The Balance Shifts: The Change in Town-Gown Relations in Princeton NJ as Reflected by Residential Property Development between 1890 and 1910
The Prospect Company
Oliver H. Hubbard
Walter B. Harris
Historic Preservation and Conservation
Early boosters of Princeton, NJ, sought to enhance its long-term success by making the town a nexus of education and transportation. By 1865, however, the turnpike and canal had been supplanted by the railroad, and wartime straightening of the rail line had left the town at the end of an unimportant spur line, leaving the town dependent on the College of New Jersey for its future. Between 1890 and 1910 the population of the town grew by fifty percent as the university expanded and affluent alumni seeking a cosmopolitan version of “country life” built mansions and estates there. As local residents attempted to construct housing for the new arrivals, rich alumni undercut them in the lucrative middle-class market by creating a company to build below-market-rate rental housing for faculty. The relationship had shifted; rather than the university existing to support the town, the town existed to support the university. This thesis provides an overview of the growth of town and university before examining in detail residential real estate development between 1890 and 1910 and the factors affecting it.