? ? ? ? Historically, Lamberton was the loose-knit fishing village and port that extended along the left bank of the Delaware River from Ferry Street to Riverview Cemetery. The heart of the community lay between Landing and Lalor Streets, exactly where the park atop the tunnel is located today.
? ? ? ? The settlement was named for the family of Thomas Lambert, who established the first plantation here around 1680. The location of Lambert's house is uncertain, but it probably lay close to the bluff edge, with access to a landing on the river. The village of Lamberton emerged in the mid-18th century near the foot of present-day Landing Street, initially as the focus of the "Lamberton Fishery." This enterprise, established by politician/gentleman farmer Charles Read, was in existence by the early 1760s, making use of a wharf, fishpond and other fish-processing facilities.
? ? ? ? In the years just before and after the American Revolution, the stretch of riverbank extending downstream from the Lamberton Fishery began to be developed for various other commercial and shipping purposes. During this period, Lamberton took on its identity as the port furthest upstream on the Delaware River and Trenton's link downriver to the outside world. Burgeoning trade resulted in Lamberton's designation as an official port of delivery by the First Congress of the United States in 1789.
? ? ? ? By 1770 William Richards, a Philadelphia merchant and apothecary, had taken over the Lamberton fishery and soon added other facilities, including a store and bakery, warehouses, a stoneware pottery, a mustard mill and a chocolate mill. At the foot of present-day Lalor Street, a second commercial focus emerged around a succession of businesses in which Moore Furman, another prominent Delaware Valley merchant and Trenton's first mayor, was the driving force. Both Richards and Furman operated vessels from their wharves on the river. Through these shipping interests, Lamberton's merchants engaged in a trade network that ranged far beyond Philadelphia, along the eastern seaboard, to the Caribbean and across the Atlantic.
? ? ? ? When the Revolutionary war raged in New Jersey, chiefly between 1776 and 1778, Lamberton was an important shipment point for American forces, a key port under their control that could distribute supplies to troops at the front. William Richards served as "ship's Husband" to the Pennsylvania Navy, providing the fleet with "all stores and necessaries," while Moore Furman was Deputy Quartermaster General for the Continental Army. After the war, Lamberton was under serious consideration - although ultimately rejected - as a suitable location for the new "Federal City" and the seat of the national capital.
? ? ? ? Lamberton remained a bustling upriver port well into the 1840s. In the early 19th century, fishing and import/export businesses continued to be important, and were supplemented with passenger steamboat and towing services on the river. The village blossomed as a rafting stop-over for fresh-cut lumber being floated downstream to the Philadelphia shipyards. Rafts were secured in the slack water at the foot of Landing Street and river pilots patronized establishments like the Raftsman's Inn and the Delaware Inn. From the mid-19th century, the port of Lamberton declined as the timber supply upriver became depleted and nearby Trenton developed as an industrial center tied more to the canal and rail network than to the river.
? ? ? ? Why did a village emerge here at Lamberton, so close to Trenton? Mainly because Lamberton lies at the head of navigation on the Delaware River, 85 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, at the point furthest upstream that is accessible to deep-draught vessels. Trenton, in contrast, is situated a mere mile upstream at the falls of the Delaware, where the riverbed is rocky and can be forded; this spot is unreachable by all but the shallowest of boats. Lamberton is also located close to the head of tide in a section of the Delaware River where fish spawn in abundance ?.. so the prospect of fishing also helped propel the village into existence.
Right here beneath your feet ?
? ? ? ? ? lay the riverfront facilities of historic Lamberton. All the infrastructure of a port once existed here - wharves, docks, warehouses, stores, buildings involved in fish processing, mills, large ovens where ships' biscuit was baked, even a pottery kiln. Traces of many of these elements of Lamberton were observed and documented by archaeologists during the early stages of the tunnel construction project in 1999-2000.