Princeton is roughly equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia. Princeton is close to many major highways that serve both cities, and receives all major TV and radio broadcasts from each.
New Jersey's capital is the city of Trenton, but the governor's official residence has been in Princeton since 1945, when Morven in the borough became the first Governor's mansion. It was later replaced by the larger Drumthwacket, a colonial mansion located in the township. Morven became a museum property of the New Jersey Historical Society.
Princeton was named No. 15 of the top 100 towns in the United States to Live and Work In by Money Magazine in 2005.
Although residents of Princeton (Princetonians) traditionally have a strong community-wide identity, the community had been composed of two separate municipalities: a township and a borough. The central borough was completely surrounded by the township. The Borough seceded from the Township in 1894 in a dispute over school taxes; the two municipalities later formed the Princeton Public Schools, and some other public services were conducted together before they were reunited into a single Princeton in January 2013. The Borough contained Nassau Street, the main commercial street, most of the University campus, and incorporated most of the urban area until the postwar suburbanization. Borough and Township had roughly equal populations.
The Lenni LenapeNative Americans were the earliest identifiable inhabitants of the Princeton area. Europeans founded their settlement in the latter part of the 17th century. The first European to find his home in the boundaries of the future town was Henry Greenland. He built his house in 1683 along with a tavern. In this drinking hole representatives of West and East Jersey met to set boundaries for the location of the township.
Originally, Princeton was known only as part of nearby Stony Brook. Mr. James Leonard first referred to the town as Prince-town,[when?] when describing the location of his large estate in his diary. The town bore a variety of names subsequently, including: Princetown, Prince's Town and finally Princeton. Although there is no official documentary backing, the town is considered[by whom?] to be named after King William III, Prince William of Orange of the House of Nassau. Another theory suggests that the name came from a large land-owner named Henry Prince, but there is no evidence that this was the case. It is more likely for the settlement to be named after a prince, as three nearby towns had similar names: Kingston, Queenstown (in the vicinity of the intersection of Nassau and Harrison streets) and Princessville (Lawrence township).
When Richard Stockton, one of the founders of the township, died in 1709 he left his estate to his sons, who helped to expand property and population. Based on the 1880 United States Census, the population of the town was only 3,209 (not including students). Local population has expanded from the nineteenth century. According to the 2000 Census, Princeton Borough has 14,203 inhabitants, while Princeton Township has 16,207. The numbers have become stagnant; since the founding of Princeton University, the town’s population spikes every year during the fall and winter and drops significantly over the course of the summer.
Battle of Princeton, 1777
Aside from housing the University of the same name, the settlement suffered the revolutionary Battle of Princeton on its soil. After the victory in 1777, the town hosted the first Legislature under the State Constitution of New Jersey to decide the State’s seal, Governor and organization of its government. In addition, two of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence—Richard Stockton and John Witherspoon lived in Princeton. Princetonians honored their citizen’s legacy by naming two streets in the downtown area after them.
On January 10, 1938 Henry Ewing Hale called for a group of citizens to discuss opening a “Historical Society of Princeton.” Later the Bainbridge House would be dedicated for this purpose. Previously the house was used once for a meeting of Continental Congress in 1783, a general office and as the Princeton Public Library. The House is actually property of Princeton University and is leased to the Princeton Historical Society for one dollar per year. The house has kept its original staircase, flooring and paneled walls. All together, 70% of the house has been unaltered. Aside from safety features like wheelchair access and electrical work, the house was merely restored to its original look.
During the most stirring events in its history, Princeton was a wide spot in the road; the boundary between Somerset County and Middlesex County ran right through Princeton, along the high road between New York and Philadelphia, now Nassau Street. When Mercer County was formed in 1838, part of West Windsor Township was added to the portion of Montgomery Township which was included in the new county, and made into Princeton Township; the area between the present borough line and the Delaware and Raritan Canal was added to Princeton Township in 1853. Princeton Borough became a separate municipality in 1894.
In the early nineteenth century, New Jersey boroughs had been parish bodies, chartered within existing townships. Princeton Borough received such a charter in 1813, as part of Montgomery and West Windsor Townships; it continued to be part of Princeton Township until the Act of 1894, which required that each township form a single school district; rather than do so, Princeton Borough petitioned to be separated. (The two Princetons now form the Princeton Public Schools.) Two minor boundary changes united the then site of the Princeton Hospital and of the Princeton Regional High School inside the Borough, in 1928 and 1951 respectively.
