The Civil War Trust, a battlefield preservation group, will purchase almost 15 acres of land from the Institute for Advanced Study in an effort to reduce the impact of a faculty housing development on the Princeton Battlefield State Park.
The two groups announced the compromise yesterday, explaining that the Civil War Trust—through its Campaign 1776 initiative to preserve Revolutionary War battlefields—will purchase 14.85 acres of land from the Institute for Advanced Study for $4 million. The land will then be added to the existing Princeton Battlefield State Park for preservation.
The Civil War Trust will acquire approximately 2/3 of the Maxwell’s Field property, along with an additional 1.12-acre parcel north of the field that has been identified by historians as part of the battlefield, according to the Campaign 1776 statement.
Meanwhile, the Institute for Advanced Study will replace seven single family home lots with eight townhouses. In total, 16 housing units will be constructed east of Godel Lane, a new street to be built on Maxwell’s Field.
According to the joint statement, the compromise also avoids development within the Princeton Battlefield National Historic Landmark boundary, designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1961.
President of the Princeton Battlefield Society Jerry Hurwitz praised the agreement, saying it guarantees the preservation of the historically significant battlefield.
While both the Civil War Trust and Institute for Advanced Study have agreed on the compromise, the new plan will have to be approved by the Princeton Planning Board and Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission. The target date for the purchase is June 2017.
In a joint statement, Robbert Dijkgraaf, director of the Institute for Advanced Study, and James Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Trust, said both groups are delighted to reach an agreement that meets everyone’s needs.
“This landmark agreement will enable us to preserve one of the defining moments in American history,” said Lighthizer, adding that elements of George Washington’s famous counterattack at Princeton charged across Maxwell’s Field. “We are pleased by this opportunity to work with the Institute for Advanced Study to save an important part of our Revolutionary War heritage.”
Dijkgraaf said the Institute for Advanced Study is confident the new plan will enhance the experience of the historic park.
“While we received the approval of the original housing plan design in 2012, we are pleased to have built upon the recommendations received then from noted historians and preservationists David Hackett Fisher and James McPherson in reaching this cooperative and mutually beneficial agreement with the Civil War Trust,” Dijkgraaf said.