NJ Secretary of State cites heritage tourism benefits at Crossroads annual meeting

New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way emphasized the importance of the state’s Revolutionary-era history at the annual meeting of the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area on April 18 in Trenton.

“We need to do all we can to increase overall awareness of New Jersey’s central role in the American Revolution, and do more to highlight the many historic sites and collections around the state that document this pivotal period in American history,” Way told the more than 50 history enthusiasts and preservationists attending the meeting.

“This promotion of history ignites and fuels many of our towns and cities by bringing thousands of people to their restaurants, hotels, retail venues and attractions while pouring millions into local economies,” she added. According to a recent study, high concentrations of historic sites in Bergen, Essex, Morris and Burlington Counties attracted more than five million out-of-state visitors, making a compelling argument for investing in our Revolutionary era sites and commemorative events.

Crossroads’ Executive Director Janice Selinger and outgoing Board Chair Patrick Murray shared the organization’s plans to help its Heritage Partners prepare for the upcoming 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States. These include Crossroads’ ongoing series of professional development workshops on authentic representation of 18th century life, crafts and wardrobing. Crossroads is also working with local, county and state governments and historic sites to install signage marking Revolutionary sites across New Jersey.

Historian and author Larry Kidder also shared findings discovered during research for his newest book, Crossroads of the Revolution: Trenton 1774-1783. He noted that the Revolution affected the community long after the December 1776 battles, as Trenton served as a critical supply base and strategic military location midway between New York and Philadelphia.

Before the annual meeting, the Crossroads Board of Trustees elected a new Board Chair, Ira Jersey, and two new Trustees, communications strategist Joshua Henne and attorney Rocky Peterson.