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Cranbury : A New Jersey Town from the Colonial ERA to the Present

ISBN: 9780813552873 | 0813552877
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Rutgers Univ Pr
Pub. Date: 5/23/2012

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One of the oldest towns in New Jersey, Cranbury has a long and noteworthy history that is in part distinctive and in part broadly representative of larger themes in the development of the state and the nation. In this beautifully illustrated book sponsored by Cranbury Landmarks, Inc., historian John Whiteclay Chambers II links the narrative of this remarkable place to contemporary debates about suburbanization and land-use planning. Founded in 1697 and soon featuring an inn, a gristmill, and a church, the village prospered due to its strategic location on important transportation routes between New York and Philadelphia and its fertile, productive farmland. David Brainerd, a famous and controversial young missionary, came there to preach to the Lenape Indians. In 1778, George Washington and his army stayed there on their way to the Battle of Monmouth. In the nineteenth century, roadways, railroads, and turnpikes spurred the town's commerce and agriculture. Yet unlike many old agricultural centers transformed by suburbanization in the twentieth century, Cranbury has retained its picturesque, small-town image and much of its charm. Cranbury has the feel of a well-preserved nineteenth-century village, remarkable for its intact and cohesive domestic and commercial architecture-a status recognized when it was placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. In the last several decades, an active citizenry has innovatively linked the historic preservation of the town center with the maintenance of adjoining farmland, stream corridors, and wildlife habitats. How Cranbury preserved much of its character while accommodating economic growth provides a central theme in this book. Preserving the best of the past while astutely meeting the challenges of the present, Cranbury's history offers an inspiration for active civic participation, a model for enlightened development, and an engaging American story. A project of Cranbury Landmarks, Inc.


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