One of the many things i love about New Jersey is its rich history. One of the most historic and nationally significant locations is the Sandy Hook lighthouse and Fort Hancock.


This is located out on the tip of Sandy Hook, which is a national park. I live fairly close to Sandy Hook, while the beaches are busy on summer weekends, I like to drive out there during the off season. It's so serene and what I love about it is you can actually "feel" this history of the fort and lighthouse.

YouTube via The Mickey Shuffle
YouTube via The Mickey Shuffle ( Fort Hancock)

The history of Fort Hancock goes back to its construction in 1857 all the way till the construction  ceased in 1867 during the Civil War. The Fort was built to protect New York and the original footings and a wall on the fort were built in 1764 when the colony of New York built  the Sandy Hook lighthouse to assist navigation. This wall was built around the lighthouse.

Deer at Sandy Hook at the Gateway National Recreation Area
Deer at Sandy Hook at the Gateway National Recreation Area (National Park Service)

They eventually extended it making what we now know as Fort Hancock. In early 1776 Sandy Hook peninsula was easily captured by the British in June. When the continental army tried to penetrate the walls to get to the lighthouse they failed due to the strength of the fort walls infrastructure.

The fort and lighthouse became so important as large ships had to hug the Sandy Hook shore because of the deep dark waters using the light to help see on their journey. Also for protection from the enemy as the fort added gun turrets to thwart off any possible attack to United States soil.

Superstorm-Sandy Hook
AP (A Tour of The Fort/Light House)

For me to adequately to give you more on the history of Fort Hancock and the Lighthouse I would have to write a small novel. Take your family to see the lighthouse and take a tour of one of the most significant locations in our nation's history.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM