French ambassador to U.S. will join D&R Greenway’s celebration of land preservation

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Historic painting of Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte's Point Breeze Estate from 1818, by Thomas BirchPHOTO COURTESY OF D&R GREENWAY LAND TRUST
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Historic postcard of The Gardener's House at Point Breeze EstatePHOTO COURTESY OF D&R GREENWAY LAND TRUST
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Divine Word Map of Point Breeze EstatePHOTO COURTESY OF D&R GREENWAY LAND TRUST
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Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte, king of Spain and NaplesPHOTO COURTESY OF D&R GREENWAY LAND TRUST
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Bordentown City Mayor James LynchPHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL MANCUSO
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Historic painting of Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte's Point Breeze Estate from 1818, by Thomas BirchPHOTO COURTESY OF D&R GREENWAY LAND TRUST
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Historic postcard of The Gardener's House at Point Breeze EstatePHOTO COURTESY OF D&R GREENWAY LAND TRUST
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Divine Word Map of Point Breeze EstatePHOTO COURTESY OF D&R GREENWAY LAND TRUST
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Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte, king of Spain and NaplesPHOTO COURTESY OF D&R GREENWAY LAND TRUST
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Bordentown City Mayor James LynchPHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL MANCUSO

The French ambassador to the United States, Phillipe Etienne, will join D&R Greenway Land Trust’s annual celebration of land preservation.

The event will feature Point Breeze, the former estate of Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte, the exiled King of Spain, located in Bordentown.

Point Breeze once drew famous dignitaries from Spain and France, as well as founders and notables of the newly independent United States of America, according to information provided by D&R.

D&R Greenway invites the public to join the celebration, which will be held virtually from 4:30-5:30 p.m. May 16.

The recent preservation of the site has drawn media attention from around the world. Surprise speakers will share the importance of this property from the perspective of 13,000 years of history. Guests will learn of archeological finds and future plans, and historical artifacts that will be displayed in the soon-to-open museum.

The celebration will recognize the presence of Native Americans who lived along this promontory on the Delaware River.

Acknowledging the 60th anniversary of the New Jersey Green Acres Program, a major partner in the land’s preservation, will be the director of the statewide program, Martha Sapp, who has been involved in state land preservation for 34 years.

The gala’s highlight will be the presentation of D&R Greenway’s premiere 2021 Donald B. Jones Conservation Award to Bordentown City Mayor James L. Lynch, Jr., who will share his thoughts about saving this property from warehouse and housing development.

The award is granted annually to a person who embodies D&R Greenway’s mission to inspire a conservation ethic.

“After all my years in Bordentown, I must say preserving this special land feels like a wonderful victory,” Lynch said in the statement. “To be honored by D&R Greenway with this meaningful award makes it feel all that more real.”

Sponsors of the event will be invited to small, special interest gatherings on the property to meet Lynch and view features firsthand when it is safe to gather in the summer and fall of this year.

To join in virtual and actual Greenway Gala festivities with a sponsorship, contact Nancy Faherty at 609-462-4057, or email Deb Kilmer at dkilmer@drgreenway.org.

Point Breeze today features vistas of the Delaware River and Crosswicks Creek, with venerable trees from Bonaparte’s time.

During the Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte era, Point Breeze was a social, intellectual and political mecca. The exiled king of Spain and older brother of Napoleon, emperor of France, Bonaparte’s frequent visitors included the General of Waterloo Michael Bouvier – the ancestor of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis – and Stephen Girard, who was the first millionaire in America and a major philanthropist, according to the statement.

John James Audubon visited his friend, the renowned ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte, at Point Breeze.

The estate was known for its gardens, which Bonaparte opened to the community for public enjoyment.

The Gardener’s House, now owned by D&R Greenway Land Trust, will be restored to showcase exhibits with surrounding gardens. Bonaparte’s gardener, Augustus Mathelin, introduced asparagus for the first time to colonial America, and Bonaparte was fond of artichokes growing in the garden, according to the statement.

D&R Greenway President/CEO Linda Mead worked closely with Lynch on preservation of the property.

“Mayor Lynch joins a distinguished list of honorees who hold a very special place in both the history and future of land preservation in New Jersey,” Mead said in the statement. “As we walk along the Bordentown Bluffs, there is a ‘full-circle’ feeling that is very empowering. To look out and know the Delaware River was named the 2020 River of the Year by American Rivers brings us back to Native American roots.”

Point Breeze is “the place of three kings.” Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte arrived here, having been king of Spain and king of Naples. Nearby, Teedyuscung, known to some as King of the Delaware Nation, was born in 1700, according to the statement.

In addition to sponsorships that include on-site experiences, tickets to the virtual celebration may be purchased at www.drgreenway.org. Specially-priced First Time Gala Goer tickets encourage new participants with an interest in land preservation, history, gardens, birds and archeology to attend.

All sponsorships and tickets support the work of D&R Greenway to preserve land and the renovation and opening of this property to the public, according to the statement.