FOPOS HELPS ADD IMPORTANT LAND TO PRINCETON BATTLEFIELD
On September 16, 2015 President Wendy Mager and several board members joined Mayor Liz Lempert, County Executive Brian Hughes, State Park Service Director Mark Texel, State Senator Kip Bateman and many others to celebrate the addition of the D’Ambrisi tract to Princeton Battlefield State Park. Kip Cherry, Vice President of the Princeton Battlefield Society, organized the event and was instrumental in working with the D’Ambrisi family to preserve their land. Mrs. D’Ambrisi and two of her sons looked on proudly as they were commended for their decision, and the Mayor referred to all of the citizens who helped make this happen as modern-day heroes, who compliment the heroes who fought on this land during the American Revolution.
FOPOS contributed $200,000 toward the acquisition, consisting of a grant from the County’s open space program and $100,000 of funding from the DEP’s Green Acres program.
As part of the acquisition process, the D’Ambrisihouse was removed and the dam for the on-site pond was repaired by the municipality. A tributary of Stony Brook flows through this and adjacent lots, all of which were once part of the landscape of the Drumthwacket estate designed for Moses Taylor Pyne after the Revolution. The site contains many lovely, mature trees, and a new trail provides access from the area of the colonnade in Battlefield Park.
The 4.6-acre D’Ambrisi property provides a critical link from Battlefield Park to Stockton Street (Route 206 South), and was the site of critical events in the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777. That event was a turning point in the Revolutionary War, the first battle won against professional British soldiers. After the battle, 21 British and 15 American soldiers were buried in one grave in this area due to the frozen ground and the need for American troops to hasten away from the approach of General Cornwallis and his 8,000 soldiers. The Battlefield Society has received a federal grant to study the site, and has already performed ground penetrating radar studies.
The vision for the future is to connect the D’Ambrisi property with many other preserved lands on both sides of Battlefield Park, by continuing a bike path from the eastern side of the Park over to Stockton Street and along Stockton Street to Edgerstoune Road.