Morristown National Historical Park; Washington Place, Morristown, New Jersey 07960; Morris County


from NJ-202 north of Basking Ridge; travel on Tempe Wick Road west; follow the signs to the parking for the visitor center. Jockey Hollow Visitor's Center is off Tempe Wick Road, which runs between Route 202 in Harding Township and Route 24 in Mendham. Or approach the park by driving south on Western Avenue from the Morris County Courthouse in Morristown.


This is the site of key Revolutionary War winter encampments.  The site is strategically important for it is located behind the Watchung Mountain chain, a location that provided critical protection for George Washington and his troops from the British troops centered in New York City.

A nine acre piece of land known as Jockey Hollow Meadow was acquired by the Trust for Public Land within the Tempe Wick Road National Historic Districts to serve as a protective buffer for the Jockey Hollow Encampment of  Morristown National Historic Park from residential development.  It also will provide a new linkage to the Patriots' Path across Tempe Wick Road to link with the New Jersey Brigade Trail. (Trail Walker, Nov/Dec 2003:7) 


The area is basically round in shape. The Visitor Center is located at the 6 o'clock position. The path is in a figure 8 form. South fo the Visitor Center is the Jockey Hollow Encampment Area. After visiting this you can walk clockwise to the Wick Farm, and then to the site of the Pennsylvania Line (at 10 o'clock).

Continuing clockwise around the 12 o'clock position one can then visit the Grand Parade at around the 3 o'clock position. Then one can walk back to the Visitor Center.

Patriots' Path, Morris County, NJ. The Morris County Park system says:

From the 1/18/98 Star-Ledger... "Urban/suburban trails like those that lace English cityscapes ...are still somewhat of a novelty in the U.S., and we here in New Jersey are lucky to to have one of the first which, when completed, will undoubtedly be one of the best." - Mark McGarrity

The Patriots' Path is an evolving network of trails being assembled by the Morris County Park Commission, which will eventually link dozens of parks, historic sites, and other points of interest . There is now almost twenty miles of continuous path from Speedwell Avenue in Morristown to Ralston Corners in Chester Township, and on another section that runs through Lewis Morris Park and Jockey Hollow. The Park Commission map shows existing and proposed routes.

Access to the junction of these two sections is on Route 24, near Sunrise Lake in Morris Township. East from this point, the path goes to Morristown, the path west goes to Mendham. The path south ends at the New Jersey Brigade of Jockey Hollow. If you walk into Jockey Hollow on Patriots' Path, you are expected to walk to the Visitor Center to pay the $4 admission, or buy a $15 annual pass. Bicycles are not allowed on trails in Jockey Hollow.

A new 1.8 mile section of the Path has opened in Black River Park, from the Cooper Mill in Chester Township, on Route 513, about a mile west of Route 206, to the Kay Environmental Center. No bicycles are allowed on this trail. The easier entrance is at Cooper Mill. Part of the trail follows an old railroad embankment, and there is evidence of iron mining. If you have not seen Cooper Mill in action, it's worth a visit.

The National Park Service says:

Created in 1933, Morristown National Historical Park preserves sites in the Morristown, New Jersey area occupied by General George Washington and the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War from 1779-1780. General Washington chose this area for its logistical, geographical and topographical military advantages, in addition to its proximity to New York City, which was occupied by the British in 1779. Located in northern New Jersey, Morristown National Historical Park is less than one hour west of New York City by automobile.
Morristown NHP encompasses just under 1700 acres of land in four non-contiguous sections. Historical sites within the park include the historic Jacob Ford Mansion (General Washington's military headquarters during the winter of 1779-1780); the Upper Redoubt site (built in 1777 following the battles of Princeton and Trenton) in the Fort Nonsense Unit of the park; the historic Wick House & Farm (headquarters of General Arthur St. Clair); the 18th century Guerin house (home of local farmer, Joshua Guerin). Historic official documentation shows that Joshua Guerin applied for compensation from the Continental Army for theft of sheep and rations from his property by soldiers. Restored in the 1930's the Guerin house is used as a private residence and is not open to the public. Also, Morristown National Historical Park offers over 27 miles of hiking trails which cross through the New York Brigade area and the New Jersey Brigade areas, located in the Jockey Hollow Unit of the park.


