From Glassmaking to U.S. Presidents: How Glassboro Has Made the History Book

Being a resident of New Jersey, I’ve always known Glassboro to be the home of Rowan University. It wasn’t until I became a Rowan student that I started to explore the area and learn what history lies within the town and surrounding area. So how did this famous Southern New Jersey town get started? In fact it wasn’t with education, but with manufacturing.


Map of Glassboro courtesy of Wikipedia

The town was originally developed as a town made for glassmaking according to the town’s official website The town, originally known as “Glassworks in the Woods,” was founded in 1779 by Solomon Stanger. Glassmaking was one of the premier industries in Southern New Jersey according to The New York Times. The first factory in the area was started in Alloway, N.J. in 1739 by German immigrants, and the industry eventually spread to surrounding areas.


In 1923, Glassboro became home to the “Glassboro Normal School.” The institution was

Bunce Hall.jpg
The original Glassboro Normal School, now Bunce Hall at Rowan University. Photo by Jason Howie.

established for educate students interested in teaching according an information page on Rowan University’s website. The school saw success and grew into a four-year institution, eventually becoming Glassboro State College and now Rowan University.



Besides being home to a university, Glassboro is  home to political events such as President Reagan’s appearance at the 1986 Glassboro High School Graduation, and the Glassboro Summit that featured President Johnson and Alexi Kosygin of the Soviet Union.

Many residents of South Jersey may consider Glassboro to just be a town filled with college students, but may not know the history that can be uncovered with a short trip around town.







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