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You Won’t Want to Miss These Historical Sites in Morris County, NJ

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Retirees with a passion for history will get a kick out of exploring Morris County, NJ. Along with miles of hiking trails, stunning scenery, and world-class dining options, the county is also home to many historical landmarks.

The site of soldier encampments in the winter months, it became known as the military capital of the American Revolution. Whether you’re a passionate war buff or just someone who wants to learn more about American history, you’ll find plenty of intriguing places here.

Wondering where to start? Check out these must-see historic sites in Morris County.

Morristown National Historical Park

This is the can’t-miss destination for all history fans. You’ll find it at 30 Washington Place in Morristown.

The Morristown National Historical Park is home to four key sites from the Revolutionary War. However, the park is quite spread out and has sites located in different areas, of which only three are in Morris County.

Fort Nonsense

Nestled in the hills above Morristown, you’ll find Fort Nonsense, an important observation post during the Revolutionary War. The fort was supposedly created as a place for soldiers in Morristown to retreat to in case of an attack by the British. That attack never occurred.

Legend has it that Washington may have ordered the construction of the fort for the simple purpose of keeping the troops busy. The men took down trees, did earthwork on the hill, and built a guardhouse designed to hold 30 soldiers.

You are free to explore the park’s trails, which weave through earthworks, fortified embankments, and other features created during the war. No guide is necessary, but visitors should avoid wandering onto the private properties that surround the site. Along with a look back at history, the park also offers excellent views of the New York City skyline.

Jockey Hollow

This historical site, also known as Wick House, was home to the army during the Revolutionary War. The location and elevation of the area made it ideal for detecting the movement of British soldiers.

The Continental Army used it as a winter encampment from December 1779 to June 1780. This was the coldest winter on record at the time. Conditions were brutal, resulting in cases of mutiny and desertion.

At the site, you’ll find replica huts like those the soldiers stayed in during that rough winter. There’s also a visitor center where you can learn more about the history of the area. Hours of operation, tours, and special events vary by season. Be sure to contact the park for more information before you visit.

Ford Mansion

This mansion, located in Morristown proper, was home to Washington and his wife Martha during that rough winter of the war. The widow Theodosia Ford and her four children shared the home with Washington and his staff. After Washington departed, the Ford family continued to live in the home until the 1870s.

Today, the site is a museum with plenty of artifacts, such as documents, weapons, and antique furniture.

Whippany Railway Museum

Train lovers who’ll be visiting Morris County during the warmer months won’t want to skip a visit to the Whippany Railway Museum. The organization focuses on the restoration and preservation of historic railroad artifacts. In 2021, the museum won the HeritageRail Alliance “Significant Achievement Award” for their restoration of a passenger car, which was completed by a devoted team of volunteers.

There are a wide variety of exhibits and events at the museum. You’ll get to see various structures, such as the Whippany Freight House, while learning how the railroad industry has evolved over the years.

The museum is closed during winter, but it’s a great place to bring the grandkids on a warm day. You’ll find the property at 1 Railroad Plaza in Whippany.

Fosterfields Living Historical Farm

What if it were possible to learn about the past while also experiencing it firsthand? Fosterfields Living Historical Farm offers just that, and you don’t even need a time machine.

Located at 73 Kahdena Road in Morristown, this nearly 214-acre property offers a portal to the past. Volunteers and staff members are dressed in period clothing and stay in character as they show guests what life was like for people in the early 1900s.

The property features agricultural fields, historical buildings, and a variety of other exhibits. Guided tours of the Foster’s restored Gothic mansion are available in the afternoons.

These are only a few of the excellent museums and historical sites Morris County has to offer. Get out there and begin exploring today!

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