About The Hopewell Valley History Project Site

The Hopewell Valley History Project is a volunteer effort to collect, digitize, organize, and share the history of the Hopewell Valley in Mercer County, New Jersey.

  • See the Blog for discussions of new materials.
  • See Site Updates for a chronological list of new materials added to the site.
  • See Acknowledgements for thanks to the individuals who have contributed materials for this project.


Why This Site?

Why another website? After all, the Hopewell Valley is blessed with an abundance of enthusiastic individuals and dynamic organizations working on preserving and sharing local history. Individuals research information, and share their results by writing papers and presenting talks. Organizations, including societies, museums, libraries, and archives, work to preserve historical materials and sponsor activities and talks, including the Hopewell Valley Heritage Weekend.

However, much of this information and effort actually is transient – The manuscripts are packaged up and archived on shelves, the papers are filed away in drawers, and the talks recede into memory. So all this great work is no longer readily accessible, especially to newcomers who want to understand local history, research their family genealogy, or discover the background of their house.

The second problem for newcomers (and other researchers) is figuring out how to get started – what materials are available, and where and how to find them. With all these great local organizations, there are too many places to look, and no clear single place to get started.

The Hopewell Valley History Project is intended to directly address these issues by being the place to go to get started with local history. Our goal is to collect and organize digital copies of primary research materials and create Reference Guides to provide overviews of available materials and sources for further research.

Suggestions and help are welcome!

Site Organization

The core of the Hopewell Valley History Project site is the Document and Map Archives, with a collection of primary reference materials that have been digitized and curated for convenient access. These are categorized by media type, with the individual Document and Map files listed in tables for convenient searching and one-click viewing.

Each media type in the archives then has an associated Index page. The Index pages contain tables listing the associated materials, which can be searched, sorted, and filtered to discover specific items of interest. Plus they include links to associated printable Reference Guides to help with understanding materials and doing additional research.

The site Blog then has updates on additions and changes to the site.

About Hopewell Valley Places

The Hopewell Valley Places page has quick links to key materials on this site for the four municipalities in the Hopewell Valley: Hopewell Borough, Pennington Borough, Titusville / Washington Crossing, and Hopewell Township. (This is the current grouping used in the Image Archives.)

The sections for each of these places include links to associated images, cultural survey documents, maps, and related materials. Each section is illustrated by an example historic building or area, with links to its associated resources.

About the Reference Guides

The Reference Guides are research notes that are intended to help start exploring a new area, addressing key questions including “what kinds of maps are available?” and “what are the basic books on local history?” Then they help dig deeper into a topic or interest by providing links to other materials and sources.

The Guides are provided as printable PDF files, and include Galleries with images and catalogs of available sources and materials, Chronologies with listings of all the materials in the archives (plus other interesting related material) with additional information, and Source Guides with references (especially digital).

About the Document and Map Archives

The Document and Map Archives contain local copies of curated resources focused on Hopewell Valley history, organized by the type of material. The Document and Map Index pages each have a table listing the available resources for that type.

The Document Archives include historic books from the mid 1800’s and early 1900’s and other types of documents, plus pamphlets, reports, and other papers on historical topics.

The Map Archives include three different types of maps – Historic maps of the region, Municipal maps (e.g., tax maps), and Aerial photographs.

About the Image Gallery

The Image Gallery includes photos and postcards of streets and buildings in the Hopewell Valley.

Some images are scanned / photographed from historic books (around 1900), and therefore are out of copyright in the U.S.

Many images were kindly contributed by local authors and photographers, and by local history enthusiasts and postcard collectors who kindly volunteered to have their materials scanned for the site.

The Image Archives are hosted on a separate site. You can browse by town, view individual images and slideshows, and search by name (including street, address, year, and description).

The files are named by street address and year for convenient searching and sorting. This makes it easy to compare images along the same street, at the same address in different years, or from different sources.

About the Hopewell History Map

The interactive Hopewell History Map uses a map interface to explore information and images on historical properties in Hopewell Borough.

It is built on the familiar Google Maps platform, and so has the usual map controls (map type, zoom, pan), plus additional historical property annotations displayed as street numbers.

Browse the street addresses in the Map or Table, and then click a property to view the available information in the other panels, including photo and postcard views in the Info Panel.

This is an prototype designed to explore the possibilities of this kind of interface for historical information, and subject to changes. The underlying data also is only partially implemented. Comments welcome.

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