PHOTO: As part of the Battery Lewis restoration project at Hartshorne Woods Park, an historic gun barrel from the USS New Jersey will arrive this March, similar to the one that once stood at this site during World War II.
HIGHLANDS, NJ - It’s history in the making at the Rocky Point section of Hartshorne Woods Park, Highlands. The Monmouth County Park System is restoring Battery Lewis, once part of the Navesink Military Reservation during World War II, and the only battery of its kind in New Jersey. On or about March 12-16, a 68-foot long, 120 ton, 16-inch caliber World War II gun barrel will be delivered to the location.
Designed as part of the nation’s modernization of its coastal defenses, the Navesink Military Reservation was built in 1942 as part of the Harbor Defenses of New York. After World War II the guns were removed, as were many of the other structures. Still standing today are Battery Lewis, the smaller Battery 219, the stand-alone Plotting-Switchboard Room, and four Fire Control Stations. The entire 224-acre base became part of HartshorneWoodsPark as a result of two transfers of surplus land from the U.S. Government to MonmouthCounty.
PHOTO: Highlands Military Reservation, Battery 116 (Battery Lewis), Gun emplacement #1, photo by John Stanton 13 Aug 2010.
In 2014, the former Navesink Military Reservation was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. Plans for the battery restoration are in progress, and construction will begin this spring. Once restoration is complete, visitors will be able to walk from one end of the 600-foot long battery to the other, exploring various rooms and learning through exhibits and guided tours about Battery Lewis and the historic coastal defenses of the United States. Funding for the project comes in part from the Friends of the Parks.
A key part of the restoration of this historic property is the display of a 16-inch Navy gun barrel at the original location of the guns in the battery. Originally mounted on the USS New Jersey during World War II and donated by the U.S. Navy to the Park System for permanent display, the gun barrel is traveling by rail from Norfolk, Virginia to Red Bank, where it will be offloaded to a truck for transport to HartshorneWoodsPark. At the park location it will be unloaded with a crane into its temporary position next to Battery Lewis. Once restoration of the gun barrel is complete, it will then be moved to its permanent display location in the battery casemate.
For more information on the Battery Lewis project, visit www.monmouthcountyparks.com and click on HartshorneWoodsPark under the Parks tab, or call the Park System at 732-842-4000. For persons with hearing impairment, the TTY/TDD number is 711. The Monmouth County Park System, created in 1960 by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, is MonmouthCounty’s Open Space, Parks, and Recreation agency.