Nowadays, if one wants to cool off, they often visit a local pool. However, in early-1900s West Windsor and before, pools were not common, and instead residents frequently used the "Sheepwash" - a 60-70-foot-wide bend in the Millstone River behind the old RCA Laboratory and about one quarter of a mile northwest of Washington Road.
This area was called the "Sheepwash" because farmers used to clean their sheep here. No one knows the exact origins of this locale's use as a swimming hole, but its was certainly a recognizable recreational area by the 1910s, if not earlier. In its heyday, it was a sandy tract quite high above the water with a lacework of braided roads leading to the river. Cars would park about ten to fifteen feet above the water, and the bank on the southern side formed a clean sandy beach. There was a rope swing and a dock-like structure on the north side near to where the river merged into a swamp.
In the Historical Society's Summer/Fall 1985 newsletter "Broadside," Michael Corio further recounted: "Being much more rural in nature than it is today, the neighborhood youth made constant use of the 'Sheepwash,' especially when it was time for some of the hot, dirty jobs associated with summer harvesting ... It was no surprise to see one of the Roszel flat bed trucks arrive from Dutch Neck with ten or twenty of the hottest, dirtiest kids in the county."
The Sheepwash hosted Fourth of July celebrations, baseball games (with hucksters selling snacks and refreshments), Boy Scout campouts, community picnics, and much more. As formal swimming pools became popular - like the nearby Princeton Swimming Pool across Washington Road - the Sheepwash stopped being used and was eventually closed off. Its former beach is now grown thick with trees, and all that is left are old photos and memories.
- "Boy Saved from Death in Water." Trenton Evening Times. July 16, 1917.
- Corio, Michael. “Broadside,” Summer 1985.
- "Community Picnic Huge Success." Princeton Herald. August 13, 1926.
- "Carnochan Shares Birthplace with Bainbridge." Princeton Recollector. September 1981.