Liberty Hall’s storied history began in 1760 when a large tract of land in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, was purchased by William Livingston, a prominent New York attorney intending to retire from public life, take up farming and embrace the solitude of country life. Livingston became New Jersey’s first elected Governor in 1776 and, although the American Revolution upended his retirement plans, his keen interest in botany and agriculture never waned. The magnificent Horse Chestnut tree which stands just outside the front door of Liberty Hall was indeed one of the seeds he obtained from England. It is over 250 years old today and is one of the oldest trees in New Jersey. You can also find a Bartlett pear tree and Seckel pear tree among the oldest of their kind in New Jersey, all right here on the grounds of Liberty Hall. The house he built on the property was lived in by his descendants, the Kean family, until 1995. As each generation of residents added to the exquisite planting schemes Livingston laid out, a truly unique garden took shape, making Liberty Hall a living archive of over 250 years of American garden design. Liberty Hall opened as a museum and historic garden in 2000 following the wishes of its last resident, Mary Alice (Barney) Kean.
In 2021, Liberty Hall became recognized as a Level II Arboretum through ArbNet. The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is the only global initiative to recognize arboreta based on a set of professional standards officially. To become recognized as a Level II Arboretum, Liberty Hall satisfied stringent criteria, including having a collection with a minimum of 100 species, varieties, or cultivars of trees or woody plants, as well as enhanced educational and public programming. The mission of the Arboretum at Liberty Hall is to foster environmental stewardship and conservation through education and to facilitate interdisciplinary research while providing a setting for reflection, enjoyment, and appreciation of nature.
Liberty Hall’s gardens are also part of the Garden State Gardens, a consortium of New Jersey’s public gardens.
We offer guided garden tours Wednesday – Sunday, 10 am – 3 pm (April – October), as well as self-guided arboretum tours year-round, Sunday – Saturday, 10 am – 3 pm. All guided tour tickets must be pre-purchased at least 1 hour before the scheduled tour time.
Take a Stroll