Monday, August 7, 2017
Princeton to Take Ownership of Herrontown Woods and Veblen House
Today is a special day. It's my younger daughter's birthday, but from now on, August 7 will also be remembered as the day Mercer County announced an agreement to transfer Herrontown Woods and the Veblen buildings to the town of Princeton. Town council, responding to a groundswell of support for saving the Veblen House, has agreed to take ownership of the house, cottage and other structures, along with the 142 acres of preserved Princeton ridge forest, and will work out a lease arrangement with our nonprofit.
The Friends of Herrontown Woods got a green light four years ago to restore the trail system and habitat. Our success at making the preserve welcoming to hikers, along with the tremendous support people have shown for our work, has convinced town council to give us a chance to repair and repurpose the buildings as well.
The Veblens donated Herrontown Woods in 1957, as a place "where you can get away from cars and just walk and sit." Now, after a ten year effort to gain recognition for the value of the buildings, we will develop an agreement with Princeton that will allow us to honor the other part of the Veblen's legacy--buildings that can serve as a gathering place, complementary to the open space that surrounds them.
At this turning point, we feel great gratitude to all of our supporters who spoke out when demolition seemed imminent, and to the mayor and town council for their positive intervention. Now, finally, we can look forward to putting these well-crafted buildings on a positive trajectory, and making them a great asset for the Princeton community.
Note: The youthfulness of my daughter in the first photo attests to how long we've been working to reach this point. I first came upon Veblen House ten years ago, while doing plant inventories in Princeton's nature preserves.