Scroll To Top

Princeton, NJ Historical Sights Articles

Print this Page

Most recent posting below. See other articles in the column to the right.

Fun Facts about the Annual Washington Crossing Reenactment

2014 marks the 62nd modern-day Crossing reenactment


Weight of a Durham boat – 4,600 pounds empty


Length and weight of one sweep oar – 23.5 feet long and about 90 pounds


Average number of reenactors who take part in the Crossing each year – 200


St. John “Sinjin” Terrell portrayed George Washington in the Crossing reenactment 25 times, from 1953-1977


Grace Kelly’s brother and famed Olympic rower John B. Kelly Jr. portrayed George Washington from 1978-1984


The first full-size Durham boat replica constructed for the reenactment was built in 1965. It was the first time in 100 years that a Durham boat had been seen on the river.


The Bicentennial Crossing in 1976 attracted an estimated 20,000-26,000 spectators. A bomb scare on one of the Durham boats was called in that year and it was the first time a woman – Ann Hawkes Hutton – participated in the Crossing.


In 1979 one of the Durham boats was stolen, taken for a ride and left at the Yardley river access point.


Ice was so thick on the river in 1980 that reenactors had to march across the bridge rather than cross the river in boats for the first time since the reenactment’s beginning. The actual river Crossing has been cancelled a number of times since then due to various weather conditions including ice, strong currents, rising waters and drought conditions.


There have been other “Crossings” of the river including:


  • The crossing of 50 children on a raft in 1921 at the opening ceremony of Washington Crossing Historic Park
  • The annual “Monroe Crossing” which began in 1985 and takes place in New Hope
  • Two Olympic torches have crossed the river in Durham boats – one on February 3, 1980 for the Lake Placid Olympics and the other on December 23, 2001 for the Salt Lake City Olympics
  • In July 2005, contestants on CBS’s “The Amazing Race” rowed across the river with a George Washington impersonator in their boats
  • In 2001 there were five Crossings in December: the Monroe Crossing, the dress rehearsal Crossing, the Olympic torch Crossing, the Christmas Day Crossing, and a crossing as part of the commemoration of the 225th anniversary of the battles of Trenton and Princeton (10 Crucial Days)


Source for some facts: No Spot In This Far Land is More Immortalized: A History of Pennsylvania’s Washington Crossing Historic Park by Peter Osborne

Add a Comment

By Date

- November (1)