Saturday, December 19, 2015

Institute for Advanced Study Bulldozes part of Princeton Battlefield

The Institute for Advanced Study has begun to bulldoze six acres they own of the approximately 21-acre tract including Princeton Battlefield State Park. The Institute intends to build housing on hallowed ground where men fought and died for the founding of the American nation. I've followed this development for a few years; not closely, because I gave up on the news mentality at age 18, at least that mainline sensation of urgent importance I used to vitally feel. My brother-in-law used to be extremely involved in historic preservation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and he fought the Institute hard and dearly to keep the integrity of this land intact. Since he was up against one of the most famous architects in the country on the other side, Hillyer I believe is the name, he knew they have a lot of power for the nonce.

In the broader view of events, the Institute I felt proud of living near while growing up seems to value six acres of housing an awful lot, as if any question about its image locally, nationally and globally is less important. Albert Einstein had an office at the Institute, as great minds do today, but whatever the outcome--with bulldozers already at work--we all know that if the Revolutionary War hadn't happened, including the decisive victory here, the unleashing of human productivity as never before in history, which has been America, wouldn't have either.

Einstein hoped for international government, an idea foreign to most of us, and I wonder how he appreciated the Battlefield. Great minds come from many countries to Princeton, Orville and Wilbur Wright having made the convenience of their travels possible at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

I know Einstein loved Stony Brook nearby, because I came upon a written passage of his own that expressed the amazement he felt just walking about it's edges to turn over stones or what have you and encounter whatever he found. Especially the awakening of ideas that nature stimulates. 
My brother-in-law used to be involved in Revolutionary War reenactments. Shot's blurry, just like the thundering cannon at Princeton Battlefield seemed to shake the air. He and my sister-in-law cleared out of the area for Maine, leaving behind the Corporate World they came to find no longer tenable.

5 comments:

  1. Bruce, my Uncle was involved in development of the parking lot at the Battle Field in late 1970's/80's. I remember the State has hoops to jump through just for the parking lot. They actually found some artifacts. I can't fathom this being done. However, this is what a progessive government like Princeton. Save the Deer, but kill history. There are many more deer incidents in Princeton due to the fact that they don't allow hunting. Destroying history means nothing to them. The historical society should be up in arms, and the state should have stepped in. No one spoke up I guess, and no one went to the meeting to combat this situation.

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    1. Actually, a lot of people are up in arms. I almost quoted a NJ assembly man. I'll include link to the article, but I wanted to keep this post light on the tone, sort of dream like and suggestive on a much deeper level I didn't want to disturb by bringing in the journalistic opinion level. http://njenvironmentnews.com/2015/12/17/lawmakers-charge-ahead-in-efforts-to-block-princeton-battlefield-housing-project/ If this link doesn't work, go to NJ Environment News Princeton Battlefield.

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    2. Now that I know for certain you're someone I know--sort of thought, 1st name address, didn't think to click--it's really neat they and your Uncle found artifacts. No matter what they do, they can't change history, which is all the more reason to keep it physically intact and so better enable respect. Not everything can be kept in place, as we evolve into the future, but in this instance, I keep thinking of Einstein, his socialism, his belief in a world government, which implies dissolution of independent nations like ours...so I don't like the attitude we get from the institution he was so much a part of. How could six acres mean that much? Well, since they own those acres, they have the power...but for six acres of housing, rather than preservation of land significant to the founding of this nation? So what does this really say?

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  2. Wrong. Leave the battlefield alone.

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    1. We wish they would leave it alone. Iain fought for about three years. I knew. Way back when they began opposing, it would come to this, and he wasn't optimistic either, but it will never mean they were right.

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