In the heart of Peapack-Gladstone is Liberty Park where graceful swans and ducks swim on a tranquil pond. The park is widely used by residents and visitors seeking a pleasant place for a walk, a picnic, or quiet contemplation.
In May 1919, a group of public-spirited town fathers met at the local firehouse to discuss creating a park in honor of area men who had served their country in the Great War. They proposed to raise the funds necessary to acquire the property then known as Riker’s Meadow, to develop it, and to maintain it as a memorial to these World War I veterans. The group agreed to form the Liberty Park Association.
In April, 1927, Liberty Park was deeded to the borough by the association. The care and upkeep of the property had gone beyond the means of the association, and it was financially advantageous that the borough maintain the park through taxation. In the late 1930’s, swimming was discontinued because the pond had become polluted by waste from the development of homesites.
In 1948, a new memorial honoring the veterans of World War II was placed in the park. The swans made their appearance around 1955, the gift of Mrs. Edgar Rosenblatt, who pictured them as the finishing touch to an idyllic setting.
The newest monument, honoring Vietnam veterans, was erected in the mid-1980’s. Through the efforts of Borough Council member Ann Winston and her fundraising committee, aerating fountains were added to the pond in 1990.
Liberty Park has been the focal point of the events that bring the town together year after year. Most significant of these have been the annual Memorial Day services, which are in keeping with the intent of the founders of the Liberty Park Association.
Residents of this community look with gratitude to the town fathers of 1919 who had the foresight to plan Liberty Park, and to the volunteers who carried out their plan. To many minds, the image of this serene oasis in our midst has come to typify what is best in Peapack-Gladstone.