So, did anyone explore the Historical Markers database (HMdb) last month from the comfort of their couch? Better yet, did anyone go and see them for yourself?
The HMdb website lists only four historical markers in Ewing: 1) the Bear Tavern Road Continental Army route marker included last month; 2) the “Historic Crossroad” marker in the small park at the crossroads in West Trenton; 3) the road sign along Scotch Road in the Ewing Church Cemetery marking the veterans of the Revolution buried there; and 4) the plaque at the Temple-Ryan Farmhouse (aka, Benjamin Temple House on Federal City Road), which lists the historic registry status of the structure (national and state registers).
However, there are at least two others they have somehow mis-located: 1) the historic marker for the Mercer County Airport, on Bear Tavern Road in front of Mountain View Golf Course, which is listed as being in Hopewell, but is definitely in Ewing; and 2) the marker at the old “Hopewell Church” cemetery on the grounds of the Psychiatric Hospital very near to Palmer Lane, which is listed as being in Trenton, but is also actually in Ewing.
There is also a second marker for Bear Tavern Road / Continental Army route located in Ewing further down Bear Tavern Road, placed by another organization, but not included in the HM database.
And yet another marker not listed, a personal favorite, is the one at the top of the Carlton Avenue hill at Scotch Road, which is a memorial to Dr. John Stockton Hough of Ewing. It celebrates his successful work to “establish the first system of stone roads in this county. With foresight he planted this avenue of beautiful Lindens in 1897, a living memorial to his name.”
In some ways, I prefer the concept of “a living memorial” to memorialize a person or event. While the stone markers listed above have firmly, quietly and steadfastly marked a location, event or memorialized a person, many also often sit unnoticed for years.
In my eyes at least, a “living memorial” of trees or other plantings may be more visually enticing, more colorful or more variable from season to season – and thus a more effective and evocative memorial.
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And sadly, we now have an opportunity to contribute to a living memorial for acclaimed Ewing historic preservation advocates. As I write this in mid-August, the terrible news of James Peoples’ sudden passing has just been made known.
Jim, and his wife, Judy, who passed away in 2018, were wonderful, active folks, involved in many civic activities in the township. They both also shared a passion for history and historic preservation.
They lived in one of the historic homes in Ewing, keeping it restored and maintained, and continuing to research the history of its inhabitants through the decades.
Jim and Judy were both active in the Ewing Township Historic Preservation Society, Judy even having served as the organization’s president for several years. Jim and Judy were the 2014 recipients of the organization’s Sarah Moore Temple Award, honoring their quiet and generous contributions of time and talent to the preservation of history in Ewing.
Jim was tireless in his assistance with many projects at the Temple House for the Society. Outside of our mutual involvement with the Society, I often ran into one or both of them at history and/or preservation events in Trenton or elsewhere.
They were knowledgeable, generous, gracious, ardent, thoughtful, dedicated, delightful ‘Peoples’. As Judy has been, Jim will be sorely missed.
The family has requested that memorial contributions for Jim can be made to the Historic Preservation Society to fund the creation of a memorial garden for them both, in front of the Society’s home, the Benjamin Temple House.
Rather than a stone marker, don’t you agree that a living memorial of colorful blooms, varying textures and ever-evolving shapes will be a lovely way to memorialize their bountiful lives?
If you do, contributions can be made by sending a check, payable to the Ewing Township Historic Preservation Society (or just ETHPS), marked “Peoples Garden,” to 27 Federal City Road, Ewing, NJ 08638.
The ETHPS thanks you very much.
If you have a story to tell about an aspect of Ewing history, please contact Helen at email@example.com.
Helen Kull is an adviser to the Ewing Township Historic Preservation Society.