Princeton is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The government consists of a Mayor and a six-member Borough Council, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election.
The Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office, serves as the borough's chief executive officer and nominates appointees to various boards and commissions subject to approval of the Borough Council. The Mayor presides at the Borough Council meetings and votes in the case of a tie or a few other specific cases.
The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Council has administrative powers and is the policy-making body of the Borough. The Council approves appointments made by the Mayor. Council Members serve on various boards and committees and act as liaison's to certain Departments, Committees or Boards.
As of 2013[update], the Mayor of Princeton is Liz Lempert, whose term of office ends December 31, 2016. Members of the Princeton Borough Council are Council President Bernard P. Miller (2014), Jo Butler (2014), Jenny Crumiller (2013), Heather Howard (2015), Lance Liverman (2015) and Patrick Simon (2013).
Merger of Borough and Township
On November 8, 2011, the residents of both the Borough of Princeton and the Township of Princeton voted to merge the two municipalities into one. In Princeton Borough 1,385 voted for, 902 voted against while in Princeton Township 3,542 voted for and 604 voted against. Proponents of the merger asserted that when the merger is completed the new municipality of Princeton will save $3.2 million as a result of some scaled down services including layoffs of 15 government workers including 9 police officers (however the measure itself does not mandate such layoffs). Opponents of the measure challenged the findings of report citing cost savings as unsubstantiated, and noted that voter representation would be reduced in a smaller government structure. The consolidation took effect on January 1, 2013.
Mercer County is governed by a County Executive who oversees the day-to-day operations of the county and by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders that acts in a legislative capacity, setting policy. As of 2013[update], the County Executive is Brian M. Hughes (D; term ends December 31, 2013, Princeton). Members of the Board of Chosen Freeholders are elected at-large to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats coming up for election each year. At an annual reorganization meeting held each January, the board selects a Freeholder Chair and Vice-Chair from among its members. Mercer County's freeholders are Freeholder Chair John Cimino (D; 2014, Hamilton Township), Freeholder Vice Chair Andrew Koontz (D; 2013, Princeton), Ann M. Cannon (D; 2015, East Windsor Township), Anthony P. Carabelli (D; 2013, Trenton), Pasqual "Pat" Colavita, Jr. (D; 2015, Lawrence Township), Samuel T. Frisby (D; 2015; Trenton) and Lucylle R. S. Walter (D; 2014, Ewing Township) Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello (D, 2015). Sheriff John A. "Jack" Kemler (D, 2014) and Surrogate Dianne Gerofsky (D, 2016).
Like most of the Northeastern United States, Princeton has a humid continental climate, and generally sees cold winters and hot, humid summers. According to Weather.com, the lowest recorded temperature in Princeton was −16 °F (−27 °C) on January 28, 1935, and the highest record temperature was 105 °F (41 °C) on July 9, 1936.
In the early 1990s, redistricting occurred between the Community Park and Johnson Park School districts, as the population within both districts had increased due to residential development. Concerns were also raised about the largely white, wealthy student population attending Johnson Park (JP) and the more racially and economically diverse population at Community Park (CP). As a result of the redistricting, portions of the affluent Western Section neighborhood were redistricted to CP, and portions of the racially and economically diverse John Witherspoon neighborhood were redistricted to JP.
The Princeton Public Library's current facility was opened in April 2004 as part of the on-going downtown redevelopment project, and replaced a building dating from 1966. The library itself was founded in 1909.
Princeton is roughly equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia. Since the 19th century, it has been connected by rail to both of these cities by the Princeton Branch rail line to the nearby Princeton Junction Station on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. The Princeton train station was moved from under Blair Hall to a more southerly location on University Place in 1918, and was moved further southeast in 2013. Commuting to New York from Princeton became commonplace after the Second World War. While the Amtrak ride time is similar to New York and to Philadelphia, the commuter-train ride to New York – via New Jersey Transit's Northeast Corridor Line — is generally much faster than the equivalent train ride to Philadelphia, which involves a transfer to SEPTA trains in Trenton. New Jersey Transit provides shuttle service between the Princeton and Princeton Junction stations; the train is locally called the "Dinky", and has also been known as the "PJ&B" (for "Princeton Junction and Back"). Two train cars, or sometimes just one, are used.
