Trenton Spotlight
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TRENTON BATTLE MONUMENT

  • North Broad Street, Warren Street, and Brunswick Avenue, Pennington Avenue, and Princeton Avenue
  • Trenton, NJ
  • Artwork Creator: John H. Duncan, designer; William Donovan, Thomas Eakins, and Charles H. Niehaus, sculptors
  • Hours: Any
  • Access: Open to public, elevator currently not working
  • Sponsor/Project: n/a
  • Project Date: 1891-1893

“The Trenton Battle Monument commemorates the American victory at the first battle of Trenton, NJ, which occurred on December 26, 1776. It is located in an area of the city known as ‘Five Points.’ It was here, at the intersection of North Broad Street, Warren Street, and Brunswick, Pennington and Princeton Avenue, that the American artillery was placed. From this vantage point, the artillery dominated the streets of Trenton, preventing the Hessian troops from organizing an effective counter attack.

The victory at Trenton was a strategic, as well as a military success. It also served to boost the morale of a dwindling and dispirited Continental Army and to galvanize the resolve of those Americans who still believed in America’s war for independence. The significance of the patriots’ victory at Trenton was not forgotten in the ensuing years. Three years after the battle, colonial secretary of state for King George III, Lord Germain, told Parliament ‘all our hopes were blasted by that unhappy affair at Trenton.’

The TRENTON BATTLE MONUMENT was designed by JOHN H. DUNCAN, architect of President Grant's Tomb. It is a triumphal column of granite 148 feet high. Considered to be an early example of the Beaux Arts style, it is a Roman Doric column with a large base John H. Duncan decorated with acanthus leaves. The capital has a ring of stars crowned by an observation platform with a railing. Above the platform is a circle of 13 electric lights, representing the 13 original colonies.

The column is surmounted by a small round pavilion that features a pedestal with a STATUE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON, right arm outstretched, pointing toward the site of his victory. This statue and THE TWO BRONZE STATUES OF CONTINENTAL SOLDIERS that flank the entrance, were made by WILLIAM O'DONOVAN, a noted 19th century sculptor of monuments, busts and bas. Three sides of the William R. O'Donovan monuments base are adorned with cast bronze plaques.

TWO OF THE PLAQUES were made by THOMAS EAKINS, an important 19th century painter, and the third by CHARLES H. NIEHAUS, a sculptor from New York City. The plaques depict Washington's army crossing the Delaware River, the opening of the Battle of Trenton, and the surrender of the Hessians. In order to preserve these plaques, the originals have been removed to the state museum and reproductions have been put in their place. A memorial inscription is on the fourth side of the monument.” – New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection – Parks and Forestry

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