HomeMoorestown NewsMoorestown’s Percheron Park anticipates May completion

Moorestown’s Percheron Park anticipates May completion

Lifesize horse statue Diligence will call Main Street home.

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/The Sun: Moorestown’s Percheron Park is scheduled for completion on May 31 and will have its own horse statue, like the one shown, named Diligence.

The Friends of Percheron Park and Moorestown residents are in for a celebration this spring: Percheron Park is expected to be completed by May 31.

The pocket park at the intersection of Main and High streets is enriched with history and will have its own bronze Percheron horse statue. Friends’ member Margo Foster cited how Moorestown native Edward Harris II brought Percheron horses, or stagecoach horses, to the U.S. from France in 1839 and discovered he could use them for farming and hauling.

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“He noticed that they were strong, had great stamina, were very sturdy and they were easy to handle,” she said. “They were calm horses.”

Foster explained that Harris’ horse Diligence improved the quality of farming in Moorestown and established the Percheron as a predominant horse breed before the use of cars.

“It fascinates me to think about this period in history; it was about 70 years after the Revolution, and you think of that as pretty primitive,” she added.  “Things were starting, the railroads were starting … life was changing.”

When residents were asked to suggest ideas for how to enhance the town’s center in 2006, they decided on a lifesize statue of Diligence, and two years later, the township purchased the site – a former gas station – with plans to turn it into a pocket park. 

In 2011, the Moorestown Garden Club presented the park plan to town council, whose members then approved the project, including the statue of Diligence.

“The two things just came together at the same time,” Foster recalled. “It’s just been planning ever since then, and the gas station had been there for about 100 years, so there was a lot of stuff in the ground that had to be fixed.”

The park will include a bench engraved with donors’ names and sculptor Joshua Koffman will include information about Harris and Diligence on separate plaques.

“We will have one side (of it that) will have historic markers and one will be about the horse and one will be about Edward Harris,” Foster explained. “When I think about it, it’s really pretty impressive what Edward Harris did.”

“He brought these horses over and they just made the work so much easier to do, because the horses were so much better, and it’s hard for us to think of that because we don’t use horses that way anymore,” she added.

Foster said the bottom of the statue will hold a brass plaque that will read, “Diligence – Percheron Stallion – 1836 – 1856.” She and Friends’ members Kathy Logue, Jolee Greenberg, Ann Langerhans, Julie Maravich, Gina Zegel and Rebecca Zellner anticipate the park’s completion and the installation of Diligence.

“We believed in the idea,” Foster said. “We believed it was something that was worth it and it was worth putting up with the bad parts. I think it’ll draw people from other places to see it.”

To provide further contributions, visit percheronpark.org/friends.


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