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Bridgewater, New Jersey

The Spot Where WWI Ended

American involvement in World War I officially ended in 1921 in New Jersey, three years late and thousands of miles from the battlefield. 

Mere steps away from the Burger King in Bridgewater, you’ll notice a strangely landscaped, infrequently visited slice of history.

Though the Somerville Circle is traversed by thousands each day, few realize how close they are to the place where World War I officially ended in the United States, on July 2, 1921.

Though the conflict was over in 1918, the U.S. Senate voted against ratifying the Treaty of Versailles and joining the League of Nations in both 1919 and 1920. This meant the country remained enemies with Germany until the Knox-Porter Resolution was offered as an alternative to the treaty. With the president’s signature, the resolution would officially end America’s involvement in the Great War.

But President Warren G. Harding wasn’t in Washington to sign the papers. He was staying with his longtime friend, Senator Joseph Frelinghuysen of New Jersey. The papers were delivered to the Raritan country club, where Harding took a break from his game of golf to sign the resolution and officially end World War I.

Today, a plaque marks the spot where Harding signed the papers. It is framed by two eight-foot-tall stone pillars that are all that remains of the Frelinghuysen mansion. The senator and his family left the house when it became apparent that highway traffic would only increase, and the grand mansion burned to the ground in the ’50s. Accessing the plaque is difficult, as it requires stopping amid the busy traffic on Route 28, so this slice of history mostly gets passed over.

Know Before You Go

Be careful not to get hit by oncoming traffic! The plaque is located next to a busy turn (into the P.C. Richard and Sons/ Burger King Plaza).

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