Bits of SJ: The DE River Region

by R. Cohen | Feb 4, 2008
Bits of SJ: The DE River Region South Jersey’s Delaware River region is rich in history and the revolutionary roots of the United States. From thebustling capital city of Trenton to the majestic beauty of the Delaware River and the untamed wilderness of the Pine Barrens, there's something for everyone in this region of Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer, and Salem counties.

Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville marks the spot where George Washington's troops landed after crossing the Delaware on Christmas night 1776. They then went on to defeat the Hessian garrison at Trenton.

When you stop by the 1758 Old Barracks in Trenton, you'll see firsthand what life was like as a soldier. By the Barracks, you'll also see the 1792 State House with its gleaming dome, refurbished with the help of New Jersey school children. Make sure you visit the newly renovated Trenton War Memorial Theater. This historic site is one of the state's finest concert halls and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Sites. The 1719 House of William Trent, Trenton's founder, is the oldest public accessible building in the city. While you are in the area, visit the New Jersey State Museum and Planetarium.

Princeton Battlefield State Park is the site of Washington's victory over the British in 1777. The White House was almost built here, too! Bet you didn't know that Princeton was the capital of the country in 1783 when the Continental Congress sat in session at Princeton University's Nassau Hall.

Designated a National Reserve in 1978, the Pine Barrens are the state's largest natural wonder. This rich wilderness area covers 1.1 million acres, making it the largest tract of open space east of the Mississippi River! Explore the Pine Barrens' villages, farms, forests, and unique dwarf forests-but watch out for the legendary Jersey Devil at night! Filtered through the Pine Barrens' sand floor are 17 trillion gallons of some of the purest drinking water in the world.

You can find a little bit of the Old West right here in southwestern Jersey at the Cowtown Rodeo in Pilesgrove in Salem County.

Farming played a big part of our history. At the Howell Living History Farm in Titusville, you can see how the farmers of the early 1900s worked the land, and go on a hay ride!

Every October, you can come down for the Cranberry Festival in one of the country's cranberry capitals - Chatsworth in Burlington County. You'll gain a whole new appreciation for passing the cranberries at Thanksgiving!

In Hammonton's Wharton State Forest, you can visit a re-creation of Batsto Historic Village, which was a principal source of ammunition for the American Revolution. Throughout the entire 19th century, this iron-mining and glass-making village continued to produce iron.

Get eye-to-eye with tropical fish, sharks, and seals in their natural settings-without ever getting wet! Just come to the New Jersey State Aquarium in Camden. You may also want to enjoy the sounds of your favorite music artists at the nearby Blockbuster-SONY Music Entertainment Centre. And don't forget the Children's Garden in Camden where you can see dinosaurs and listen to women dressed in authentic 17th-century attire "spin" your kids' favorite fairy tale into a story that will keep them spellbound.

In the late 18th century, an "Underground Railroad" network of safe havens was established to help African-Americans travel north to find freedom from slavery in the southern states. One of the "stops" on this "railroad" was a town in Camden County called Lawnside, the first African-American community to be incorporated as a municipality.

For more South Jersey History, visit our History page.

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