Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park: Kingston Lock
Kingston, Princeton Township, Mercer County, NJ


From Route 1 heading south make a right turn onto Raymond Road; follow Raymond Road to a traffic light; make a left onto Route 27; follow this route until nearing the bridge over the Millstone River; make a left at a sign for the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park at Kingston. Parking lot opposite the lock tender's house.


1680s -- Dr. Henry "Harry" Greenland opened a tavern in the village.

1705  --  a wooden bridge that linked Kingston to Princeton was built over the Millstone River.

1709  -- Jedediah Higgins became one of the first inhabitants of Kingston.

1738  --  the wooden bridge replaced with a wood and stone bridge.

Kingston was a thriving rest stop on the way between New York and Philadelphia. Travelers passed through town along Main Street (now Route 27).

1748  --  Jacob Skillman built a grist and flour mill across the bridge on the Princeton side of Kingston.

1777  (January) --  following the Battle of Princeton, General Washington paced, on horseback, in the Kingston cemetery during a stopover in the village pondering whether he should capture the British storage houses a few miles northeast in New Brunswick or head north to winter quarters in Morristown.  Given that his troops were in such bad shape, he decided to head to Morristown.   Before he left, he ordered the bridge that links Kingston to Princeton destroyed.

There is an historic plaque by the bridge over the Millstone River: "Only wooden bridge at this location destroyed by Washington's troops January 3, 1777 following the Battle of Princeton to prevent pursuit by Lord Cornwallis."

1778  --  Washington's troops came through Kingston on their way to the Battle of Monmouth. During their stay, a recruiting office was established on Main Street.

1798  --  the bridge that now connects Kingston and Princeton was built. In this same year the Gulick family purchased the Jacob Skillman mill and kept it going for about a century.

1783  --  General Washington ate in Kingston's restaurants while he maintained a headquarters in Rockingham.

1834  -- the Delaware & Raritan Canal completed.  There was a basin at Kingston.  Basins were widened parts of the canal where vessels were pulled off to the side out of the way of traffic so they could be loaded or unloaded.  At Lock Number 8, the small building is the only surviving canal telegraph office on the canal.  Next to it is the Kingston Locktender's house.  (Today the building houses exhibits about the canal.)

1849  -- drop gates installed on the canal lock.  

1870s  --  the grist and flour mill that now stands was built after the original building was destroyed by fire. Nearby the canal are the remains of the old red clapboard Kingston Flour Mill (a vertical shaft turbine mill) in Princeton Township, Mercer County; there are two levels of water falls here.

1886  --  the Princeton rowing teams had practiced rowing in the D&R Canal, but in this year the rowing teams had to disband because the traffic on the canal was too great (and therefore dangerous).

1902  --  while visiting Princeton University, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie heard about the rowing enthusiasts' wish that they had a lake in which to practice rowing.   He decided to support damming the Millstone River to create Lake Carnegie.

1904  -- construction of Lake Carnegie begins. 

1906  -- the lake was dedicated with Andrew Carnegie and his wife as guests of honor. 

1907  --  the first regatta held on the new lake.

late 1930s  --  after the last lock tender saw a few military submarines pass, the canal closed.

Just beyond the mill is Lake Carnegie, a widened portion of the Millstone River.  Princeton's crew team practices and races here. Up the stairs to Route 27 there is a sign by River Road "Welcome to Princeton Township".

(Source: Steve Bates, "Celebrating 325 years of village history: A piece of the puzzle of New Jersey and U.S. history", Aug. 6, 1999, Packet Online: Princeton, New Jersey;

(Linda J. Barth 2002. Images of America: The Delaware and Raritan Canal. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press.)


There are two canoe launches here: Delaware and Raritan Canal and Millstone River.

Across the street, in Somerset County, is the John W. Flemer Preserve.


The trail is the tow path of the Delaware and Raritan Canal. The canal parallels Lake Carnegie for more than two miles from Lock Number 8 in Kingston south to the Millstone Aqueduct.  There is a white lock tender's house and station for lock #8. The Locktender's House now serves as the home of the Kingston Historical Society.

There is a connecting tunnel under Route 27 to the towpath north.

In Somerset County, one can walk from the Cook Natural Area to the Kingston lock, over the old stone bridge and on to Heathcote Park. This whole section forms part of the "Freedom Trail".

From Kingston south:
Lake Carnegie
Alexander Road
Quaker Road
US 295 and Princeton Pike
Bakers Basin Road, Bakersville
Carnegie Road
US 1
Hannett Park
Mulberry Street

Central New Jersey Greenway --  the greenway will go from Trenton to the Atlantic coast across Central New Jersey through Manasquan, Allaire State Park, Manasquan River Reservoir, Turkey Swamp County Park, Turkey Swamp Wildlife Management Area, Assunpink Wildlife Management Area, Mercer County Park, the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park, to the historic City of Trenton. (

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, brief visit, November 21, 2003;  date of 3/19/2005 indicates plants in bloom on the day of the field trip.

Acer negundo (box elder maple)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Prunus sp. (cherry)
Pyrus sp. (crab apple)
Quercus nigra (river birch)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)

Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Vinca minor (periwinkle) 3/19/2005

Euonymus fortunii (Fortune's euonymus)
Hedera helix (English ivy)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Plantago major (common plantain)
(glory of the snow)  3/19/2005

Setaria sp. (foxtail grass)

Trip Report, Torrey Botanical Society; Lake Carnegie to Millstone River to Walker-Gordon Pond

sour gum

C.H. Rogers 7