March 1998
In This issue:

      What Is
      What Was
      Trail Map
      What Will Be


What Is

The 800-acre tract once known as the Pole Farm is open to the public for hiking.

The latest addition to North West Mercer Park is bounded by Federal City Road, Blackwell Road, Cold Soil Road and Keefe Road. To the north it adjoins Rosedale Park.

The park is now fields, woods and trails. Mercer County leases the fields (please don't walk on them) to three local farmers, and the trails and woods are available to residents for passive recreation.

The public is invited to two guided walks in the new park during the weekend of April 4 and 5.

The Washington Crossing Audubon Society is sponsoring a bird walk on Saturday, April 4 at 8 am. Lou Beck will lead the walk.

On Sunday afternoon, April 5 at 1:30 PM, Lawrence Township's Greenway Committee will lead a two-mile hike exploring the trails.

What Was

The park entrance is at the junction of Keefe Road and Cold Soil Road.

Before 1697 the future park's land was in Burlington County. It then became part of Hunterdon County until the mid-1800s when Mercer County was created.

The land was farmed until the 1920's when American Telephone and Telegraph purchased the 800 acres to build a radio transmitting station.

Two of the old farmhouses, the Nathan Moore house (1760) and the Salathiel Pierson house (1762), were moved to Cold Soil Road and are now privately owned residences.

Transmission towers 180-feet high were built to send overseas telephone calls over short wave radio. Because of the high voltage equipment the site was not open to the public. The present macadam road in the park was the driveway to the main building which housed the transmitters and the offices.

From June 1929 until the transatlantic telephone cable was laid in 1956 all the overseas telephone calls in the United States were sent on radio waves from Cold Soil Road. All calls from overseas were received in Netcong, New Jersey.

By the 1960s the demand for overseas telephone service had exceeded the radio spectrum and a satellite system eliminated the need for the station. The main switch was turned off on December 31, 1975 and in a few years the Pole Farm reverted to agricultural production.

In 1995 AT&T sold its acreage to Mercer County for $8.6 million.

Trail Map

Trail Mail New Mercer County Park

Current residents and visitors of the new park itself include white-tailed deer, raccoon and fox. Observers have also noted arrays of butterflies.

Birds of prey from red-tailed to Cooper's and sharp-shinned Hawks hunt on the tract; and American Kestrel was observed in 1995.

Two grassland bird species, bobolinks and meadowlarks, were sighted in the park last June. They both nest on the ground, in open grassy Fields, feeding on insects in the summer and on weed seeds in the fall. The bobolink is a threatened species in New Jersey and the meadowlark is on the Audubon Watch List because of declining habitat.

What Will Be

The Lawrence Township Greenway Committee is scheduling walks on the first Sunday of each month, in the afternoon, to introduce Lawrence residents to greenway trails in the community.

June's Walk will be held on National Trails Day, Sunday June 7. The walk starts at 1:30 PM at the intersection of Glenn Avenue and Stonicker Drive (off Princeton Pike) and follows a trail to the D&R Canal Towpath. From there hikers follow a new path to Lawrence Township's historic Brearley House, where The Lawrence Historical Society will conduct a guided tour of the house at 3 PM. A van will be available for the walkers after the tour.

Check the Lawrence Ledger for the dates and locations of future First Sunday Walks.

The Lawrence Greenway News is a publication of Lawrence Township's Greenway Committee, which meets on the second Thursday of the month. The public is welcome.

E-mail Please sent your comments to the Friends of Lawrence Greenway at Your input is welcome!
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