A Somerset County site where Continental Army troops once camped will be forever preserved thanks in part to Crossroads of the American Revolution’s contribution of its New Jersey Green Acres acquisition funding.
Located near the intersection of Foothill and Steele Gap Roads in Bridgewater, the 36-acre site was part of the Middlebrook Encampment, as well as part of the route of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Trail. According to historian Dr. Robert A. Selig, the tract is one of the few sections of the Trail where modern visitors can see what an 18th century road layout would look like. Artifacts found on site indicate that it was once the location of Steeles Tavern, and the preservation of the tract will allow for archaeological study.
This is Crossroads’ third transaction using New Jersey Green Acres acquisition funding to preserve Revolution-related landscapes in the state. Altogether, we’ve help preserve 300 acres in Middlesex, Monmouth and Somerset counties, in accordance with our Management Plan approved by the National Park Service. Crossroads acts as a ‘pass-through’ entity that helps confirm the historical relevance of potential open space acquisitions and then contributes our Green Acres funding as a portion of the total purchase price. Once the transaction is completed, Crossroads legally transfers property rights to the relevant government entity, usually a municipality or county that then manages the property as agreed.
In this case, the land has been transferred to Bridgewater Township, which will manage it for passive enjoyment where the public can experience New Jersey’s Revolutionary past in a place where troops actually marched, foraged and prepared for battle. Crossroads will work with the township and historians to install interpretive signage to mark the site as an important location in New Jersey’s Revolutionary heritage.
We’re grateful for counsel provided by the Community and Transactional Lawyering Clinic of Rutgers University, especially law student Noha Haggag and Professor Charles Auffant. Other partners in the transaction include the D&R Greenway Land Trust, Bridgewater Township, Somerset County and more than 70 individual donors.