Northwest Mercer County Park
on the border of Hopewell and Lawrence Townships, Mercer County, NJ
The trails and woods are available to residents for passive recreation
The former AT&T tract joins Rosedale Park to the north and Village Park to the south.
The entrance is at the northwest corner of Keefe and Cold Soil Roads. The tract can also be reached from a Rosedale Park parking lot on Blackwell Road.
From the traffic light at Manors Corner shopping center on Pennington-Lawrenceville Road take Keefe Road toward Princeton for 1.1 miles to the bend where it meets Cold Soil Road. At that bend, the entrance is on the left through a chain link gate. There is a white barn on the left inside the gate. Go straight on the macadam road to the parking area. If starting in Princeton, take Cold Soil Road, go 1.1 miles past Blackwell Road to the bend, and look for the entrance on the right.
The former AT&T parcel is a square-mile tract on the ridge line of the Delaware and Raritan River watersheds.
The latest addition to Mercer County Park North West is bounded by Federal
City, Blackwell, Cold Soil and Keefe Roads. The land was once known as the Pole
1685 -- Dr. Daniel Cox was the owner of 45,000 acres in West Jersey. A Quaker Society bought the land from him to sell farms to English settlers.
before 1697 -- the future parkland was in Burlington County.
1697 -- it became part of Hunterdon County.
mid-1800s -- became part of Mercer County when that county was created. The land was used for farming.
the 1920's -- American Telephone and Telegraph purchases the 800 acres to build a radio transmitting station. (Two of the old farm houses, the Nathan Moore house (1760) and the Salathiel Pierson house (1762), were moved to Cold Soil Road and are now privately owned.)
June 1929 - 1956 -- until the transatlantic telephone cable was laid in 1956 all the overseas telephone calls in the U.S. were sent on radio waves from Cold Soil Road.
1975 -- the system became obsolete and the main switch was turned off; in a few years the Pole Farm reverted to agricultural production.
1995 -- AT&T sold its acreage to Mercer County for $8.6 million.
woods and fields (Mercer County leases the fields to three local farmers)
The trails in Northwest Mercer County Park connect with a trail leading through Village Park ands then to the RCN tele-communications campus and then to the D & R Canal.
10/18/04. This is a fairly large area. I drove the car slowly down the deteriorating asphalt road north between nodding foxtail grass fields on the right and left. Toward the end of the asphalt road, is the woods area. I parked at the end of the road and then walked on the left along a wide gravel and dirt path. The path comes to a T-intersection. A short distance right brings the hiker to large fields with farm buildings in the distance. I turned around and came back to the T-intersection. After walking a short distance on the left fork, I turned around and went back to the car.
This time I walked to the right. A short walk brings the hiker to another T-intersection with long gravel roads heading north and south. The one heading south goes to the park entrance. I turned around and went back to the car and then left the park. Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.
Lawrence Greenway News, March 1998
LAWRENCE GREENWAY NEWS Fall 2000
Lawrence Township Greenway Committee
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant found in bloom on date of field trip, 10/18/04
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Cornus racemosa (gray-stemmed dogwood)
Corylus sp. (hazel)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Hibiscus syriacus (rose of Sharon)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Myrica pensylvanica (northern bayberry)
Photinia villosa (photinia) hort. escape
Rhus copallina (winged sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus sp. (black berry)
Salix discolor (pussy willow)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)
Aster novae-angliae (New England aster) *
Aster spp. (aster) *
Bidens coronata (tickseed sunflower) *
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed) *
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eyed daisy)
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's Lace) *
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink)
Erigeron sp. (fleabane)
Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset) *
Eupatorium sp. (Joe-Pye weed)
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Galium sp. (bedstraw)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Melilotus officinalis (yellow sweet clover)
Monarda sp. (wild bergamot)?
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose) *
Pastinaca sativa (wild parsnip)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) *
Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (narrow-leaved mountain mint) *
Rumex sp. (dock)
Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (narrow-leaved mountain mint)
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan)
Solanum carolinense (horse nettle)
Solidago gigantea (late goldenrod)
Solidago rugosa (rough-stemmed goldenrod)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) *
Trifolium pratense (red clover)
Trifolium repens (white clover)
Verbena hastata (blue vervain)
Xanthium strumarium (clotbur)
Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark green bulrush)
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)
Digitaria sp. (crab grass)
Echinochloa sp. (barnyard grass)
Elymus hystrix (bottle-brush grass)
Eragrostis pectinacea Carolina love grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue panic grass)
Panicum virgatum (switch grass)
Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Sorghastrum nutans (Indian nut grass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)
Ferns and fern allies:
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)