The Little Nonprofit That Could: When all other, much larger organizations and institutions decided to put their priorities elsewhere, the Friends of Herrontown Woods (FOHW) stepped up to clear overgrown trails on 210 acres of public open space at Herrontown Woods and Autumn Hill Reservation. One could say that we succeeded in part because we are a small organization, focused on one corridor of open space. Now in its fifth year of maintaining trails and habitat at no cost to the county or town, FOHW seeks to acquire and repair the Veblen buildings that are the cultural soul of Herrontown Woods. In December, 2013, Mercer County offered to transfer the Veblen house, cottage and associated land to the Friends of Herrontown Woods. Since then, FOHW has become an official 501c3 nonprofit, built a critical mass of board members, and in February, 2017, submitted a proposal detailing planned repairs, along with insurance documentation. After having already done so much to serve Princeton and Mercer County, we believe we deserve a positive response from the county.
Veblen Center and Ecological Campus: FOHW’s proposal is to create a Veblen Center and ecological campus. The garage is essential for storing the tools we use to maintain Herrontown Woods and Autumn Hill reservation. Exterior repairs will make the Veblen House a more attractive landmark, followed by inside repair with the goal of holding meetings and small cultural events such as talks related to the many themes from the lives of those who lived in or visited the house since it was built in 1930. The Veblen cottage, barn and corncrib are important landmarks evoking the spartan lifestyle of self-sufficient 19th century farmers.
Additional components of the vision: