Welcome to Essex County Online
|HOST COMMUNITY - BLOOMFIELD
Named in honor of General Joseph Bloomfield—a Revolutionary soldier and officer in the War of 1812 who later became Governor of New Jersey. In 1812 it became independent of Newark. The name was voted by the people from Wardsesson or Watsessing. It was a mill town in the 19th century.
HOST COMMUNITY - MONTCLAIR
Montclair was originally known as Cranetown. Upper Montclair was called Speertown after the leading family. When they joined in 1868 the township was named after the "Clear Mountain" on which it is built. It was incorporated as Montclair in 1894.
Watchung Ave., Bloomfield; Grove St., Montclair
CONSTRUCTING THE RUNNING TRACK, 1935
FUN AT THE CORRAL, 1958
Brookdale Park is located in the northernmost part of the eastern section of Essex County, bordered by Watchung Avenue, Grove Street, and Bellevue Avenue, and lies within the municipalities of Montclair and Bloomfield. It is the third largest park in the county system, containing 121.41 acres.
The land that is now Brookdale Park was at one time used as a gathering place by the Lenni-Lenape Indians. During the 17th Century Dutch settlers moved into the area and transformed it into farming and grazing land. The fields came to get the name Stonehouse Plains, which is what the area was called until the late 1800's when the location was to get a post office. It was then decided that Stonehouse Plains was too long a name, so it was changed to Brookdale. In 1928 land purchases began for the future park, and were completed in 1931.
Park construction began in 1928 according to design by the Olmsted Brothers. The basic work was in place by 1930. When the Depression hit, the work that was originally estimated to take only a few years was extended to many years. Construction became dependent upon labor available from the WPA and ERA agencies, who completed the major work by 1937. The result is one of the County's most beautiful parks.
On May 22, 1937, the park had its first AAU track meet. On June 11, 1959, the North Jersey Rose Society donated 750 rose bushes, establishing the rose garden, a major attraction to this day.
• Installation of rubberized safety surface in the playground
Cost: $217,000 Completed in 2003
• Athletic Field Improvements
Included: rubberized track, artificial turf field for football/soccer/field
hockey/lacrosse/field events, electronic scoreboard
Cost: $1,661,791 Completed in 2004
• Reconstruction of Great Meadow and the installation of drainage and irrigation systems
Cost: $1,154,577 Completed in 2006
• Construction of Dog Park and modernization of Tennis Court facility
Cost: $1,497,261 Completed in 2007
• Realignment of Brookdale Dog Park
Cost: $100,000 Completed in 2008
• Repaving and reconstruction of roadway, parking lots and walking paths
Cost: $777,865 Completed in 2009
· Planting of 138 trees throughout Brookdale Park in partnership with the NJ Tree Foundation
Cost: In-Kind Completed in 2012
· Installation of ornamental street lighting at park entrances
Cost: $414,700 Completed in 2013
· Phase 2 installation of ornamental roadway and pathway lighting
Cost: $455,600 Completed in 2014
· Phase 3 installation of ornamental roadway and pathway lighting
Cost: $333,190 Completed in 2014
· Development of 18-station exercise course
Cost: $217,338 Completed in 2014
· Renovation of Oval with new synthetic grass surface and rubberized running track
Cost: $783,250 Completed in 2014
• 1½ mile fitness course.
• Synthetic ¼ mile running track and football field.
• Soccer & softball fields.
• Archery field.
• Bike races.
• Interpretative Trail.
• 11 Tennis Courts.
• Formal rose garden with over 100 different species.
• Favorite park for summer concerts and Fourth of July celebrations.
From New Jersey: Route 280 to Garden State Parkway North. Take Exit 151. Turn left onto Watchung Avenue. Park is on the right.
From New York: George Washington Bridge or Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey Turnpike South. Take Exit 15W for Route 280 West. Follow above directions.
Use the intersection of “Watchung Avenue and Circuit Drive” when obtaining driving directions from the Internet.