Historical Sites and Landmarks in Princeton, NJ: 7 Things to Do and SeeMay 13, 2022
Princetown, NJ boasts an impressive list of historical sites and landmarks. From the Quaker settlements of the late 17th century to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the entire region is steeped in history.
Here are seven sites that American history buffs will especially enjoy visiting.
Princeton University Chapel
In 1920, a major fire destroyed the Marquand Chapel, prompting the construction of a bigger chapel in its place. With its stunning Gothic architecture and intricate stained glass, the Princeton University Chapel is one of the most photographed buildings in the area.
Although the chapel is open to the public during special events, only current Princeton University students are granted regular access. Even if your trip to Princeton does not coincide with one of those events, the chapel’s exterior is still worth seeing.
Princeton Battlefield State Park
Princeton Battlefield State Park is a true testament to American tenacity. After crossing the Delaware River in December 1776, George Washington began a daring 10-day campaign that led up to the Battle of Princeton, after which the British troops occupying Nassau Hall surrendered.
The Battle of Princeton was one of the most consequential battles of the American Revolution, one that many historians contend turned the tide of the war.
Princeton United Methodist Church
Since its construction in 1910, the Princeton United Methodist Church has enchanted visitors with its breathtaking architecture. The Tiffany stained glass window of St. George and the Dragon is one of the Church’s most prized treasures.
Tours are given from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. and by appointment. Visitors are also welcome before and after services, at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m.
Built in 1756, Nassau Hall is the centerpiece of Princeton University’s campus. In addition to housing the British troops who surrendered to Washington after the Battle of Princeton, Nassau Hall was also a temporary meeting site for the Continental Congress.
The building caught fire twice, first in 1802 and again in 1855, requiring extensive renovations. In 1960, the U.S. Department of the Interior declared Nassau Hall a National Historic Landmark.
- Scott Fitzgerald’s House
A little-known fact about F. Scott Fitzgerald is that he was a Princeton University dropout from the class of 1917. Any fan of early American literature should take the time to see his former home at 599, Summit Avenue.
At the time, The Great Gatsby author was living off his grandparent’s meager trust fund. Meanwhile, the oldest private dining club in the country, the Nassau Club, was only minutes away from his low-income housing. Some speculate that this may have been the source of Fitzgerald’s interest in social class inequalities.
The Nassau Inn’s Norman Rockwell Mural
The Nassau Inn, a stylish hotel at 10 Palmer Square, houses an original, 13-foot-wide Norman Rockwell mural in its Yankee Doodle Tap Room, a tribute to Yankee Doodle and the history of Princeton.
According to veteran bartender Tony Pirone, the painting is now insured for $6 million.
Several historical figures lay in the Princeton Cemetery, which is located near the center of town. Upon arriving through the main gates, you will find brochures that list some of the cemetery’s most distinguished graves and monuments.
Among those who are buried there: a President and a Vice President of the United States, soldiers who died during the Revolutionary War, professors, scientists, Nobel Prize laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and many more important figures in America’s rich history.
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