Delaware and Raritan Canal: Port Mercer

Quaker Road, Princeton Township, Mercer County, New Jersey


Directions:

Heading south on Route 1 past Princeton, take the exit for Quaker Bridge Road; merge right onto Quaker Bridge Road; keep going straight past the Nassau Park Industrial Area; bear right onto Quaker Road.  There are two parking areas:

1) park on the left at the intersection of Quaker Bridge Road and Quaker Road;  or

2) from the first parking area, drive 0.3 of a mile and park on the right. 

One reason for the two parking areas is that one can only head south from the southernmost parking lot and north from the northernmost parking lot.  One cannot walk the canal between the two parking lots.


History:

1834  -- D&R Canal finished. 

The bridge at Port Mercer was a king-post bridge.  Because these bridges were stronger, this style of bridge replaced the A-frame style bridges.  These bridges were movable ones.  The bridgetender would push a 10-foot pole that would turn the bridge, which was balanced on three sets of eight-inch iron wheels.  After the canal closed, the bridges became immovable and the king-post bridges were replaced by fixed bridges. (Linda J. Barth 2002. Images of America: The Delaware and Raritan Canal. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press.)

1900-1932  --   bridgetender John Arrowsmith tended the bridge from 1900 to the close of the canal in 1932.  His home, provided by the canal company, is now the headquarters of the Lawrence Historical Society. 


Trail:

March 19, 2005.  With Rosemary Cooney and Ceferino Santana we walked northeast along the canal.  There is an obelisk herewith a plaque: "Route of Washington's march by night from Trenton to Princeton and Victory, January 3, 1777."  The plaque was erected in 1914.  There are two paths heading along side the canal.  One is right next to the canal and the other path is raised several feet above the first.  The canal is on the right and on the left there is a marsh. A short walk brings one to the golf course of the Princeton Country Club.  A sign says: "Look right for golfers playing through."  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney


Trees:
Acer negundo (ash leaf maple)
Betula nigra (river birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Fraxinus sp. (ash)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Ulmus sp. (elm)

Shrubs:
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lonicera sp. (honeysuckle)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Smilax sp. (greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Herbs:
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)