New Exhibit coming April 6, 2024

The Kingston Lock-Tender’s House display space opens for the the season on April 6 with an open house. Volunteers are working on this year’s displays as well as preparing a second display room.

Here are a couple of photos:

Here is a mock up for a photo shoot showing the lower, miter gate of the Kingston Lock. These “miter gates” were removed in 1945 when the canal was converted to water supply. The upper gate, which was a “drop gate,” was sealed with a concrete barrier containing water flow control valves.

Below is a photograph from the 1936 National Park Service’s “Historic American Buildings Survey” HABS of the Kingston NJ Lock on the D & R Canal (called “Heathcote” by the Library of Congress.)

The goal of the display is to relate structures in the 21st Century canal park to their appearance in the 19th and 20th century, when the canal was in operation.

Open house will be 10 AM to 5 PM at the Kingston lock. Free and open to the public.


Survey Photographs from Nov. 1936 Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, and Canvass White. Delaware & Raritan Canal, Drawbridge, Lock & Tollhouse, Delaware & Raritan Canal, Heathcote, Middlesex County, NJ.

Press Release:

Kingston Historical Society Open House celebrates new exhibit: “Kingston’s Lock – History Preserved”

Saturday and Sunday April 6 and 7, 10 am – 5 pm

Kingston LockTender’s House on the D&R Canal just off Route 27, Kingston, New Jersey
(GPS address: 39 Old Lincoln Highway, Princeton NJ, 08540)

As part of its celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the D&R Canal State Park and the D&R Canal Commission, the Kingston Historical Society’s first exhibit is a new display: “Kingston’s Lock: History Preserved–Photos and Drawings from 1936 re-interpreted for the 21st Century,” which celebrates the preservation of drawings and photographs of canal structures created during the Great Depression, making these formal drawings accessible to modern viewers. During the Open House, both display rooms will be open. Members of the Society will demonstrate models of the Kingston Lock and Kingston’s former A-Frame bridge which carried road traffic across the canal. The program is free and all are welcome.

The LockTender’s House will be open to the public on weekends and major holidays April through October from 10 am to 5 pm and in November from 10 am to 4 pm.

About the Canal: The village of Kingston served as the central port of the Delaware and Raritan Canal. The canal and its feeder opened in 1834 connecting Pennsylvania coal fields with New York markets, as well as providing inland passage for pleasure boats and other commercial traffic.
In 1932 the canal ceased operation.

In 1934 the canal property reverted to the State of New Jersey. Fortunately, in 1936, the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), now a program of the National Park Service, documented Kingston’s recently closed lock, bridge and canal buildings. The carefully prepared architectural drawings and photographs provide a snapshot of the now-closed canal. The Kingston Historical Society’s new display adds context to the reprinted drawings (originals housed in the Library of Congress) with additional photographs and text to help understand the survey.

Fifty years ago, in 1974, legislation was passed creating the D&R Canal Commission and the D&R Canal State Park. This assured historic preservation of structures for future generations. The Kingston Lock area is one of its most popular access points in the State Park.

About Kingston Historical Society: 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, New Jersey. The KHS has its headquarters in the Locktender’s House on the Delaware and Raritan Canal where volunteers maintain the original circa 1834 home of families who operated the Kingston canal lock and the adjacent canal bridge.

Attached photos:
1) Archive team member Peter Shell adjusts the model of the canal lock

2) Swing bridge model built by Paul Kayne (2001)

Contact: Charles Dieterich (Secretary, Kingston Historical Society)