Walking Tour of Hopewell:  Start Tour

Shopping Tour of Hopewell:  Start Tour

Hopewell is a borough in Mercer County, New Jersey with a population of 1,922 (2010 US Census) that was incorporated in 1891 from portions of Hopewell Township.

 

The area was first settled in 1699 after Thomas Tindall purchased 300 acres from the West Jersey Society of England. Another early settler, Jonathan Stout, settled in 1706 and in 1715 helped to establish a Baptist congregation which for the time met in people’s houses. Declaration of Independence signer John Hart purchased 193 acres in the area in 1740 and donated a plot of this land to the Baptists who in 1748 erected the Old School Baptist Church meeting house on West Broad Street. Reverend Isaac Eaton became its first minister and the church became the largest Baptist Church between New York City and Philadelphia. Eaton also helped to found an influential secondary school, the Hopewell Baptist Academy, and the church and school helped to encourage Hopewell’s early growth. In fact during this time the town was identified as “Baptist Meeting House” and wouldn’t become known as Hopewell until 1825.

 

During the Revolutionary War after the winter of 1777/78 in Valley Forge, Washington marched his troops to Hopewell, crossing the Delaware River at Coryell’s Ferry (now Lambertville). The men setup their tents on John Hart’s farmstead overlooking Hopewell Borough. Washington and his Generals held a council of war at the John Stout / Hunt House just outside of town to decide if and how to engage the British on their path from Philadelphia to New York City. The battle to ensue would be called the Battle of Monmouth.

 

After the war and until the late 1800’s Hopewell remained a small farming community. The completion of the Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad in 1876 (absorbed by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad in 1879) created a station in Hopewell (and in nearby Pennington) connecting Hopewell to Trenton and helped to increase the suburban population as well as some commercial/industrial expansion along the rail lines. As the needs of the Borough changed from the Township, in 1891 Hopewell separated from the township and became an independent borough.

Information provided by the Hopewell Museum (https://thehopewellmuseum.org) and the Hopewell History Project (https://hopewellhistoryproject.org).