Meeker Avenue & Elizabeth Avenue, Newark, Essex County, NJ
311.33 acres & an 80-acre lake
This park is the second largest developed park in the Essex county system.
No pets, but we saw quite a few in the park.
New Jersey Turnpike south to US 78 west; get off at Exit 56 (Clinton Avenue); right turn onto Runyon Street; right turn onto Elizabeth Avenue; left turn onto Meeker Avenue; go under the Route 22 overpass; turn right into the park.
There are many other entrances to the park, including three along Elizabeth Avenue: Grumann Avenue, Chancellor Avenue and Stengle Avenue.
The name Weequahic stems from the language of the Lenni-Lenape Indians for "the head of the cove."
1867-1890's -- early settlers exchanged farm products in what was then known as the Waverly Fair Grounds when the state agricultural fair was held here. There was a racetrack for trotters and President Ulysses S. Grant rode here.
1895 -- the Essex County Park Commission formed (the first county park commission in the United States) to save some of the land in its natural state. Some of the parcels saved include South Mountain Reservation, Branch Brook Park and Weequahic Park generations. Franklin Murphy was the park commissioner and first president of the Essex County Park Commission . He later became governor of New Jersey.
Frederick Law Olmsted's company in Boston designed the acreage.
The Weequahic Park Association planted $100,000 worth of ornamental and shade trees ion the parks.
1998 -- Weequahic Lake is highly eutrophic with excessive production of algae. This year a grant for the Weequahic Lake Restoration Project was awarded. The EPA provided funding and technical support for the Weequahic Lake Restoration Project.
18-hole golf course; 2.2 mile rubberized track around the lake for walkers and runners; ballfields; soccer; basketball; two playgrounds, tennis and paddleball courts; picnic tables.
Unfortunately, Route 22 and a railway line separates the eastern part of the park from the western (except that there is a connection via Grumann Avenue on the south.)
01/16/2005. Cefe, Rosemary, dog Sonar and I entered the park at the Meeker Avenue entrance. We turned right to take the road along the lake; it stops at a turn-around circle out about halfway down the lake. We turned around and then drove the other way; the road heads along the lake and then into the eastern part of the park via Grumann Avenue. Re-entered the park along Chancellor Avenue; the park road ended at a turn-around circle not far from Meeker Avenue. There is a statue here of former governor Franklin Murphy. Unfortunately, many of the letters of the words on the statue are now missing and there is some graffiti on the statue as well as lots of trash surrounding it. Turned around and got back on Elizabeth Avenue; turned right onto Meeker Avenue; reentered the park; turned right on the park road and parked along the western side of the lake. We walked along the jogging path (that has a special soft surface coating) that completely encircles the lake to look at some of the vegetation. The traffic on Route 22 makes quite a bit of noise. Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.
(Source: Wilbur McNeil, "Great Public Spaces: Great Community Places"; http://www.pps.org/gps/one?public_place_id=386;
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; http://www.epa.gov/region02/water/lakes/weequahic.htm)
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, * = blooming on date of the field trip, 01/17/2005.
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula nigra (river birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Catalpa sp. (catalpa)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus sp. (ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Pinus sp. (pine)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Platanus x hybrida (London plane)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepper bush)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Forsythia sp. (golden bells)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Viburnum spp. (viburnum)
Hedera helix (English ivy)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Aster spp. (aster)
Cirsium vulgaris (bull thistle)
Epilobium sp. (willowherb)
Hibiscus moscheutos (swamp rose mallow)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) *
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)
Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge type)
Elymus sp. (wild rye grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)