- Branch Brook Park
Branch Brook Park is a county park of Essex County, New Jersey in the United States, located in the North Ward of Newark, between the neighborhoods of Forest Hill and Roseville. At 360 acres (1.5 km²), Branch Brook Park is the largest public park in the city of Newark. The park is noted for having over 4,000 cherry blossom trees in more than fourteen different varieties, collectively called Cherryblossomland, as well as its spectacular Cherry Blossom Festival each April.
The park was formally created in 1895 by the newly-created Essex County Parks Commission, making it the nation's first county park. The area had served as an Army training ground during the American Civil War. At the time, the northern portion of the area had been a marsh known as Old Blue Jay Swamp. In 1898, a public appropriation financed the conversion of the swamp into a landscaped lake. The initial park was only 60 acres (0.2 km²) in size but grew in the 1920s through private donations from prominent Newark families, such as the Ballantines, eventually reaching the city limit with Belleville and becoming one of the largest urban parks in the United States. The Morris Canal originally ran on the park's west side, until its old bed was turned into the Newark City Subway, providing access to the park from Downtown Newark.
The first designs of the park, based largely on romantic garden themes, were proposed in 1895 and 1898, after the Parks Commission hired several architectural firms to plan the park. In 1900, the commission hired the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted to redesign the park. The result was the park's current naturalistic look and feel, with acres of meadows and forests, in a manner similar to Olmsted's earlier designs of Central Park and Prospect Park.
The famous cherry trees were the result of a 1927 gift from Caroline Bamberger Fuld, sister of department store magnate Louis Bamberger and widow of the store's vice president. The Cherry Blossom Festival attracts approximately 10,000 visitors each April.
The neighborhood on the east side of the park, Forest Hill, is Newark's most affluent. Also on the east side of the park is the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart Basilica, one of the largest cathedrals in the United States.
Branch Brook Park is currently in the midst of $25 million, ten-year, restoration program. In 2004, the Park Avenue bridge was repaired, as were the ballfields in the center of the park. a 2007 plan provide for more than 5,000 cherry trees in the park and a renovation and renaming of the Welcome Center, using to a $650,000 grant from the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund in 2006 and private donations.
- Official site
- Official Map of Branch Brook Park
- Branch Brook Park Alliance
- Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossom Festival Photo Galleries
- Sakura! Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossoms
Essex County Park System ParksAnderson Park · Becker Park · Belleville Park · Branch Brook Park · Brookdale Park · Glenfield Park · Grover Cleveland Park · Independence Park · lrvington Park · lvy Hill Park · Kip's Castle Park · Orange Park · Riverbank Park · Vailsburg Park · Verona Park · Watsessing Park · Weequahic Park · West Side Park · Yanticaw Park Reservations Other facilities
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