Built in 1893, the Battle Monument commemorates the victory at the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776. An important piece of the Trenton's history, the victory at the Battle of Trenton was pivotal for George Washington and his troops after they famously crossed the frigid Delaware River on Christmas morning.
The monument is part of a larger community park, located in the area known as “Five Points,” where Broad and Warren Streets, and Brunswick, Pennington, and Princeton Avenues meet. Its high vantage point served as a strategic advantage for American artillery and prevented the Hessians from launching counter attacks.
Several notable artists' made contributions to the monument:
John Duncan (architect of President Grant's Tomb), designed the 148-foot column, which is based on "The Monument", a 1671 structure built to commemorate the Great Fire of London.
William O'Donovan, a noted 19th century sculptor of monuments and busts, created the statue of George Washington overlooking Trenton.
Thomas Eakins designed two bronze relief panels depicting "The Continental Army Crossing the Delaware River and "The Opening of the Battle." In order to preserve these panels, the originals have been removed to the State Museum and replicas have been put in their place.
Today, the Battle Monument remains a valuable focal point in Trenton, but the park has suffered from years of neglect. The lack of consistent maintenance, repairs, and fundraising resulted in the park becoming an eye-sore. One-hundred years ago, the public could travel up to the top by elevator and experience a 360-degree view of the city; however, the elevator is currently inoperable and too expensive to safely repair and re-open.
Over the past several years, a renewed momentum has worked to improve the park and monument's condition. In 2015, Friends of the Trenton Battle Monument began to advocate for a long-term vision for the monument's revival, including the re-opening of the observation deck and scheduling of routine clean-ups.
In 2018, the City of Trenton announced that Battle Monument Park would receive $200k in upgrades through funding from NJM Insurance Group, which include fence / curb repairs and tree plantings. A second phase will expand the park's footprint to include areas of the Delaware & Raritan Canal, which flows just to the south.