NJ Transit provides bus service to Trenton on the 606 route and local service on routes 605 and 655. Coach USA Suburban Transit operates frequent daily service to midtown NYC on the 100 route, and weekday rush-hour service to downtown NYC on the 600 route. Princeton and Princeton University provide the FreeB and Tiger Transit local bus services.
The borough has a total of 126.95 miles (204.31 km) of roadways, of which 118.36 miles (190.48 km) are maintained by the municipality, 3.93 miles (6.32 km) by Mercer County, and 8.66 miles (13.94 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
A number of proposed highways around Princeton have been canceled. The Somerset Freeway (Interstate 95) was to pass just outside the municipality before ending in Hopewell (to the south) and Franklin (to the north). This project was canceled in 1980. Route 92 was supposed to remedy the lack of limited-access highways to the greater Princeton area. The road would have started at Route 1 near Ridge Road in South Brunswick and ended at Exit 8A of the Turnpike. However, that project was killed in 2006.
Princeton Airport is a public airport lying 3 miles (5 km) north of Downtown Princeton in Montgomery Township. The private Forrestal Airport was located on Princeton University property, 2 miles (3 km) east of the main campus, from the early 1950s through the early 1990s.
Note: this list does not include people whose only time in Princeton was as a student. Only selected faculty are shown, whose notability extends beyond their field into popular culture. See Faculty and Alumni lists above.
Princeton was the setting of the Academy Award-winning A Beautiful Mind about the schizophrenic mathematician John Nash. It was largely filmed in central New Jersey, including some Princeton locations. However, many scenes of "Princeton" were actually filmed at Fordham University's Rose Hill campus in the Bronx.
Historical films which used Princeton as a setting but were not filmed there include Wilson, a 1944 biographical film about Woodrow Wilson.
In his 1989 independent feature film Stage Fright, independent filmmaker Brad Mays shot a drama class scene in the Princeton High School auditorium, using PHS students as extras. On October 18, 2013, Mays' feature documentary I Grew Up in Princeton had its premiere showing at Princeton High School. The film, described in one Princeton newspaper as a "deeply personal 'coming-of-age story' that yields perspective on the role of perception in a town that was split racially, economically and sociologically", is a portrayal of life in the venerable university town during the tumultuous period of the late sixties through the early seventies.
Scenes from the beginning of "Across the Universe" (2007) were filmed on the Princeton University campus.
Parts of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen were filmed in Princeton. Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf were filming on Princeton University campus for two days during the summer of 2008.
Scenes from the 2008 movie The Happening were filmed in Princeton.
In the movie Toy Story 3, it is inferred from his computer screensaver and "Go Tiger" pennants in his room that Andy is going to Princeton.
TV and radio
The 1938 Orson Welles radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, is set partly in nearby Grover's Mill, and includes a fictional professor from Princeton University as a main character, but the action never moves directly into Princeton.
The TV show House was set in Princeton, at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, and establishing shots for the hospital display the Frist Campus Center of Princeton University. The actual University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro opened on May 22, 2012, exactly one day after the finale of House aired.
The 1980 television miniseries Oppenheimer is partly set in Princeton.
^via Associated Press. "Booker is officially a U.S. senator after being sworn in", NJ.com, October 31, 2013. Accessed October 31, 2013. "Former Newark Mayor Cory Booker was sworn in as a Democratic senator from New Jersey today, taking the oath of office, exchanging hugs with Vice President Joe Biden and acknowledging the applause of friends and family members seated in the visitor's gallery that rings the chamber.... Booker, 44, was elected to fill out the term of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died earlier this year."
^ abcdSchmitt, Eric. "UPTON SINCLAIR'S PRINCETON HIDEWAY", The New York Times, July 21, 1985. Accessed August 22, 2013. "They now know that Upton Sinclair, the muckraking author of The Jungle and other novels, built the cabin and lived there more than 80 years ago.... Ultimately, Mrs. Bowers would like to restore the cabin and have either Princeton Township or Princeton University maintain it, an idea suggested by John McPhee, the author, who lives in Princeton.... Alfred Bush, a curator in the rare books department of the Princeton University Library, said: 'Thomas Mann, T. S. Eliot and Saul Bellow all lived and wrote here.'"
