Bowman's Hill Tower
Anyone traveling through the communities along the Delaware River in Bucks County will eventually see the site of an imposing tower spiraling into the sky. This grand observation tower offers an expansive view of the Delaware River area. As the seasons change, so do the colors and visual experiences change at the Tower, making returns trips enjoyable for visitors each year. Beyond the landmark, Bowman's Hill Tower offers much more to those interested in learning about the Park's history and the origins of the Tower's construction.
Begun in September of 1929, Bowman's Hill Tower was completed in June of 1931 as a commemorative monument to George Washington and his army.
Bowman's Hill Tower stands approximately 380 feet above sea level.
The Tower itself is 125 feet tall and the base measures 24 square feet.
On a clear day, the view from Bowman's Hill Tower encompasses a minimum 14 mile radius of the Delaware River Valley.
Bowman's Hill Tower is open seasonally and is included in the Park's admission price.
What types of things can you see from the top of the Tower?
A large American flag will appear in your view. This flag marks graves of soldiers from the American Revolution.
A small stone farm house with barn is the 18th c. Thompson-Neely House with a gristmill on the opposite side of River Road. Your ticket allows you to visit this section of the Park too!
The two bridges you see crossing the Delaware River are the New Hope-Lambertville bridge and the Route 202 bridge.
On a clear day, one can see to Trenton, New Jersey, and realize the magnitude and distance of the march Washington and his soldiers undertook in December of 1776.
I'd like to know more!
Bowman's Hill Tower was built of native stone gathered from Bowman's Hill and nearby stone fences. The cut stone used for the sills and balustrades came from local quarries located in Lumberville, Pennsylvania and Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Over 2,400 tons of materials were used in the construction, including: 1,200 perch of stone, 517 tons of sand and 225 tons of cement. An excavation 15 feet deep was made so that the base rests on a foundation of native rock. The construction of the Tower was accomplished entirely by the employees of the Washington Crossing Park Commission. Including labor and materials, Bowman's Hill Tower cost $100,000 to build.
In an effort to reforest Bowman's Hill, 28,300 seedlings were planted on and around the area in 1932. During 1933, a roadway connecting Bowman's Hill Tower to what is now the Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve was constructed. A stone arch bridge was built to carry the road over Pidcock Creek. The bridge was constructed of native stone and originally carried an 18 foot roadway and a 4 foot sidewalk. This section of road and the bridge are now closed to vehicular traffic but may be used as a walking trail between the two sites.
During the mid 1930s there were approximately seven major improvement projects completed at Bowman's Hill under the Civil Works Administration and Works Progress Administration of the New Deal under President Franklin Roosevelt. Relief workers completed massive amounts of tree and grounds work; they created two vistas from the Tower to the Delaware River, one on the north side of the hill and one on the southeast; a number of large rocks and boulders were set in the banks near the Tower as natural outcroppings to prevent erosion of soil from the roots of the trees; and the Tower underwent extensive masonry repair and the exterior was waterproofed.
In the early 1980s, Bowman's Hill Tower underwent an extensive restoration and an elevator was installed. Previously visitors climbed a spiral staircase to the observation point at the top of the Tower. Today an elevator takes visitors three-quarters of the way up, opens onto a landing, followed by a twenty-three step climb to the top. The view of the ever changing landscape of Bucks County, New Jersey and the Delaware River is well worth the effort.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania created Washington Crossing Historic Park in 1917 and established the Washington Crossing Park Commission to help administer and further develop the Park in 1919. At this time, the mission of the Park was to commemorate the famous "Crossing" as the "turning point of the American Revolution." The Commission's first objective was to develop the site's potential as a historic shrine and their second objective was to preserve its natural beauty and develop its areas for recreational use. Bowman's Hill Tower was a combination of these two goals. The Tower was constructed atop Bowman's Hill to commemorate what may have been a lookout point for General Washington's troops to watch the banks of the Delaware River for any enemy activity. The Tower is also located adjacent to the Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve and the surrounding area is the natural habitat for many native plants, trees, animals, and birds.