HISTORY

HISTORY ALONG THE LHT

As the LHT winds through Lawrence and Hopewell Townships, it passes many sites with a rich history, sometimes in plain view, sometimes hidden by time, development and change.

The trail passes through preserved open space and farmland, which still suggest the area’s rural past, with numerous fields, farmhouses and mills on the landscape.  More recent history includes the Pole Farm, an AT&T transmission site used in early international communications. The area is also home to some of the early and prominent corporate campuses, including Bristol-Meyers Squibb (BMS), Educational Testing Service (ETS) and Western Electric.

Based on research conducted by Hunter Research, our long-term plan is to identify 31 sites along the trail with interpretive signs.  In the meantime, we invite you to continue to enjoy the LHT as you always have, and offer you this view into some of the historic sites along the trail.

POINTS OF INTEREST

Drake Farmstead

Location: West side of Pennington Rocky Hill Road

The Drake family were prominent farmers and ran a successful apple whiskey distillery. Their farm and homestead dates back to the early 19th century

Mount Rose Distillery

Location: South side of Pennington Rocky Hill Road, east of Bailey Court

The LHT travels along Pennington Rocky Hill Road and enters the area known as Mount Rose. A general store first opened in the village in 1822. The settlement was later home to two shoe shops, a dressmaker, wheelwrights, blacksmith, a harness shop, an agricultural warehouse, a post office and a sawmill. There were about 20 residential homes.  The Whiskey House is the only remaining building from the Mount Rose Village. It served as the office building for an applejack distillery that operated in the mid-19th century.

Mount Rose Landform and Village

Location: Near the intersection of Pennington Rocky Hill Road and Carter Road

The Mount Rose village occupied a high point near these crossroads. It served as gathering place and commercial are for the local farm economy.

Western Electric / Lucent

Location: West side of Carter Road within Mount Rose Preserve

Together with two office buildings on the east side of Carter Road, this facility was opened in 1958 as one of the nation’s first corporate campuses. It served as the major research and education facility for Western Electric, and later AT&T.

Grover Cleveland Country House

Location: north side of Cleveland Road, west of Province Line Road

Grover Cleveland is the only president in American history to serve two non-consecutive terms in office (1885–1889 and 1893–1897). After leaving office he became a professor at Princeton University, where he served until his death in 1908. While he kept a primary residence in Princeton, this house (originally known as the Griggs farm) was used as a country home.

Province Line Truss Bridge

Location: On Province Line Road

This bridge over the Stony Brook is the longest surviving Warren pony truss bridge in Mercer County. It was designed and fabricated by the Berlin Construction Company of Berlin, Connecticut in 1903. The Warren truss consists of longitudinal members joined by angled cross-members, forming alternately inverted equilateral triangles along the length. The Warren pony truss was the most common bridge type in the country prior to 1925. The Province Line bridge was closed to vehicle traffic in 1981. It was rehabilitated in 2012 and now provides a scenic and tranquil pedestrian trail across the Stony Brook.

Province Line

Location: Along Province Line Road

Established in 1687, the Province Line was a historic boundary to divide New Jersey into two colonial provinces.

ETS Campus

Location: To the north and east of Rosedale Road and Carter Road

Founded in 1947, ETS is the world’s largest private nonprofit educational testing and assessment organization. ETS annually administers 20 million exams in the U.S. and in 180 other countries. With offices worldwide, ETS’ international headquarters is located on this 376-acre property.

BMS Lawrenceville Campus

Location: North of Route 206 between Province Line Road and Carter Road

Bristol-Meyers Squibb is a global pharmaceutical company with multiple facilities in the area. The 280-acre Lawrenceville site is an early discovery site with research & development laboratories, offices and support services. BMS was a founder of the LHT, and remains a steadfast partner.

King’s Highway

Location: Along Province Line Road and Route 206

The LHT runs along Province Line Road, crossing the intersection of Route 206, a significant trail / roadway since colonial times. This historic roadway was a portion of the King’s Highway that was laid out by order of Charles II of England to connect Boston with Charleston. The 1,300-mile long King’s Highway played a critical role in the ultimate independence of the United States from England.

Bainbridge House

Location: Near Province Line Road and Buckingham Drive

Originally built around 1765, this estate was owned by Dr. Absalom Bainbridge. A British supporter during the American Revolution, Dr. Bainbridge’s home was the only local farm confiscated from a Tory.

Maidenhead Meadows

Location: East of Princeton Pike

This 345-acre park stretches from I-95 to Province Line Road and from historic Princeton Pike to the D & R Canal. Maidenhead Meadows park, Lawrence’s largest, includes Maidenhead Meadows, the Brearley House, Princessville Cemetery, a former tree nursery and open fields. Much of the park is wetlands, wooded areas, and a large section of cattail meadow near the D&R Canal. Early settlers purchased or leased sections of the meadows for grazing. Portions of their ditch and road network can still be found.

