Historical Gingerbread, Two Ways

Washington Crossing Historic Park historical interpreters will bake gingerbread during Washington’s birthday party on February 16. To see them in action, stop into the Hibbs House in the Historic Village during the celebration, which runs from noon to 4 PM. Gingerbread’s history dates back to medieval times, when it was thought to be medicinal cure for “coughs and infirmities of the lungs.” Medieval gingerbread would hardly be recognizable to us today as its main sweetener was honey rather than molasses. Gingerbread was popular in the colonial era, too. Early 18th-century recipes commonly called for the addition of caraway and anise seeds, as Read More

What Happened to the Captured Hessians?

About 900 Hessian soldiers and officers were taken prisoner by General Washington and the Continental Army following the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776. Have you ever wondered what happened to them? Washington and his troops wasted little time moving their new prisoners away from the scene of the battle, says Pat Seabright, a historical interpreter at Washington Crossing Historic Park. That afternoon and into the night, they were marched north and crossed the river to McConkey’s Ferry Inn—the place where the crossing began on Christmas Day. “It was quite the ordeal,” Seabright says. “For one, the snow from Read More

A Proposal For the History Books

You may have dropped the ring, too. After all, not everyone proposes marriage with General George Washington and his staff looking on…and with a TV cameraman filming you…and on Christmas Day. That was the situation Calvin H. found himself in at the 67th annual Christmas Day crossing reenactment at Washington Crossing Historic Park. It was just as he’d planned it…more or less. “I thought, ‘I’ll do this at the crossing, it’ll be nonchalant, maybe someone will take our picture, maybe I’ll get some reenactors to stand with me,’” Calvin says. “It turned out to be a little bigger than I Read More

Let’s Draw George Washington!

Help George Washington celebrate his 288th birthday! Washington Crossing Historic Park (PA) invites artists 12 and younger to enter the first-ever Let’s Draw George Washington contest. What Should I Draw? First, draw a picture of George Washington. You can draw Washington at any age, in any historical situation. Or give him a brand-new portrait that could be hung in an art gallery. Be creative! Washington himself and Washington Crossing Historic Park staff will evaluate all entries. Please note that we’re looking for drawings that can be framed and displayed on a wall, not three-dimensional artwork. How Do I Enter? When Read More

What Happened After the Ten Crucial Days?

Understandably, much of the attention around this time of year is focused on the crossing and The Ten Crucial Days, the period surrounding the crossing that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War. But the war didn’t end then and there. So what happened in the days and weeks immediately following the military campaign? After the Second Battle of Trenton, George Washington and his troops withdrew from Trenton and, overnight, marched to Princeton, where they defeated the British and Hessian forces. Their victory in the Battle of Princeton, their third and last of The Ten Crucial Days, occurred on January Read More

The New Challenge Coins Are Here!

The Hugh Mercer Challenge Coin can be purchased in the Visitor Center gift shop. Cost is $17.76, including tax. Washington Crossing Historic Park’s 2019 Challenge Coin is available now. The new coin features Brigadier General Hugh Mercer, who was mortally wounded during the Ten Crucial Days at the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777. The coin’s design is based on a pencil sketch drawn in 1781 by John Trumbull, who used Mercer’s son, Hugh Jr., as a model. The Continental Congress appointed Mercer a Brigadier General in June 1776. Like other officers, he watched his militia command evaporate thanks Read More

2020 Lecture Series: Colonial Life Before and After the Crossing

Instead of a single, straightforward narrative about life before and after the Christmas night crossing in 1776, imagine it as a mosaic, each piece a different perspective. That’s how park curator Kimberly McCarty says she approaches the park’s annual lecture series. “With every one of these lectures, we’re shining a light on different parts of the larger interpretation,” she explains. This year’s lecture series begins on April 19 with Matthew Costello, senior historian of the White House Historical Association. His new book, The Property of the Nation: George Washington’s Tomb, Mount Vernon, and the Memory of the First President, explores the evolution of Read More

Christmas in the Colonies

Images from woodcuts and paintings depict English decorators using sprigs of holly in tavern and store windows; mistletoe, vases or greenery with red berries on the mantel at home; garlands around portraits and stuck to walls; small branches of holly or greens stuck around the kitchen; churches strewn with fresh-scented greenery; and tables set with elaborate fruit pyramids, nuts and sweetmeats. But the Christmas decor we know and love today would have been quite unusual for Washington’s troops and their families. In fact, many early American colonists didn’t celebrate Christmas or decorate for the holiday at all. The myth of Read More

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