Department of Environmental Protection

New Jersey State Park Service

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High Point Monument Historic Site Overview

Commemorating veterans of all wars, the High Point Monument dedication reads “To The Glory and Honor and Eternal Memory of New Jersey’s heroes by land, sea, and air, in all wars of our Country.”

The view from the highest point in New Jersey, at 1,803 feet above sea level, is a spectacular panorama of three states; New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

“This monument is erected by Colonel and Mrs. Anthony R. Kuser to the Glory and Honor and Eternal Memory of New Jersey’s Heroes by land and sea and air in all wars of our country.” Penned by Albert Payson Terhune, author and founding member of the High Point Park Commission, this dedication is inscribed on a bronze tablet to the right of the of the Monument doors.

High Point State Park was a gift to the people of New Jersey from Colonel Anthony and Susie Dryden Kuser. They donated their 10,000-acre mountaintop estate in 1923 for the creation of a new park so that everyone could enjoy the scenic and recreational opportunities found at the highest elevation in New Jersey. Four years later the Kusers proposed another gift. In a letter to Governor Harry Moore in November 1927, Anthony Kuser wrote, “Mrs. Kuser and I…offer to give…the construction of a monument at High Point in tribute to all citizens of the State of New Jersey who have served or who shall serve in any war in either the land, sea, or air forces of this country. We feel that all such service…is of an heroic character…and that it is altogether fitting to place such a memorial on the highest promontory.”

Their offer to fund the construction of a monument to honor New Jersey’s veterans was readily accepted, and construction began in the summer of 1928. The architectural firm of Wyeth and King designed the structure, modeled after the Bunker Hill Monument, and the Hoffman Construction Company was awarded the construction contract. Hoffman Construction was based in Bernardsville, NJ, where the Kusers’ primary home was located, but the company hired many locals to work on the crew comprised of about seventy-five men including masons, quarry workers, labor, hoisting engineers and truckmen.

Initial plans called for the monument to be constructed of “all-Jersey materials,” but this ultimately wasn’t feasible or cost-effective. Nevertheless, local materials were used as much as possible, including quartzite quarried within the park. The projected cost for the construction was $500,000.

Work on the Monument continued into the late fall of 1928 and then resumed in the spring of 1929. Unfortunately, Colonel Kuser passed away in February of 1929 at the age of 67, without seeing the Monument completed. On June 8, 1929 Governor Morgan F. Larson laid the cornerstone with a sliver trowel and a metal time capsule was sealed within the stone.

Construction of such a mammoth structure on the top of a mountain presented some challenges. For example, the bedrock was so hard that drilling had to stop every four inches for the drills to be re-sharpened. The near constant wind also made the project more difficult. From a 1930 article in the Sussex Independent, “In commenting upon the dangers caused by the high winds Mr. Hoffman said in all seriousness that it would have been perfectly possible to have substituted a windmill for the gas motors and that ample power could have been developed for the hoisting of all materials.”

After pausing again during the winter months, work resumed in the spring of 1930 and by early summer it was complete. The granite-clad obelisk, rose 220 feet above the highest point in New Jersey, measuring 34 feet square at its base and 20 feet square where the apex begins. Two bronze doors open into an octagonal chamber 21-feet high with a vaulted ceiling and flagstone floor. A narrow circular staircase rises up out of the chamber into the comparatively utilitarian hollow core of the shaft, and a steel staircase wrapping around the interior walls continues to the top. The stairs were installed because the designers thought the tower might be utilized for fire observations or something similar, but never intended the interior to be open to the public.

The Monument was officially dedicated on June 21, 1930 at an elaborate ceremony with nearly 2,000 people in attendance. State Senator Dryden Kuser formally presented the Monument to the State on behalf of his parents. According to an article published on June 27, 1930 in the Sussex Independent, in his address Senator Kuser “referred to his late father’s wish to provide a park and monument for the people of the state, and spoke feelingly of the men for whom the monument was given, the heroes of New Jersey in all the wars of our country. Senator Kuser said that a monument could not adequately repay the sacrifices made by soldiers and others, but as a mute testimonial to the fact that they were not forgotten, and to teach all future generations of the work of the heroes.” In 2019, High Point State Park was renamed High Point State Park and New Jersey Veterans’ Memorial, to ensure that all visitors were aware of the significance of the Veterans’ Memorial.

Over the years the Monument has undergone interior renovations to improve ventilation, and exterior renovations to repair cracks in the mortar and to improve and modernize the lighting. Today you can visit the Monument and enjoy the spectacular view. When the building is open you may enter the rotunda and view the interpretive panels installed after the most recent renovation, and if you’re feeling adventurous climb the 291 steps to the top.

