Sunday, June 27, 2021
Sunday, April 18, 2021
The tree came to be known as the Mercer Oak, a significant symbol and focal point for local residents, New Jerseyans and students of history. The orchard where the battle occurred is now known as the Princeton Battlefield.
The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton January 3, 1777,
by John Trumbull, Yale University Art Gallery
The Mercer Oak conspicuously stood alone in the battlefield for almost 300 years until a storm damaged it beyond repair in 2000. Prior to that, it was immortalized in a 1994 romantic comedy, I.Q. That film centered around famed physicist Albert Einstein with key scenes that featured Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins sitting in front of the mighty oak, surrounded by a protective wooden fence.
Some years earlier, I shot my own footage of the tree, farmhouse and battlefield for a short video I created which compiled Revolutionary War sites and monuments throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. My video predated the anachronistic fence and, as such, remains the only existing film or video footage of the Mercer Oak in that natural state, according to John Mills, the curator of the battlefield park and Thomas Clarke Museum, which apparently keeps a copy of my video in its research library.
The Thomas Clarke House, off Princeton Pike (Mercer Road), is currently closed due to Covid rules but the park is open daily from dawn to dusk and there are outdoor weekend tours at 11am and 2pm on Saturdays and 2pm on Sundays; weather permitting.
When in Princeton, stop by and see for yourself where and how these events took place at that crucial moment in America’s history. Of course, the tree may be gone but that which it represents lives on in history as well as our minds and our memories.
Sunday, January 31, 2021
Two stick-like figures appeared to overlook the highway with a tubular pet at their feet. Just who was responsible for this superfluous display and what in the world of artificial intelligence did it all mean?
Well, aside from the fact that the three objects were assembled from water tanks and stand before Water Resources of New Jersey, a water softening business, little else seems to be known of them. While admittedly curious and unexpected, they wouldn’t exactly cause Philip K. Dick to blush and, frankly, I don’t quite see why they are as moderately famous as they are.
In any case, to compensate for my scarcity of ideas for a seventh wonder, I’ll give an honorable mention to these space-age tin woodsmen instead. Besides, their creative owner was decent enough to offer his services to any of my readers interested in commissioning him to adorn their front yards with his artwork.
What has everyone said to that? So far, all responses have been a resounding, “Tanks, but no tanks.”
Sunday, January 17, 2021
Designated as a National Historic Landmark District, the Falls are 77 feet high, one of the largest in the nation and the second-largest east of the Mississippi.Like the Delaware Water Gap, the Falls were the site of Dutch settlements in the 17th Century, in addition to those of the Leni Lenape Indians.
The engineering of canals from the Falls to power water mills in the town of Paterson was conceived and overseen by founding father and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton.
Later a wooden dam was installed in the employment of a paper mill. Today it boasts a hydroelectric plant generating electricity from the Fall’s flowing waters. As a testament to such aesthetic and technical marvels, over a hundred-thousand tourists visit the Great Falls of Paterson every year.
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Along the Appalachian Trail lies the Delaware Water Gap, in essence, the place where the Delaware cuts between the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania and the Kittatinny Ridge of New Jersey.
The ubiquitous footprint of history is adorned in the Water Gap’s countless trails. One such example is the remains of 17th Century Dutch mines and villages from the French and Indian War which stand on its New Jersey side.
The region boomed as a resort town by the beginning of the 20th Century. Today vacationers still venture to the destination for its recreational activities and spectacular sight-seeing.