A Walking Tour of Burlington, New Jersey
By Doug Gelbert
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There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. This walking tour of Burlington, New Jersey is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes historical, architectural landmarks, cultural sites and ecclesiastic touchstones and provides step-by-step directions.Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.This shoreline was settled by two groups of English Quakers in 1677, one from Yorkshire and the other from London. High Street (the traditional English name for a town's main street) was laid out with lots to the east for the Yorkshiremen and lots to the west for the men of London. A gristmill and a sawmill were quickly established and by 1681 the Colonial Assembly had designated the fledgling settlement as the capital of the province of West New Jersey and the official port of entry. By the mid-1700s Burlington ranked with New York, Philadelphia and Boston as one of the busiest ports in the country.As a Colonial political center, Burlington attracted many political figures. During the American Revolution, in stark contrast to, and defiance of, his famous father, William Franklin was Royal Governor and the most intractable of Tory Royalists, until his arrest. Today's riverfront residential area is called Green Bank and was his estate. As the shipping trade waned through the 1800s that riverfront reverted from industry back to its natural beauty and began attracting Philadelphians as a summer resort.Burlington saw it share of industrial development through the years. The first iron plow made in America was crafted in 1797 by Burlington resident Charles Newbold. More than a quarter-million mulberry trees were planted in 1838 to jump-start a silk industry - a spring cold snap the next year short-circuited the enterprise. James Birch was a world-renowned carriage builder in the days before the automobile. But no great industry or employer emerged to energize modern development in Burlington. The county seat followed the population inland to Mount Holly in 1793 and much of the town west of the railroad tracks that split Broad Street in 1834 maintains the feel of a Colonial port.Our walking tour will begin on the banks of the Delaware River and then follow the patterned brick sidewalks frequented by American luminaries from Benjamin Franklin to Ulysses S. Grant...