Washington Crossing Historic Park

Last updated
Washington Crossing State Park
Washington Crossing Park Visitor Center.jpg
Washington Crossing Park Visitor Center
USA Pennsylvania location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
LocationBetween Yardley and New Hope, on the Delaware River, Yardley, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°17′51″N74°52′35″W / 40.29750°N 74.87639°W / 40.29750; -74.87639 Coordinates: 40°17′51″N74°52′35″W / 40.29750°N 74.87639°W / 40.29750; -74.87639
Area500 acres (200 ha) [1]
Built1776
NRHP reference # 66000650 [2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966
Designated NHLJanuary 20, 1961
Designated PHMCNovember 17, 1947 [3]

Washington Crossing Historic Park is a 500-acre (2 km²) state park operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources [4] in partnership with the Friends of Washington Crossing Park. The park is divided into two sections. One section of the park, the "lower park," is headquartered in the village of Washington Crossing located in Upper Makefield Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It marks the location of George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River during the American Revolutionary War.

Contents

The lower park includes 13 historic buildings including McConkey's Ferry Inn, [1] where General George Washington and his aides ate dinner and made plans prior to the crossing. Among the historic buildings is a 20th-century barn that houses 5 replica Durham Boats. Durham boats were large, open boats that were used to transport pig iron along the Delaware River at the time of the Revolution and these boats, along with the ferries and others, were used to transport soldiers, horses, and equipment across the river on the night of December 25–26, 1776. The replica boats are used each year when the nighttime crossing is reenacted in the park.

Located 4.5 miles away in Solebury Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is the park's northern section, the "upper park." In its 100-acre area it contains (0.4 km²) Bowman's Hill Tower and the Thompson-Neely House, which was used as a military hospital during Washington's encampment in the area, and the graves of an estimated 40 to 60 soldiers who died there. The exact location of the graves is unknown, though they were partially unearthed during the construction of the nearby Delaware Canal in the early 19th century and during other nearby construction projects. Presently there are 23 memorial headstones as a reminder that the area is a gravesite.

The lower park contains a visitor's center, which was renovated from July 2011 to March 2013. The newly renovated visitor's center was opened March 10, 2013. It features a small exhibition with some Revolutionary war artifacts, and an original letter written by George Washington while in the McConkey's Ferry Inn. The park also has obtained a full size digital copy of Emanuel Leutze's 1851 painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware , from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, that is hanging in the auditorium.

History and mission of the park

The park was created in 1917 and the Washington Crossing Park Commission was established in 1919 to administer and develop the park.

Washington Crossing the Delaware,
by Emanuel Leutze, 1851 Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, MMA-NYC, 1851.jpg
Washington Crossing the Delaware ,
by Emanuel Leutze, 1851

The park was formed to commemorate the famous Crossing as the "Turning point of the American Revolution." The Commission's first objective was to develop the site as a historical shrine and its second objective was to preserve its natural beauty and develop its areas for recreational use. Bowman's Hill Tower was built to commemorate what may have been a lookout point for General George Washington's troops to watch the banks of the Delaware River for enemy activity. The park also contains the Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve and the surrounding area is the natural habitat for many native plants, trees, animals and birds. Today the park serves to preserve and interpret the site of the Washington's Crossing of the Delaware.

The park is administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources(DCNR). Cuts in funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania forced the PHMC to reduce park staffing, which resulted in closing the park to the public in late November, 2009. In 2013, the Pennsylvania state budget and fiscal code mandated that the park transfer from PHMC to DCNR. The switch was finalized in early 2016. The Friends of Washington Crossing Park, a 501(c)(3) private, non-profit corporation, was incorporated in January 2010 to support the PHMC in operating Washington Crossing Historic Park, and the park re-opened to the public in the spring of that same year. The Friends of Washington Crossing Park re-opened the park's gift shop in December 2010. Current full-time, on-site staffing consists of 2 museum professionals and 2 maintenance personnel provided by the PHMC, who work in conjunction with the part-time staff of historical interpreters provided by the Friends of Washington Crossing Park. Washington Crossing Historic Park is open for guided tours Monday through Sundays from 10am – 4pm, April 1 – December 31. The recreational areas of the park, including the picnic pavilions, are open to the public from dawn to dusk all year. The park holds a reenactment of General Washington's nighttime crossing every year, [5] plus other public programs on related themes throughout the year.

