celebrating a sense of place

Be a Visitor in Your Backyard

By Leslie Bensley, Executive Director, Morris County Tourism Bureau


Morris County is home to some of the most distinguished historic attractions in the northeast and perhaps the entire USA.  We are the birthplace of the telegraph, a force in the American arts and crafts movement and a major contributor to the success of the American Revolutionary War!  Morris County boasts three-centuries of American history that are set among scenic country roads and quaint townships which create a string of pearls that is worthy of a visit. So this autumn why not explore these American treasures in your own backyard?  In fact – bring the family!


Historic Speedwell: This eight-acre National Historic Landmark has established its place in world history several times over. It was here in 1838, at the start of the Industrial Revolution, that Samuel F.B. Morse and Alfred Vail demonstrated a perfected electromagnetic telegraph to the public. The Factory Building (“The Birthplace of the Telegraph”) is now a three-story, interactive telecommunications museum. Stephen Vail, proprietor of the Speedwell Iron Works from the early to mid-1830s, completely renovated his family estate in 1844. The home’s original furnishings, period antiques and artwork make it easy for visitors to picture the Vail family’s life back then.

The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms: This 30-acre National Historic Landmark is the centerpiece of Gustav Stickley’s early 20th century country estate. “The Log House,” as it came to be known, is one of the most significant landmarks of the American Arts and Crafts movement. The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms has been restored it to its original 1911 appearance, and it now serves as a historic house museum.

Morristown National Historical Park :  Consisting of four non-contiguous areas: Washington’s Headquarters, Fort Nonsense, Jockey Hollow, and the New Jersey Brigade Area (which includes the Cross Estate and Gardens, it is here that General George Washington and Alexander Hamilton were headquartered at the Ford Mansion for two hundred days during the difficult winter and spring of 1780. In 1933, this unit became the first National Historical Park in the United States.  Children can experience the newly opened Discover History Center that boasts many interactive opportunities.

To learn about these sites and more – go to morristourism.org or call us (973) 631-5151