Historical & Cultural Sites
This is our growing list of Historical and Cultural Sites found in South Jersey.
Located in Cherry Hill and built in 1816 by Joseph Thorn, a Quaker farmer, the “farmhouse and surrounding 32-acre property offers visitors an opportunity to observe and participate in the agrarian lifestyle that once dominated the South Jersey landscape.” Programs offered include the Living History Education Program (winner of the New Jersey Historical Commission’s Education Award), in which in-character guides lead the students through the grounds and let them experience aspects of nineteenth-century daily life such as children’s chores of the period, smithery, and gardening; the Plant-a-Patch Community Gardens, which allows community members to rent, tend, and harvest their own garden plot in the farm fields from April-October; and the Apprentice & Journeyman Enrichment Program, which takes place during Living History Day in September and allows students in grades 5-12 to attend historical crafts and trade workshops as apprentices. Also on their website can be found information about visiting and a calendar of events.
Located in Wharton State Forest and preserved by the Batsto Citizens Committee, Inc., is an eighteenth-century restored iron-making village (founded in 1766 and vacated by the last resident in 1989) and New Jersey Historic Site. On their website can be found pictures and descriptions of the various buildings and historic sites of the village, and information on the Visitor’s Center and Library, events and tours, and related links on NJ history and the Pine Barrens.
This page offers self-guided tours of Revolutionary War sites found in Burlington County, with a Northern Loop (Beverley, Burlington, Bordentown) and a Southern Loop (Mt. Holly, Medford, Batsto).
Burlington County, which had the largest free black population of any NJ county, is home to many African American historical sites, for which this page provides a detailed guide, along with pictures and directions.
The “first recorded settlement in New Jersey ” offers over 44 historic sites to visit in Burlington, the former capital of West Jersey. On this website you can find a listing of these sites with descriptions, photographs, and directions; of note are NJ’s oldest library, pharmacy, fire company and Episcopal Church, NJ’s first recorded African presence, two Underground Railroad sites, the oldest building in the county (Revell House, 1685), and the homes of James Fenimoore Cooper and Capt. James Lawrence. Other features include information on famous people associated with Burlington (religious, military, political, and educational leaders), urban legends (e.g. Benjamin Franklin’s “Gingerbread House,” the flight of Aaron Burr, the Witch’s Tree), a calendar of events, a listing of historic sites found in other county towns, a map of the historic district, self-guided and arranged tours, and information on other attractions and amenities to be found in the town.
The second-oldest lighthouse in NJ (built in 1849), the East Point Lighthouse is located on the Maurice River and was used to guide those entering the river from the Delaware Bay. On this site can be found pictures of the lighthouse, a list of lighthouse keepers, the 1883 Annual Report of the Secretary of War on the improvement of the Maurice River, announcements and schedules, a map of Delaware Bay lighthouses, and lighthouse links.
NJ’s only Victorian house museum, the Emlen Phyisck Estate of Cape May “offers a look back at our Victorian past as evidenced by its architecture, decorative arts, customs, and the lives of one particular Cape May family, the Physicks.” On this page can be found information about guided tours and the estate ghosts.
Designated a national cemetery in 1875, Finns Point National Cemetery of Pennsville, NJ contains the graves of both Union and Confederate Civil War soldiers, many of whom died at Fort Delaware and were originally interred on Pea Patch Island. This page features a history of the cemetery and pictures of cemetery monuments and trails.
Located in Greenwich, NJ, the Gibbon House was built as a replica of a London townhouse in 1730 by Nicholas Gibbon. The house and barn are restored and historically furnished, functioning as museums of daily nineteenth-century life.
Located in Lower Alloways Township the William H. Hancock House was built in 1734 and is “an excellent example of English Quaker patterned end wall brick houses associated with the lower Delaware Valley and Southwestern New Jersey. It was also the scene of a British led masacre during the revolutionary War.” The website also features descriptions of the house architecture and the 1776 massacre, a list of upcoming events, and photos of the house.
