When the Bridge Academy purchased land in Lawrenceville during 2016 to build a new school, officials never knew the school’s new home would reside on the site of an historic Revolutionary War engagement.
To honor the history of the site and engagement during the Princeton Campaign of 1777, the Bridge Academy will hold a celebration event on June 2 at the site located on 1900 Lawrenceville Road.
“Before I arrived at Bridge Academy, the school went before the zoning board and thought everything would be a slam dunk,” said Jacquelyn Pillsbury, Director of Development at the Bridge Academy. “They were just seeking a variance for parking. Someone stood up during the hearing and said did you know we had a battle take place here in 1777. The school did not know this when they acquired the land. Without lawyers Sue Morris the principal of the school met with Paul Larson of the Lawrence Historical Society and Roger Williams of the Princeton Cranbury Chapter – Sons of the American Revolution and just talked amongst themselves, which resulted in an agreement.”
She said the agreement that was reached would have the school make certain it recognizes and honors the history of their new home, which is a relocation of the school from their current location at Adath Israel Congregation next door on 1958 Lawrenceville Road.
“We are putting up three plaques to talk about the history of what happened on the site. We will be unveiling them on our June 2, Bridge to the American Revolution Day,” Pillsbury said.
According to Pillsbury, the plaques will tell the story of those desperate hours during which 1,000 Continental soldiers, under the steadfast command of Col. Edward Hand, delayed the British and Hessian Army of Lt. Gen. Charles Cornwallis. They delayed the British army’s arrival in Trenton until dusk, resulting in the Second Battle of Trenton and ultimately the Battle of Princeton.
During the event from 2-5 p.m., there will be two stages where presentations and talks take place about the history of the actual battle.
Larry Kidder of the Hopewell Valley Historical Society and David Price of the Princeton Battlefield Society will start the event off with their formal introductions, there will be Re-enactors and musket firing demonstrations, Re-enactor Bill Agress will speak and answer questions as Colonel Hand, Paul Larson and Roger Williams will also speak and answer questions about Revolutionary flags, and colonial games and activities will also be taking place, as well as, colonial music throughout the event.
The Bridge Academy is a non-profit grade 3-12 specialized school for students with language-based learning disabilities, according to school officials.
Pillsbury said the school has a current student enrollment of 75 and the new building will be able to hold around 90-95 students, according to Pillsbury.
“In 2016, they were able to purchase the house next door to be able to build a new school. The blue house next door is on 6.2 acres. The plan is to renovate the blue house,” she said. “The garage would be turned into an art studio, the rest of the house will be converted into some classrooms, and some administration offices.”
Pillsbury said the actual event is just fun.
“Our teachers embrace history and love sharing it with the children. This will also be a chance for us to introduce ourselves to the community. Not many people know we exist,” she said. “I hope with this event people in the community will get to know us.”