|Some of the yards were fenced off with very cool wrought iron.|
Important to us, sites of note were clearly marked. Bordentown is clearly proud of its heritage, both as a hub of transportation and as home to a cast of characters who might be considered rabblerousers of the Revolution. Starting in colonial times, the town's location made it a key spot for travelers between New York and Philadelphia, so it was a natural base of operations for revolutionary notables.
Since it's the kind of place where we could reasonably expect that the attractions listed in the WPA Guide to New Jersey still exist, I took it with me after we parked the car. I didn't want us to miss anything important. Within walking distance, we found a wealth of history:
- Thomas Paine, the noted patriot and author of Common Sense, lived in Bordentown when he wasn't in France. You may recall that we first ran into his New Jersey exploits at New Bridge Landing, where Washington's 1776 retreat inspired Paine's classic, The American Crisis.
- Lawyer and artist Francis Hopkinson stayed in town after marrying the daughter of the man for whom Bordentown is named. Hopkinson not only signed the Declaration of Independence, but was a talented satirist and is credited with designing the New Jersey state seal. He's definitely a subject for a future Hidden New Jersey post, but for now we'll say that his poems and jingles inspired patriots both to fight for independence and to have a good laugh at British military.
- The tracks of New Jersey's first railroad, the Camden and Amboy run on the bed of a sub-surface cut through downtown. Just a mile away, the state's first steam locomotive, the John Bull, was built and tested in 1831.
- The Delaware and Raritan Canal's western end is at the base of a steep embankment just outside the business district.
- The home of Patience Wright, who was America's first sculptress of note, well, when she wasn't spying for the colonists in London.
|Francis Hopkinson's house.|
|Apparently the entrance to Bonaparte's estate.|
We heeded the sign's direction.