Located in North Wildwood, NJ and built in 1874, the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse is architecturally unique, built in the “Swiss Carpenter Gothic”– the only such lighthouse on the East coast, though it has five sister lighthouses on the West — and currently functions as a museum. This website features pictures of the lighthouse and surrounding gardens (containing over 200 different plants) a virtual tour, a history of the lighthouse, information on upcoming events, and links to other NJ historic sites.
Located in Atlantic City, the tallest lighthouse in NJ (and third tallest in the country), the Absecon Lighthouse was first lit in 1857 and placed on NJ’s Register of Historic Places in 1970. The lighthouse features a museum located in a replica of the 1925 Keeper’s House, and contains exhibits on tide water, Johnathan Pitney and Gen. George Meade, shipwrecks, the Fresnel Lens, and other photographs and memorabilia. On their wesbite can be found a timeline of the history of the lighthouse, (current) pictures, a calendar of events, information on educational programs, and links about Atlantic City and other lighthouses.
Located in Cape May, the Historic Cold Spring Village “brings to life the day-to-day activities of villagers living in South Jersey during the ‘age of homespun.’ (1789-1840)” and consists of 30 acres of walking grounds and 26 buildings where guides in period costume interpret the village history for visitors. On their site can be found a map of the village with pictures and descriptions of each building, sample group and individual walking tours, information on student and adult apprenticeships, distance learning programs, nineteenth-century cooking recipes, instructions on how to make a corn husk or hankerchief doll and a kite, a calendar of events, FAQs, village-related news, an online store, and links to local and related sites and attractions.
This section of the Atlantic County Government website lists descriptions and pictures of three historic sites found in Atlantic County: (1) the Bethlehem Loading Company, which constructed a plant for the production of WWI munitions, as well as a railroad for transporting materials and a town (Belcoville) for housing workers; (2) the Estelville Glassworks, a glass factory in operation from 1825-1877, and which consisted of such buildings as the melting furnace, the pot house, the flattening house, the cutting house, lime kiln sites, and workers houses; (3) the Weymouth furnace, which produced shot and bombs for the U.S. government during the War of 1812, and was surrounded by a Pinelands village, a “furnace, forge, gristmill, Methodist church, sawmill, large owner’s mansion, store, 20 workers’ houses, a blacksmith shop, and a wheelwright,” and later replaced by two paper mills in the 1860s. The first two sites are located in Atlantic County Park in Estell Manor; the last, on Route 559, just north of the Black Horse Pike (Route 322).
Located in Allaire State Park (in Monmouth County, technically not South Jersey), the goal of the Historic Village is to “promote historic preservation while educating the general public on life at the Howell Works Company, an early 19th Century iron producing community, and on the life of James Peter Allaire, a prominent 19th Century marine engine manufacturer.” On their website can be found a map of the village; information on the buildings and historic figures of the village, educational programs, their research library, and upcoming events.
Located in Haddonfield, and named for the Lenape Indians, the tavern is a “premiere example of eighteenth-century colonial tavern architecture as well as the site where New Jersey was legally created” — that is, where the New Jersey General Assembly met in 1777 during the Battle of Trenton to ratify the Declaration of Independence and adopt the Great Seal. Their website features descriptions and pictures of rooms (including the “mysterious” cellar); information on current restoration projects, the archaeology of the site, the Lenni Lenape, the role of taverns during the Revolutionary War, Dolly Madison (frequent visitor to the tavern), and the NJ State Seal; and an archive of Tavern news stories.
Located in Margate, Lucy the Elephant, built in 1882, is a six-story building in the shape of an elephant, and the only surviving structure of its kind; the other animal-shaped buildings of its architect, James V. Lafferty, have been demolished. On its website can be found videos about Lucy, an online store, activities for kids, and contact information.
This page on the Lighthouse Friends website offers detailed histories, along with photographs and references, and directions, of all the lighthouses found in New Jersey.
A map of New Jersey on the National Register of Historic Places allows users to search for historic sites by county. For each county a listing of sites is provided, with historic significance, architect, architectural style, area and period of significance, owner, historic function and sub-function, and current function given.
