Princeton Battlefield

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Princeton Battlefield Historic District
Princeton Battlefield State Park (Princeton, NJ).JPG
Princeton Battlefield, Stony Brook Village Historic District map (v. 2).png
Map of the boundaries of the historic district, covering the battlefield, Stony Brook village, and surrounding farms
LocationPrinceton, New Jersey
Coordinates40°19′51.09″N 74°40′36.68″W / 40.3308583°N 74.6768556°W / 40.3308583; -74.6768556Coordinates: 40°19′51.09″N 74°40′36.68″W / 40.3308583°N 74.6768556°W / 40.3308583; -74.6768556
Area681 acres (276 ha)
NRHP reference #66000466[1] (original)
89000761 (increase 1)
100003698 (increase 2)
NJRHP #1751, 1752, 1753[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966[1]
Boundary increasesOctober 10, 1989
April 26, 2019
Designated NHLDJanuary 20, 1961[3]
Designated NJRHPMay 27, 1971; May 12, 1972; April 10, 1989

The Princeton Battlefield in Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey, United States, is where American and British troops fought each other on January 3, 1777 in the Battle of Princeton during the American Revolutionary War. The battle ended when the British soldiers in Nassau Hall surrendered.[4][5] This success, shortly after Washington's crossing of the Delaware River and capturing the troops at the Old Barracks in Trenton, helped improve American morale.

Part of the battlefield is now a state park, while other portions remain under threat of development.[1] For several years, the Institute for Advanced Study has been attempting to build faculty housing on the portion of Princeton Battlefield known as Maxwell's field.[6][7] The Princeton Battlefield Society is protesting the project in court, and national and local preservation organizations are working to prevent construction on the property.[8] The American Battlefield Trust, based in Washington, D.C., has reached agreement with the institute to purchase almost 15 acres of the land for $4.5 million, more than $1 million above the site's appraised value.[9] The Trust and its partners had already acquired and preserved 9 acres (0.036 km2) of the battlefield.[10] On May 30, 2018, the Trust announced that it had finalized the purchase after raising almost $3.2 million from private donors, which was matched by an $837,000 grant from the National Park Service and the Mercer County Open Space Assistance Program. The completed purchase ended the long dispute over how and whether the battlefield land would be developed.[11]

Princeton Battlefield State Park[edit]

Princeton Battlefield State Park is a 681-acre (3 km2) state park located in Princeton. The park preserves part of the site of the Battle of Princeton (January 3, 1777), which was a victory for General George Washington's revolutionary forces over British forces. The park is maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, and is located on Mercer Road (Princeton Pike), about 1.5 miles south of Princeton University and 3.8 miles north of Interstate 295/95.[12]

Highlights of the park include the Princeton Battlefield site; the Clarke House Museum; the site of the Mercer Oak, a tree which stood in the middle of the battlefield until recent years; the Ionic Colonnade designed by Thomas U. Walter (fourth Architect of the U.S. Capitol); and a stone patio marking the grave of 21 British and 15 American soldiers killed in the battle. A poem was written for the site by Alfred Noyes, Poet Laureate of England.

The park's hiking trails lead to the Delaware and Raritan Canal and to the 588-acre (2 km2) adjacent property of the Institute for Advanced Study.

The Princeton Battle Monument is located in town near Princeton University on non-adjacent park property at Stockton Street and Bayard Lane.

Clarke House Museum[edit]

The Thomas Clarke House Museum was built in 1772 by the third generation of Quakers at Stony Brook. The house is furnished in the Revolutionary period and contains military artifacts and battle exhibits, as well as a research library.

During the battle Hugh Mercer was brought to the Clarke House and treated unsuccessfully by Benjamin Rush.

Princeton Battlefield / Stony Brook Village Historic District[edit]

In 1989 the National Register of Historic Places designation of the Battlefield was expanded to form the Princeton Battlefield / Stony Brook Village Historic District.[13] Princeton's original settlers were Quaker farmers along the Stony Brook immediately to the south and west of the battlefield. The Stony Brook Meeting House and Cemetery was well established at the time of the revolution and in full sight of the battle. The meetinghouse and associated farms are part of the contiguous preserved area that includes the battlefield.[14]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places — Mercer County" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection — Historic Preservation Office. April 5, 2013. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 16, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  3. ^ "Princeton Battlefield". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
  4. ^ Greenwood, Richard. (August 5, 1975). "Princeton Battlefield" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. National Park Service. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Paramount Theatre" (pdf). Photographs. National Park Service. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  6. ^ "Institute for Advanced Study prepares for Maxwell's Field construction".
  7. ^ "Veterans for Princeton organization formed to oppose construction on historic field - The Daily Princetonian".
  8. ^ "Preserve - don't destroy - piece of Princeton Battlefield". The Times of Trenton.
  9. ^ Will, George. "A battle to save the Princeton battlefield". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ [1] American Battlefield Trust "Saved Land" webpage. Accessed May 23, 2018.
  11. ^ [2] Planet Princeton, May 30, 2018, "Institute for Advanced Study and American Battlefield Trust finalize deal that enlarges Princeton Battlefield Park." Accessed June 4, 2018.
  12. ^ New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection, Trenton, NJ (2014). "Princeton Battlefield State Park."
  13. ^ Craig, Robert. "Princeton Battlefield / Stony Brook Village Historic District". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  14. ^ Hageman, J.F. (1878). History of Princeton and Its Institutions. 2. J.B. Lippincott & Company. p. 415. Retrieved April 14, 2015.

External links[edit]