Kingston: On The Map

The display of maps showing Kingston’s evolution from pre-history to the 20th century is now available HERE Below is the press release announcing the opiening of the display.

Press Release

Kingston: On The Map, opens April 9th 2022 in the History Room at the D &R Canal Locktender’s House, on old Lincoln Highway (off Route 27) in Kingston. On view Saturdays and Sundays April to November from 10 AM to 4 PM. Air circulation is limited, so masks and distancing are requested.

Kingston 1850 from “Map of Middlesex County, New Jersey,” Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division

The village of Kingston has hosted colonial taverns, armies during the American Revolution, canal boats, railroad trains and travelers on the Lincoln Highway.  One of the oldest settlements in central New Jersey, Kingston evolved with America over its 340-year history.  

The display uses journal entries and prints of a dozen historical maps to illustrate Kingston’s evolution, from settlement to commercial center to modern community.   One map shows how Kingston moved between the colonies of East and West New Jersey.  Another shows both Kingston and Princeton divided by county lines.  Railroads appeared in the 19th century, disappearing by the 20th. The Delaware and Raritan Canal was built for commerce, but is now a recreation destination.

This display follows a talk by George Luck, Jr. and Charlie Dieterich, titled “Why is Kingston Here?” given this past February.

Dieterich explained that “in preparing for our talk I looked at dozens of historical maps of central New Jersey.  I was struck by the ways Kingston reinvented itself in every generation.  In the 1600s it was a place to rest after crossing the Millstone River.  In the 1700s Kingston thrived as the midway tavern stop on the Kings Highway and a place to change horses.   During the American Revolution, Washington used the Kingston hill to gain perspective, returning to pass through the settlement in several directions during the war.

“In the 19th century Kingston changed to a prosperous mill town, a port on the canal, a station on two railroads (now long gone) and a stop on the Lincoln Highway.  The village included two schools and supported two industries: Kingston Quarry and Princeton Nurseries. In the 21st century Kingston has become a multicultural community with many parks and open space.”  

The display allows visitors to go deeper on each of these “Kingstons.”

The Kingston Historical Society is planning events including a community walk on May 21st and a panel discussion later this spring.  Details of future events and a video of the February talk are available on the organization’s website, https://www.khsnj.org/.

About the 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 it maintains the original circa 1834 home of families who operated the Kingston locks on the canal.  

Talk: Why is Kingston Here? 2/8/22

From pre-history to the present, Kingston has a “Place in History.” George Luck, Jr and Charlie Dieterich present a survey of moments from the settlement of Kingston, New Jersey.

Table of Contents

About the program

Kingston Firehouse, Tuesday, February 8 at 7:30 PM

From pre-history to the present, Kingston has a “Place in History.” George Luck, Jr and Charlie Dieterich present a survey of moments from the settlement of Kingston, New Jersey. The talk was especially designed for those who are new to town or unfamiliar with our evolution.
Over 40 people attended in person, and 70 online. Those at the firehouse were treated to cookies, hot chocolate and coffee, courtesy of Harbor Chase Assisted Living. www.harborchase.com/

Continue reading “Talk: Why is Kingston Here? 2/8/22”

Holiday Tree Lighting, 12/5/2021

Join in the celebration! The annual Holiday Tree Lighting will happen, December 5, 2021 at the Kingston Lock, 4:30 PM with outdoor music and familiar faces! There will be music and carols outside, thanks to the Kingston Womens Chorus.

Join in the celebration! The annual Holiday Tree Lighting will happen, December 5, 2021 at the Kingston Lock, Old Lincoln Highway at the Canal. 4:30 PM with outdoor music and familiar faces! The building will not be open this year, so no refreshments, but there will be music and carols outside, thanks to the Kingston Womens Chorus.

Holiday Tree Lighting Sunday 12/5/2021 at 4:30 PM
GPS:39 Old Lincoln Highway, Princeton NJ 085430 (Kingston Lock)

Locktender’s House Open Weekends

The Kingston Locktender’s House is open to the public every weekend through the end of November.

The Locktender’s House will again be open on Saturdays, Sundays and major holidays from 10 am to 4 pm through November. The Locktender’s House is not open during the winter.

Until further notice, all visitors should respect NJ State Park policy, which requires ALL visitors to wear masks indoors.

To find the Locktender’s House on your mapping software, try this address: 39 Old Lincoln Highway, Princeton, NJ 08540

“Socially distanced” Tree Lighting (2020)

Photo of Tree by Locktender's house, with while lights draped from branches.
Christmas In Kingston

The KHS annual Holiday Open House and tree-lighting had long been a well loved Kingston Community tradition. Unfortunately, due to the Covid -19 pandemic we were unable to have our traditional Holiday Open House, but we were able to have a “socially distanced” community holiday tree lighting; furthermore, thanks to the generosity of Karin Linder, who provided new lights for the tree and the McParland family, who provided the essential lift to install them on the 65 foot tall tree (which had outgrown its old lights several years ago) the tree was properly and beautifully lighted. To celebrate and give thanks to the generosity of Karen and the McParland family a “socially distanced” tree lighting was held outside the Locktender’s House on the first Sunday in December.

New lights for the tree and, even more, installing them, had long been a challenge – the tree is 65 ft tall – just 10 ft short of that at Rockefeller Center. In addition to the McParlands, Doug Miller, George Luck, Jr, and Tom Jacoby assisted in preparing the lights.


Here are some photos from the 2019 KHS Annual Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting.

KHS Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting ~ December 1st, 2019

XMAS at Locktender’s House

KHS members, fellow Kingston resident, and many others attended our annual Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting December 1st, 2019 at the Locktender’s House on the D&R Canal. They enjoyed holiday refreshments, decorations by the Kingston Garden Club, the annual tree lighting, and music by the Kingston Womens Chorus.

D&R Canal Videos with commentary

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Two videos about canals were featured at the Kingston Historical Society meeting at the Kingston Firehouse on Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

After some background on the D&R Canal and its past and present importance to Kingston, KHS president Robert von Zumbusch led us through two videos: one, “D&R,” produced and directed by Cliff Crawford in 1976 — before the Canal Park was established; the video included historical footage and interviews with ‘canalers.’ Here is a link for the video on YouTube.

The other, “The Canals of New Jersey,” produced by the Canal Society of New Jersey, provided a comparison with New Jersey’s other navigational canal, the unique Morris Canal, which was very different from the D&R.

(Click photos to view full size)

For more on New Jersey’s canals, we recommend the Canal Society of New Jersey (link)