The oral history of Liberty Rock
The following piece contains the exact contents of an e-mail sent to us by Lisa Gowdey Prichard yesterday December 26th 2018 @ 2:02pm:
“Back in 1969, myself (Lisa Gowdey) Cassandra Draft and a few of us from the neighborhood formed a community organization to clean up that section of Farmers Blvd.
It was a triangle where all the winos hung out and an eyesore. We all lived on Farmers or surrounding roads. I lived on 111th Rd, Cassie lived off Murdock, and many others. We got the local precinct to help with traffic and we cleaned the street from Linden to Liberty. We picked up trash, glass and everything. When we got to the Triangle, it was full of wine bottles, trash, and a bench.
That rock was a WWII memorial with a plaque on it. We decided to paint it with the cooperation of the local A&P behind it and the drug store across the street. We painted it red, black and green for the neighborhood and left the plaque untouched. The City of NY was very upset and ordered us to sandblast the paint and restore it to its original state. With the help of the local store owners backing us, we defied and challenged the city.
They agreed to leave the paint but removed the plaque to another place. So THE ROCK became a focal point of pride for the neighborhood. We had bake sales there which is how I met my husband who had just returned from Vietnam.
I no longer live in the city but I am so proud and excited that it has been maintained for almost 50 years! When I go to visit and the bus passes it I have a big smile on my face. Many memories of a good life in St. Albans!”
Words by Lisa Gowdey Prichard Photo by Adolfo Steve Vazquez