This site lists revolutionary war sites in NJ by county; pictures, a description, and directions are provided for each site.
Part of the NJDEP Parks and Forestry website, this page lists NJ state-owned historic sites with descriptions and contact information.
Set to re-open in 2013 for the 357th anniversary of New Sweden, the farmstead features “seven authentically constructed Scandinavian-American log cabins in beautiful surroundings on approximately 2 acres of open space in Bridgeton’s 1000-acre City Park, with authentic historic tools and objects that tell the story of life in the original colonial settlements of the region.” On their website can be found a history of the farmstead, a photo gallery, and news and links.
The oldest known residence in Lawnside (built circa 1845), the house was owned by Peter Mott, an African-American preacher who was the first Sunday school superintendent at Mount Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church. Now a museum maintained by the Lawnside Historical Society.
Located in Northfield, the homestead is one of two eighteenth-century houses listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was the home of Risley oystermen for generations. Now a museum operated by the Atlantic Heritage Center. On its page can be found directions, contact information, and a history of the house.
This website features histories, descriptions, and photos of abandoned and partially destroyed historic sites in New Jersey by county. Lists are given for six of the eight counties that comprise South Jersey; pages for Ocean and Cape May counties are under construction.
The village, located in Smithville Park in Eastampton Township, is operated by The H.B. Smith Industrial Village Conservancy, “a non-profit organization established to support the Burlington County Freeholders in their efforts to preserve and restore the once thriving village of Smithville, a 19th Century Company Town, and to develop the County Park at Smithville. In addition to its fund-raising activities, the Conservancy works to promote interest in Smithville as an historic, cultural, educational and recreational center.” On their website can be found a history of Smithville, from the pre-colonial period to its present status as a Burlington County park, a self-guided tour and a slideshow of the park’s interpretative signs, FAQs, links to Smithville topics and stories, and a photo gallery.
Located in Tuckerton Creek, Tuckerton Seaport is a “working maritime village” that “brings the Jersey Shore’s maritime traditions of the past and present to life through people, exhibits and hands-on activities.” On their homepage can be found details about upcoming events, while their Exhibits page features information on their current exhibit, a celebration of the ten-year anniversary of the seaport and a history of NJ surfing from the 1940s to the present. Other exhibits include “In the Beginning,” about the founding of the museum, and “Patriot Pirates: Tales of Plunder and Privateers of Coastal NJ” an exhibit on Revolutionary War privateers designed for children. This page also contains a map and key (with descriptions) to the historic buildings along the seaport (e.g. Joe Dayton’s Sawmill, Sea Captain’s House). The page for the Jersey Shore Folklife Center, which “researches, documents, supports and presents the diverse communities and traditions of the Jersey Shore and the Pinelands”; on this page can be found information on carving demostrators, seaport artists, and adult and children’s classes.
On this page of the NJ DEP website can be found photographs and virtual tours of New Jersey state parks and historic sites.
Again under the NJ DEP website, this page provides information on the 1848 Greek-revival house (the only one he ever owned) of Walt Whitman, located in Camden. Among the house collection are “original letters, personal belongings, the bed in which he died, and the death notice that was nailed to the front door have all been preserved, as well as a collection of rare nineteenth-century photographs, including the earliest known image of Whitman – an 1848 daguerreotype.” Their are pages on teaching materials, information for scholars, Walt Whitman’s life in Camden, upcoming events, visiting the house, and links to houses of other American literary figures.
Located in Pemberton, Whitesbog Village is the “birthplace of the cultivated blueberry.” The mission of the Whitesbog Preservation Trust is to “restore, protect and enhance the land, sites, and buildings at Whitesbog and to provide educational and interpretive programs and materials about the history, culture, and natural environment of Whitesbog.” The site features pages on the history of Whitesbog and Elizabeth Fenwick (cultivator of the blueberry), a calendar of events, newsletters (2005-present), a map of the Old Bog nature trail and a driving tour, their General Store, and links to related historical societies and sites.