As part of a large conservation project in 1955 mentioned in the Princeton Herald (January 11, 1956), the girl scouts planted 1000 daffodils and another 1000 bulbs including wood hyacinths, chionadoxa, and crocuses. The daffodils and crocuses are still blooming in the park every year.
The Princeton Library has a new initiative for families and children to explore the great outdoors. Families can now check out a backpack loaded with information about parks and open spaces around Princeton. The backpack also includes a compass, binoculars, magnifying glass, New Jersey pocket field guides, nature log and more. The Marquand Park Foundation has included a guide with the location of some of its signature trees and a bookmark featuring the Little Free Library. The backpacks are available for check out at the Youth Services information desk.
By Evie Timberlake
Marquand Park is fortunate to have a tunnel-shaped structure believed to be of the 1800s. Except that the entrance door was probably smaller and likely enlarged to accommodate changing needs over time, the mysterious structure still retains the appearance and integrity it had for the past 200 years. Built into a bank just past the Japanese maple, the building currently is used as a storage shed.
Its original purpose is uncertain, but on a 1917 hand-drawn map of Guernsey Hall the building is listed as an ice house. It appears next to the lily pond (circled on the map) which probably froze in winter and may have been the source of the ice or it may have been delivered from Princeton Ice Company, now Mountain Lakes Preserve**. The lily pond no longer exists but landscape is indelible, and you can still see the dip in the ground where it once was. An opening, which could have been used as an ice chute, is visible in the interior ceiling vault. Two of Eleanor Marquand’s grandchildren remember the building as an ice house and a root cellar, recalling “In the days before refrigerators, people would store large blocks of ice insulated with layers of sawdust in root cellars. Then in winter, the same places would become storage places for veggies like beets and potatoes.”
** To read/see more about ice delivery history in Princeton go visit the Mountain Lakes Preserve on Meadow Road
Groundbreaking work on a Children’s Arboretum next to the parking lot is completed and its grand opening took place on April 27. The Children’s Arboretum will be a place where children between the ages of 5 and 15 can learn through hands-on experiences how trees grow.
Activities will include: planting saplings in raised planting boxes in the spring; caring for these trees during the summer; and transplanting the trees in early fall to other sites in the park. Children may choose to take their tree home and find a special place for it in their yard. The arboretum will be open during regular park hours. Parents will be asked to supervise their children while visiting the arboretum.
The arboretum has a 6′ fence consisting of pressure-treated wooden posts with galvanized coated wiring supported by horizontal wood framing. The fence is intended to provide some protection from the deer. A decorative gate has been installed on the north side of the arboretum. The whole area inside the arboretum will be covered with a weed barrier ground cover and then covered with wood chips. Four planting boxes will be used for planting the trees. A table resting on the tree trunk of an English yew (part of the tree is still standing) can be used by kids for writing and drawing. A young magnolia tree is the another tree growing in the children’s arboretum.
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