History & Culture
Army soldier Joseph Tancos camping at Fort Hancock, 1941.
Gateway: an expansive park with a diverse history
Gateway National Recreation Area's three park units all trace the rich history of the nation and harbor. Historic forts, former airports, recreation areas and America's oldest operating lighthouse tell fascinating stories of defense, aviation firsts, navigational safety and healthy living.
Access Historic Structures and Cultural Landscape Reports about diverse areas within Gateway.
Read World War II-era Army histories of Fort Wadsworth (1945) and the New York-Philadelphia Coastal Artillery system (1944). These files are very large and take awhile to download. A 1944 Army map of Fort Hancock aids in the visualization of what was once a base with over 10,000 soldiers and what is now part of Gateway's Sandy Hook Unit.
Study 1935 Army maps of all the forts which are now part of Gateway: Hancock, Wadsworth, Tilden and Totten.
HARP Volunteers working at Hangar B.
Historic Aircraft at Hangar B, Floyd Bennett Field
HARP volunteers are also building a full scale model of Wiley Post's Lockheed Vega, "The Winnie Mae" from scratch! The volunteers and park rangers are available to lead tours of the hangar and planes, and are more than happy to answer any questions.
Visitors studying exhibits in the Sandy Hook Lighthouse Keepers Quarters.
Sandy Hook Light and Keepers Quarters
In June 2006, the historic Sandy Hook Lighthouse Keepers Quarters opened as a visitor contact station for tours of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, America's oldest light. The $650,000 rehabilitation of the Keepers Quarters was funded by the park's Friends Group, the Sandy Hook Foundation. The main floor has exhibits on New Jersey lighthouses, while the upper floors are offices and lodging for the Foundation and the New Jersey Lighthouse Society, the volunteer group that conducts Lighthouse tours for the NPS. Click here for Hours of Operation.
Did You Know?
Did you know that many celebrities visited Fort Hancock in World War II? Judy Garland performed for the soldiers at Fort Hancock in 1943. Lana Turner also visited the fort during the war. More...