New Jersey is rife with history. For example, did you know that South Jersey was a part of the Underground Railroad and helped bring slaves to freedom? Or that New Jersey was the third state to ratify the Constitution? Check out our list of 19 Must-See Historic Locations in South Jersey that are not only informational and interesting, but also exciting and fun for the whole family to explore!
1. Air Victory Museum
68 Stacy Haines Road, Lumberton, NJ 08048
The Air Victory Museum is an educational organization dedicated to inspiring today’s youth through the technology and achievements in aviation history. The museum is home to a number of historic aircraft, engines, uniforms, vehicles, and other memorabilia from the first powered flight on December 17, 1903 up until today. They even have their own wind tunnel! Don’t miss Family Night at the Museum on Friday, September 19th from 7-9:30pm!
2. Batsto Village
31 Batsto Road, Hammonton, NJ 08037
Charles Read is credited with building the Batsto Iron Works along the Batsto River in 1776. The area had an abundance of bog ore which could be mined from the area’s streams, and rivers and wood from the area’s forests was harvested for charcoal for smelting the ore. During the Revolutionary War, Batsto manufactured supplies for the Continental Army. The last house was vacated in 1989. Today there are more than forty sites and structures in Batsto Village including the Batsto Mansion, a sawmill, a 19th-century ore boat, a charcoal kiln, ice and milk houses, a carriage house and stable, a blacksmith and wheelwright shop, a gristmill, and a general store. The Visitor Center and Museum are open daily from 9am to 4pm.
3. Battleship New Jersey
62 Battleship Place, Camden, NJ 08103
USS New Jersey is an Iowa-class battleship and was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named after a US state. Battleship New Jersey served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Reactivated once more in the 1980’s as part of the 600-ship Navy program, the Battleship New Jersey was modernized to carry missiles and recommissioned for service. In 1983, she participated in US operations during the Lebanese Civil War. USS New Jersey was decommissioned for the last time in 1991.
4. Burlington County Prison Museum
128 High Street, Mount Holly, NJ 08060
The Burlington County Prison Museum is a National Historic Landmark located in historic Mount Holly. Designed by Robert Mills, one of America’s first native-born and trained architects, the Burlington County Prison was completed in 1811. One of Mills’ first designs as an independent architect, the interior vaulted ceilings of poured concrete, brick, and stone construction made the building virtually fireproof. It was so well constructed that it remained in constant use until 1965.
5. C.A. Nothnagle Log House
406 Swedesboro Road, Gibbstown, NJ 08027
The C.A. Nothnagle Log House (also known as Braman-Nothnagle Log House) is one of the oldest surviving log houses in the United States. The oldest part of the house was built sometime between 1638 and 1643 by Finnish settlers. The cabin is still privately owned and is open for tours by appointment through the current owners Harry and Doris Rink.
6. Dinosaur Discovery Park
Maple Avenue, Haddonfield, NJ
Haddonfield’s Dinosaur Discovery Park is the site where the world’s first near-complete dinosaur skeleton – the Hadrosaurus foulkii- was excavated! Hidden away at the end of a quiet suburban street and not well marked on connecting roads, two historical markers stand in the park. Directly behind the plaques and bench area, the ground drops away into a ravine where the clay-colored water of Hadrosaurus Run can be seen. A short distance downstream is the actual excavation site where the dinosaur bones where found in 1858.
7. Fort Mott State Park
454 Fort Mott Road, Pennsville, NJ 08070
Fort Mott was part of a coastal defense system designed for the Delaware River during the post Civil War modernization period in the late 1800’s. The fortifications seen today at Fort Mott were erected in 1896 in anticipation of the Spanish-American War. Troops were regularly station at Fort Mott from 1897 to 1922. The federal government maintained a caretaking detachment at the fort from 1922 to 1943.
8. Hancock House
3 Front Street, Hancocks Bridge, NJ 08038
The Hancock House is a historic site of the 1778 Hancock’s Bridge Massacre during the Revolutionary War. The house was built in 1734 for Judge William and Sarah Hancock and features a blue glazed brick pattern, which gives the year of construction (1734) and the initials of the couple for whom it was built (W & S). The Hancock House remained in the family until 1931, although the extent to which the house was used as private residence and the property farmed is uncertain. There is evidence to suggest a section of the house was leased for a tavern during the 18th and 19th centuries.
9. Hollybush Mansion
201 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, NJ 08028
In the mid-1800’s, Hollybush Mansion was a notable Victorian home, the estate of the Whitney family and evidence of its success in the glass industry. However on Friday, June 23rd, 1967 and Sunday, June 25th the Hollybush Mansion and the campus of Rowan University (then Glassboro State College) became an epicenter of international news when President Lyndon B. Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin joined together for the Summit at Hollybush – nearly 10 hours of talks that helped quell tensions between the two countries during the height of the Cold War.