Princeton Pike

Location: Along Princeton Pike

Established in 1807, Princeton Pike was an early effort to improve transportation in the early 19th century. These early turnpikes were built straight and with crushed stone to allow for faster travel.

Princessville

Location: Northeast corner of Princeton Pike and Meadow Road

Princessville was an unincorporated community and home to the Colonial era Princessville Inn. A cemetery dating to the 1830s is still located on the site. Veterans from several wars are buried here.

Brearley House

Location: At the end of Meadow Road

The Brearley House is a historic Georgian house built in 1761.

Brearley Oak

Location: West side of Princeton Pike across from Lenox Drive.

The Brearley Oak is more than 200 years-old and is the largest Black Oak (Quercus velutina) tree in New Jersey. If it began to grow in the late 1700’s, this tree would have been around for the Battle of Princeton during the Revolutionary War.

Lewisville

Location: Near the LHT crossing of Lewisville Road.

The LHT crosses Lewisville Road at what was once the southeast end of the village of Lewisville, considered Lawrence Township’s oldest African-American community. In the decades prior to the Civil War, Lewisville became a center of African-American life and culture and remained for nearly a century at a time when segregated communities were common in New Jersey.

Lawrenceville School

Location: campus is located between Lewisville Road and Route 206

The Lawrenceville School (originally founded in 1810 as Maidenhead Academy) is one of the oldest preparatory schools in the United States. An 18-acre section of the old campus area built in 1894 and designed by Frederick Law Olmstead has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Lawrenceville Historic District

Location: Along Route 206

The LHT crosses Route 206 in downtown Lawrenceville, a historic district that includes many buildings, cemeteries, churches, and the Lawrenceville School.

Johnson Trolley Line

Location: North and west of Main Street Lawrenceville between Gordon Avenue and Denow Road

A short section of the LHT follows the former Johnson Trolley Line. The 2-story brick building at the southeast corner of James Street and Phillips Avenue was the former trolley company station and powerhouse. This northern section of the Johnson Trolley Line follows the right-of-way of the Trenton-Princeton Traction Company. Known as the “Fast Line,” the trolley operated from around 1901 until 1940.

Arctic Parkway

Location: Near the Bergen Street entrance to Village Park

This area was once slated for an ambitious parkway connecting Princeton and Trenton.

 

Pole Farm

Location: north and west of Keefe Road and Cold Soil Road

This area has a rich history from the origins of tele-communication. From 1929 – 1975, the Pole Farm District was owned by American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) and was the site of a large shortwave radio station used for international communications.  Expansive arrays of radio antennas covered the Pole Farm, configured to communicate with cities worldwide.  The LHT follows a path parallel to the lines of giant towers that once transmitted to Buenos Aires and London. The Pole Farm received its name from the hundreds of tall timber poles that held up the transmission wires.

Hunt House

Location: North side of Blackwell Road

The Hunt House was a prosperous farmstead dating back to the 1700’s. The historic house now serves as the offices of the Mercer County Park Commission.

Rosedale Lake

Location: Mercer Meadows Park, east of Federal City Road

Rosedale Lake is the largest water feature along the LHT. This manmade lake was formed in the 1960s when two creeks were damned to minimize flooding and sedimentation. Mercer County acquired the lake and surrounding Blackwell Farm in 1994.

Dogs and Farms

Location: Near the Mercer Meadows Dog Park

The dog park is a proper location to interpret and commemorate the active role that dogs played on a working farm.

Fish Farmstead

Location: At the Mercer Meadows Equestrian Center

The Fish Farm is an example of a typical mid-19th century farmhouse. The house now serves as the County’s Equestrian Center.

Reed’s Mill

Location: Along Old Mill Road

As the LHT crosses the Stony Brook on Old Mill Road, ruins and a stone dam are visible just downstream of the bridge. This was the site of a timber and grain mill that was in operation for nearly 200 years, from approximately 1750 to 1941.

McDougal Farm

Location: On Old Mill Road

The McDougal (Chamberlain) Farm was a prosperous dairy farm dating to the late 19th century. The classic clapboard barn with cupolas is a defining feature.

Cornell / Frisbee Farm

Location: North side of Pennington Rocky Hill Road

Another example of a small family farm from the region’s rich agricultural history.

Willing / Thompson Farm

Location: Northeast of Pennington Rocky Hill Road and Elm Ridge Road

The Willing / Thompson farm is a larger farm, with a full complement of outbuildings, dairy barn, and silos for storage.

Honey Brook Organic Farm

Location: Along Wargo Road

Honey Brook Farm is the oldest certified organic farm in New Jersey.

OUR LOCATION

Lawrence Hopewell Trail Corporation
The Historic Hunt House
197 Blackwell Rd.
Pennington, NJ 08534