Lawrence Township was founded in 1697 and was known as Maidenhead, named by the early Quaker settlers after a Thames River village later incorporated into the City of London. In 1816, the municipality was renamed Lawrence, after Captain James Lawrence, commander of the frigate Chesapeake and one of the naval heroes of the War of 1812.
Lawrenceville is a historic location dating back to Colonial days, traversed during the Revolution's battles of Trenton and Princeton. The Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville was founded in 1698, with meetinghouse erected on the site of the present building seen above sometime in the early 1700's. The present structure dates back to 1764.
Main St. is part of the King's Highway Historic District. The first Colonial road in New Jersey, the King's Highway/Route 206 was an important stage coach route through the state, and it was the first postal route across the state. It became part of the Lincoln Highway, which was the first transcontinental road in the United States.
The Lawrenceville School, located across Main Street, is one of the oldest prep schools in the U.S., and has been a major constructive presence. It was founded in 1810 as the Maidenhead Academy, and is a coeducational, independent preparatory boarding school for grades 9-12 located on 700 acres.
For several centuries, Lawrenceville was the dynamic heart of Lawrence Township, with active merchants, two trolley lines connecting Princeton and Trenton, and surrounded by farms.
With the advent of regional development and "big box" stores and malls, the Main Street community encountered a brief period of difficulty. Lawrenceville School assumed a major partnership role with other local leaders in the current revitalization of this fine community. Read more about Main Street's partner! See Main Street Then and Now, our progress in pictures.
Main Street 1905 Main Street 1929
Lawrence Historical Society
Lawrence Township Site Links