The National Historic Trust for Preservation has named the Princeton Battlefield to its 2012 list of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places.
Compiled annually, the list spotlights important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. More than 230 sites have been on the list over its 25-year history, and in that time, only a handful of listed sites have been lost.
“The Battle of Princeton transformed prospects for the American Revolution and proved to be a major turning point in the war,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The story of our country’s fight for independence is incomplete without a fully preserved Princeton Battlefield.”
The Princeton Battlefield is the site of the Battle of Princeton, a pivotal Revolutionary War battle where General George Washington rallied his forces to defeat British troops. Waged 235 years ago, the battle at Princeton was a crucial turning point in America’s War of Independence, marking one of General Washington’s first victories over professional British soldiers. Not only did Washington’s success inspire countless soldiers to renew their commissions, it also reinvigorated financial and political support for the war effort throughout the colonies. Many historians believe that this battle, along with the Battle of Trenton, saved the American Revolution, and changed the course of world history.
Earlier this year the Institute for Advanced Study received planning board approvals to build a 15-unit housing development on a portion of the site.
The National Historic Trust for Preservation argues that the project would radically alter the integrity of the historic landscape, which has never been built upon, burying or destroying potential archeological resources and dramatically changing the topography of the terrain – an important element of the battle they say is essential to interpreting the battle today.
Local preservationists, led by the Princeton Battlefield Society, are working to prevent construction of housing on this portion of the Princeton Battlefield and permanently protect the site from future development. The group has filed a lawsuit to try to stop the Institute housing project.
Details about the other sites that made the list can be found at www.PreservationNation.org/places.
America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has identified more than 230 threatened one-of-a-kind historic treasures since 1988. The list spotlights historic places across America that are threatened by neglect, insufficient funds, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy. The designation has been a powerful tool for raising awareness and rallying resources to save endangered sites from every region of the country.