10. Indian King Tavern Museum
233 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield, NJ 08033
The Indian King Tavern (also known as the Creighton House or Creighton Tavern) was a colonial American tavern in Haddonfield. It was the site of a 1777 meeting of the New Jersey General Assembly that officially ratified the Declaration of Independence and adopted its Great Seal. It was the first State Historic Site, adopted as such in 1903, and the original structure remains largely intact.
11. Mount Zion AME Church
172 Garwin Road, Woolwich Township, NJ 08085
Built in 1799, the Mount Zion African American Episcopal Church is one of the region’s oldest black churches. The building was an important part of the Underground Railroad from the time of its construction until the beginning of the Civil War. Members of the Mount Zion AME church supported the Underground Railroad and actively provided protection, supplies, and shelter for runaway slaves. It even has a secret crawlspace where runaway slaves once hid. The church is still in use by the congregation.
12. Paulsdale, the childhood home of Alice Paul
128 Hooten Road, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054
Alice Paul was the architect of some of the most outstanding political achievements on behalf of women in the 20th century. Born on January 11, 1885 to Quaker parents in Mount Laurel, NJ, Alice Paul dedicated her life to the single cause of securing equal rights for all women. Founded in 1984 to preserve Alice Paul’s legacy and further her ideals, The Alice Paul Institute purchased her childhood home, Paulsdale, in 1990 and launched the organization’s headquarters. Less than 4% of National Historic Landmarks commemorate the work of a woman, placing Paulsdale in the small group of historic sites that honor the legacy of significant women in American history.
13. Red Bank Battlefield Park/Whitall House
100 Hessian Avenue, National Park, NJ 08063
In 1748, Quakers Ann and James Whitall establish a 400-acre plantation at Red Bank along the Delaware River. This bustling plantation included fruit orchards, a lumberyard, a shad fishery, live stock, and a ferry. Together, Ann and James raised nine children who worked the plantation along with dozens of indentured servants from Ireland, the Netherlands, and Germany. In 1777, the American Revolution interrupted life at Red Bank when American forces constructed Fort Mercer just north of the house. On October 22, 1777 Colonel Christopher Green’s Rhode Island Regiment inflicted heavy losses on Hessian soldiers and the Whitall’s home served as a field hospital. Hundred of Hessian soldiers lost their lives in the battle and were buried just north of the house.
14. Salem City Fire Museum
166 East Broadway, Salem NJ 08079
Salem City is home to the oldest entirely volunteer fire company in New Jersey, founded in 1749. The museum features a collection of historic firefighting equipment including Union’s antique pumper. The museum is open for special events and by appointment.
15. Smithville Mansion
803 Smithville Road, Eastampton, NJ 08060
Smithville Mansion was the home of industrialist, inventor, and entrepreneur Hezekiah B. Smith, a pioneer of the Industrial Revolution. In 1865, he purchased the village of Shreveville for $20,000 and renamed it Smithville. Within five years, H.B. had rebuilt the shops and established a foundry for the production of woodworking machinery. Smithville developed into a model industry town in the 1870’s with many opportunities for the workers and their families to improve themselves.
16. Trinity Episcopal Church
1208 Kings Highway, Swedesboro, NJ 08085
The church, which is now Episcopal, was originally Swedish Lutheran. The current building was constructed in 1785 to replace an earlier 1703 log church, which was in a state of disrepair due to soldiers occupying it during the Revolutionary War. Its minister during the war was Reverend Nicholas Collin, who had been born in Sweden. Collin began preaching at the church on June 3, 1770 and kept a journal filled with interesting details about the effect of the Revolutionary War on himself, his church, and the citizens of Swedesboro.
17. Ulysses S. Grant House
309 Wood Street, Burlington City, NJ 08016
General Ulysses S. Grant brought Mrs. Grant and their children here in 1864 to avoid the physical conflict during the Civil War and they lived here until the war’s end in 1865. On April 14, 1865, Grant and his wife twice declined President Abraham Lincoln and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln’s invitations to attend a play at Ford Theatre. Grant gave as his reason his promise to escort Mrs. Grant to Burlington to be with their children. That night, Lincoln was shot at the theatre, Grant received the stunning news at midnight in Philadelphia, dining while awaiting a ferry to Camden to complete the final leg of his journey home. The General completed the trip with his wife, turned around, and dashed back to Philadelphia in time to catch a 6am special train back to Washington.
18. Underground Railroad Museum
803 Smithville Road, Eastampton, NJ 08060
The Underground Railroad Museum of Burlington County offers visitors a visual presentation of the Underground Railroad experience in America, with emphasis on New Jersey and Burlington County where the Underground Railroad flourished before the Civil War. On display are artifacts dating back from the early 1800s that show the history of slavery and its defeat in a way that is both tragic and heroic.
19. Walt Whitman House
330 Mickle Boulevard, Camden NJ, 08103
The Walt Whitman House was the last residence of American poet Walt Whitman before his death. Whitman purchased this two-story townhouse with six rooms and no furnace for $1,750, which he earned from recent sales of a new edition of Leaves of Grass. In 1882, Oscar Wilde visited Whitman at this home during his yearlong tour of the United States. The home is now operated at a museum and is open to the public.