SETTING / CONTEXT The stone bridge is located on the historic right of way of the Kings Highway, the main 18th-century road between New York and Philadelphia. On the southwest edge of Princeton Township over a stream on a heavily traveled 2-lane road, it is now part of the federal highway system. The west side of the bridge abutted a non-extant stone mill. A modern stringer bridge (1129154) over the flood plain is now contiguous to the west side.
SUMMARY The well-proportioned 3-span rubble-coursed stone arch has ring stones and a low stone parapet. One of several ca. 1800 stone arch bridges, it is a large and impressive example of late-18th century engineering. The bridge is located in the Princeton Battlefield/Stony Brook Village District Extension (1989), but it is not rated. It was built within the period of significance of the district and should be considered a contributing resource based on its age, structural type, and history.
INFORMATION Bibliography: "Princeton Battlefield/Stony Brook Village Historic District Extension" National Register Nomination. 1972, 1977. NJHPO.
Physical Description: The handsome rubble-coursed fieldstone arch bridge spans meandering Stony Brook on the western edge of Princeton. It carries heavily traveled two-lane US 206. The three-arch span has the largest opening in the middle with slightly smaller flanking arches. All have a ring stone band with no defined keystone. The bridge was built with a slight rise and has solid stone parapets. It has been widened, and the intrados have been covered with a shotcrete material. While the 82'-long bridge has no doubt been rebuilt over the years, the work has been in such a manner as to perpetuate the original scheme.
Historical and Technological Significance: The impressive 3-span barrel arch stone bridge was constructed in 1792, according to its plaque, on what was the main road (formerly known as the Kings Highway) from Philadelphia to New York. The bridge is one of three 1790-1810 multi-span stone arches in the vicinity, with the one across the Millstone River at Kingston being longer (four spans) and better preserved.
Stone arches represent a significant advancement in regional development for the bridge type reflects the progress and prosperity of the region. Due in large part to the quality of construction and the longevity of the technology (early bridges were frequently widened rather than replaced), a good number of late-18th and early-19th century stone arches survive in the state. The US 206 bridge is a representative example of that type, and as such is an important element in the historical development of the Princeton area. It is also a contributing resource in the Stony Brook Village Historic District.
Boundary Description and Justification: The bridge is located within a listed historic district, so the span and the surrounding acreage is evaluated as significant. Please refer to the map on file with the 1989 National Register nomination for the exact district boundary.