Kingston Historical Society

Welcome to The Kingston Historical Society web site. The Kingston Historical Society (KHS) was formed in 1997 as a non-partisan, non-profit organization to preserve, enhance and promote the history of the village of Kingston. KHS has its headquarters in the Locktender's House on the Delaware and Raritan Canal, Kingston, New Jersey.


October 14, 2014, 7:30 PM
KHS Annual Meeting and a talk on railroads by John Kilbride, Camden & Amboy Railroad historian

A very brief business meeting will be followed by Mr. Kilbride’s slide illustrated talk on “Railroads and Kingston,” which includes a history of the Camden & Amboy (C&A) Railroad and the Rocky Hill Railroad. The C&A was the state’s first railroad, and enjoyed a monopolistic relationship with the State’s legislators. He will cover the planning, construction and expansion of the lines that led to the creation of today’s Northeast Corridor and conclude with thoughts on the present-day abandonment of the Rocky Hill Branch.

John Kilbride retired from Amtrak after a 34-year career. He has been researching the C&A railroad since moving to NJ in 1979. He has published and continues to publish articles of historical research on a variety of railroad related subjects.

The meeting is free and open to all. Refreshments served.

Sunday, October 26, 2014, 1:30 PM:
A History Walk with George Luck, Jr.

Led by Kingston resident and historian George Luck, Jr., this walk will explore Kingston's history from 1683 to the 1930s. Both Kingston and Princeton claim the house on the west side of the Kingston-Princeton Road, second from River Road as the first house in the area in 1683 – Dr. Henry Greenland’s house, which has served as an inn/tavern at the crossing of the Millstone River on the main road between NY and Philadelphia. More inns and taverns soon followed, as did the Kingston Presbyterian Church, shops and mills. George will talk about Kingston’s role in the Revolutionary War and the about the changes brought by the D&R Canal and the Camden & Amboy Railroad. Please meet in the Kingston Presbyterian Church parking lot, where there is ample parking. The church is located at 4565 Route 27 in Kingston.

Sunday December 7, 2014, 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. KHS Annual Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting [Tree Lighting at 5:00 p.m.]

At the Kingston Locktender’s House, on the D&R Canal just off Route 27.

EXHIBIT in the Kingston Locktender's House

The house is open April through October, on Saturdays, Sundays and major holidays from 10 am to 6 pm. The subject of the current display is the Rocky Hill Railroad (RHR)and the Kingston Branch line that the RHR used.

When the RHR opened 150 years ago in November 1864, at first it served farmers and passengers and some freight for the quarry along the D&R Canal. It was in the 1890s--nearly 35 years later--that it became much more heavily used by the newly formed terra cotta companies. The quarry was in use until a hiatus in the 1920s and 1930s, when it was restarted, and then came under the ownership of Gilbert and then Trap Rock Industries, which continues to operate it today. The quarry used the RHR freight line up until the 1970s. The Flemer family's Princeton Nurseries were also big users of the freight line on the Kingston part of the branch line in use since 1839. The Kingston Branch joined with the main line at Monmouth Junction.

Past Events And Exhibits

An Evening with Peter V. Shann portrayed by George Luck, Jr. was held on June 7, 2014.
Peter Shann was born and grew up in Kingston; he was a Civil War soldier, who later became a Kingston Presbyterian Church Elder and a Kingston entrepreneur. The Kingston Presbyterian Board of Elders and KHS co-sponsored the event.

The Millstone Valley Scenic Byway: a 15 minute film and a talk by author Linda Barth. The program was held 16 June 2014. Linda has written several books including The Delaware & Raritan Canal, The Delaware & Raritan Canal at Work and the children’s book Bridgetender’s Boy; she is currently writing a book on the Millstone Valley. Linda is also co-president of D&R Canal Watch.

New Jersey History Fair: Celebrating the 350th Anniversary of New Jersey May 10, 2014, at Washington Crossing State Park, Titusville, NJ. Kingston Historical Society joined with Kingston Greenways Association and Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands to provide coordinated exhibits on Kingston and its contributions to the history of New Jersey and the themes for 350th Anniversary: Innovation – Diversity – Liberty.

KHS Annual Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting:
Sunday December 1, 2013, 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. At the Kingston Locktender’s House

KGA Annual Fall Foliage Walk
Sunday October 20, 2013
A walk through the Princeton Nurseries Kingston site led by Rick Henkel
At the Mapleton Preserve/ D&R Canal State Park Headquarters,
145 Mapleton Road, Kingston

Princeton Nurseries 100th Anniversary Celebration
in the Preserve
Saturday, September 7, 2013

Princeton Nurseries - 1913 - 2013
An illustrated talk by William Flemer, IV was given October 9, 2013 at the Kingston Firehouse.

A Lincoln Highway Centennial Celebration was held at the Kingston Locktender’s House June 22, 2013 in concert with the Lincoln Highway Association Centennial Tour; lunch was provided to tour participants by Eno Terra restaurant and a number of local vehicles of the era were on display.

The Lincoln Highway - 1913 - 2013, an exhibit of KHS photographs and information about the Lincoln Highway was on display in the Kingston Locktender's House from April to September 2013.