Daily, Year-round: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p. m. Park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

Jockey Hollow Reproduction Soldiers Huts

When soldiers first arrived in Jockey Hollow for their winter encampment, they had no choice but to sleep out in the open in the snow. Wagons with tents arrived a few days later than did the soldiers. Soldiers remained in the tents until the completion of the wooden huts. The soldier huts used at Jockey Hollow were fourteen feet by sixteen feet and housed twelve men.  General Washington ordered that enlisted mens' huts were to be built first. Therefore, Officers' huts were not built and completed until all the enlisted men were settled in huts. It took most of the soldiers about two to three weeks to build their huts. The majority of the enlisted men in the Continental Army were poor, lower class men. A good number of these men were not even born in America. Army Officers, on the other hand, were from middle to upper class society and were often land owners. Enlisted men moved into their huts around Christmas. The last of the Officers did not get to move into huts until mid February. The 1779-1780 winter at Jockey Hollow was the worst winter in over 100 years. Military camp conditions were so deplorable that many soldiers stole regularly just to eat, deserted or mutinied. Replica huts can be seen in the Jockey Hollow section of the unit. They are open from dawn to dusk daily.

The Wick House

Being one of the most prosperous families of the times, the Wick family lived in a comfortable home whose construction and style reflected their New England origins. The Wick farm included a fine and roomy, well constructed home house with windows, circa 1400 acres of timber land and open fields; a perfect area for Washington's soldiers to camp for the winter. The Wick farm and adjacent farms grew various crops including wheat, corn, rye, oats, buckwheat, apples and flax.

Consequently, the Wick farm and a couple of adjacent farms became home to 13,000 soldiers during the winter of 1779-1780. The Wick farm house became winter headquarters for General Arthur St. Clair. Jockey Hollow was a popular camp ground for General Washington's army. It was used by portions of the Continental Army for a total of 24 months during the American Revolution. The Wick House is open to visitors daily between the hours of 9:30am and 4:30pm.

Pennsylvania Line

Sugar Loaf Hill housed 2,000 men during the 1779-80 Morristown encampment. Around the face of this hillside, lines of crude huts stood in military array. There was little to suggest in this bleak scene that here was the heart of Washington's army. Many of the men encamped here had marched in the 1775 invasion of Canada, contested the 1777 British crossing of Brandywine Creek, and advanced into a storm of enemy fire at Germantown.

Grand Parade

Military ceremony, training and discipline were as important to 18-th century army life as they are today. Much of a soldier's day was spent on this open field, and he grew to know the scene well.

Daily ceremonies and parades instilled important military traditions in the soldier. Dignitaries visiting Morristown went to the Grand Parade to witness ceremonies involving the entire army. Training meant marching, drill, inspection, and obedience to orders. The things learned here might mean survival and victory on some distant field. Guards were assigned, orders were issued, and punishment meted out almost every day.

Washington's Headquarters

This is not located at Jockey Hollow, but in Morristown by the museum. This massive Georgian style mansion was built between 1772-1774 for Jacob Ford Jr. Mr. Ford was involved in a number of business ventures including an iron mine, iron forges, a grist mill, a hemp-mill, a gun powder mill and farms. Mrs. Jacob Ford Jr. and her four young children continued to reside in this house after Mr. Ford's death on January 11, 1777. Through the hospitality of Mrs. Ford, General Washington rented this home for the winter of 1779-1780. Consequently, the Ford Mansion, one of the finest homes in Morristown, became General Washington's military headquarters during the winter of 1779-1780. The Ford family was crowded into two rooms of their home during General Washington's stay. General Washington brought with him his Aides-de-Camp and a number of servants to assist him in performance of his many roles and duties. Daily meetings and discussions attempted to solve multiple problems facing the army during the winter months inclusive of severe shortages of food rations and supplies. Urgent financial support of state government and the Continental Congress was imperative for clothing and feeding of the army. Military strategy in the northern and southern theaters also had to be worked out with the French. The Ford Mansion is open daily and may be seen by Ranger Guided tours only Tours are given hourly at 10:00 a. m., 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p. m., 2:00 p. m., 3:00 p. m. and 4:00 p. m.

