Historic Sites and Buildings
Elias Boudinot occupied Boxwood Hall from 1772 to 1795. He was a lawyer, served during the War for Independence as commissary for American soldiers held by the British, was President of the Continental Congress, a signer of the Treaty of Paris (1783), and later Superintendent of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. The house was built about 1750. It had several owners and many alterations after Boudinot moved to Philadelphia. In 1870 the two lateral wings were demolished, the gabled roof removed, two stories superimposed, and a service wing added at the rear. The Boxwood Hall Memorial Association was formed in the late 1930's to save the structure from demolition. It was purchased, turned over to the State, restored through a WPA project, and opened to the public in 1943 as a historic house museum.
NHL Designation: 11/28/72
Fort Mercer, at Red Bank, guarded the New Jersey side of a line of underwater obstructions intended to close the Delaware River to British ships bringing supplies to the enemy garrison in Philadelphia. Two thousand Hessians assaulted the fort on October 22, 1777, but the 400 defenders held firm. The attackers lost their commander and 400 men; the besieged fewer than 50. Fort Mifflin, on the Pennsylvania side, was evacuated a few weeks later after a heavy bombardment, however, making Mercer's position untenable. A 20-acre reserved area includes a monument commemorating the action of October 22 and traces of the fort's moat; also the Whitall House, which dates from the same period. The U.S. Government owns the site, which is administered by the Board of Chosen Freeholders. Gloucester County administers the Whitall House except for two rooms in the charge of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
George Washington's army used the Middlebrook area as a main base andencampmentt in May-June 1777 and from November 1778 to June 1779. The Continentals covered Philadelphia and balked British operations in New Jersey during the earlier period without risking a major engagement, contributing to General Howe's decision to withdraw from New Jersey. The use of Middlebrook as one of several army camps in winter and spring, 1778-79, is an interesting episode of the war. The Washington Camp Ground Association owns a part of the surviving camp area, a 23-acre tract at the north edge of town, at the foot of First Watchung Mountain. The tract includes a small summer cabin used by Girl Scouts, a speaker's stand, and a memorial flagpole.
Colonial authorities began the construction of Trenton Barracks in 1758 because of public resentment over the quartering of soldiers in private homes during the French and Indian War. The structure originally had a main section 130 feet long, and two wings, each 58 feet long. Officers' quarters were added later to the north wing. British, Hessian, and Continental soldiers were housed here at various times during the War for IndependenceHessians, for instance, at the time of Washington's surprise attack in December 1776. The building was sold after the war to private owners, and much was demolished later to provide right-of-way for Front Street, but in 1902 the Old Barracks Association was organized to preserve what remained. The property was given to the State in 1917, although the association continued to administer it. The building is maintained with public funds, and various patriotic and historical groups have furnished the rooms partitioned from the original large barracks rooms.
NHL Designation: 11/28/72
General and Mrs. George Washington lived in Berrien House, which is nearly 225 years old now, in 1783 while Continental Congress met at Princeton. Washington wrote his Farewell Address to the Army in a second-floor room. The house changed hands many times after the war until it was purchased and restored by the Washington Headquarters Association of Rocky Hill. Nearby quarrying operations necessitated removal of the structure to a site about one-quarter mile distant. In 1935 the property was deeded to the State, and in 1956 the house was moved again. At this writing restoration was nearly complete and opening to the public anticipated soon.
General and Mrs. George Washington lived in this house while part of the Continental Army camped at Middlebrook (see pp. 208-209), about 5 miles to the east. The owner, William Wallace, had not completed its construction when the Washingtons moved in. Sullivan's expedition against the Iroquois in 1779 was planned here. The white clapboard house has had no major alteration over the years. It was acquired and furnished by the Revolutionary Memorial Society, and in 1946 was presented to the State of New Jersey as a historic-house museum.
The Proprietory House (Westminster), erected in 1764, was the residence of the last Royal Governor of New Jersey, Benjamin Franklin's son, William. It was also the headquarters of General Howe during the British occupation of Perth Amboy. Soon after the Revolution the interior was destroyed by fire, and during most of the 19th century it served under various ownerships as a resort hotel. The Presbyterian Board of Relief for Disabled Ministers and Widows and Orphans of Deceased Ministers took possession in 1883, naming the structure "Westminster." Since 1911 it has been a roominghouse and has suffered a number of alterations. After several changes of ownership, it has subsequently undergone extensive restoration.
Last Updated: 09-Jan-2005