Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sandy Hook ~ The History

I went to Sandy Hook for the birds and wildlife...but if you read
August for Dummies
I'm sure you learned there was little to be found.
I did find a wealth of History that was so interesting that
I got caught up in it and loved everything about it

My husband was all into the gun batteries .. the war history ..

the BIG guns.. this baby weighs 19 tons and can launch an
artillery shell that is 16" in diameter weighing in at 2000 lbs.
Isn't that unbelievable?

click if you want to read about this amazing Big Gun

The Sandy Hook Lighthouse is the oldest in the US.
Built in 1764 and has been a beacon for ships approaching
Lower New York Harbor for more than 2 centuries.

Amazing fact: When built in 1764 the lighthouse stood just
500 feet from the tip of Sandy Hook. Ocean currents moved
sand up the coast, extending the tip, so by 1864 the lighthouse
stood 4000 feet from the tip. It now stands about one and one half
MILES from the northern end of Sandy Hook.
Which made me ask before I read this fact...why is
the lighthouse in the middle of land and far from the water.

It was a very humid day and hazy but if you look you can
see New York sky scape in the distance.
The U.S Army first fortified Sandy Hook during the War of
1812. Just a century ago Fort Hancock and its gun batteries
were built to defend the harbor and protect
NY City from attack by sea. During WW II Ft. Hancock
housed 10,000 to 12,000 men and women.

Officer's Row was made up of 18 buildings. Stately, buff brick
and perhaps the most outstanding architectural features among
all of the structures at Ft. Hancock. The houses cost between $7,100
and $12,000 depending upon the floor plans. The yellow brick
came from Clearfield, PA.

While most military houses face toward a parade ground, these
faced toward the bay to take advantage of the scenic view. And
what a view... Many a beautiful sunset could be viewed from
the spacious front porches.

"History House" was designated House Number 1 and built as a
lieutenant's quarters.

As I opened the extra large door and entered I was immediately
transported back to 1943. The Parlor was off to my right
and I could hear big band 40's music coming from the
tall wooden radio in the corner.

My father in law actually had one of these radios and played
it in the basement when he was down there working.

On top of the radio you could see old framed
photographs in black and white.

A desk stood out of the way complete with a pen, pad
and a desire to sit right down and write a letter.

An old fashioned round mirror was mounted above the
fireplace.. The house was heated with 5 coal burning
fireplaces and a coal burning furnace.

The piano stood in the opposite corner from the desk and
had many old sheets of music standing there ready to
be played. Many family photographs stood as witness
to the era and all that happened in this house.

As I crossed the hall and entered the dining room I was greeted
by another fireplace graced by candlesticks and an old
framed painting.

The dining room held the tools for entertaining...
thus was the requirement for an officer's career
advancement, making the wife's role critical.

On a tea cart stands the silver for just an occasion

The glass punch bowl and cups stand nearby as well
flanked by candles to be lit

The dining room connected to the kitchen via a butler's
pantry . The cupboards were filled with antique dishes
and 'things' that just took me back in time.

See if you recognize any of these 'things'...or was it before
your time?

I still have one of these pink flowered dishes which
belonged to my grandmother.

The kitchen was yellow, clean and inviting ...
stunningly decorated in white and trimmed in red

The coffee pot on the stove was all set to be perked
and a pot ready for cooking

Below the white metal cabinets a bread box no doubt
houses the home made bread and rolls

Another standing cupboard in the kitchen holds the
green depression ware dishes... I too have one of
these from my grandmother. She had a similar
cabinet and the green cups hung just like this one.

Recognize the bakers cocoa can?

Up the wide staircase and across the landing you see the sewing
room. A curtain and a dress hangs ready to be finished.

The treadle sewing machine which is powered
by the lady of the house using her feet

Off to the left facing the bay is a young boys room. A handmade
wooden train is on the rug and chenille bedspread and
curtains grace the windows. If you click you might see
the old phonograph in the case with the lid up. A braided rug
lies on the tongue-and-groove hardwood floors.

Towards the back of the house is a baby's room. I would
bet a girl ...as a dolly is in the baby crib next to the
small wooden bed

A nice breeze is blowing through the open window
where mother could sit and rock the baby in the
dated wooden rocker.

The Master Bedroom faced the bay and was full of things
I wanted to inspect and touch.. A home made two piece
swim suit was draped on the bed.

When looking out the very tall windows.....

This is what greeted you each morning and evening...

Family life at Fort Hancock was not much different than life in
any other community. Children went to the post school, mother
managed the household, and father worked for the military. For
over 75 years officers came and went from these quarters.
Eventually the fort became part of the Sandy Hook Unit
of Gateway Nation Recreation Area in 1975.

To God be The Glory ~~ Great Things He Hath Done

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