Archives of the Essex County Park System
In March of 2000, the collection of historic documents of the Essex County Park System was named an official project of the “Save America’s Treasures” program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs established the Archives of the Essex County Park System to preserve the records, which for decades had been in disarray and in danger of loss. With the help of a grant from the New Jersey State Library, the county embarked on the process of inventorying, preserving and cataloging the many reports, minutes, correspondence, agreements, plant lists, newsletters, plans, blueprints, and photos dating back to the origin of the park system in 1895.
Much has been accomplished, and today a vast resource of historical data, previously inaccessible, is available to researchers. This collection traces the history of the nation’s oldest county park system, revealing the rich Olmsted Brothers legacy. It shows the process involved in the creation and design of the parks, and documents the evolution of the Essex County Park System through generations of change.
The Parks Archivist and assistants are available to assist with inquiries related to the parks, past and present. They also curate exhibits, compile brochures, lead tours, and craft presentations to share the great legacy of the nation’s first county park system. The Parks Archives is located in the Parks Administration Building at 115 Clifton Avenue in Newark, New Jersey. Research services are available by appointment, Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm. Research Policies and Procedures have been established based upon the Open Public Records Act. For more information or to arrange an appointment please call 973-268-3500 ext. 6230 or 6231.
125th Anniversary of the Essex County Parks
Throughout 2020, Essex County will be celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Essex County Park System.
- Oct. 2014, Issue 1 - Weequahic Golf Course's 100th Anniversary
- Jan. 2015, Issue 2 - Archives and History Day at Monmouth County
- May 2015, Issue 3 - Exhibit at the Cherry Blossom Welcome Center
- Sep. 2015, Issue 4 - Early Innovation in a Public Space
- Jan. 2016, Issue 5 - Administration Building: 100 Years Supporting Essex County Parks
- Aug. 2016, Issue 6 - Parks in Print: Evenings with the Authors of Books Highlighting the Essex County Park System
- Dec. 2016, Issue 7 - Signs Interpret History of Reservation
- May 2017, Issue 8 - Essex County Park Police Donation
- Sep. 2017, Issue 9 - Donated Papers Processed
- Sep. 2018, Issue 10 - News Clipping Scrapbooks Digitized
- Nov. 2018, Issue 11 - Experiments at Eagle Rock: New Information Discovered
- Jan. 2019, Issue 12 - Businessmen Led Effort to Create Park System
- Feb. 2019, Issue 13 - Newspaperman Calls for County Park System
- Mar. 2019, Issue 14 - Why the Business Community?
- Apr. 2019, Issue 15 - Joint Committe Acts Quickly for Parks
- May 2019, Issue 16 - Open Space Legislation for a Preliminary Park Commission
- Jun. 2019, Issue 17 - Preliminary Commission is Named
Brochures of the Essex County Parks Archives
- Archives Brochure
- Military in the Essex County Parks Brochure
- Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossom Brochure
- Branch Brook Park Mendelssohn Brochure
- Riker Hill Art Park Brochure
- Watsessing Park Brochure
- Weequahic Golf Brochure
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Essex County Parks Archives Historic Trivia Matching Game
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Updated June 2019