It has 500 years of history — going back to the 1520s when Giovanni da Verrazzano became the first European to explore our “Jersey Shore.”
To me it will always be Sandy Hook, but others know it as Fort Hancock (the US Army and historians) or the Gateway National Recreation Area (the National Park Service and 2 million summer visitors).
I find that its natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere can cure almost any case of the blues. Have a look at these images and then go see for yourself. And I’m always looking for more Sandy Hook-related photos. If you have anything interesting to share please contact me HERE.
Old US Life-Saving Service Station on Sandy Hook, 2021. First opened in 1894, it later served as the National Park Service visitor’s center before 2012 Superstorm Sandy damage.
Post Hospital at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook, 1950s. Designed by Stanford White in 1899, the building later became the Sandy Hook Marine Laboratory building. It burned in 1985.
Rough surf off Sandy Hook, November 2021.
“Battery Gunison” at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook postcard. In the background is the NYC skyline.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse keeps watch on Officer’s Row, 2021. For 75 years, Fort Hancock served as the primary defense for New York City — then America’s largest metro area and top port.
Long Line — Fort Hancock Officer’s Row, 2021. Beginning in 1896, a total of 18 buff brick officer’s quarters were built along Sandy Hook Bay
Post Hospital at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook, 1940s.
US Army troops at their Fort Hancock barracks, 1940. First garrisoned in March 1898, the fort was decommissioned in 1974.
Officer’s Row houses on Sandy Hook, 2021.
Old Fort Hancock entrance gate, 1950s.
Fort Hancock front gate entrance, 1940s.
Fort Hancock Trestle Guardhouse, 1909 (Thomas Smedley Photo).
Sandy Hook entrance, 2020 (Thomas Minton Photo). Our national park at the beach.
NIKE Missile display on Sandy Hook, 2021. When Installation was complete in 1959, the fort had an operational anti-aircraft missile system. All top-secret. Project Nike was developed at Bell Labs in 1945.
Nike Hercules missiles at Fort Hancock in firing position, 1960s. For Fort Hancock 24 missiles could reach speeds of 1,700 mph in under 4 seconds while carrying a 20-kiloton Nuclear warhead. “Nike” was the Greek goddess of victory.
Officer’s Row in winter, 2010s. The last official solider to leave Sandy Hook was in May 1953.
Officer’s Row houses in decline, 2021.
Old Sandy Hook lifeguard’s barracks, 2020.
Past & Present — Fort Hancock Radio Station building.
Fort Hancock Chapel on Sandy Hook, 2021 (Matthew Aberle Photo).
Fort Hancock Chapel, built in 1941.
Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook, 1930s. In 1937, the fort became a test spot for the Signal Corps — leading the way to radar development.
Fort Hancock filling station, built in 1936.
An Osprey sits atop an old Sandy Hook building, 2021.
A breezy Fall afternoon on Sandy Hook, November 2021.
Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook Unit, 1980s.
Post Chapel at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook, 1940.
Blacksmith’s Shop at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook, 1909.
Sandy Hook State Park postcard, 1960s.
Movie star Lana Turner visits Fort Hancock soldiers on Sandy Hook, November 1941. A popular model and film actress, she died in 1995.
Fort Hancock coastal defense gun — “largest in the world,” 1909. Its target range was 20 miles.
Post Hospital at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook, early 1900s.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 1960s. The Eastpointe high-rise condo in Highlands is in the background.
Mortar Battery at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook, 1909.
YMCA building at Fort Hancock, 1907.
Guard House at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook, 1909.
Western Union and Postal Telegraph Towers on Sandy Hook, 1919.
Battalion formation at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook, 1907.
Fort Hancock Ordnance Barracks, 1915.
US Weather Bureau and US Coast Guard Station on Sandy Hook, 1931.
Surfing with a view on Sandy Hook, August 2021.
Sandy Hook looking south to Highlands and Sea Bright, 1910s (John Schneider Photo).
“New fort near Sandy Hook, at the entrance to the Bay of New York.” 1865 (N.Y. Public Library Photo).
“After the Equinotial, off Sandy Hook.” Painting by Francis A. Silva, 1879.
Rodman Gun at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook, 1970s. The post chapel is in the background. The gun was developed by General Thomas Rodman for use in the Civil War. It was 115,00 pounds with a 20-inch muzzle.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse (r) in operation at night, August 2021 (Eric Thacke Photo). It’s the nation’s oldest operating lighthouse.
