Morris County, New Jersey is home to some of the most distinguished heritage attractions in the northeast and
perhaps the entire USA. Such as the birthplace of the telegraph, a force in the American Arts and Crafts movement,
home to Thomas Nast and host to General George Washington’s Continental Army during the two winter
encampments, Morris County boasts sites important to American history in three centuries.
Here are 5 places to visit that are seeping with heritage and will provide an educational, inspirational and fun
experience for all.
Morris County, New Jersey sits squarely within “The Crossroads of the American Revolution National and State
Heritage Area”. The National Park Service recognized the importance of NJ’s pivotal role in the founding of our
democracy and as an important battleground state during the American Revolution, with its 2006 designation.
There are sites of historic importance in each of Morris County’s 39 municipalities. Here is a sampling of five places
to visit that will excite and educate visitors and provide them with an authentic feel for how life evolved in one of
America’s original colonies over the course of three centuries:
1. Morristown Historical National Park
Established in 1933 as the nation's first "National Historical Park," history truly comes to life here in Morristown.
The park consists of four non contiguous units, Jockey Hollow, Fort Nonsense, The New Jersey Brigade/Cross Estate
and Gardens and the newly renovated Ford Museum and Mansion, which served as George Washington's military
headquarters for 200 days during the harsh winter of 1779-1780 where snow was as deep as six feet. Troops of
more than 10,000 were lodged in Jockey Hollow. Start at the Visitors Center and then stop by the Wick Farm,
where costumed interpreters will take you back in time. This is a National Historic Landmark site.
2. Acorn Hall
As the headquarters of the Morris County Historical Society, Acorn Hall was built as a private residence in 1853
and expanded and remodeled in 1860 in the fashionable Italianate Villa style, complete with an unusual octagonal
tower. The house, now a museum, is decorated largely with original furnishings, carpeting and wall coverings from
the two families who lived there between 1853 and 1971. The museum’s exhibit gallery hosts special exhibits on
local history or nineteenth century life; these change throughout the year. Acorn Hall also boasts a fine garden and
an appealing gift shop. Guided tours of the house are offered and include exhibits. Acorn Hall is also part of the
Women’s History Trail.
3. Cooper Mill
Originally built by Nathan Cooper in 1826, the Mill and adjacent visitors center has been carefully restored to
provide visitors with an opportunity to rediscover the roots and heritage of the region while witnessing the amazing
power of the Black River, harnessed to grind grain into flour by massive 2,000-pound millstones.
4. Fosterfields Living Historical Farm
Experience the spirit of life during the turn of the 20th century while enjoying weekly activities at this 1920’s
working farmhouse and at The Willows. The Gothic Revival mansion built by General Joseph Warren Revere,
grandson of Paul Revere. Staff dressed in appropriate period attire interprets the lives and roles of farm laborers,
domestic workers and Foster family members and friends. They perform a daily routine of farming and domestic
chores. They also raise livestock and crops by historical methods.
5. Macculloch Hall and Gardens
A 20-room Federal-style mansion was built in 1810 by George Macculloch, known as the Father of the Morris
Canal. Ten period rooms display 18th and 19th century furnishings, while four galleries offer changing exhibits
year-round. There is also an impressive collection of prints and drawings by Thomas Nast, the famous political
cartoonist who had once been a neighbor of Macculloch Hall.
These are just a few of the numerous historical sites in Morris County, New Jersey. Bring the kids, school groups,
and the whole family – there are plenty of things to see and do! With all these historic getaways so close by, Morris
County is definitely the place to be for a glimpse back in time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carol Barkin is the outreach manager for the Morris County Tourism Bureau as well as a tour guide for the Bureau’s Summer and Fall walking tour programs.