It’s fun to research the places where you’ll be setting your novel and I always try to visit those places as well. That’s why part of the book takes place in Philadelphia, one of my favorite cities, and also why the rest of the book is set on the Jersey Shore. I love the Jersey Shore and taking time to explore its unique towns this spring and summer has been a blast.
When it came time to find somewhere intriguing for the big finish, there were lots of places to consider. Cheesequake State Park and the Twin Lights came to mind. Then I remembered taking a trip to the tip of Sandy Hook and knew where those scenes would take place – Fort Hancock.
Fort Hancock has played a major role in the defense of New York Harbor, from its days in the late 1800s when the Nation’s first concrete gun batteries were built there, to World War II when it was used to watch for German subs and the 1950s, when the Nike Air Defense missiles were housed there to protect against airborne attack.
In 1958, a series of Nike Ajax missiles exploded at the park, killing ten people. You can visit the memorial at Guardian Park in Fort Hancock. To read more about this, you can click here.
The invention of ICBMs made the Nike system obsolete and the Fort was decommissioned in 1972 and the National Parks Service took over the area.
The fort has a number of gun batteries, some of which you can visit, and some which are closed off due to their delicate state. Beneath those batteries are tunnels and ammo storage areas that provided a perfect place for me to set some scenes! You can click here for some great photos of the area and tunnels.
If you’re in the area, drop by and check out Sandy Hook and Fort Hancock. It’s a beautiful park, the buildings and batteries are fascinating to see and you have an amazing view of New York Harbor as well.
For more behind the scenes looks at the SINS OF THE FLESH, please check out these other posts!