Trenton Historical Society “100 years” Lecture Series


“Geological Walking Tour of Downtown Trenton”

Friday April 26, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.

Meet at 16 South Warren Street

(next door to Checkers Restaurant)

Site of the original Hunterdon County Court House and Prison

(prison wall preserved in parking lot)

This one-hour-plus walkabout will cover the geology of downtown Trenton: How 500 million years of geology has shaped the rivers, hills and historic buildings of the Capital City. The tour will be on streets and alleys within 1,000 feet (a stone’s throw) of the Old Barracks and will include many edifices, bridges, rocks and walls.

Topics will include:

  • The rocks that form the falls on the Delaware River and the way that geology impacted the route of the Delaware & Raritan Canal.
  • The local stone from nearby quarries that was mined to construct the Trenton Barracks, Saint Michael’s Church, the Old Masonic Temple and the N.J. State House.
  • The exotic rocks used in the Trenton Battle Monument, current Masonic Temple, Trenton War Memorial and various State office buildings.
  • The hand-made vs. machine-made brickwork of early downtown buildings, part of our local streetscape of brownstone and brick houses.
  • The art tile at the entrance way to Thomas Edison State University, the Trenton War Memorial ceiling and the bridge abutments on the Assunpink Creek will be highlighted.
  • This walk will partially follow the route of the Trenton Water Power Canal (buried) and the site of Trenton’s early water-powered mills (excavated). One topic of the discussion will be the Hackers War between early mill workers and stone hackers over rocks in the Delaware.

Other topics to be covered include recent glacial geology, sea level rise and fall, mill stones, curbstones, cobblestones and other rocks and geological components found along a casual walk around downtown Trenton.

Pierre Lacombe is retired from the U.S. Geological Survey, where he was the lead hydro-geologist researcher at the former Naval Air Warfare Center in Ewing. He has published numerous reports on the groundwater supplies of New Jersey, has led many geological field trips of the greater Trenton area and is editor of “Geology of the Greater Trenton Area and its impact on the Capital City.” Lacombe also spends time investigating the stone sleepers of the Camden and Amboy Railroad as well as local brick making.

After the tour stay downtown and visit a local tavern or restaurant for your Friday evening dinner.

Wear walking shoes and be prepared for a lively discussion intermingled with history, historic building construction and geology while looking at and touching walls of stone, brick and tile in Trenton.