Sandy Hook Places

Historic Photo of Fort Hancock Parade Ground
Fort Hancock Main Post (now called Fort Hancock Historic Post).


Small peninsula, rich in history

For centuries, the safest way to sail into New York Harbor was by hugging the shore of Sandy Hook, where the water was deepest. This six mile peninsula had an outsize influence on the safety of the harbor and the defense of New York City. From its days as a British colony and outpost to the era of nuclear missiles, Sandy Hook lighted the paths of seafarers and protected New Yorkers from potential attack and invasion. Since the Federal government completed purchase of the entire peninsula in 1814, it was spared the commercial development that dominates much of the New Jersey coast. In 1982, the Sandy Hook peninsula was designated as the Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark.


Sandy Hook Places

  • Sandy Hook Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters
    Sandy Hook Lighthouse

    The Sandy Hook Lighthouse has been lighting the way for more than 250 years

  • Historic photo of Sandy Hook proving ground building
    Sandy Hook Proving Ground

    Between 1874 and 1919 the U.S. Army tested new weapons at the Sandy Hook proving ground

  • Aerial shot of Fort Hancock Parade Ground
    Fort Hancock

    Fort Hancock protected the New York Harbor from invasion by sea. The yellow brick buildings were mainly constructed between 1890-1910.


Dig deeper

Military history enthusiasts can check out the New York-Philadelphia Coastal Artillery system (1944), which included Sandy Hook. The file is very large and takes time to download. Study 1935 Army maps of all the forts which are now part of Gateway: Hancock, Wadsworth and Tilden. You can also find out more about Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark and read the national historic landmarks nomination for Fort Hancock and the Sandy Hook Proving Ground.

The history of Highlands as a recreational beach resort overlaps areas which are now part of the national park. The impressive structures of Highlands Beach as a Jersey Shore destination exist today only in postcards.

Last updated: December 23, 2020

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