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Mercer White Oak, Princeton Battlefield Park

Mercer White Oak was a historic tree at Princeton Battlefield Park that stood tall amidst the park's rolling hills and lush fields. The tree was named after General Hugh Mercer, who died from wounds he received at the Battle of Princeton during the American Revolution. The tree became a symbol of the battle and a testament to the bravery of the American soldiers who fought there. The tree was one of the largest and oldest white oaks in the state of New Jersey, with a massive trunk and sprawling branches that provided shade for visitors to the park. The Mercer White Oak was not only a natural landmark but also a crucial part of the park's rich history, serving as a reminder of the sacrifices made during the American Revolution.

The Mercer White Oak tree was about 300 years old when strong winds ripped it apart in March 2000. Soon after the tree's death, an arborist planted an 8-foot sapling from a Mercer Oak acorn inside the former tree's stump. That fenced-in young oak tree is the one that is seen in Princeton Battlefield Park today.

On this misty, foggy day, the tree takes on an ethereal quality, shrouded in a mysterious veil of white. The fog seems to wrap around the trunk and branches of the tree, adding to its already stately presence.

This is one of several frames from one of the four cartridges of Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow 400 35mm film I bought last year. The film was developed in Tennessee at Boutique Film Labs and scanned at home using an Epson Perfection V600 and VueScan software. The negatives were converted as part of my workflow using Negative Lab Pro.

Leigh Avenue

It's another cold (2ºC), grey, overcast but thankfully sunny and windless morning in Montgomery Township today. The air is a lot dryer and cooler. I was hoping to get outside to complete the roll of Rollei RPX 25, but the vertigo is still present from yesterday. I am not keen to walk or drive when my sense of balance is off-kilter, so I expect to spend another day indoors. I took the day off from work yesterday to rest up, but the nausea has subsided enough to get back to work.

It was cold and damp last Saturday when I captured these images along Leigh Avenue in Princeton. The kind of damp cold that aches my ageing joints and numbs my fingers. The sky was filled with grey clouds worsened by the subdued illumination one would expect to see in the late afternoon. I explored the homes and other buildings between Witherspoon and John Streets.

12 Leigh Ave, Princeton | Saturday 5 December, 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | f/11 | ISO 4000

Named after Albert Leigh, a businessman who opened a slaughterhouse on the street, Leigh Avenue was laid out circa 1900. Still, by 1918, several slaughterhouse buildings had been taken down and replaced with housing units. Today Leigh Avenue is mainly residential, and the block between Witherspoon and John Streets is lined on either side by tiny early 20th-century houses with flights of steps to reach the orch. Many of these single-family dwellings have a large front porch. Numbers 14-16, a four-family double house.

19 Leigh Ave, Princeton | Saturday 5 December, 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | f/11 | ISO 6400

Leigh Avenue contains a small commercial area at John Street with buildings constructed in the first decades of the 1900s.

Maria's Hair Salon, Leigh Avenue
Maria's Hair Salon, 42 Leigh Avenue | Saturday 5 December, 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | f/11 | ISO 4000

In the 1930s to 1960s, these buildings, at the corner of Leigh Avenue and John Street were grocery stores, candy stores and restaurants owned by black, Italian, Jewish and Greek families. The residents in this community patronized these stores because the stores on Nassau Street did not welcome black customers.

In the 1930s and 40s there was a grocery store owned by Mr Irvin Ferrar. Frederick and Doris Burrell purchased the building in 1943. Doris started a beauty parlor, and in later years she added a fashion boutique, conducted Yoga classes, and provided nutrition information for her clients. Fred opened a florist shop, where he supplied flowers and plants for weddings, funerals, dances and many events in Princeton.

Princeton History

Local Greek, 44 Leigh Avenue | Saturday 5 December, 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | f/11 | ISO 3200

This continues today. Maria's Hair Salon at 42 Leigh Avenue offers hair styling and haircuts preferred by the mostly black and Latinx communities in this section of Princeton. Over the years I have lived in the area, the location at 44 Leigh Avenue has been a Mexican restaurant, a coffee house, and a middle eastern restaurant. It's now the location of a Mediterranean restaurant, Local Greek.

Experience the Battle of Princeton January 3, 1777

Experience, first-hand, the culmination of the Ten Crucial Days at Princeton that helped change American Revolutionary War history.

It would be awesome if there was snow on the ground that day so that we could get a feel for how it was.