Friday, October 26, 2012

More Evidence That Veblens and County Envisioned a Museum

Further evidence has come to light that the original vision for Herrontown Woods was to include preservation and utilization of the house and cottage the Veblens donated with their land. In an article (or here) published July 26, 1957 in the New York Times, which reports on the Veblens' donation of 81 acres to the county, the Mercer County director of parks and rec, Richard J. Coffee, says of the new arboretum: "Eventually, we envision a nature museum, a system of trails through wooded areas, with trees and other plants labelled." He said that the county hoped to provide lectures and opportunities for nature study.

Elizabeth Veblen states in the article, "There is nowhere around here that you can get away from cars and just go walk and sit." "Princeton when we came here in 1905 was a lovely village." She explained that the donation was made "in hope that a little bit of this outdoor atmosphere can be preserved." The Veblens' donation was valued at the time at $154,000.

I should think the Veblens, if they were able to return to see how things are going, would be delighted at how open space advocates have preserved hundreds of additional acres east and west of Herrontown Woods, but would also be wondering when the buildings are going to be fixed up and put to use.

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