A National Historical Park commonly extends beyond single properties or buildings, whereas a National Historic Site contains a single historical feature that was directly associated with its subject.
The first National Historical Park in America is Morristown National Historical Park which was established in 1933. Although it does not contain the oldest historical properties in America, it was the first to be designated as a National Historic Park.
The U.S. National Park Service recognizes it as America's first national historical park. The State of New Jersey defines it as America's first National Historical Park. The Morris County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) describes it as America’s first national park.
Morristown National Historical Park commemorates the sites of General Washington and the Continental army’s winter encampment of December 1779 to June 1780, where they survived through what would be the coldest winter on record. The park also maintains a museum & library collection related to the encampments & George Washington, as well as items relating to pre- and post-Revolutionary America.
Morristown National Historical Park is on 1,676 acres, including a three-mile tour road, 24 miles of hiking trails, a visitor center, 18th century farm and several reconstructed soldier huts. Tours, special events and re-enactments are held throughout the year.
The park is home to Gen. George Washington's Headquarters (Ford Mansion), Fort Nonsense and Jockey Hollow. During two critical winters of the Revolutionary War, 1777 and 1779-80, the countryside in and around Morristown sheltered the main encampments of the American Continental Army.
The National Park Service preserves sites in the Morristown area occupied by the Continental Army and interprets the history and subsequent commemoration of these encampments and the extraordinary fortitude of the officers and enlisted men under Washington's leadership. Washington twice chose Morristown due to its strategic location, including proximity to New York City, defensible terrain, important communication routes, access to critical resources and a supportive community.
The park encompasses ground occupied by the army during the vast 1779-80 encampment and the site of the fortification from the 1777 encampment. The Ford Mansion, where Washington made his headquarters, is an important feature of the park and recalls civilian contributions to the winning of independence.
In 2023 Morristown National Historical Park celebrated its 90th anniversary. President Herbert Hoover’s March 2, 1933 signing of the legislation created the park. As the nation's first national historical park, Morristown occupies a unique position within the 420+ strong national park system.
Morristown National Historical Park is an important site for understanding the sacrifices made by the Continental Army during the American Revolution and the pivotal role this location played in the country's struggle for independence. It is open to the public, allowing visitors to explore the historic sites, museums, and scenic landscapes that make up this significant historical park.
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Related Topic: First National Historic Site in America