Whitlock Cordage is an intact complex of industrial buildings built in the Lafayette neighborhood along the banks of the Morris Canal. The older buildings were originally constructed as part of the Passaic Zinc Works, with the later buildings constructed when the Whitlock Cordage company moved to Jersey City in 1905. Whitlock Cordage manufactured what many considered to be the world's strongest rope.
In 2003, Whitlock Cordage was an eleventh hour rescue from the wrecking ball. A federal bankruptcy judge had ordered demoliton of the property to allow for its resale. An immediate letter writing and phone call campaign by JC Landmarks and the Communipaw Avenue Block Association saved the complex from demolition.
Ultimately, the Housing Trust of America agreed to purchase the property and preserve the structures as affordable housing. HTA restored several of the complex's orginal buildings, but some concerns still exist as to the compatibility of the new construction alongside the preserved buildings.
Page Header Photo: Leon Yost 2002
Text from the historical marker in front of Whitlock Cordage in the Lafayette section of Jersey City, New Jersey:
In 1905, Whitlock Cordage, manufacturer of the world’s finest rope, purchased the Passaic/New Jersey Zinc Company on the banks of the Morris Canal.
The site’s industrial buildings were erected between 1852-1920 atop the former Vreeland Farm and an ancient Lenni Lenape burial ground.
After decades of abandonment and neglect, the cordage has been transformed into Whitlock Mills, a new residential complex in the historic Communipaw-Lafayette community.