Lawrence Historical Society

Lawrence Township NJ

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Last Updated on Friday, 20 October 2017 12:17

Aldo Leopold's Big Woods

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Dr. Daniel Druckenbrod of Rider University has published an article on Aldo Leopold's Big Woods.  Dr. Druckenbrod presented his research as the Mary Tanner Lecturer in 2014 and has repeated the presentation for various groups in Lawrence Township.  The Big Woods are near Rider University and were the subject of research for Leopold while the future naturalist was a student at The Lawrenceville School in the early 20th century.  A good portion of the woods is still forestland and LHS is currently planning a walking tour of the woods, possibly as early as this spring.  Check this page for a date announcement.  In the meantime, you can read Dr. Druckenbrod's article on the New Jersey Studies website.


NJ 350 Articles

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New Jersey 350

The State of New Jersey is celebrating 350 years in 2014.  As part of this celebration, The Lawrence Historical Society has published a set of seven articles about Lawrence history.  In addition to appearing in this space, printed copies will be made available at society events and public buildings in the township.  The 2014 articles are marked NEW below.  The articles toward the bottom of the list are reprints of a set done in 1964 as part of the New Jersey 300 celebration.  These articles were made possible through a grant from the Mercer County Culture and Heritage Commission.

Lewisville Road and African American History

Pole Farm: When Lawrence Was A Transatlantic Communications Hub

300 Years of History Along Route 206

How Lawrence Township Became a Suburb

Lawrence Township Street Names

Federal City Road

Prohibition Enforcement In Lawrence Township

The Lawrenceville School: Highlights of a Century and a Half

Maidenhead: The Early Days

Lawrence Township Minute Records: Yesterday and Today

Lawrence Township Revolutionary Highlights

The Smith Homesteads

Town Hall: Past-Present-Future


Last Updated on Sunday, 04 September 2016 00:47

Lawrence Township Revisited

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Lawrence Township Revisited coverLawrence Historical Society's new book, Lawrence Township Revisited, is now available.  Part of Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series, the book contains over 200 photographs illustrating the past 150 years of township history.  A wide variety of subjects are covered in the book, including schools, businesses and neighborhoods.  A must-have for all history buffs, Lawrence Township Revisited also makes a great gift.  All profits from the book will support Lawrence Historical Society's programs and upkeep of the Brearley House and Port Mercer Canal House.


Order your copy today and help support Lawrence Historical Society.  Copies can be purchased at the Brearley House for $22 each or you may select to have your copy mailed to you.  To place a mail order, select the number of copies you wish to order from the drop-down below and click buy now.  If you don't have a PayPal account, you can check out as a guest by clicking the Don't Have a PayPal Account link on the check-out screen.  Shipping and tax included.


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Hogmanay Bonfire

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Hogmanay Bonfire

December 31st, 6:00pm-8:00pm

The Great Meadow at Brearley House

wood pile

Create a list of all the bad things you want to forget about 2018 and bring it to the fire on New Year's Eve.  Toss it in the flames and watch it burn.

Parking Information!!! Parking will be offsite at the Vision Management complex on Lenox Drive.  Visitors are asked to enter the lot at the light on Princeton Pike and Lenox Drive.  Follow the road to the rear lots, where you can either walk a lighted trail to Brearley House or board a shuttle bus.

Refreshments will be available for sale by Captain Paul's Firehouse Dogs.

The Hogmanay Bonfire will take place in the Great Meadow behind the Brearley House and will be lit promptly at 6:00pm by our fire master, Tom Ledwidth.  Due to legal regulations, the bonfire will end at 8:00pm.

Please leave your pets at home.  The crowds at the bonfire do tend to be large, making it difficult to control animals that get excited or frightened by the crowd.

The event and shuttle buses are provided for free by the Society, but you may make a donation in the house or online.

A bagpiper will be onsite to entertain the crowd and the house will be open.

Paper and pencils will also be available for you to write down all the bad things from the previous year that you wish to toss into the fire. You are also invited to prepare a list in advance and bring it to the fire.

For more information, contact us via e-mail or call 609-895-1728.

The Hogmanay Bonfire has been a tradition for the Lawrence Historical Society since 1997. The bonfire began as a way to showcase the Brearley House while it was being renovated and proved to be so popular it has become an annual event.

The first bonfire was suggested by Joe Logan, who recalled similar fires that took place in his childhood home of Savannah, Georgia. The bonfires of his boyhood were a New Year's Eve community celebration to mark the end of the holiday season with the burning of the year's Christmas trees.

LHS took Logan's suggestion and combined it with Hogmanay, another festival that often includes bonfires and a large community gathering. It is our hope that you will enjoy our gift to the community by bringing along your family and friends to celebrate a new year and have a good time.

Hogmanay is a Scottish New Year's celebration that has it roots in Pagan tradition. To this day, Hogmanay is the main winter holiday and includes many Christmas-like features, such as gift giving.

The most important aspect of any Hogmanay celebration is cleansing for the new year. Cleansing includes paying off old debts, washing the home, and banishing thoughts of bad happenings from the previous year.

Other traditions include the banging of pots at midnight to ward off dark spirits, banishing stray dogs to keep evil at bay, and firstfooting - a tradition of visiting friends and relatives at midnight to bring them good cheer to start off the new year.

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