2008 Fort Hancock Days at Sandy Hook

Searchlight at Sandy Hook, Gateway National Recreation Area.
World War II military re-enactors will lead nighttime tours of Battery Gunnison. An 800 million candle power 1942 Sperry searchlight will again luminate the ocean.

File Photo

The National Park Service will hold its annual Fort Hancock Days celebration on Saturdayevening, October 25 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sunday, October 26 from noon to 4 p.m. to commemorate the establishment of the U.S. Army facility on Sandy Hook in 1895.

Volunteer living historians from the Army round Forces Association will be uniformed asWorld War II era coast artillery solders, and will man Battery Gunnison on Saturday night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. As a special treat, representatives from Fort Mott State Park will be here, too, with their 800 million candle power 1942 Sperry searchlight to provide illumination of the ocean.

On Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m., the Army Ground Forces Association members will be conducting tours of Battery Gunnison including demonstrations on how the big 6-inch guns were fired. Their restoration of the gun battery focuses on the vital roll the U.S. Army’s Coast Artillery played in defending U.S. harbors and coastlines during World War II.

On Sunday, visitors should stop by the Fort Hancock Museum to pick up a program that lists the day’s events, activities that include walking tours of the Fort Hancock historic district and tours inside buildings that are not normally open to the public. All tours will end with refreshments at

History House, a restored home along Officers Row that contains period furnishings from the 1940s. Members of the 102nd Cavalry, a World War II re-enactment group, will have a display set up adjacent to the house. A World War II Jeep will also be on display.

From noon to 2 p.m. at History House, Sandy Hook /National Park Service Historian Tom Hoffman will be signing copies of his book, Images of America: Fort Hancock.

Both Battery Potter and the Nike Missile Radar Site will be open for tours from noon to 4 p.m.

The Sandy Hook Lighthouse and Keepers Quarters will be open from noon until 5 p.m. Lighthouse tours are first-come, first-served, and children must be 48 inches tall to climb the tower.

The Roseland Amateur Radio Club will be set up on the Lighthouse grounds to demonstrateshortwave radio communications.

Salt Marsh Walk

Nature lovers can also join rangers for a Salt Marsh Walk on Saturday, October 25. Meet at

Parking Area L at Horseshoe Cove at 2 p.m. Find out why even animals that don’t live in salt marshes need the marshes.

Information on the park and a calendar of fall programs is available at the Sandy Hook Visitor Center, open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Visitor Center can be reached at 732-872-5970. A complete list of programs is also available on the web at www.nps.gov.

Sandy Hook is located off Route 36, twelve miles east of Garden State Parkway Exit 117.


Last updated: February 26, 2015

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