At night the shaft of the Monument is illuminated, as it first was in 1930, and can be seen from up to 40 miles away. The Kuser’s legacy of philanthropy created the New Jersey’s veterans’ memorial that over 90 years later, is still enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year.

Monument
The area around the New Jersey Veterans’ Memorial is open to visit during regular park hours. Winter access might be weather-related and depend on road conditions. 

The monument interior, with the option to climb 291 steps to the top, is open on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day weekend until Columbus Day, staff and weather permitting, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

There are several ways you can get to the monument:
YOU CAN DRIVE THERE! Continue along our main park road which takes you all the way up to the monument parking lot, where you can enjoy the views from your vehicle, or take a short walk up the hill to visit the monument.

YOU CAN WALK THERE! If you would like to walk to the monument, we prefer that you stay off the park roads, especially on weekends. Our roads are narrow and can be difficult to share with vehicles. We have marked out a path that you can pick up at the Lake Marcia Beach parking lot (1.5 miles round trip) or the Monument Trail/Interpretive Center lot (1-mile round trip). These walking paths are a combination of grass and gravel surfaces and include a steep climb at the end and are marked with yellow monument markers. This path is not stroller friendly. If you chose to walk on the road, you must always walk on the left-hand side, facing traffic, and maintain single file when cars are approaching you.

YOU CAN HIKE THERE! Hike the 3.5-mile monument loop trail. This red and green blazed trail is moderate to difficult, with many rocky sections and steep climbs. Park at the Monument Trail parking lot adjacent to the Interpretive Center. The trail is not stroller friendly. Don’t forget a trail map!

Facilities for People with Disabilities
We encourage people with disabilities who require special considerations to contact the historic site / park at the phone number listed in the general information on the home page of the historic site / park. The staff will assist with arrangements. Text telephone (TT) users, please call the NJ Relay Services at (800) 852-7899.

For the Comfort and Enjoyment of All
This historic site / park is part of the NJ State Park system and your cooperation with the following will help ensure the survival of the museum collections, historic structures & features and surrounding property for the enjoyment and education of future generations!

  • Keep your historic site / park and surrounding property clean and green! Protect this site by taking your trash with you. Whatever you carry into the site, plan on carrying it out too. Bring a bag or two for trash, recycling and cleaning up after your pet. There are no trash receptacles at this site. Thank you!
  • No Smoking on NJ State Park Service Property. Pursuant to N.J.P.L.2005, c.383 (C.26:3D-56)
  • Alcoholic beverages are not permitted at state historic sites [ N.J.A.C. 7:2-2.6]
  • The collection or removal of any object from State Park property is prohibited without written permission from the Superintendent.
  • Use of metal detecting devices on or unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) on or over the property is not permitted.
  • Commercial photography is not permitted on the property without a special use permit (SUP) from the historic site / park.
  • Interior photography, videotaping or audio taping are not permitted in the historic structure / visitor center / museum, except by prior written permission and for educational purposes only.
  • Non-commercial photography is permitted on the property (outside), but please help preserve the historic site / park and any surrounding property by not attaching anything to, climbing or sitting on historic structures and features or disturbing any plants, wild or cultivated. Photography may not interfere with other visitors to the historic site / park or impede site operations.
  • Food and beverages; pets/animals, except for service animals, are not permitted in the historic structure / visitor center / museum.
  • Please refrain from touching objects/furnishings in and building components of historic structures and museums, except where invited to do so by staff.

Please contact this historic site / park with specific inquiries about any of these restrictions, as there may be some variations at this specific historic site / park.

Drones
Drones are not permitted to be flown in any of New Jersey's state parks or forests.

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Related Links

High Point State Park

General

Phone Number
973-875-4800

Address
1480 State Route 23
Sussex, NJ 07461

Historic Site Hours

Grounds Hours
Weekends and holidays: Memorial Day - June 18:
8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.(staff permitting).

Weekends and holidays: Memorial Day - June 18:
8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. (staff permitting).

8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
June 19 - Labor Day(staff permitting)

Weekends and holidays:
Labor Day - Columbus Day(staff and weather permitting)
9:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Historic Site Fees

none

Park Fees

NJ Resident

Non-Resident

$ 5.00

$ 10.00

weekdays

$10.00

$20.00

weekends/holidays

N/A

N/A

walk-in/bicycle

$ 5.00

$ 7.00

motorcycle

Entrance fees are charged per vehicle from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.

Other Related Fees

Map / Directions

GPS Coordinates
41.320989, -74.660819