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Grovers Mill, New Jersey: Water Tower Mistaken for a Martian

A water tower shot at by terrified locals during Orson Welles' 1938 "War of the Worlds" radio drama.

Grovers Mill Co.

175 Cranbury Rd, Grovers Mill, NJ
North side of Cranbury Rd at its intersection with Clarksville Rd. Stands behind the white house to the right of the red Grovers Mill building. Only visible in leafless months; best view is from adjacent Bolfmar Ave.
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Water tower today; mistaken for a Martian in 1938.

Water Tower Mistaken for a Martian

To see the tower, do as other posters have suggested; go down Bolfmar Ave., the dead end street. As you drive down the street, you'll see a white fence across from the first couple of houses. If you look over this fence and through the trees, you'll see the tower. This is the same tower that was allegedly shot by locals during the Orson Wells "War of the Worlds" broadcast in 1938. It's still standing!

[Mark, 10/26/2019]
Water Tower Mistaken for a Martian

Found it easy to see ! I drove up and down Bolfmar Avenue (the dead end street) and spotted it in the backyard. You will be able to see it without getting out of your car.

[Andrew, 08/31/2019]
Water Tower Mistaken for a Martian

A researcher has found that the story of the water tower being shot up is probably false, an exaggeration of what happened that night. He traced the original 1938 news story that included a photo of local William Dock posing with his shotgun, which says: "William Dock, 76-year-old neighboring farmer, said he grabbed his shotgun when he heard the first 'news' flash and went out looking for invaders. But he didn't see anybody he thought needed shooting."

[Roger Smith, 10/16/2017]
Water Tower Mistaken for a Martian

I am happy to report that the tower is still there. However, it is very difficult to view with all the overgrowth. The other poster's tip about going down Bolfmar [the dead end street] was spot on. I would suggest you go there first, park you car, and look over the wood fence at different areas, so you can orient yourself to its location. It is within the fences in the backyard of a homeowner, so don't even think of climbing over!

The adjacent Grover's Mill barn is no longer a hardware store. It has recently been remodeled for office space.

[Joe The Roadside Fanatic, 08/17/2013]

The water tower was shot up in 1938 by nervous locals who were listening to Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" on the radio.

Water Tower Mistaken for a Martian

The water tower is still standing, but almost impossible to see. It's hidden by thick tree overgrowth behind the back left corner of the house to the right of Grover's Mill. Could not see it from the road, or from the side street next to the house. Parked behind Grover's Mill, which has recently been sold and remodeled. A man drove up while we were there and told us (nicely) that we were on private property -- but then he showed us over the fence where the water tower was. I'd suggest visiting when leaves are not on the trees. You might also look at the photo/mural of the water tower at Grover's Mill Coffee House first, so you know where it is in relation to the house.

[Don Stevens, 08/20/2012]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Martian Landing Site MonumentMartian Landing Site Monument, Grovers Mill, NJ - < 1 mi.
War of the Worlds Martian ShipWar of the Worlds Martian Ship, West Windsor, NJ - < 1 mi.
Tombstone of Elsie the CowTombstone of Elsie the Cow, Plainsboro, NJ - 1 mi.
In the region:
Piece of Grover Cleveland's Wedding Cake, Caldwell, NJ - 40 mi.

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