WASHINGTON CROSSING STATE PARK
Trenton, Mercer County, NJ


Directions:

From Trenton, travel north on Route 29.  Take a right turn onto County Route 546.  Before the intersection with County Route 579, turn left into the park area.

Or, off  I-95, take exit 1 north (this is the last exit in New Jersey) onto NJ 29 north.  Drive for about three miles and make a right turn onto county road 546.  The entrance to Washington Crossing Park is on the right in about 0.5 mile.


This park is located along the Delaware River.

There is a Nature Center off of Brick Yard Road.  It has several exhibits, including a fossil display. There are nature trails around the nature center.

Here also there is a visitor's center and the George Washington Memorial Arboretum.  The arboretum shows labeled varieties of tree and shrubs, native to New Jersey, all labeled.


History:

After the British were forced to leave the Boston area in the Revolutionary War, they came next to the New York area.  They pushed Washington off of Long Island and all the way up to White Plains, where in a set of  five small battles or skirmishes, they delayed the British advance.  But Washington had to escape across the Hudson River and then on to Fort Lee, N.J. near the present day George Washington Bridge.  Poor Washington had to watch as British troops took Fort Washington/Tryon on Manhattan Island.  Washington had to get the hell out of Dodge quickly.  British troops who crossed over the Hudson River from Dobbs Ferry and then marched south along the Palisades, found the fires of the American troops still warm at Fort Lee.  Washington had to retreat all the way across the state of  New Jersey, crossing the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.  He took all the boats on the New Jersey side, which stopped the British advance.  The British then settled in at Trenton.  

Washington led a surprise attack on the Hessian troops stationed in Trenton Christmas night when most of the troops were drunk from Christmas celebrating.  Washington and 2,400 men crossed the Delaware River to surprise the Hessians. Then Washington also won a battle at Princeton before retiring to winter quarters.   

Johnson Ferry House.  White clapboard with red shutters and a second story.  1740  -- built by Rutger Jansen.  Jansen anglicized the name to Johnson. 1761 --  they got a license for the tavern and ferry.  1776 --  it was operated by James Slack and owned by Abraham Harvey.

Two weeks before the battle on Christmas Eve there was a skirmish between 30 Continental scouts and 50 patrolling Hessian jaegers. 

Near the D&R canal is the Nelson House, built around 1850.  It was located at the landing for the ferry.  It was a home for the ferryman and a tavern for those waiting to cross.

1834  --  a covered bridge built here. 

Amos Scudder was one of Washington's scouts at the Battle of Trenton who has a farm and mill in the area. Scudder's Falls were named for the Scudder family.  (John Hart, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was married to a Scudder.)


Trail:

To the right of the trail is the Delaware River and to the left is the feeder canal (and the too-close-by Route 29). Pass intersection with Jacob's Creek.  Scudders Fall is a class II set of rapids. 


4/14/06

On a three day holiday before Easter.  Washington Crossing State Park includes the adjacent parts of the D&R Canal.  We stopped at all the areas. Nice view of the bridge to Pennsylvania.  On the Pennsylvania side there are also historical structures.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.  


PLANT LIST:

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, * = blooming on date of field trip, 4/14/06


Trees:
Acer negundo (ash-leaf maple)  *
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)  *
Acer rubrum (red maple)  *
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula nigra (river birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Catalpa sp. (catalpa)
Cercis canadensis (red bud)  *
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)  *
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Gleditsia triacanthos (honey locust)
Ilex aquifolium (English holly)
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus sp. (cherry)  *
Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglass fir)
Pyrus sp. (crab apple)  *
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus spp. (oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)  *
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Forsythia sp. (golden bells)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)  *
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rhododendron maximum (rosebay rhododendron)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)

Vines:
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vinca minor (periwinkle)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Anthriscus sylvestris (wild chervil)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress)  *
Cardamine hirsuta (hairy bittercress)  *
Cirsium spp. (thistle)
Claytonia virginica (spring beauty)  *
Datura stramonium (jimsonweed)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Draba verna (Whitlow grass)
Glechoma hederacea (gill-over-the-ground)
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)
Lamium purpureum (purple dead nettle)  *
Narcissus sp. (daffodil)  * 
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Podophyllum peltatum (may apple)
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)  *
Ranunculus ficaria (lesser celandine)  *
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Solidago spp. (goldenrod)
Stellaria media (common chickweed)  *
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion)  *
Thlaspi arvense (field pennycress)  *
Trifolium pratense (red clover)
Urtica dioica var. procera (tall nettle)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Viola sororia (common blue violet)  *
Viola sororia var. (confederate violet)  *I

Grasses:
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)

Ferns:
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)

 

(Source:  a few from Scofield, Green and Zimmerman, 1988)