The nation's first “National Historical Park”
The National Park Service at Morristown National Historical Park preserves, protects and maintains the landscapes, structures, features, archeological resources and collections of the Continental Army winter encampments, the headquarters of General George Washington, and related Revolutionary War sites at Morristown for the benefit and inspiration of the public. The park interprets the history and subsequent commemoration of these encampments and the extraordinary fortitude of the officers and enlisted men under Washington's leadership.
The winter of 1779-80, the most severe of the century, brought great suffering to the Continental Army at Morristown. Despite this and many other adversities, General Washington demonstrated his leadership by holding the army together as an effective fighting force. The Ford Mansion, where Washington made his headquarters, is an important feature of the park and recalls civilian contributions to the winning of independence.
The national park consists of four non-contiguous units including the Washington's Headquarters Unit, the Fort Nonsense Unit, the Jockey Hollow Unit, and the New Jersey Brigade Area. The park features two original structures, the Ford Mansion in Morristown and the Wick House in Jockey Hollow. There are approximately 27 miles of walking trails in the Jockey Hollow Unit.
Ford Mansion at Washington's Headquarters
Washington's Headquarters Unit consists of two primary structures situated on 16 acres: the historic Ford Mansion and the Washington's Headquarters Museum. The Ford Mansion is an original 18th-century structure and was built 1772-74. It is furnished in the style of the period. The mansion was General Washington's military headquarters for six months during the winter of 1779-80. Guided tours of the Ford Mansion are offered daily. The historic house has limited accessibility to individuals with mobility impairments.
Washington's Headquarters Museum
The museum features three exhibit galleries and an introductory video. The park's private partner, the Washington Association of New Jersey, continues to raise funds to complete the renovation of the exhibit galleries. The museum also offers a gift shop and restrooms, and serves as the visitor contact point to begin the Ford Mansion tours.
Jockey Hollow Visitor Center
The Jockey Hollow Visitor Center was built in 1975 and serves as the central area for visitor contact in the Jockey Hollow Unit of the park. It offers a staffed visitor reception desk and a gift shop and restrooms. An introductory video is offered. Also presented are a furnished full-scale soldier hut display, information on the natural aspects of the park, and a large wall mural to aid the visitor's visualization of the 1779-1780 encampment.
The historic Wick House is closed in 2015 for renovation. The adjacent kitchen garden is open. Many visitors hike up to the replica soldier huts.
This unit of the park was the site of an earthwork fortification built by Washington's troops in the spring of 1777 on what was then called Kinney's Hill. Its purpose was to protect the main roads leading north and south and the military storehouses in Morristown. Due to later folklore, the site acquired the name "Fort Nonsense". Site interpretation includes seven wayside exhibits, a vista clearing overlooking Morristown, and a small monument. Picnic tables are available. Fort Nonsense is open daily, 9 a.m. until sunset. There are no amenities, water, or restroom facilities at Fort Nonsense. Fort Nonsense is not staffed.
Hours and Fees:
Summer 2015: Open every day 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Washington's Headquarters Museum/Ford Mansion Unit:
Adults 16 and over $7.00
Jockey Hollow Unit: Free
Morristown National Historical Park