The park was included in the Washington's Crossing National Historic Landmark designation in 1961, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. [6] [7]

McConkey's Ferry

On the night of December 25–26, 1776, General George Washington and a small army of 2,400 men crossed the Delaware River at McConkey's Ferry, on their way to attack a Hessian garrison of 1,500 in Trenton, New Jersey. The crossing, made during a time when morale was at its lowest point during the American Revolution, renewed hope among the Continental Army, Congress and the general population. On the morning of December 26, at the Battle of Trenton, they were able to force the Hessian soldiers to surrender, without any American casualties. [8]

The ferry was first established by Henry Baker in 1684. His grandson, Samuel Baker Jr., sold it to Samuel McConkey (also spelled McKonkey) on December 5, 1774. McConkey sold it to Benjamin Taylor on March 21, 1777. The corresponding ferry on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River was known as Johnson's Ferry. [8] [9]

See also

Related Research Articles

Bristol, Pennsylvania Borough in Pennsylvania, United States

Bristol is a borough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 23 miles (37 km) northeast of Center City Philadelphia, opposite Burlington, New Jersey on the Delaware River. Bristol Borough predates Philadelphia, being settled in 1681 and first incorporated in 1720. After 1834, the town became very important to the development of the American Industrial Revolution as the terminus city of the Delaware Canal providing greater Philadelphia with the days High Tech Anthracite fuels from the Lehigh Canal via Easton. The canal and a short trip on the Delaware also gave the town access to the mineral resources available in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York via each of the Morris Canal, the Delaware and Hudson Canal, and the Delaware and Raritan Canal, and connected the community to those markets and trade from New York City. These were among the factors spurring development of Bristol and nearby towns, explaining in part the industries which developed in the region.

New Hope, Pennsylvania Borough in Pennsylvania, United States

New Hope is a borough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,528 at the 2010 census. New Hope is located approximately 30 mi (48 km) north of Philadelphia, and lies on the west bank of the Delaware River at its confluence with Aquetong Creek. The two-lane New Hope – Lambertville Bridge carries automobile and foot traffic across the Delaware to Lambertville, New Jersey on the east bank.

Solebury Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania Township in Pennsylvania, United States

Solebury Township is a township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 8,692 at the 2010 census.

Washington Crossing State Park United States historic place

Washington Crossing State Park is a 3,575-acre (14 km2) state park in the U.S. state of New Jersey that is part of Washington's Crossing, a U.S. National Historic Landmark area. It is located in the Washington Crossing and Titusville sections of Hopewell Township in Mercer County, north of Trenton along the Delaware River. The park is operated and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry. It is supported by the Washington Crossing Park Association, a friends group that works to preserve, enhance, and advocate for the park.

Titusville, New Jersey Unincorporated community in New Jersey, United States

Titusville is an unincorporated community located within Hopewell Township in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. The area includes a post office with its own ZIP code (08560), a small village of homes, and a large park dedicated to George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River in 1776.

Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania Unincorporated community in Pennsylvania, United States

Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, is a small unincorporated village located in Upper Makefield Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with a zip code of 18977. Formerly known as "Taylorsville," it is most famous for George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River on the night of December 25–26, 1776 during the American Revolutionary War. It is also the location of the headquarters of Washington Crossing Historic Park. It is directly across the river from Washington Crossing, New Jersey, to which it is connected by the Washington Crossing Bridge. The town also participates in special events, such as a reenactment of Washington's nighttime crossing each year.

George Washingtons crossing of the Delaware River First move in a surprise attack organized by George Washington against the Hessian forces in Trenton, New Jersey

George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River, which occurred on the night of December 25–26, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, was the first move in a surprise attack organized by George Washington against the Hessian forces in Trenton, New Jersey, on the morning of December 26. Planned in partial secrecy, Washington led a column of Continental Army troops across the icy Delaware River in a logistically challenging and dangerous operation. Other planned crossings in support of the operation were either called off or ineffective, but this did not prevent Washington from surprising and defeating the troops of Johann Rall quartered in Trenton. The army crossed the river back to Pennsylvania, this time laden with prisoners and military stores taken as a result of the battle.

United States National Register of Historic Places listings

The National Register of Historic Places in the United States is a register including buildings, sites, structures, districts, and objects. The Register automatically includes all National Historic Landmarks as well as all historic areas administered by the U.S. National Park Service. Since its introduction in 1966, more than 90,000 separate listings have been added to the register.

Pennsylvania Route 32 state highway in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States

Pennsylvania Route 32 is a scenic two-lane highway that runs along the west side of the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It begins at U.S. Route 1 in Falls Township outside of Morrisville and ends at PA 611 in the village of Kintnersville in Nockamixon Township. PA 32 passes through Washington Crossing Historic Park, a Revolutionary War-themed historical park on the site of George Washington's crossing on the night of December 25–26, 1776. It also passes through the boroughs of Morrisville, Yardley, and New Hope.

Bowmans Hill Tower Place in the United States

Bowman's Hill Tower,, is a 125-foot-tall (38 m) stone tower located in Washington Crossing Historic Park in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources & Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission. The tower was built on Bowman's Hill, which is on the Upper Makefield Township side of the border between itself and Solebury Township. The tower was erected in the 1930s as a memorial.

Morrisville–Trenton Railroad Bridge bridge in United States of America

The Morrisville–Trenton Railroad Bridge is a rail bridge across the Delaware River between Morrisville, Pennsylvania and Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey, United States.