Another great “Hook Look,” July 2021 (Dustin Mathews Photo).
View from Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook, Summer 2021. Sandy Hook is in foreground; NYC in background. At 266-feet above sea level, Mt. Mitchill is the highest natural point on North America’s eastern seaboard.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse and the One World Trade Center in NYC, 2021 (Buddy Smith Photo).
McFly’s on the Hook, July 2021. Sandy Hook’s new convenience spot — offering an unusual array of food, snacks, beverages, and ice cream. Located in Building #53 near the historic lighthouse. MORE INFO.
Sandy Hook Lady, built in 1991. The 65-foot, paddle-wheel boat held 125 passengers and offered cruises on the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers. The boat owners were charged with dumping raw sewage into the bay in 1996.
The NYC skyline seen from Sandy Hook, 2021.
Sandy Hook State Park, NJ. The spot became a state park in 1962.
Sandy Hook looking south to Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge, 1960.
Battery Potter entrance at Fort Hancock, 1912. When completed in 1890, it was the first disappearing gun battery in the nation. By 1907, it was obsolete.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 1913. It was the fifth lighthouse ever built in the American colonies in 1764. Then it was known as the New York Lighthouse.
Twin Lights watches over Sandy Hook and Highlands.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse painted in camouflage for World War II, 1942.
Moon glow over the Hook, July 2021 (Ron Iacobucci Photo).
Video History of Sandy Hook, NJ by John Schneider — HERE
Seastreak Ferry passengers disembark at Sandy Hook docks, 2021.
Old US Life-Saving Station on Sandy Hook, opened in 1894. The building later was used as the National Park visitor’s center before Superstorm Sandy damage closed it in 2012.
Old Sandy Hook Marine Laboratory, 1961. The building was taken by arson in September 1985 and later replaced by the James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory.
Old Sandy Hook Marine Laboratory building, 1969. Dr. Lionel A. Walford was the the lab’s first director. Designed by Stanford White in 1899, the building had been the post hospital.
Old Sandy Hook Marine Laboratory building in ruins after fire, September 1985. The lab and years of scientific research were destroyed by arson.
Sandy Hook: Let It Be — HERE
New James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory nearing completion, 1992. The 35,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art marine research facility opened in October 1993 at a cost of $19 million. Congressman Howard served the area in the US House of Representatives for nearly 25 years; he died in 1988.
Fort Hancock post hospital. Built in 1898, it had 50 beds. It burned in 1985.
The tip of Sandy Hook, 2021 (John Schneider Photo).
The tip of Sandy Hook, 1916 (John Schneider Photo).
Fort Hancock Officer’s Club, 1900. First opened in June 1879.
Fort Hancock Officer’s Club, 1922.
Fort Hancock Officer’s Club left to decay, June 2021.
Fort Hancock Post Headquarters, built in the late 1890s.
Fort Hancock Commanding Officer’s House, built in 1899. The US Army reached max at Sandy Hook during early World War II times when about 8,000 personnel military and civilian were stationed there.
Deer grazing at dusk on the Hook, June 2021 (Dennis T. O’Leary Jr.).
Fort Hancock housing, early 1900s.
Sandy Hook aerial image, 2020. The land is in Middletown Twp.
Fort Hancock Post Exchange (PX). Opened in 1941, it was the military base shopping center.
US Army soldiers outside their barracks at Fort Hancock, 1920s.
Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge seen from Sandy Hook, 2020. It’s 8 miles from the end of the hook to the bridge. The double-decked, 13-lane bridge opened in November 1964. Othmar Ammann was the designer. The 4,260-foot-long span connects the NYC boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn.
Sandy Hook Bay, 2020 (Stansphotos.com).
MAST’s new naval science buildings under construction/repair on Sandy Hook, June 2021. The Marine Academy of Science and Technology is part of the excellent Monmouth County Vocational School District. Opened in 1981 — it’s high school education at its finest. And too many county families are unaware of their free high caliber offerings. For more info.
Old US Life-Saving Station at Sandy Hook, 2006. The nation’s first life-saving station was built on Sandy Hook in 1848.
US Life-Saving Station at Sandy Hook under repair, June 2021. The 1894 building also served at the park’s Visitor’s Center until damaged by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 2021. The nation’s oldest working lighthouse was first lit in June 1764 — with pil lamp and glass reflectors.
Fort Hancock, 1930s. Military construction on Sandy Hook dates to 1857.
Fort Hancock Parade Grounds, early 1900s.
