Lincoln Park (Jersey City)
|West Side Park (1905–1930)|
Lincoln Park Lake
|Location||Jersey City, New Jersey|
|Area||273.4 acres (110.6 ha)|
|Operated by||Hudson County, New Jersey|
Lincoln Park is an urban park in Jersey City, New Jersey with an area of 273.4 acres (110.6 ha). Opened in 1905, it was originally known as West Side Park. The park was designed by Daniel W. Langton and Charles N. Lowrie, both founding members of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
The park consists of two distinct sections: Lincoln Park East, 150.4 acres (60.9 ha), and Lincoln Park West, 123 acres (50 ha). The sections are named for their positions relative to U.S. Route 1/9 Truck, which passes between them, and are connected by foot and vehicular bridges over the highway. The Lincoln Park Nature Walk is part of wetlands restoration project adjacent to the Hackensack River. The Hackensack RiverWalk is a partially completed greenway along the banks of the river running the length of the Hudson County shoreline. The East Coast Greenway also traverses the park.
Lincoln Park was the first park in the Hudson County parks system. The Hudson County Parks Commission was created in 1903, and began work on the park in 1904. The park was built primarily on undeveloped swamp and the privately owned Glendale Woods. By 1925, 85 acres (34 ha) of land had been reclaimed from the Hackensack River in the western portion of the park. The park was expanded again in 1938 with the acquisition of additional properties along the Hackensack River. The Lincoln Park Nature Walk is part of 31-acre (130,000 m2) wetlands restoration project on a former landfill site adjacent to the Hackensack River unveiled in July 2011. It is hoped that the nearly $10.6 million development will enhance bird and fish populations. A section of the East Coast Greenway crosses through the park, which is site of one of five kiosks in the state for the project
Athletics and recreation
Lincoln Park East contains many sports fields and recreational facilities. There are 21 outdoor tennis courts, seven baseball fields, a cricket pitch, three children's playgrounds, the Charlie Mays running track, five basketball courts, two football fields, two soccer fields, and four handball/paddleball courts. This section of the park also contains a 3 acres (1.2 ha) lake available for fishing. The lake has also been used for model yacht racing. In 2009, a suspected virus resulted in a large number of carp dying in the lake.
Lincoln Park West consists primarily of wetlands as well as Joseph J. Jaroschak Field, the facility for the baseball, softball, and soccer teams of Saint Peter's College. This section formerly had batting cages and a driving range. In 2011, these were demolished and construction was begun on a nine-hole public golf course, the first public course in Hudson County.
Structures and buildings
Casino in the Park
Just south of the Lincoln Park Lake is Casino in the Park, a catering facility owned by the county and leased to a private operator. The original structure was built as a clubhouse for the tennis courts, but was underutilized due to the distance between them. It was used as a summer museum by the Jersey City Public Library before being leased to Ray Dillman, manager of the El Morocco nightclub in New York City, as a restaurant.
The restaurant is regularly used for meetings and events. Many well known people have attended private and public events at the venue. In 1963, Frank Sinatra attended his parents' 50th wedding anniversary celebration at Casino in the Park. In 1991, the Hudson County Democratic Organization was addressed by then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. It is also the location of weekly meetings of the Rotary Club of Jersey City.
Skeeters Park was a baseball field with bleachers and a grandstand with a seating capacity of 8,500 people, built in 1902. A nine-hole golf course was built on 140 acres (57 ha) of the western portion of the park in 1925. The park also had a concrete swimming pool 40 by 130 feet (12 by 40 m) near the athletic fields.
The primary piece of public art in the park is Lincoln the Mystic, a statue by James Earle Fraser commissioned in 1929 by the Lincoln Association of Jersey City. The sculpture was dedicated on June 14, 1930. 4,000 people attended the unveiling and the crowd was addressed by New Jersey Governor Morgan F. Larson. The park is also home to the world's largest concrete monument, the 365-ton fountain designed by Pierre J. Cheron at the center of the park's traffic circle. The fountain is 53 feet (16 m) tall, and contains 27 frog-shaped spouts and 150 lights. It will undergo a $6.7 million renovation in 2014.
The park also contains several monuments and memorials.
- The Jersey City Civil War Memorial was dedicated on May 28, 1926. The bronze sculpture is 9 feet (2.7 m) tall and depicts a marching Civil War soldier dressed in a full uniform. Originally intended to be placed in Hamilton park, the memorial was installed by the executor of the estate of Edward J. Donnelly, Sergeant, Company C, 5th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry.
- The Farrier Memorial, a 6-foot (1.8 m) bronze statue of a firefighter atop a domed granite base of 15 feet (4.6 m), was a bequest by Police Captain Frederick T. Farrier to honor the Volunteer Fire Department and was dedicated on November 21, 1931.
- The Great Irish Famine Memorial, erected by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, is a celtic cross of 18 feet (5.5 m) and was dedicated on May 8, 2011.
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Inscription: Hudson County's great public work of the 1890s was Hudson (now Kennedy) Boulevard, a 20-mile landscaped roadway running through the county. Construction caused the demolition or relocation of many buildings and was completed in 1895. The road marked the Bergen section as the most desirable in Jersey City. Elaborate homes faced the boulevard and side streets. Beginning in 1905 Hudson County's Park Commission began to turn Glendale Woods and surrounding area, an unsightly swamp, into the 208 acre West Side Park. Under landscape architects Charles Lowrie and Daniel Langton, terraces, ponds, athletic fields, statues, fountains and flower gardens were built. To create a mall and view of the Orange Mountains a block of buildings were moved from Belmont Avenue. Some were placed on new foundations on Communipaw Avenue. The 1930 statue of Lincoln was sponsored by the Lincoln Association of Jersey City (1865), oldest group of its kind in the nation. The park contains a lake, a classic fountain, pavilions, and memorials to Jersey City's Union Civil War veterans and firemen. Nearby are prime residential streets of Gifford and Bentley Avenues, the 1925 Temple Beth-El and the 1909 Saint Aloysius Church, a 900 seat French Renaissance edifice. Its 150 foot bell tower has been a landmark for generations.
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- "Land Deals Extend Jersey City Park; Hudson Commission Buys Nine Parcels on River Front and Communipaw Avenue". The New York Times. January 8, 1938. p. 28.
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- "Places to Fish - Ponds, Lakes and Rservoirs". www.state.nj.us. New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
- "MODEL YACHTS COMPETE; Millpond Club of Jersey Wins Regatta in Jersey City". The New York Times. May 31, 1937. p. 32.
- Takahash, Paul (July 31, 2009). "Viruses may be killing Lincoln Park carp". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
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