The LHT has been hard at work on a history project – identifying over 30 historically important spots along our 22 miles of trail that each played an outsize role in our region’s early days. From early settlements and mill sites to technology hotspots and transportation hubs, these sites help tell the story of Mercer County.
The Lawrence Hopewell Trail is embarking on a historical signage project that will encourage hikers and bikers of all ages to learn more about the historical significance of Mercer County. Lead by Dennis Waters, LHT board member and former Lawrence Township historian, the project will include over 30 historical markers at various points of interest along the trail.
The markers will encompass early settlements, historic trees, telecommunications and transportation hubs, founding family homesteads, and other significant sites that each played a role in local development dating back to the Revolutionary War. Each sign will feature a series of archival images and explanatory copy that will give viewers a chance to envision long-vanished historical landscapes.
The signs will also include you-are-here neighborhood maps and, as a nod to the LHT-theme of non-automotive transportation, images and verbiage relating to trolleys, buggies, or various styles of bicycle. Markers will also potentially include QR codes that grant access to further on-line exploration and audio guides.
Lawrenceville Main Street
The LHT is working with Hunter Research, Inc., a historical research consulting group founded by Richard Hunter, a longtime resident of Hopewell Township and trustee of the Hopewell Valley Historical Society. Hunter Research, which is based in Trenton, is conducting additional research and will design, fabricate, and install the signage. An organization that may fly under the radar of many people, the work Hunter Research does is vital. In addition to research and exhibition or signage design, they work on preservation and restoration, archaeology, regulatory compliance, education and outreach, and have a hand in nominations for the National Register of Historic Places. Locally, they’ve worked with the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, the Louis Kahn Bath House in Ewing, the Trenton Ferry Historic District, Morven in Princeton, and at various sites within the Trenton Capital Complex.
The LHT Historical Signage Project is a novel way to encourage people of all ages – who are already out and enjoying the beauty of our trails – to learn more about local history. And, how these points of interest truly inform the history of the region, and indeed, our country.
Initial landmarks will include Lewisville Road, the first African American community in the region; the Pole Farm and its importance in telecommunications in World War II; the magnificent 275-year-old Brearley Oak; the Johnson Trolley Line in Lawrenceville; and the geologic formation of Mount Rose, a former crossroads settlement known for fine roses.
Mercer Meadows Pole Farm
Stay tuned as we share more news and information about this wonderful project!