(Click on pictures for a larger version)
mcbride's rock  
40.5815,-74.5438

At the Washington Campground Association Meeting in February 2017, Historian, Robert A. Mayers from Watchung gave a talk about the new book, Revolutionary New Jersey: Forgotten Towns and Crossroads of the American Revolution, he described a historical record he found of a Middlebrook Heights outlook where George Washington watched British General Howe in New Brlunswick..
He also found a sketch of the rock there.

The traditional Washington Rock is at Washington Rock State Park in Green Brook (5 miles from the Middlebrook Encampment).
The Green Brook rock has a view east all the way to New York and is where George Washington went to monitor British Trooup movements, when General Howe was moving toward Westfield and Staten Island.
However when Howe was stationary in New Brunswick it makes sense that Washington would have watched them from Middlebrook Heights where his army was camped in 1777. General Wayne's Brigade was camped right where I lived for 40 years on Vosseller Ave. across from Miller Lane. mcbride's rock

Mayers thought he had found Middlebrook Washington Rock, between Herb Patullo's Eagle's Nest Museum at the end of Miller Lane and Chimney Rock.

mcbride's rock, Tom McBride, Don McBride However I thought the sketch looked more like a rock I had walked by for 40 years. In 1979 I used to take my 1 year old son, Tom, riding in a child backpack, on hikes across Vosseller ave through the woods in the undeveloped Washington Valley Park .
We used to go to the top of a rock cliff at the edge of the first range of the Watchung Mountions a quarter mile from our house and look at the view.
I continued to hike in that area and lead hikes there when I was chair of the Raritan Valley Group of the Sierra Club.

Over the years this rock had been overgrown with vines. A friend, Dave McRitchie, and I pulled down the vines in 2017 and in 2018 rolled some dead trees which had fallen across the face down the hill and cut some of the invasive Japanese barberry which were growing at the base.
I invited Mayers over to look at it and he agreed that it was a good match for the sketch of Middlebrook Washington Rock in his forthcoming book.
The large boulder at the base of the cliff in the picture above could be the rock outcropping at the top of the sketch which had broken off over the years.

It would make sense for Washington to use this rock since General Wayne's Brigade was camped right there according to Captain Scull's map.

In the meantime Herb Patullo had expanded his small historical museum near his house at the end of Miller Ln. with an expansive view of the valley below including New Brunswick to include the area around the rock there. There was parking and easy access there, so that location became the official Middlebrook Washington Rock.

In Chapter 6 "Washington Rocks: Perches of the American Eagle (1777-1778)" of his book Revolutionary New Jersey: Forgotten Towns and Crossroads of the American Revolution Mayers has labeled the rock at location B near Vosseller Ave. McBride's Rock.

middlebrook encampment,  middlebrook washington rock, mcbride's rock, washington valley park
Note: Trail names are proposed
  Eagle's Nest Museum
  Marker Tree - A tree shaped with 3 forked trunk (fallen now)
  Fireplace Rock - Approximate site of Revolutionary War Signal Tower
  Chimney Rock - Sight of Washington Valley Hawk Watch
Zoom out to Washington Valley Park.

There is no parking near McBride's Rock. In the summer you can see it from Vosseller Ave. but there is no place to pull over or stop.
You could park at the Chimney Rock parking area and then follow the trails for about 2/3 mile to get there. There is a place to pull off Miller Lane where it bends to the right and follow the trail 1/3 mile to the top of the rock.
From the top of the rock it about 1/4 mile to the trail at the bottom.

Case for McBride's Rock:
Rock formations look like Lossing's drawing.
It is a higher location (375') vs the chimney rock location (315').
Closer to the road through Wayne's gap (Vosseller Ave.)
That is where General Wayne's Brigade was camped.

Field of view from McBride's Rock (B) (With some tree cutting done by Washington's Army)

More pictures

Return to: Middlebrook Washington Rock

last updated 12 June 2018