4. Getting to and from Blawenburg

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

Print Post

The roads that intersect in Blawenburg were built before there were enough houses to call it a village. We have seen that there was an old pathway along the ridge now known as Route 518, and it intersected with roads that led to Princeton and Belle Mead. But it wasn’t until the Georgetown – Franklin Turnpike was built that the small village emerged.

This is what the Georgetown-Franklin Turnpike looked like around 1890 -1900. Notice the old school and then the church on the right. In the distance you can see Blawenburg Tavern. The parsonage is on the left (south) side of the road. It looks like electricity was arriving in Blawenburg. Note the poles on the left.

The Georgetown - Franklin Turnpike has been described as an ancient road, which was probably a Native American pathway carved along the shale ridge atop which Blawenburg sits. Even when the area was first settled, it was probably a trail no wider than a cart. Horses and wagons would have to travel in single file along dirt paths filled with many holes. With no drainage, the road had many washouts that made travel perilous at best.

The bridge from New Hope, PA to Lambertville, NJ was built in 1904. While not the original bridge that led to the development of the Georgetown-Franklin Turnpike, it is in the same general location as the original.

The communities in the area benefited from a bridge that was built in Georgetown (now Lambertville) to make it easier to cross the Delaware River from Coryell's Ferry (now New Hope). Originally, both Lambertville and New Hope were called Coryell's Ferry. The two villages were considered a halfway stop on the then major road from Philadelphia to New York. Soon after the bridge was built in 1814, people realized that those who crossed the river had terrible roads to travel on. These roads were in desperate need of improvement if they were to support the increased traffic that the bridge allowed. They decided to widen, improve, and extend the roadway from Georgetown to Franklin. To pay for this project, they made the road a turnpike and charged a fee for its use. Individual towns would be responsible for its upkeep. The turnpike was chartered in 1816 and built between 1820-22.

The Georgetown - Franklin Turnpike runs from Georgetown in the west to Franklin (near Kendall Park) in the east, a distance of 23 miles. In Franklin, it merged into the New Brunswick Turnpike, known today as Route 27. Georgetown was later called Lambertville or Bungtown, depending on who you were talking to. The road that led from Lambertville to Hopewell (Route 518) was called Bungtown Road before the turnpike was built.