^via Associated Press. "'Star Trek' actor Brooks charged with DUI in Conn.", The Seattle Times, February 3, 2012. Accessed August 22, 2013. "Avery Brooks is set to be arraigned in state court in Norwalk next week in connection with his arrest last weekend in Wilton, a wealthy suburb about 50 miles northeast of Manhattan.... Local police say they pulled over the 63-year-old Princeton, N.J., resident shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday after receiving a complaint about his driving."
^Staff. "Dr. George H. Brown; Led Research at RCA", The New York Times, December 13, 1987. Accessed August 22, 2013. "Dr. George H. Brown, former executive vice president for research and engineering at the RCA Corporation who led the company's development of color television, died Friday at the Princeton (N.J.) Medical Center after a long illness. He was 79 years old and lived in Princeton."
^Belcher, David. "A Storyteller Back at Her Craft", The New York Times, May 10, 2010. Accessed October 12, 2013. "Ms. Carpenter, who was born in Princeton, N.J., and graduated from Brown, became a Nashville darling in 1989 with her second album, “State of the Heart” (CBS/Columbia), which spawned the hits “Never Had It So Good” and “Quittin’ Time,” which became staples of mainstream country radio and two-step dance halls."
^Frances Cleveland, National First Ladies' Library. Accessed October 12, 2013. "Following her permanent departure from the White House in 1897, she joined the former President and their children in creating a new life in Princeton, New Jersey for what was the second period of her life s a former First Lady."
^Dawidoff, Nicholas. "The Civil Heretic", The New York Times, March 25, 2009. Accessed October 12, 2003. "FOR MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY the eminent physicist Freeman Dyson has quietly resided in Princeton, N.J., on the wooded former farmland that is home to his employer, the Institute for Advanced Study, this country’s most rarefied community of scholars."
^Blackwell, Jon. "1933: The genius next door", The Trentonian. Accessed October 12, 2013. "From the moment Albert Einstein arrived in Princeton in 1933, a shaggy, sweater-wearing genius with a pipe in one hand and a sheaf of papers in the other, stories like the one about the girl's homework got a good laugh. And the amazing thing is, they were true."
^Fowler, Linda. "Charles Evered has a Wonderful Life", Inside Jersey, September 2011. Accessed October 12, 2013. "Content when he’s surrounded by history, Evered, a native Jerseyan, lives in a townhouse in Colonial-era Princeton Township with his wife, actress Wendy Rolfe Evered, and their kids, Margaret and John; they like to call it Olympic Village because of the diversity of its residents."
^McGrath, Charles. "A New Jersey State of Mind", The New York Times, October 25, 2006. Accessed November 2, 2013. "Mr. Ford, who was born and reared in Mississippi, discovered the Jersey Shore in the late 1970’s, when he and his wife were living in Princeton, where he had a teaching job."
^George Gallup, 1901-1984 Founder, The Gallup Organization. Accessed November 2, 2013. "Dr. Gallup founded the American Institute of Public Opinion, the precursor of The Gallup Organization, in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1935."
^Zernike, Kate. "George Gallup Jr., of Polling Family, Dies at 81", The New York Times, November 22, 2011. Accessed November 2, 2013. "George Gallup Jr., who led the firm that his father made all but synonymous with polling and expanded it to become a barometer of Americans’ views on religion as well as their political attitudes, died on Monday in Princeton, N.J. He was 81 and lived in Princeton."
^Bear, Rob. "Dwell Takes a Look Inside Michael Graves' Princeton Home", Curbed, April 23, 2012. Accessed November 2, 2013. "The architect and industrial designer Michael Graves was walking one Sunday with his daughter, when he spotted a 'a ruin in Princeton, N.J.,' that was, in fact, an abandoned warehouse built and once used by the Italian masons brought in to build the stone dormitories at Princeton University. Graves transformed The Warehouse, as it is now known, into a magnificent home for himself and his family."
^Dutka, Elaine. The Acting Bug Bites Ethan Hawke", The Los Angeles Times, February 20, 1994. Accessed November 2, 2013. "Acting was a refuge for this self-described 'terrible student,' a way to get out in the world for a kid who couldn't wait for life to start. Hawke's family eventually moved to Princeton, N.J., where, as a 13-year-old, he made his stage debut in the McCarter Theater's production of St. Joan."
