FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            
August 5, 2020
Contact: Wells Winegar, Dep. Administrator
Phone: 908-725-6300 ext. 5000
Bridgewater Renames Open Space Property to Honor Local Resident

Bridgewater, NJ - At the Bridgewater Township Council Meeting on Monday, August 3rd, the Council passed a resolution honoring long time Bridgewater resident and WWII veteran Thomas R. “Bob” Vaucher by officially renaming the former John Wemple Property as the “Vaucher Revolutionary Preserve at Steele’s Gap.” 

This newly preserved land which sits in the area Foothill and Steele Gap Roads is along routes taken George Washington and the Continental Army throughout the American Revolution and is located along the Washington-Rochambaeu National Historic Trail. It is also the site of Steele’s Tavern according to writings recovered from George Washington.

This property was purchased for Open Space by a consortium of private and public entities including Bridgewater Township, Somerset County, Cross Roads of the American Revolution and even many area residents that were passionate about preserving this historic land.

“Bob Vaucher led the effort to ensure that this land was preserved for future generations of residents to enjoy,” said Mayor Matthew Moench. “Bob is a hero to this community in so many ways and renaming this property in his namesake is the least we could do to honor his commitment to this project and Bridgewater as a whole.”

“Bob has been a leader in this community for so many years,” said Councilman Timothy Ring. “Bridgewater would not have its current bucolic charm if it was not for his tireless advocacy against so many over reaching development projects including his fight against Route 287 going through the Hobbstown area of town. This project is just his latest achievement in a life dedicated to community service and a legitimate care for his neighbors.”

“Bob’s life has exemplified service,” said Council Vice President Filipe Pedroso. “It is an honor to support this resolution to preserve not only this historic land but the Vaucher name for generations to come.”

“I was proud to be a part of this vision of community open space coming to fruition,” said Councilman Allen Kurdyla. “This was a community effort in its purest form and I thank Bob for his vision and commitment; we would not be here today without it.”

Today, Mr. Vaucher, at 101 years old, still lives on his home on Foothill Road where he raised his family and has lived for the past 70 years. Throughout his many years as a Bridgewater resident, Bob has been instrumental in both the formation and the preservation of the Bridgewater Township. He is also a distinguished World War II veteran and over the course of the war, Bob flew 117 combat missions, and earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, five Air Medals, eight Battle Stars, and 13 wartime commendations and citations. 

D&R Greenway produced a short video about the history of the site and efforts undertook to save it for future generations. The video can be viewed here.