Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of Northern Early America

Picture of Fort Nonsense

1777 (Now Reconstructed). Continuing from the south end of Court Street is a road leading upward into the Fort Nonsense area of the park. There, at the top of a steep hill (the northern terminus of Mount Kemble), visitors may see a restored earthwork originally built at Washington's order in 1777.

How the name "Fort Nonsense" came into being is unknown. It does not appear in any available written record before 1833, nor has anyone yet authenticated the oft-repeated story that the Commander in Chief's reason for constructing this work was merely to keep the American troops occupied and out of mischief. Washington's real intention is disclosed by an order of May 28, 1777, issued as the Continental Army moved to Middlebrook (p. 11). In this he directed Lt. Col. Jeremiah Olney to remain behind at Morristown, and with his detachment "and the Militia now here . . . Guard the Stores of different kinds . . . Strengthen the Works already begun upon the Hill near this place, and erect such others as are necessary for the better defending of it, that it may become a safe retreat in case of Necessity." Other orders confirm the conclusion that Fort Nonsense was actually built to serve a very practical purpose.

As years passed, the original lines of this earthwork gradually crumbled away. Their present appearance is the result of research and physical restoration work completed by the National Park Service in 1937.

Operating Hours & Seasons

Daily, Year-round: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p. m. Park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

Entrance Fees



$4.00 - 7 Days
$15.00 - Annual


Annual Park Pass

Getting There

Closest major airport is Newark International Airport, located near Newark, NJ


Morristown is located along interstate 287 in New Jersey. Traveling south on 287, exit 36. Traveling north on 287, exit 36A.

Public Transportation

The New Jersey Transit-Morris & Essex Rail lines run from Penn Station, NY to Hoboken & Newark lines in NJ to Morristown, NJ.

Getting Around

There are over 27 miles of foot and horse trails in the Jockey Hollow area of the park. Color coded trail maps are available in the Jockey Hollow Visitor Center. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on all trails. The Jockey Hollow Unit of the park offers an automobile tour (2-mile loop) road.

Communities and Related Links
National Park Service
Morristown, NJ
Morris County Visitors Center

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