When John A. Roebling immigrated to America from his native Prussia in the 1830s, he had no idea that he would forever change the face of his adopted country's architecture and economy. After developing a special type of twisted-wire rope for hauling canal boats, the Roebling business boomed with the dawn of the suspension bridge, its cables gracing such monuments as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. During the company's heyday under the management of John Roebling's children and grandchildren, it served as a vital centerpiece of the Trenton region's industry, employing more than 8,000 workers at four factories at its peak.
Though the works shuttered in 1974, an extensive cleanup and restoration of the Roebling Mill site gives visitors a glimpse into the past, showing what life was like for thousands of men and women who worked in the steel mills and labored on the factory grounds. Patrons marvel not only at meticulously preserved industrial artifacts such as photographs, wire ropes, and machine parts, but also remnants of everyday life in the nearby company town. Walking and trolley tours take families and tourists through picturesque views of the early 20th century, while trips to the archives allow researchers to comb through a wealth of primary sources.
The Old Barracks was constructed in 1758 to house British soldiers during the French and Indian War. Since then, the barracks have seen many turbulent times, including serving as a military hospital during the American Revolution. Now converted into a museum, patrons can walk through the barracks, read about colonial and American history, and view 18th-century artifacts and weapons. 45-minute guided tours are also offered on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.