Historic Community: Vanhiseville
Surrounding the crossroads of Hendrickson, North Mill, South Mill, and Princeton-Hightstown Roads was a tiny hamlet called "Vanhiseville." Although too small to be considered a full-fledged community of its own, this settlement was nevertheless part of West Windsor's historical fabric for much of the 1800s and several of its original buildings still stand. Explore Vanhiseville and its historical buildings below!
The hamlet of Vanhiseville appeared by the mid-1800s and likely developed around its store/post office. It was named after the local VanHise family, who came to the West Windsor area by the very early 1800s.
Tax ratables from 1817 show Abraham VanHise operating as a merchant. In 1851, a post office appeared here as well. Jonathan VanHise (possibly Abraham's son) was an innkeeper in the 1830s and held several township government meetings in the early part of the decade in his house.
In the early 1900s, the Trenton-New Brunswick “Fast Line” trolley route ran through town and had a stop nearby where it crossed Princeton-Hightstown Road. According to legend, a conductor on an early “Fast Line” trolley remarked derisively on the livestock kept on a nearby farm and dubbed the general area “Pig-town.” The name stuck, and even those who grew up here in the mid-late 1900s remember hearing that name. In fact, the metal Trolley Line Trail bridge spanning the Bear Brook just north of Community Park is nicknamed the "Pig Town Bridge."
One of West Windsor's oldest buildings sits at 219 Hendrickson Drive and may date back to around 1750. At the time, Hendrickson Drive was part of Princeton-Hightstown Road which wasn't straightened here in 1952.
Howard Cox, publisher of the seminal “Raggedy Ann” and “Raggedy Andy” book series, also lived in in VanHiseville for several decades until the 1960s. His farm constituted the western half of Community Park.,,
Vanhiseville's era as a distinct community amid expanses of farmland ended generations ago, but it remains memorialized in the annals of West Windsor history.
Historical Vanhiseville Landmarks
Click on each of the images below to learn more about some Vanhiseville landmarks! We recommend reading them in order. More may be added as research improves.
- Otley, J W, and James Keily. “Map of Mercer County, New Jersey.” Map. Camden, New Jersey: L. Van der Veer, 1849.
- “West Windsor Township Tax Ratables, 1808.” West Windsor Township, 1808. Located in the West Windsor History Museum archives. From the New Jersey State Archives.
- “West Windsor Township Tax Ratables, 1817.” West Windsor Township, 1817. Located in the West Windsor History Museum archives
- “New Post Offices.” State Gazette. January 31, 1851. Page 3 of this Trenton-based newspaper. Full text: "New Post Offices have been established at Van Hiseville and Dutch Neck - both in this County. Abraham Van Hise and John S. Robbins are the Postmasters."
- “West Windsor Township Meeting Minutes, 1797-2012.,” n.d. Original Township Committee meeting minute database located in the Municipal Center.
- Fry, Elmer W. “Broadside,” 1987. From the Spring/Summer 1987 Broadside. Based on a paper written by Elmer W. Fry in 1976 and from his talk during the Historical Society of West Windsor’s March 1986 meeting.
- West Windsor Township: People - Purpose - Progress. West Windsor, New Jersey: West Windsor Township, 1964.
- Community News. “Hsueh Gives State of WW Address.” West Windsor and Plainsboro News. Community News Service, March 7, 2008. https://www.communitynews.org/news/hsueh-gives-state-of-ww-address/article_97ca908b-f51d-5e08-85cb-5ce970aa613f.html.
- “West Windsor Tax Assessor Address List, 2019.” West Windsor, 2019. List of all residences in West Windsor with dates of construction, according to tax assessor. Sent to the Historical Society by Lorraine Jones and Dawn Moretti.
- “Half Million Spent on Hightstown Road.” Princeton Herald, March 23, 1957.
- Fryer, H L. “Tax Maps of West Windsor Township.” Map. Trenton, New Jersey: H. L. Fryer, C.S., 1938. Revised by C. S. Sincerbeaux, 1938.
- Fryer, H L. “Tax Maps of West Windsor Township.” Map. Trenton, New Jersey: H. L. Fryer, C.S., 1964. Revised by C. Robert Jones, 1964.
- “Obituary - Howard Cox, Book Publisher.” Sunday Times Advertiser. January 30, 1966.