Natirar is a 404-acre property located in the scenic hills of Somerset County within the municipalities of Peapack/Gladstone, Far Hills and Bedminster. There are 247 acres located in Peapack/Gladstone, 124 acres in Far Hills, and 40 acres in Bedminster. Formerly the estate of Kate Macy Ladd and Walter Graeme Ladd, the property is rich in culture and history. The property features extensive areas of lawn and woodland, river access and scenic views and contains historic farm buildings and various other residential structures and out-buildings dating from the mid-18th through mid-19th centuries. The North Branch of the Raritan River and the Peapack Brook traverse the property. Natirar presents a unique opportunity for a single property to preserve, showcase and interpret many aspects of the area’s rich architectural, cultural, historic and archaeological heritage.
Walter Graeme Ladd and his wife, Catherine (“Kate”) Everit Macy Ladd, began to acquire land in what are now Peapack-Gladstone, Far Hills and Bedminster in April 1905. Eventually, the Ladds created one of the largest estates in the area, encompassing some 1,000 acres stretching from what is now Route 206 on the west, across the North Branch of the Raritan River on the east, and from Highland Avenue in Peapack on the north, to what is now Route 202 on the south. They named their estate “Natirar,” an anagram for the Raritan River that meanders for two miles across the property.
The Ladds’ brick forty-room Tudor-style mansion with limestone trim and slate roof, extensive oak paneling and molded plaster ceilings, was completed in 1912. The main residence, several of the principal outbuildings, and the overall lay-out and landscape of the estate were designed by Guy Lowell, a Boston-born architect who is most famous for his design of two public buildings, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (plus later additions) and the New York County Court House on Foley Square in Manhattan.
Beginning in 1908, Mrs. Ladd had provided a convalescent facility on the Natirar estate, originally at “Maple Cottage,” a large residence that once stood along Peapack Road where “deserving gentlewomen who are compelled to depend upon their own exertions for support shall be entertained, without charge, for periods of time while convalescing from illness, recuperating from impaired health, or otherwise in need of rest.”
Following Mrs. Ladd’s death, title to Natirar was conveyed to the Kate Macy Ladd Fund and the convalescent facility was relocated from “Maple Cottage” to the renovated main residence, where it operated until 1983, the fiftieth anniversary of her husband’s death. That year, in accordance with the provisions of Mr. Ladd’s will, the property was sold to Hassan II, the King of Morocco. King Hassan died in 1999 and Natirar was inherited by his son, Mohammed VI. In 2003, Somerset County purchased the estate from Mohammed VI.
From the perspective of water resource protection, Natirar offers substantial and unique opportunities unavailable elsewhere within the watershed on a property under single ownership. Preservation of the tract in its current condition will greatly enhance the sustainability of the natural system of the North Branch of the Raritan River and the Peapack Brook. Both the quantity and quality of a vital drinking water supply will be protected and improved. The ecological integrity of one of Somerset County’s major waterways will be safeguarded. Critical habitats in the form of forests and wetlands will be protected. Substantial areas of critical floodplain will be preserved safeguarding downstream residents from future flooding.
The picturesque 1.3 mile Great
Meadow Trail, and the 1.0 mile
Upper Field Nature Trail await
park visitors as they pass along
the scenic North Branch of the
Raritan River corridor, through
beautiful wooded areas and
across fields and meadows. The
splendor of the property is ever present while you
walk, jog, bike, or horseback ride along these
PROTECT YOUR PARKS
Please follow the posted park regulations and obey all other signage within the park so that everyone may enjoy the park. Leave flowers, plants, animals and other features as you found them. Possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages is not permitted. Pets must be on leashes at all times. The park is open each day from dawn until dusk, unless otherwise posted. Park Rangers are available to assist you.
Somerset County Park Commission welcomes everyone to participate in its programs and facilities regardless of race, color, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, national origin, or religious or political affiliation.
E-mail the Park Ranger Dept. with any park questions or comments.
• Natirar Map
• Natirar Brochure
• Natirar Fishing Map