Old Barracks, Trenton
1758 - 1759

The Old Barracks, located in Trenton, New Jersey, date back to colonial times in America. The Barracks were constructed in 1758 during the French and Indian War in response to complaints lodged by the citizens of Trenton, who were upset about the forced quartering of British troops in their homes. The Barracks were constructed in conjunctions with other barracks located in Elizabeth, Perth Amboy, New Brunswick, and Burlington.

George Washington and his Continental Army attacked Trenton in 1776 and routed over 1,400 Hessian soldiers who were located in and around the city. From 1777 to 1781, the Continental Army used the Barracks as a military hospital. The hospital was set up and run by Dr. Bodo Otto, whose house in Mickleton appears elsewhere on this web site. (See

After the end of the Revolutionary War, the Barracks were sold, repaired, and later whitewashed. The building faced many threats throughout the 1800s, including the demolition of a forty-foot structure that had been located in the center of the Barracks. A group of patriotic women purchased the south wing of the Barracks and opened it up as the first Old Barracks Museum in 1902. Finally, in 1917, the State of New Jersey purchased the site, began a complete restoration, and later opened the entire site as a museum. (Ryan Williams)

Old Barracks, 1758-1759, Barrack Street, Trenton. Photograph by Dan Beards.

Old Barracks, 1758-1759, Barrack Street, Trenton. Photograph by Dan Beards.

An extensive renovation of the Barracks took place in the late 1990s. The museum staff now includes re-enactors dressed in Hessian uniforms. The first floor includes a gift shop located to the left and a dining area on the right. The upstairs includes two bedrooms fitted in Revolutionary War décor, a general’s office, and an open room with a modern television and VCR. There are information panels throughout, describing the history of the Barracks to visitors. The museum runs many programs throughout the year, including a re-enactment of the Battle of Trenton, with the Barracks serving as the place of preparation for the troops. (Ryan Williams)

References: (see link below). (see link below).

Library of Congress web site:

About the Authors | Essential Bibliography | NJ Museums & Collections | Acknowledgments