Brimming with a rich history and local flavor that has gone largely undocumented for more than three hundred years, Belleville began as a small Dutch settlement in the 1670s and has grown into a busy suburb of 32,000 people, located only fifteen miles west of New York City. Situated on the west bank of the Passaic River, early Belleville was a center for early industry and water transportation and is noted as the birthplace of America's industrial revolution. From the legendary secret tunnels running beneath the Dutch Reformed Church to the beauty of Belleville Park, which sits beside one of the largest annual cherry blossom tree displays in the nation, Belleville tells the story of an often forgotten but noteworthy era in the turbulent development of early America. Belleville shows the appeal the bustling town held for many of the nation's most influential figures, including inventor Thomas Edison and famed architect Charles Granville Jones. The town was also a notable stop on Gen. George Washington's retreat from New York City to Philadelphia during the early days of the Revolutionary War. With nearly two hundred vintage photographs, Belleville offers rare insight into the town's explosive growth, drawing largely from the archives of the Belleville Public Library and the collections of local individuals and organizations.