Crosswicks - Doctors Creek
Watershed Association, Inc.

( reserved )
( reserved )

Introduction & Background Discussion

Princeton Nurseries began as F & F Nursery in Springfield Twp., Union County, NJ. In 1911, William Flemer, Sr. felt Union County was developing so rapidly that he needed to look for a new location. After looking at areas in Pennsylvania, Long Island, NY, and the Maryland eastern shore, he decided the Princeton area would best suit their purpose due to its proximity to the Pennsylvania Railroad and the D & R Canal (which was in full operation at that time). The Flemers purchased thousands of acres in the Princeton area and settled on Kingston (South Brunswick Twp.) for their headquarters. As the Princeton area began to develop, William Flemer, Jr. began to amass Princeton Nurseries holdings in the 1960’s in the Upper Freehold/Allentown area.  Subsequently, the headquarters moved to the Upper Freehold location at Polhemustown Road.

Princeton Nurseries ceased operations in 2010. The plant stock that remains is currently under ownership of  Select Tree Farms headquartered in West Valley, NY.

Commentary on the Preservation Ceremony, April 18, 2011
by Marc Covitz

I attended this ceremony today along with close to 100 others variously representing NJ DEP, Mercer County, Monmouth County, Burlington County, Upper Freehold Twp, Monmouth Conservation Foundation, and the D & R Greenway.

There were many speeches and "Thank You's" during the ceremony. All of the Flemers were in attendance and were given the contract during the ceremony. The actual Closing won’t take place for another few months so it is not exactly clear yet when the public will be permitted on the tracts slated for public access.

The most moving speech was from William (Bill) Flemer IV (standing wearing cap, top right) who noted that the day was joyous but also sad as it marks the end of an era for the Flemer family in the nursery business. The family business started about 100 years ago in Springfield, NJ and was, at one time, the largest nursery in the country. Bill noted the many accomplishments of the family business (the development of many unique varieties of shade and flowering trees, the many agencies and businesses they have been associated with over the years, the many Flemer family members who have been presidents of national and state horticultural and farming organizations, etc…). He acknowledged the many loyal employees (and generations of employees) who made running the business possible. Bill made a point to acknowledge the many Latino employees (especially those of Puerto Rican descent) who worked on the farm. He said his uncle John took a special interest in these workers and in the Puerto Rican culture. It was clear the family saw these folks as more than just workers. He also spoke of growing up on the farm and how each of his siblings and their children had special places that they loved on the land. He said everyone had a name for their own special place on the farm.

This preservation is being called “The Flemer Entities Preservation Project.”

It is a 1,900 acre project that is costing a total of $28 million.

Photo Gallery of PN Lands and
Owner Family

Flemer Family (standing) at Preservation Ceremony on April 18, 2011
(photo from Trenton Times -  4/19/2011 issue)

Preservation Area Maps

  Map of Preserved Areas in Monmouth, Mercer and Burlington Counties

Preservation Plan Bullet Points

This complex preservation plan calls for the acreage to be preserved in various ways:
  • Formation of a new NJ DEP Wildlife Management Area (WMA) for hunting and wildlife management.
  • Farmland Preserved (deed-restricted) lots for individual sale with housing set-aside area on each lot (if existing structures are not already present).
  • Approximately 500-acre acquisition by the Monmouth County Parks System for addition to the Crosswicks Creek Greenway.
  • A 5- to 6-mile linear multi-use trail planned by the Monmouth County Parks System that would traverse the entire stretch of the Princeton Nurseries lands from Ellisdale Rd in Upper Freehold to Provinceline Rd at the Burlington County border.