Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton, New Jersey
Nassau Street, Princeton's main street
Nassau Street, Princeton's main street
Location in Mercer County and the state of New Jersey
Location in Mercer County and the state of New Jersey
Census Bureau map of the former Princeton Township (and enclaved Borough in pink), New Jersey Interactive map of Princeton, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of the former Princeton Township (and enclaved Borough in pink), New Jersey
Interactive map of Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton is located in Mercer County, New Jersey
Location in Mercer County
Princeton is located in New Jersey
Location in New Jersey
Princeton is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 40°21′26″N 74°40′13″W / 40°21′26″N 74°40′13″W / 40.357115; -74.670165

Princeton is a municipality with a borough form of government in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States, that was established in its current form on January 1, 2013, through the consolidation of the Borough of Princeton and Princeton Township. As of the 2010 United States Census, the municipality's population was 28,572, reflecting the former township's population of 16,265, along with the 12,307 in the former borough.[7][8][9][10][11]

Princeton was founded before the American Revolution. It is the home of Princeton University, which bears its name and moved to the community in 1756 from its previous location in Newark. Although its association with the university is primarily what makes Princeton a college town, other important institutions in the area include the Institute for Advanced Study, Westminster Choir College, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton Theological Seminary, Opinion Research Corporation, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Siemens Corporate Research, SRI International, FMC Corporation, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Amrep, Church and Dwight, Berlitz International, and Dow Jones & Company.

Princeton is roughly equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia. It is close to many major highways that serve both cities (e.g. Interstate 95 and US Route 1), and receives major television and radio broadcasts from each. It is also close to Trenton, New Jersey's capital city, and Edison.

The New Jersey governor's official residence has been in Princeton since 1945, when Morven in what was then Princeton Borough became the first Governor's mansion. It was later replaced by the larger Drumthwacket, a colonial mansion located in the former Township. Morven became a museum property of the New Jersey Historical Society.

Princeton was ranked 15th of the top 100 towns in the United States to Live and Work In by Money Magazine in 2005.[16]Throughout much of its history, the community was composed of two separate municipalities: a township and a borough. The central borough was completely surrounded by the township. The borough seceded from the township in 1894 in a dispute over school taxes; the two municipalities later formed the Princeton Public Schools, and some other public services were conducted together before they were reunited into a single Princeton in January 2013. Princeton Borough contained Nassau Street, the main commercial street, most of the University campus, and incorporated most of the urban area until the postwar suburbanization. The borough and township had roughly equal populations.


Early history

The Lenni Lenape Native Americans were the earliest identifiable inhabitants of the Princeton area. Europeans founded their settlement in the late part of the 17th century. The first European to find his home in the boundaries of the future town was Henry Greenland. He built his house in 1683 along with a tavern. In this drinking hole representatives of West Jersey and East Jersey met to set boundaries for the location of the township.[17]

Originally, Princeton was known only as part of nearby Stony Brook. Nathaniel Fitz Randolph, a native of the town, attested in his private journal on December 28, 1758, that Princeton was named in 1724 upon the making/construction of the first house in the area by James Leonard,[18] who first referred to the town as Princetown when describing the location of his large estate in his diary.[19] The town bore a variety of names subsequently, including: Princetown, Prince's Town and finally Princeton.[18] Although there is no official documentary backing, the town is considered to be named after King William III, Prince William of Orange of the House of Nassau.[20] Another theory suggests that the name came from a large land-owner named Henry Prince, but no evidence backs this contention.[18] A royal prince seems a more likely eponym for the settlement, as three nearby towns had similar names: Kingston, Queenstown (in the vicinity of the intersection of Nassau and Harrison Streets) and Princessville (Lawrence Township).[19]

Nassau Hall, which briefly served as the capitol of the United States of America in 1783[21]
The Princeton campus, December 2016
Nassau Street at night, 2016

When Richard Stockton, one of the founders of the township, died in 1709 he left his estate to his sons, who helped to expand property and the population. Based on the 1880 United States Census, the population of the town comprised 3,209 persons (not including students).[19] Local population has expanded from the nineteenth century. According to the 2010 Census, Princeton Borough had 12,307 inhabitants, while Princeton Township had 16,265.[22][23] The numbers have become stagnant; since the establishment of Princeton University in 1756, the town's population spikes every year during the fall and winter and drops significantly over the course of the summer.[19]

The Princeton campus was used as one of the sets for the film Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.
A light at the Princeton campus


Battle of Princeton, 1777

Aside from housing the university of the same name, the settlement suffered the revolutionary Battle of Princeton in 1777, when George Washington forced the British to evacuate southern New Jersey. After the victory, the town hosted the first Legislature under the State Constitution to decide the State's seal, Governor and organization of its government. In addition, two of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence—Richard Stockton and John Witherspoon lived in Princeton.[19] Princetonians honored their citizens' legacy by naming two streets in the downtown area after them.

On January 10, 1938 Henry Ewing Hale called for a group of citizens to discuss opening a "Historical Society of Princeton." Later the Bainbridge House would be dedicated for this purpose. Previously the house was used once for a meeting of Continental Congress in 1783, a general office, and as the Princeton Public Library. The House is owned by Princeton University and is leased to the Princeton Historical Society for one dollar per year.[24] The house has kept its original staircase, flooring and paneled walls. Around 70% of the house has been unaltered. Aside from safety features such as wheelchair access and electrical work, the house was has been restored to its original look.

Government history

During the most stirring events in its history, Princeton was a wide spot in the road; the boundary between Somerset County and Middlesex County ran right through Princeton, along the high road between New York and Philadelphia, now Nassau Street. When Mercer County was formed in 1838, part of West Windsor Township was added to the portion of Montgomery Township which was included in the new county, and made into Princeton Township; the area between the southern boundary of the former Borough and the Delaware and Raritan Canal was added to Princeton Township in 1853. Princeton Borough became a separate municipality in 1894.

In the early nineteenth century, New Jersey boroughs had been parish bodies, chartered within existing townships. Princeton Borough received such a charter in 1813, as part of Montgomery and West Windsor Townships; it continued to be part of Princeton Township until the Act of 1894, which required that each township form a single school district; rather than do so, Princeton Borough petitioned to be separated. (Before consolidation, the two Princetons shared a combined public school system.) Two minor boundary changes united the then site of the Princeton Hospital and of the Princeton Regional High School inside the Borough, in 1928 and 1951 respectively.[25]

Other Languages
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български: Принстън
català: Princeton
čeština: Princeton
dansk: Princeton
eesti: Princeton
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Bahasa Indonesia: Princeton, New Jersey
italiano: Princeton
ქართული: პრინსტონი
Kreyòl ayisyen: Princeton, New Jersey
Latina: Princetonia
latviešu: Prinstona
norsk: Princeton
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Princeton (New Jersey)
polski: Princeton
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संस्कृतम्: प्रिन्‍सटन
sicilianu: Princeton
Simple English: Princeton, New Jersey
ślůnski: Princeton
српски / srpski: Принстон (Њу Џерзи)
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Princeton, New Jersey
українська: Принстон
Tiếng Việt: Princeton, New Jersey