Brookdale Park
Bloomfield and Montclair, Essex County New Jersey
121.41 acres (43 acres in Montclair and 78 acres in Bloomfield)


The southern border of the park is close to Watchung Avenue; the northern border is Belleville Avenue.


pre-Colonial times  --  a spring in the park served as a tribal gathering place Lenni-Lenape Indians.

17th century  -- Dutch settlers farmed on the land, which was known as Stonehouse Plains. The area name was later changed to Brookdale. 

Just north of the Indian spring was a copper mine (now an oval depressed area). The spring was located near the middle of the park, at the foot of a six-foot sandstone cliff, just south of the present West Circuit Drive.

1928  --  The Essex County Park Commission began land purchases for the park.  Montclair transferred ownership of about 11 acres, previously used for town dumping, for use as park land. The following year, 3000 cubic feet of top soil was deposited in the former dump area. The southern end of the park area contained a grove of oaks, sugar maples, red maples, white ash, tulip poplars, elms, black and white birches, black walnuts, hickories, dogwood and sassafras.

1930  --  plans for the park were completed.  The park was designed by the Olmstead Brothers of Brookline, Massachusetts.

the Depression --  the money to complete the park became unavailable.

1934 --  grading of topsoil, drainage and water supply for the park were basically completed. Footpaths were laid out and 9,000 of an eventual 33,000 trees and shrubs were planted. Men from relief agencies and the Civilian Conservation Corps did the work.

1936  --  the park opened to the public.

1947  --  night time skating under temporary floodlights .


Children's playground, archery, tennis courts, running track, rose garden, bike riding, footpaths, soccer and other sports.


A possible 8 mile walk is from Pennsylvania Station, Newark to Brookdale Park, Bloomfield/Montclair; the proposed Liberty Water Gap Trail with a section of the Lenape Trail from downtown Newark, past the Ballantine House and Newark Museum and through Branch Brook Park into Belleville Park. Then some street walking to Yanticaw Park in Nutley and finally Brookdale Park. (Interstate Hiking Club; Mike Selender)

Source: Brookdale Park History and Activities