Special to the Daily Record

While most Americans think of Valley Forge when they picture the suffering the Continental armies had to undergo during the harsh winters of the Revolutionary War, Morris County residents think of Jockey Hollow. This unit of Morristown National Historical Park, which was created in 1933 as the first national historical park in the U.S., was the site of the Continental armies' encampment in the winters of 1777 and 1779/80.

General George Washington selected Jockey Hollow for its ample woods and good water supply. The area was wooded then as it is now, but soldiers quickly stripped the woods to build 1,000 soldier huts and to warm the huts during winter. After the war, the area was farmed but the soil proved quite rocky, so gradually the forests returned.

Nowadays Jockey Hollow is a hikers' paradise. Well-groomed trails wind through the widely-spaced tall hardwoods, leading to the historical highlights of the park. Every trail junction is marked by signs and maps. There are two trails that feature small streams, and a beautiful overlook with nothing but trees and woods for miles.

Start by going through the Visitor's Center where interesting information about the history of the area is presented. Exit the back door and head to the Wick House, the six-room home of the prosperous farmer who owned the land where 10,000 soldiers camped. The herb garden is open to the public, although the huge apple orchard is now only open to deer.

Walk around the horse barn and up the handicapped parking lot to the junction of the tour road. The yellow trail branches off the auto road to the right, with signs pointing toward the soldier huts. Follow to the junction with the Aqueduct Loop Trail. Do not get on the main (wide) trail but head for a skinny walkway going down to an old stone spring and wooden bridge. This trail, not taken by many visitors, is one of the prettiest in the park. It goes alongside Primrose Brook, which was the source for the 19th-century aqueduct which supplied water to Morristown. This trail will cross the brook on bridges six times, and has a number of tree roots to watch out for. Stay on the narrow trail when it meets with the wide trail, cross two more bridges, and follow it to where it ends at another wide trail.

Here, turn left and climb some log steps. You are on a branch of the Patriot's Path, headed toward the soldier huts. Expect a little mud near the end of this path. Then cross the road and climb the hill toward the huts, a spot that many photographers like to capture, especially in the fall.

The huts, which are reconstructions based on 18th-century drawings, are log cabins with few windows and triple-decker bunks where as many as 15 soldiers slept. Park rangers in period costume explain the life of these soldiers. In the back is an example of an officer hut, which held perhaps four officers in double bunks.

The yellow trail is picked up by the officer hut. Follow it uphill and down, pass several turns, until you emerge at the Grand Parade, a field that was the center of military life at Jockey Hollow, site of inspections and viewing of the troops by Washington and foreign dignitaries.

Walk on the auto road for the short distance to a restroom at the corner of the park. Behind the restroom building, follow the blue trail down to where it meets the white-blazed Grand Loop Trail. Turn left, passing Cat Swamp Pond, the only pond in Jockey Hollow and, according to the sign, home of two or three carp which were thrown in the pond in 1990.

Turn right at the junction to follow the blue trail up a rise. Keep with the blue trail at all junctions, passing near some private homes at the edge of the park. Soon you will come to an outstanding view to the east at the site of Stark's Brigade. This view is highly unusual as it looks toward the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, so there are very few houses, mostly fields and woods (although the sound of Route 287 is easily noticed).

Continue down the blue trail as it switchbacks down from the high point, joins with the Old Camp Road and meets the white-blazed Grand Loop Trail. Turn left on the Grand Loop, then turn right on the red-blazed Primrose Brook Trail. This is a skinny streamside trail which crosses the brook three times on easy stepping stones.

Cross the auto road at the end of the red trail, enter a parking lot and turn left on the yellow trail. This trail parallels the auto road to the back of the Wick Farm orchard and turns right next to the orchard. The trail ends at an old two-seater outhouse. Turn left to go around the horse barn, then walk by the Wick House to the Visitor's Center.

