In the frigid, pre-dawn hours of Christmas morning 1776, General George Washington embarked upon his famous crossing of the Delaware River, surprising the Hessians in Trenton, scoring a major victory for the Continental Army in the First Battle of Trenton.
This single event was a pivotal moment in the American Revolution as it turned the tide of the war, making Trenton the crossroads of the American Revolution.
This historical event left an indelible imprint on the history of our state capital, which is still visible in the numerous historical sites and memorials found throughout the city.
Some of the oldest and most historic sites in Trenton are the old Masonic Temple, the William Trent House, the Old Barracks and the Friends Meeting House and cemetery.
The old Masonic Temple, located on Barracks Street, was built in 1793 and now serves as a visitor center and home of Greater Trenton.
The William Trent House, located on Market Street, played a prominent role in the revolutionary war and has served as a Governor’s Mansion. It was opened to the public as a museum in 1939 and is on the National Register of Historic Places and Landmarks.
The Old Barracks, located in the State House Historic District, functioned as both a barracks and a hospital during the revolutionary war. Today it is a living museum, offering a variety of activities throughout the year to history enthusiasts of all ages.
Another historical site of great interest is the Trenton Society of Friends Meeting House and its cemetery. Built in 1739, the meeting house was occupied by the Hessians, British and the Americans at different times during the war. Buried in the adjacent cemetery are several prominent citizens from that era, including George Clymer, signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
While a number of the homes and buildings from that era are no longer standing, commemorative plaques can be found throughout the city, identifying historical sites and explaining its significance in the revolutionary war.
Trenton celebrates its rich and vibrant history during Patriots Week, when history comes alive. This annual event is held from December 26-December 31, attracting thousands of visitors who come to experience Trenton’s role in our country’s fight for freedom.
Everything from walking tours, lectures, battle re-enactments and a colonial ball make up this event. It is a memorable celebration that honors Trenton’s place in American history as the crossroads of the American Revolution.