Hook Look — grand view of the NYC skyline, 2021 (MJ Connelly Photo).
Fort Hancock coastal defense gun — “biggest in the world,” 1903. Weight: 284,000 pounds. The M1895, 16-inch weapon had a firing range of 12 miles.
Fort Hancock Stable, built in 1899. It was called the “Mule Barn.”
“Sergent’s Row” at Fort Hancock. Housing for non-commissioned officers with families stationed on Sandy Hook.
Fort Hancock Post Guardhouse and Jail, built in 1899. Today, it houses the Fort Hancock Museum.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 1790. NYC stonemason Isaac Conro designed the structure.
National Park Service headquarters at Sandy Hook.
“On Sandy Hook” sketch, 1880.
Fire House No. 1 at Fort Hancock, 1940. The first of two firehouses built on the post opened in 1905.
Sunset on Sandy Hook, 2021.
Sandy Hook, 2020. Its geographic landform is known as a “barrier spit.”
Sandy Hook, 2000s. It’s about 6.5 miles to the tip.
Sandy Hook, 1962.
Sandy Hook steamer, 1932. “The swift way across the bay.”
“Sandy Hook Steamer Trips” schedule, 1937.
Sandy Hook “Flyer,” 1930s.
US Army Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, for whom the post was named in October 1895. Hancock served heroically during the July 1863 Battle of Gettysburg and was the 1880 Democratic candidate for US President. He lost to James Garfield by just 10,000 votes out more than 9.2 million cast; but he did carry New Jersey.
Fort Hancocok “No Trespassing — A great deal of the activities at the US Army base were top secret and highly classified.
Train going to Sandy Hook, 1950s.
Fort Hancock Bachelors Officer’s Quarters, built in 1898.
Old Fort Hancock Dental Clinic.
US Army/Navy YMCA at Fort Hancock, 1915. William Forbes was the longtime YMCA director.
Sandy Hook coast and Officer’s Row, 2020.
Remains of the original five-sided granite fort at Sandy Hook, begun in the 1859. Robert E. Lee — when a captain with the US Army Corps of Engineers — did the fort’s initial design in 1850.
Sandy Hook and Highlands-SB Bridge, 2020. Millions of people come to the national park to sun, swim, surf, boat, exercise, fish, and just relax.
Sandy Hook, 2020. The peninsula is about 2,045 acres.
Sandy Hook satellite image, 1970s. The land is owned by the federal government and managed by the National Park Service as the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area.
Sandy Hook’s first vacation rental is a historic home along Officer’s Row at Fort Hancock — MORE INFO
Sandy Hook, 2017. The area was given National Historic Landmark status in December 1982.
Sandy Hook, 2000s. It opened as a state park in July 1962.
Sandy Hook, 2000s. Henry Hudson, a British explorer working for the Dutch, first anchored his ship the Half-Moon in Sandy Hook Bay In September 1609.
Old US Coast Guard Station on Sandy Hook, from 1936.
US Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook, 1930s.
Sandy Hook seen from Twin Lights, 1908.
Sea Gulls’ Nest restaurant and bar on Sandy Hook. Closed after Superstorm Sandy damage in October 2012 and torn down in 2019.
The Sea Gulls’ Nest was opened in 1996 and run by Newark-native Ed Segall, who had been operating a Sandy Hook concession business since 1962.
St. Patrick Day dance celebration in the Fort Hancock gym, March 1944.
Fort Hancock Baseball Team, 1941.
Sandy Hook map, 1777.
Battery Mortar entrance on Sandy Hook, 2021.
Battery Fremont Peck on Sandy Hook, 2021.
Fort Hancock gun battery. The area was an ordinance proving ground from 1874 to 1919.
Sandy Hook Proving Grounds entrance, 1911. Operations were ultimately moved to Aberdeen, Maryland.
Battery Proof at the Sandy Hook Proving Ground, 1902. The range was 3,000 yards.
Gun Park at the Sandy Hook Proving Ground, early 1900s.
Battery Granger and gun crew, 1910. Built in 1897, its 10-inch gun could hit targets 8 miles out to sea.
Battery Potter entrance, 2010. Named in honor of General Joseph Potter, who served gallantly in the Union Army during the Civil War.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, 2006. It stands 103-feet high, is made of stone, and is visible up to 15 nautical miles.
Sandy Hook aerial image, 2000s.
• Historic Resource Study (1990): Gateway: Fort Hancock/1895-1948 — HERE
• Fort Hancock Walking Tour — HERE
• Sandy Hook Foundation — HERE