Grovers Mill, The War of the Worlds Broadcast, and a unique Coffee House | West Windsor, New Jersey

January 07, 2022

Grovers Mill

Mischief Night

 

It was on October 30th, 1938 – Halloween Eve, also known as Mischief Night.

 

Part of the regularly scheduled Mercury Theater of the Air, the radio program aired a modernized play version of the H.G. Wells’ classic science-fiction novel, The War of the Worlds

 

It was delivered as if it was a regular broadcast interrupted by news bulletins. It was interspersed with occasional comments about it being an adaptation of a literary work.

 

Was It Real?

 

Listeners were advised that a large object had fallen on a farm in Grovers Mill, New Jersey, not far from Princeton. 

 

Startled listeners heard that 7,000 soldiers had been killed fighting alien invaders.

 

There were reports of people shooting at the water towers in the park.

 

Panic grew – at least in the East Coast. How much hysteria was caused nationwide is still a subject for debate. Newspapers wrote of widespread hysteria. 

 

It even made from the top of the front page of The New York Times!

 

Today it is considered highly unlikely that thousands of people around the country were really that frightened. 

 

Snopes considers it doubtful. But there were some people who were genuinely frightened.

 

It Happened In New Jersey?

The invasion was supposedly occurring in Grovers Mill, New Jersey, then a very rural part of West Windsor, New Jersey. 


This area near and around Princeton is an affluent and well educated area, and has grown exponentially since then. It is sometimes called Princeton Junction.

 

Grover's Mill barn

 

Martian Landing Site Monument

It is located in lovely Van Nest Park. 

 

You can read about it in Roadside America and Atlas Obscura.

 

Grover's Mill
Van Nest Park, West Windsor, New Jersey. The marker of the landing site of the 1938 alien invasion.
Van Nest Park, West Windsor, New Jersey. A closer look at the marker for the 1938 alien invasion.

Grover's Mill Coffee Shop

 

There's also a fun coffee place nearby: Grover's Mill Coffee House.

 

Yes, they use the apostrophe in the name. Most references to the area do NOT use the apostrophe. I have no idea why.

 

The Coffee House was profiled in a NJ.com article in 2015.

 

It is a very inclusive place, including an "All Species Bathroom" which you can see in the last photo.


Coffee House
Coffee House painting
alien sign
signs
bathroom for aliens

 

It Is Part Of American Popular Culture

 

There have been several interesting documentaries about this event, including this one narrated by James Cameron:

 

 

You can also check out:

 

The Battle at Grover's Mill

Painting the Barn

War of the Worlds: When Martians Invaded New Jersey! 

Mars Attacks!  75 years ago, 'War of the Worlds' broadcast put nation in a panic

Historical Society of West Windsor

 

Check out these blog hops:


Friendship Friday on Create With Joy

Our World Tuesday:
Wordless Wednesday:

 Unlimited Link Party at Grammy's Grid:



Through My Lens



Thanks for visiting New Jersey Memories!

Comments

  1. We have listened to War of the Worlds several times on a Washington DC PR station that offers old time radio on Sunday nights. I always that the town of Grovers Mill was made up by Orson Welles. Thanks for enlightening me.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it's a very pretty area. Thanks for visiting and commenting! :)

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  2. It must have frightened a number of people back then who wouldn't have been as sceptical as we are these days with the number of spoofs we get through the internet.

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    1. It's a very effective broadcast - I can understand how some people would have thought it was real! Thanks for visiting!

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  3. What a fun post. My dad was about 9 years old way back then and he heard the broadcast. He said that it made him a little nervous but not too bad.

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    1. Thanks so much for telling me about your father's personal experience! Thanks for visiting!

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  4. i have heard about this broadcast, but was not born yet. it is so interesting...i would like to visit here, i have never been!!

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    1. It's a very pretty area that is still quite rural (for New Jersey that is).

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  5. Wow, what a cool and historic place. Very nice.

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  6. It's a very interesting and fun place to visit!

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