Trenton has been a seat of county and municipal government since colonial times, although the impact of government on the landscape of the city was relatively limited until the early 20th century. Prior to 1900, most government business was conducted in three buildings - municipal business was performed in the old city hall on North Broad Street; county business was carried out at successive Hunterdon and Mercer County Courthouses; and remarkably, almost all the offices of state government were confined within the walls of the New Jersey State House. Expansion of local government required the building of both a larger city hall and Mercer County Courthouse in the first decade of the 20th century. Growth in the state government bureaucracy led to repeated enlargement of the New Jersey State House, the construction of the State Office Building on West Hanover Street in 1921 and the building of the State House Annex on West State Street in 1929.
The most explosive period of state government expansion began in 1959 with the initiation of the State Capitol Development Program, which called for the acquisition of lands for the purpose of constructing additional government buildings around the State House. This led to the erection of separate buildings for the Departments of Education (1963), Labor (1963), Agriculture (1965), Health (1965), as well as the New Jersey Cultural Center, comprising the State Library, the State Museum and an auditorium (1965). The pace of construction slowed during the 1970s when the principal state buildings erected were those occupied by the Department of Personnel/Civil Service (the Labor and Industry Building, 1971) and the Department of Law and Public Safety (1977).
Further expansion of state government infrastructure occurred in downtown Trenton in the 1980s. The Hughes Justice Complex was completed in 1982 and the Department of Environmental Protection Main Office Building was erected in 1986. The Department of Community Affairs Office Building on South Warren Street followed in 1987, along with the Department of Treasury Building on West State Street in 1988. The Department of Motor Vehicles Building on Stockton Street was one of the final structures to be erected during the building boom. Today both the landscape of Trenton and its economy are dominated by the business of government.
Links to learn more - New Jersey State House, Trenton