names would result in the name Point Amboy. Ambo was derived from the Algonquian language. South Amboy would become a city on July 21, 1908, after being a borough for ten years.

Ammunition Explosions

South Amboy's location would cause it to become an extensive transportation hub. The ease of exporting brought the ammunition plants, the Gillespie Shell Loading Plant, and the Healing Lighterage Company. Both explosions were fatal and caused injury to many in the area, along with property damage.

During World War I in 1918, an accidental explosion caused a fire, leading to more explosions that lasted three days. One hundred lives were lost and many injured. The ammunition plant was the largest and was destroyed in addition to 300 neighboring buildings. Even one hundred years later, debris is still found near the site.

The second explosion to rock the area was the Healing Lighterage Company, or James Healing Company, explosion in 1950. Several train cars and barges transporting munitions detonated and killed 36 of the firm's workers. Over 350 people in the area were injured as a result of the explosions.


The population of South Amboy in 2010 was 8,631. This includes 3,372 households, of which 2,256 are families. The racial makeup of the area was the following:

  • 86.42% white
  • 4.43% African American
  • 13.42% Hispanic or Latino
  • 0.10% Native American
  • 1.03% Asian
  • 0.00% Pacific Islander
  • 2.99% other races
  • 2.03% two or more races

The neighborhood is upper to middle-class, and the average income per household is $61,566. Most resident work in sales or service positions, and the occupational breakdown is the following:

  • 29.2% sales or service
  • 26.6% executive or management
  • 23.6% assistant or tech support
  • 20.6% manufacturing or labor

Schools in the area include the following:

  • South Amboy Elementary School
  • South Amboy Middle High School
  • Sacred Heart School
  • Acelero Learning

Continue Reading: Get to Know Perth Amboy, NJ

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If you have been wrongly injured, you may be entitled to compensation. The South Amboy, NJ, personal injury lawyers at Garden State Justice Group have years of experience that they put to work to get you the compensation you deserve. Call today for a no-cost consultation.

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279 New Brunswick Ave 2nd Fl
Fords, NJ 08863
(732) 695-4369

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Date Published: April 15, 2021
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This website is by DiLeonardo Law LLC d/b/a Garden State Justice Group. We have offices throughout the state of New Jersey with attorneys licensed to practice law in New Jersey. Use of this site does not form an attorney-client relationship and information herein shall not be construed as legal advice. This website is to be considered as ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Past settlement and verdict values are no guarantee of similar future outcomes. This firm may retain local counsel for prosecuting cases. Results may vary from case to case depending on the specific circumstances of the case. This website has not been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
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