On August 9, 1950, with the grand opening of the Hillsborough Consolidated School (now known as Hillsborough Elementary School) a month away, the school board disposed of three schools at auction. The Clover Hill School was sold for $3,000, the Neshanic School for $4,750, and the Pleasantview School for $7,000. Missing from the inventory was Liberty School - unable to be sold because a clear title to the property could not be obtained.
|14 June 1957 Courier News|
According to historic maps of Hillsborough and Somerset County, a school existed on the northbound side of the current Route 206 near the intersection of Valley Road from at least 1850. By the 1870s, the Liberty District No. 42 was one of 15 school districts in Hillsborough Township - each with their own one-room rural schoolhouse. Although newspaper stories from a century later sometimes described the Liberty School as being from that era, or built in 1860, it seems likely from the design of the two-room school that the building many current residents remember was actually a replacement school built in the 1910s. Indeed, the school shares a design with the Neshanic School on Amwell Road, which was built in 1913.
|25 September 1954 Courier News|
The problem with obtaining a clear title was that the deed restricted use of the property to a school. If the property were to be used for any other purpose, it had to be returned to the previous owner, or their heirs. By 1950, the school district had already owned the property for a century and finding legal heirs was difficult. In any case, the initial 20 classrooms of the Hillsborough Consolidated School only took a small bite out of Hillsborough's increasing enrollment issues. Liberty School was put back into regular use within a couple of years, and used regularly until Sunnymead School opened in 1959, and then on an emergency basis throughout the 1960s.
|The Liberty School in the 1980s|