Received and e-mail on 4/27/01 entitled: "Proposed Destruction of the Jockey Hollow Old Growth Forest for a CCRC, MAJOR Aquifer Source"

The scope of the proposed project (nearly 400,000 Square Feet) will forever change the rural and heavily forested nature of our corner of Washington Valley. Sprawl will occur as developers will sue the Town of Morristown for rights to the (proposed) "private" sewer line. What the Monks wish to do is final with no remediation possible. According to the Monks, several extrememly wealthy Delbarton finance committee members have advised the Abbey that a CCRC is extremely profitable, therefore, the Monks must build a retirement home for the exclusive use by the wealthy. (per year costs $ 100,000). It's build a CCRC or split up the state planning commission PA5 land for more mc-mansions.

The Town of Morristown is directly at fault. Jay Delaney, the mayor, has addressed the issue by stating that the sewer pipe will go through. His son attends the Delbarton School. At the last planning board meeting in Morris Township, the room was filled by Delbarton Students, who stated to me, when I asked what they were doing at a Planning Board Meeting, that the Delbarton School made attending the meeting "mandatory". When I asked if they understood the proposed project and its potential damage to the environment of Jockey Hollow, the students replied that they were not aware of ANYTHING other than the fact that the Monks required them to attend.  How can the mayor of Morristown be objective? He can't. The Monks see to that.

I realize that the word NIMBY may apply here. But I encourage you to look at all the issues and all the parties involved. The proposed construction is directly sited over a pristine aquifer area, with high recharge for drinking water, and feeds directly into the Great Swamp. Damage the aquifer, and the swamp and our drinking water will suffer permanent damage. There are steep slope issues. We are confident that the State will act to prevent this project from occurring.

This area of the proposed project is located in an area of great historic importance. The Monks espouse to be guardians of their land. They settled in Morris Township after leaving Newark to seek solace and shelter. The Benedictine edict is to protect the environment and the land. What is really going on here?

You can help us by participating in the battle against St. Mary's Abbey's attempt to build a Continuing Care Retirement Community adjacent to Morristown National Historical Park. Battling sewer expansion is just as important as fighting for good land use designations. The Planning Board's decision to restore OS/GU designation didn't end the battle, as a new Township Master Plan is being formulated in 2001.

The Abbey filed a Wastewater Management Plan (WMP) Amendment with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, requesting approval for a sewer extension to service the site. The Abbey plan for the CCRC requires the extension of the Morristown Sewer (Morristown Sewer District). Morristown has jurisdiction over the sewer district, not Morris Township. Morristown has indicated that they have the capacity to support the development. The Morristown Attorney has reported that the Morristown Town Council must approve any sewer extension since it would necessarily involve a WMP amendment for Morristown as well.

The NJDEP has indicated that it will require the Abbey to perform various requirements pursuant to Executive Order 109. Specifically, the Abbey will have to perform Alternative Analyses including Nonpoint Source Pollutant Loading Analysis, Depletive/Consumptive Use Analysis and Riparian Corridor Analysis. Depending upon the results of the agency's review of these analyses, a public hearing will be held.

Remember, without the sewer extension, the project cannot go forward!
1. The parcel adjoins the Jockey Hollow National Historical Park.
2. The parcel is at the headwaters of the Whippany River Watershed. It is an area of very high ground water recharge and also flows into the Upper Passaic River, that provides drinking water for approximately 1,000,000 people. The area includes an FW-2 Trout Production stream, which is extremely sensitive to environmental degradation.
3. The parcel has previously been the subject of a DEP level 3 environmental impact statement, and is considered an environmentally sensitive area. The CCRC development proposal was never taken into consideration during the original environmental impact study.
4. The parcel is on the State and National Historic Registers.
5. The parcel is located in Planning Area 5 of the State Plan (SDRP).
Lands in PA5 are protected because they are especially environmentally sensitive. The State Plan is binding on State agencies.
6. The parcel lies within the Highlands region, a mountainous watershed area that stretches from Morris County to New York.
7. The parcel is listed on the Morris Township Open Space Acquisition List.
8. I received a letter from the Morris County Land Trust that stated that they would allow for a purchase of the Abbey site, if only the Abbey would apply!!
We appreciate your attention to my long email!
we have a website.
Thank you.
Warren Bobrow