The War of the Worlds Martian Landing Site Monument

Did you know that town where the Martians landed in Orson Welles’ 1938 broadcast War of the Worlds was an actual place? The 1890’s H.G. Wells’ novel, of the same name, was adapted and modernized into a series of frantic radio bulletins. By happenstance, scriptwriter Howard Koch closed his eyes and dropped the tip of his pencil randomly on a map of New Jersey. It landed on the very real Grover’s Mill.

Initially, the fame or infamy – as some felt – was unwelcome but the town eventually embraced its place in pop culture history. So, for a day trip, I drove down to the very Grover’s Mill of New Jersey, the first town ravished by the Martian invasion, to find the landmarks celebrating the broadcast.

This post contains the pictures I took during my trip and the ones I referenced on episode 3 of the podcast. Don’t worry, it isn’t required to listen before reading.

Martian Landing Site Monument

Location: 218 Cranbury Rd, Grovers Mill, NJ

In 1988, an 8-foot-high bronze monument was erected and inscribed with a description of the evening and a rendering of the alien craft from the story. A time capsule was also buried alongside the monument. Set to be unearthed and opened on the 100 year anniversary in 2038.

The monument is located in Vans Nest Park. It’s a nice little park. The parking area was clean, well-kept public restrooms, a pavilion area, a play structure for kids, and wide-open field for other activities.

Following the path to the right, just beyond the parking area, through a small grove of trees, will lead you along Interpretive signs telling the story of the broadcast. Keep following the path and it leads you to the monument.

The monument isn’t the only thing to check out if you’ve in the area.

Water Tower Mistaken for a Martian

Location: 175 Cranbury Rd, Grovers Mill, NJ
* use the dead-end road

Less than a mile up the road there’s an old water tower that was reportedly confused for a Martian invader.

Weirdly triangular in shape, high up on stilted legs… it definitely looks alien. It’s well over 80 years old and definitely not the kind of water tower Joe Diffie was singing about.

Peek over the fence or time your visit when the trees are budding in spring or bare in the fall for the best view.

Martian Tripod Sculpture

Location: 952 Alexander Rd, West Windsor, NJ

A little less than a mile from the water tower and we’re at the West Windsor Arts Council building, the site of the Martian Tripod Sculpture by Eric Schultz.

Installed in 2018, the scout ship is a 12-foot tall artistic interpretation of a Martian Tripod made from entirely recycled materials.

It’s pretty impressive in the daylight and even creepier when backlit at night by the streetlight.

War of the Worlds Coffee Shop

Location: 335 Princeton Highstown Rd, West Windsor, NJ

I didn’t go there, but there’s a coffee shop about 2 miles from the monument called Grover’s Mill Coffee House that boasts a large collection of war of the worlds memorabilia.

The Conclusion

The Grover’s Mill trip was a fun day trip, but it was a full DAY trip!

Once I actually made it to New Jersey, everything was really easy to find and was as advertised.

If you’re into the alien scene, you should go, too!

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