Over the years the marshlands along Crosswicks Creek and the Delaware River near Bordentown have had a number of names including: Trenton Marsh, Hamilton – Trenton Marsh, and White City Meadows, as well as Hamilton – Trenton – Bordentown Marsh. During development of the Hamilton- Trenton – Bordentown Marsh Cooperative Stewardship Plan 2010, it became clear that ‘Hamilton- Trenton – Bordentown Marsh’ was cumbersome. At the same time meeting participants thought that there would be better understanding of the importance of the area if there were uniform signage drawing attention to marsh features.
Mercer County, with a goal of establishing a nature center in a renovated house the edge of Roebling Park, took the initiative and received NJ Historic Trust grants for naming and ‘branding’ the marshlands. The process involved developing an interpretive plan and a technical report for the Abbott Farm National Historic Landmark, determining a suitable name, and designing a representative logo. Along the way input was obtained from many partners.
After much deliberation, ‘Abbott Marshlands’ was selected as a name that recognizes the important archaeological legacy of the marsh and of Charles Conrad Abbott, a 19th and early 20th C archaeologist and naturalist, who lived on the bluffs near the marsh and who wrote extensively about it.
At the same time, it was also decided that the name of the nature center should honor the Lenape who once lived here. The name chosen was ‘Tulpehaking’, “turtle land”, a Lenape name for a creek in Burlington County. The turtle was an important symbol to the native Lenape who lived here and was the name of one of the four Lenape clans. The turtle is seen on the Abbott Marshlands logo, as well as that of the Friends for the Abbott Marshlands.
The Abbott Farm National Historic Landmark was designated in 1976 by the United States Department of Interior to recognize the importance of the site. According to modern archaeologists, it is the most significant Woodland Indian site along the eastern coast of the United States.
The Abbott Marshlands logo represents both the natural and archaeological legacy of the area and shows: a Great Blue Heron, which refers to ‘Big Bird Creek’ or ‘Crossweeksung’ the Lenape name for Crosswicks Creek; the clay pot symbolizes the unique pottery found at the Abbott Farm site and which can be seen at the NJ State Museum in Trenton; the grass represents plants used by the Indians including Wild Rice; and the turtle represents Mother Earth, and is a sacred figure in Native American symbolism.
The Friends for the Abbott Marshlands logo shows a painted turtle and an arrowhead leaf. The tubers of the arrowhead, also called Indian potato, were a food for Native Americans.
Links to the Technical report and the Cooperative Stewardship Plan – 2010 can found under Resources.