N.J. is a quaint little town at the western end of
New Jersey's State Highway 12, which cuts across beautiful, rural Hunterdon
County approximately 15 miles from Flemington west through Kingwood Township
to Frenchtown, on the Delaware River. The well-known River Bridge at Frenchtown
crosses the Delaware to Uhlerstown and Tinicum in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
The building to the right is the old railroad station. According to Del
Val News records, the first train came to Frenchtown February 4, 1853.
Frenchtown was served by the railroad for just about one hundred years.
The former train station is now a cafe. The old railroad right of way is
now a hiking/biking path.
The Borough of Frenchtown,
comprising just over 1 square mile, was settled over 200 years ago. Variously
known as the village of "Sunbeam", "Sherrod's Ferry"
and other names through Revolutionary War days, it finally came to be known
locally as "Frenchtown" in reference to a French-speaking Swiss
immigrant who settled here in the late 1700's. M. Mallet-Prevost left French
military service before being called to the guillontine during the French
Revolution. He bought a large tract of land from a local Irish landowner
and settled down to a somewhat quieter life in west Hunterdon County. This
quiet little town is bordered to the north by Alexandria Twp and to the
east and south by sprawling Kingwood Twp, which boasts a population density
of 90 people per square mile, with 3/4 of its land in agriculture. (Rural
enough for you?)... The borough of Frenchtown itself is home to 1,545 people
in its one square mile..... as it was a hundred years ago.
The Downtown area,
from the north end of Race Street to our famous bridge at the West end
of Bridge Street, is a favorite place to stroll, and offers a number of
interesting little shops, cafés and restaurants. During the days
of the Belvidere-Delaware Railroad, the land between the train station
and river was known as Mulberry Park. Benches in the trees there offer
a stunning view of sunset over the river. Within minutes of downtown are
a number of other establishments which cater to local residents and visitors
alike. Residents of and visitors to Frenchtown seem to really enjoy the
ambiance of this charming, sleepy little riverside community on the banks
of the Delaware.
a view of Frenchtown from across the river in Pennsylvania...
photo was taken from the west bank of the Delaware just south of the bridge
on a beautiful blue-sky day in January. The river was running high just
after a few days of rain. In summer, it's often much lower, and the base
of the pilings would be seen. The bridge was originally a wooden-span covered
bridge, until it washed away in floods about 1905 or so....
And, outside of town,
is some beautiful countryside and hiking and biking areas. This is little
Nishisakawick Creek, which crosses under Route 12 about a mile outside
of town, then under Route 29 on its way to the Delaware. It is fed by runoff
from the farms around the Ridge Road area and rises and falls with the
seasons and the weather. This photo was taken about a mile up the creek
from where it crosses Route 12. The creek cuts through the ravine which
was the old path of route 12 - before the current road became permanent
about 1935 or so. (When the car brakes got good enough to handle the incline
and the motors powerful enough to climb the hill...)
The creek bed, like most in the area, is mostly red shale, and has
exposed some very large slabs along it's route - particularly where it
crosses under Route 12. After a heavy rain, it turns into a torrent and
helps swell the Delaware, along with the many other creeks of Hunterdon
and Bucks County.
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