Beginning June 10, the Museum of Jersey City History will host Margo Hammond’s play “Horseshoe Empire,” which portrays the life of Jersey City’s infamous mayors Frank Hague.

The play will be performed at MJCH’s Apple Tree House, at 298 Academy St., in tandem with the museum’s upcoming exhibit, Frank Hague’s Jersey City: Yesterday and Today.

“The play is important to local residents because Frank Hague is one of the most famous figures in Jersey City history,” said Hammond, who is also director. “He helped get FDR elected, he cleaned up the city, he built a world-renowned hospital and he offered free health care. All good deeds. The question is: Did his ends justify his means? He was known to encourage violence and deception, and some people suffered when they opposed him.”

Mayor Hague grew up in the city’s gerrymandered “Horseshoe” in the late 1800s, a district containing many Irish immigrants who faced economic hardship, pollution, and discrimination. The play will focus on newly arrived immigrants’ struggles to find dignity and stability. 

Horseshoe Empire is set in 1928 and follows the story of Teddy Devlin as he aligns himself with Mayor Hague. Although proud to empower the Irish in his work, Devlin struggles to accept the mayor’s tactics. 

“The story captures a time both of hope and heartache, highlighting the tough lives and even tougher choices faced by immigrants of yesteryear and of today,” Hammond said.

Interested viewers can see the play at the following dates and times:

  • June 10 and 11 at 2 and 6 p.m.
  • June 16 at 6:30 p.m.
  • June 17 at 2 and 6 p.m.
  • June 18 at 2 p.m.

Hammond also said guests are encouraged to take the Frank Hague walking tour in the surrounding neighborhood, which includes his home, mausoleum, and other sites.

For further information or to purchase tickets, visit

Hannah just graduated college, where she majored in writing and communications. In her free time she enjoys baking, reading, and trying new coffee shops.