^Elliott, Khristine. "Historical Ties", Battle Creek Enquirer, July 4, 2003. Accessed November 2, 2013. "Joseph Hewes isn't one of the most well-known signers of the Declaration of Independence, but he's got a built-in fan base in Calhoun, Branch and Barry counties.... Born in Princeton, NJ, in 1730, he went on to graduate from Princeton College."
^Anderson, Robert W. "A Short Biography of Charles Hodge", WRS Journal 4/2 (August 1997) 9-13, Western Reformed University. Accessed November 2, 2013. "His son and biographer, A. A. Hodge, recorded that he 'reached his home, in Princeton, about the 18th of September 1828 WHERE THERE WAS JOY.' His son, then being five years of age, added that this was “the first abiding image of his father.'"
^Gardner, Joel R.; and Harrison, Andrew R. "The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: The Early Years", The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Accessed November 2, 2013. "They moved into Bellevue, an estate in Highland Park, and their son, Robert Wood Johnson III, was born in 1920. While living in Highland Park, Johnson became involved inlocal politics and served a term as mayor while he was still in his twenties. His marriage broke up in 1930, and his wife and child remained at Bellevue, while he relocated with his new wife, Margaret, to Morven, in Princeton, which later became the governor’s mansion."
^McGrath, Charles. "Deep In Suburbia", The New York Times, February 29, 2004. Accessed November 2, 2013. "Lee now lives, with his wife and two young daughters, in Princeton, N.J. -- just a stone's throw, not accidentally, from a golf course."
^Staff. "Lessons From John Lithgow's Onstage 'Education'", NPR, December 5, 2011. Accessed November 2, 2013. "You have just made a huge splash on Broadway, just won your first Tony Award, gone on to success that your father could never have dreamed, in fact you never really thought possible, a repertory actor. And at the same time you are living at his home in Princeton, and he has just been fired."
^Plump, Wendy. "Emily Mann’s McCarter Magic", Princeton magazine. Accessed November 30, 2013. "This is the setting recently encountered at Emily Mann’s Mercer Street home in Princeton: A warm kitchen on a cold winter morning; staffers from McCarter Theatre filling bowls with fruit and setting out muffins; the playwright herself over in a corner wrestling an espresso machine into submission."
^Leitch, Alexander. "Mann, Thomas", from A Princeton Companion, Princeton University Press (1978). Accessed November 30, 2013. "During their stay in Princeton Mr. and Mrs. Mann lived in the red brick Georgian house at the corner of Stockton Street and Library Place. Here, working three or four hours every morning, seven days a week, he completed Lotte in Weimar and started the fourth volume of the Joseph tales."
^Staff. "Cartoonist Henry Martin donates art, books", News at Princeton, April 7, 2010. Accessed November 30, 2013. "The cartoonist Henry Martin, a 1948 graduate of Princeton University, has donated nearly 700 original drawings along with some of his humor books to the Princeton University Library.... Martin, a longtime Princeton resident, continues to draw a cartoon for the Office of Development each November."
^Dougherty, Steve. "In Nashville, the Buddy System", The Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2013. Accessed November 30, 2013. "Mr. Miller, an Air Force brat who was born in Ohio and grew up in Maryland and Princeton, N.J., where he attended high school, sees no contradiction between his Yankee roots and his love for country music."
^George, Jason. "From a C Student to a Celestial Traveler", The New York Times, May 16, 2004. Accessed December 14, 2013. "'I want to share the experience with school groups, especially in the inner cities and more remote areas,' Mr. Olsen, who lives in Princeton, N.J., said recently by telephone and e-mail from Star City, Russia, where he began training last month."
^Tagliabue, John. "A U.S. Angel With Millions Helps Walesa", The New York Times, June 11, 1989. Accessed August 22, 2013. "On June 1, the Solidarity leader signed a letter of intent with Czeslaw Tolwinski, the director of the big Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, and Barbara Piasecka Johnson, a Polish-born American heiress who lives in Princeton, to create a shipbuilding company."
^Thomas, Robert McG., Jr. "VLADIMIR ZWORYKIN, TELEVISION PIONEER, DIES AT 92", The New York Times, August 1, 1982. Accessed July 30, 2013. "Dr. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin, a Russian-born scientist whose achievements were pivotal to the development of television, died Thursday at the Princeton (N.J.) Medical Center. He was 92 years old and lived in Princeton."