Once again you can see where General George Washington was headquartered during the harsh winter of 1779-1780 as he plotted the colonies' rebellion against England. After being closed since last October, the Ford Mansion at Morristown National Historical Park is open for tours.
Built between 1772 and 1774 in Morristown, New Jersey, the mansion was the home of Jacob and Theodosia Ford. General Washington occupied it during the Jockey Hollow winter encampment.
For two critical winters of the American Revolution, 1777 and 1779-80, General George Washington chose the Morristown area as the main Continental Army's winter encampment. Because of its strategic location, the area continually served as the military capital throughout the war. During the 1779-1780 Jockey Hollow encampment, over 10,000 soldiers endured the war's most severe winter.
The Ford Mansion was closed while workers installed a fire suppression system. To prepare for the project, the park’s curatorial staff removed the majority of the Ford Mansion’s furnishings and decorative arts pieces. The staff has now refurnished about half of the house, according to a park release.
As crews continue to refurnish the Ford Mansion, visitors on tour of the house throughout the summer will be able to observe a historic preservation and interpretive improvement project in progress.
In addition to the installation of the fire suppression system, work in the house included the staff removing the 1990s wall-to-wall carpeting that was in the main halls and stairwells. The wood floors underneath are now reveled and this allows for a greater understanding by visitors of what the house might have looked like in the late 1700s. In place of the carpeting, the staff laid down clear plastic matting to protect the floors.
Tours of the Ford Mansion are offered daily and begin in the adjacent 1930s Washington's Headquarters Museum located at 30 Washington Place, Morristown, New Jersey. The museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and includes three exhibit galleries, an introductory video, a PowerPoint presentation of the furnished house and a free color- illustrated souvenir booklet of the Ford Mansion's interior.
During this transition phase with the ongoing improvement projects, the Ford Mansion tour schedules are subject to change. Please call 973-539-2016 x 210 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. for the most up-to-date information regarding tour schedules.
While the fire suppression system has been installed, work continues outside the mansion as crews install a new waterline to the house. That work is expected to be finished late this fall.
The fine print: The entrance fee to the Washington’s Headquarters Museum, which includes the Ford Mansion tours, is $4 per person, age 16 and older. Federal Recreation Passports are honored. There is no admission fee at Jockey Hollow.