Bowmans Hill Wildflower Preserve

Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve is a 134 acre nature preserve, botanical garden, and accredited museum located at 1635 River Road, New Hope, Pennsylvania. It is open daily, except for major holidays, April–June, and closed on Mondays July–March; an admission fee is charged to nonmembers. A non-profit organization, Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve Association Inc., maintains the park in accordance to a management agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources & Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Pennsylvania Canal (Delaware Division) United States historic place

The Delaware Division of the Pennsylvania Canal, more commonly called the Delaware Canal, runs for 60 miles (97 km) parallel to the right bank of the Delaware River from the entry locks near the mouth of the Lehigh River and terminal end of the Lehigh Canal at Easton south to Bristol. At Easton, which today is the home of The National Canal Museum, the Delaware Canal also connected with the Morris Canal built to carry anthracite coal to energy starved New Jersey industries. Later, with a crossing-lock constructed at New Hope, the New Hope 'outlet lock' (1847) connected by Cable Ferry to a feeder navigation/canal at Bull's Island along the opposite shore from Lumberville, which ran over 22 miles (35 km) south along the left bank through Trenton to Bordentown, the west end of the Delaware and Raritan Canal (1834) to New York City via New Brunswick. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania built the Delaware canal to feed anthracite stone coal to energy-hungry Philadelphia as part of its transportation infrastructure building plan known as the Main Line of Public Works—a legislative initiative creating a collection of self-reinforcing internal improvements to commercial transportation capabilities.

Delaware Canal State Park

Delaware Canal State Park is a 830-acre (336 ha) Pennsylvania state park in Bucks and Northampton Counties in Pennsylvania in the United States. The main attraction of the park is the Delaware Canal which runs parallel to the Delaware River between Easton and Bristol.

Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor

The Delaware & Lehigh Canal National and State Heritage Corridor (D&L) is a 165-mile (266 km) National Heritage Area in eastern Pennsylvania in the United States. It stretches from north to south, across five counties and over one hundred municipalities. It follows the historic routes of the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad, Lehigh Valley Railroad, the Lehigh Navigation, Lehigh Canal, and the Delaware Canal, from Bristol to Wilkes-Barre in the northeastern part of the state. The backbone of the Corridor is the 165-mile (266 km) D & L Trail. The Corridor's mission is to preserve heritage and conserve green space for public use in Bucks, Northampton, Lehigh, Carbon, and Luzerne counties in Pennsylvania. It also operates Hugh Moore Historical Park & Museums, which includes the National Canal Museum.

The Central Delaware Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The wine appellation includes 96,000 acres (38,850 ha) surrounding the Delaware River north of Philadelphia. Its southern boundary is near Titusville, New Jersey, just north of Trenton, and its northern border is near Musconetcong Mountain. A variety of Vitis vinifera and Vitis labrusca grape varieties can be grown in the area. It has a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa) and is in hardiness zones 6b and 7a.

Washingtons Crossing United States historic place

Washington's Crossing is the location of George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River on the night of December 25–26, 1776 in the American Revolutionary War. This daring maneuver led to victory in the Battle of Trenton and altered the course of the war. The site, a National Historic Landmark, is composed of state parks in Washington Crossing, New Jersey, and Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, north of Trenton, New Jersey.

John Mott was a Captain in the 1st Hunterdon Regiment of the New Jersey militia during the American Revolutionary War. He served as a guide to General George Washington and the Continental Army during their march down along the Delaware River prior to the Battle of Trenton.

Keith House (Upper Makefield Township, Pennsylvania) United States historic place

The Keith House, also known as Washington's Headquarters or Headquarters Farm, is a historic house in Upper Makefield Township, Bucks County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It served as the headquarters for George Washington during the American Revolutionary War and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

The Delaware River Greenway Partnership (DRGP) is a non-profit organization, created in 1989 and located in Stockton, New Jersey, in the historic Prallsville Mills complex. DRGP's mission is to promote cross-river connections and communication, and to preserve and enhance the natural and historic resources of the lower Delaware River in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

References

  1. 1 2 "Washington Crossing State Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  2. "National Register Information System  (#66000650)". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
  3. "PHMC Historical Markers". Historical Marker Database. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  4. Novak, Christina. "Washington Crossing in Bucks County Added to Pennsylvania State Park System" . Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  5. "Cross With Us". Washington Crossing Historic Park.
  6. C. E. Shedd, Jr. (August 1, 1960). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Washington Crossing State Park" (pdf). National Park Service. and Accompanying two photos, from 1960
  7. "New Jersey NHL Washington's Crossing". National Park Service. August 1, 1960 via National Archives Catalog for New Jersey.Downloading may be slow.
  8. 1 2 "The Historic Village". Washington Crossing Historic Park.
  9. Rutt, Walter E. (January 25, 1937). "McKonkey Ferry House" (PDF). Historic American Buildings Survey.

Further reading

External video
WashingtonCrossingReenactment2005.jpg
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Washington Crossing the Delaware - 2013 Reenactment, 2:15, Wanda Kaluza