Open Space Committee, Town of Peterborough, New Hampshire

A citizens’ group led by Whalen Dunn and Anne and Ward Stoops banded together in 1994 to raise money to purchase riverfront land where Nubanusit Brook meets the Contoocook. Town Meeting that year approved $75,000, subject to that amount’s being matched within a year. A riverfront park and reconfigured parking was planned as part of a revitalization effort in what soon would become known as Depot Square. Contributions came from businesses, townspeople, and the Conservation Commission, with the final $20,000 raised by a gala arts auction that followed up the next year with a second auction to benefit construction of the riverfront park.

Yankee Publishing was generous in its asking price and allowed the citizens’ group adequate time to raise the funds.

Mike Gordon of the Parks Committee and his team of volunteers soon added perennial gardens, followed by a post-and-beam pavilion planned and constructed by Downtown 2000, a volunteer committee very active in downtown projects. New England Business Services (NEBS) donated start-up matching funds for the pavilion.

The park is venue for many events, including summer concerts and festivals, and 20 years after a volunteer effort to purchase the riverfront land, Depot Square and its park are very vital.

Depot Square Park

Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey

The expanding Peterborough Farmers’ Market moved to Depot Park in 2006 after three years at the Unitarian Church. A Wednesday afternoon visit to the market became a pleasing routine for many—late May through the first week in October, 3–6 p.m. Its success led to parking issues, and the Market moved to the Community Center on Elm Street in 2013 where parking is not an issue.

Food today is shipped 1,500 miles from farm to plate, on average, and requires petroleum fertilizers, pesticides, and transport fuel. Buying local and organic is good for the body, soul, and planet—and our local farmer friends.

River corridors are a magnet for birds including this cedar waxwing and gray catbird, both species that are easy to find most summer days in Deport Square Park.

Volunteers for the Lions Club annual rubber duck race fundraiser corral the contestants at the finish line just off the park.

Photo by Francie Von Mertens

Photo by Baxter Harris

Photo by Francie Von Mertens

Photo by Francie Von Mertens

Photo by Steve Lipofsky

Photo by Steve Lipofsky

The park is a great venue for activities connected with Lucky Duck Race and other gatherings and performances.

Photo by Joel Huberman

Photo by Joel Huberman