Private Development

1910 Postcard View of Plainsboro Hotel1700 - Hotel & Tavern 4 Plainsboro Road

This 1910 postcard view of the Plainsboro Hotel looks east (to the right) down Plainsboro Road. A tavern may have been built near this spot by Josiah Pricket as early at the 1680s. Lodging for travelers in some form has certainly stood here at the intersection of Dey and Plainsboro Roads since the early 1700s. A section of this building may date back to that time. The tavern is known to have served as a stagecoach stop. This sign says, "Plainsboro Hotel A. MacNamee Prop."

Scudders Mill1737 - Scudder's Mill Established

Scudder's Mill was located on the Millstone River, not far from the intersection of Mapleton Road and Route 1. The gristmill, sawmill, fulling mill, and carding mill were built by Josiah Davison in 1737. It was later purchased by William Scudder. Left to his son William, a lieutenant colonel in the American army, the mills and Scudder's house were burned by British soldiers in December 1776. The mills were later rebuilt. Over the years, they were known as Gray's Mills and Aqueduct Mills. They were torn down in 1906 for Carnegie Lake.

Matthias Van Kyke House1756 - Matthias Van Dyke House

Plainsboro's link to the Colonial period is represented by the Flemer House, located on Mapleton Road north of St. Joseph's. The house was built in 1756 by Matthias Van Dyke on a 200-acre piece of land he inherited by his father. British officers were occupying the house just before the Battle of Princeton, and a British cannonball struck the house during a skirmish.

Women Next to Horse and Handler Outside John V.B. Wicoff House1880 - John V.B. Wicoff House

The John V.B. Wicoff House was built c. 1880 by John Wicoff and Catherine Lucretia Britton Wicoff. John and Catherine were married on February 3, 1875. They had one child, John Van Buren Wicoff, born on June 9, 1878. John Wicoff died in 1892. The house was modified several times; wings were added in 1893, 1907 and 1928.

Walker-Gordon Dairy Farm1897 - Walker Gordon Dairy Farm Established

Walker-Gordon's story begins in 1891, when Dr. Thomas M. Rotch of Boston concluded that infant deaths could be greatly reduced with careful prescription feeding. He collaborated with Gustavus A. Gordon, a scientist, to develop a modified cow's mike that more closely resembled human milk. George H. Walker, a Boston businessman, became interested in the project and supplied financing. 

The first laboratory was opened in Boston on December 1, 1891. As a laboratory, Walker-Gordon endeavored to produce sterile milk formulas, following doctors 'prescriptions under pristine conditions. However since there were no milk standards at that time, they soon learned that the final product was very dependent on the initial milk procured. Show in a photograph from the summer of 1911 are members of the Walker-Gordon Laboratory Company Advisory Committee. They are from left to right, Henry W Jeffers Sr. (Plainsboro Farms), C.H. Walker, F.W. Howe, G.W. Franklin, EC. Hodsdon, and George H. Walker (president).

In 1897, the laboratory purchased 40 acres of farmland in Plainsboro. The innovative farm would be equipped with a laboratory, medical supervision, and sterilized milking apparatus. In April 1898, Walker-Gordon hired Henry W. Jeffers Sr. to become the resident manager, and the dairy opened that year with 35 cows. Over the next several years, Walker-Gordon began to construct barns, housing, and other buildings.

In 1897, the laboratory purchased 40 acres of farmland in Plainsboro. The innovative farm would be equipped with a laboratory, medical supervision, and sterilized milking apparatus. In April 1898 Walker-Gordon hired Henry W Jeffers Sr. to become the resident manager, and the dairy opened that year with 35 cows. Over the next several years, Walker-Gordon began to construct barns, housing, and other buildings.

Aerial View of Princeton Nurseries Along Maple Road1912 - Princeton Nurseries

Princeton Nurseries were located on Mapleton Road, north of College Road and extended into South Brunswick (Kingston). It was started circa 1912 by William Flemer Sr, who brought four contiguous farms from the Gullick, Higgins, Myrick, and Pullen families, totaling 265 acres. The business grew to be one of the largest wholesale nurseries in the world. Its stock was sold all over the world and helped reforest Europe after World War II.

This 1985 aerial view show Princeton Nurseries on the left along Mapleton Road. Carnegie Lake and the Delaware and Raritan Canal cross the bottom of the photograph. St. Joseph's Seminary is the large structure in the lower center, and to its left is College Road.

Rockerfeller Institute for Medical Research1916 - Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research

Plainsboro became a research town in 1916, when the New York Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research organized its department of animal pathology for the study of animal diseases and moved it to Plainsboro. The institute purchased about 800 acres of land on both sides or Route 1, north of Plainsboro Road.