Essex County

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Historic Places


The recorded history of Essex County begins in 1666, when 30 Connecticut families headed by Robert Treat arrived to establish a settlement along the banks of the Passaic River in what is now the City of Newark. The following year the settlers purchased the land from the Lenni Lenape Indians for $800.00.

Essex County was officially established in 1682 by the East Jersey Legislature as one of the four original counties of present day New Jersey ( Bergen, Monmouth and Middlesex were the others.) Today Essex County, with 21 municipalities ranging over 127 square miles is New Jersey's second most populous County.


40-46 Church Street
Montclair, NJ 07042

(Photo by James True, cortesy of

1925 Collegiate Gothic Style Architect: Holmes & Von Schmid

A handsome red brick commercial building with concrete
round arched entrances and leaded glass windows.
The building is topped by a balustrade and has a 2-story
octagonal turret to the west.


45 Church Street Plaza
Montclair, NJ 07042

(Photo by James True, cortesy of
1925 Renaissance Revival Style

This is a corner apartment building with commercial space at street level, buff-colored brick with extensive use of terra cotta for the architectural details.

647 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042

(Photo by James True, cortesy of

On this site the Montclair Hook & Ladder company was
founded on November 28, 1882. This building was opened
in 1904 as the old Fire Department headquarters.
It was then enlarged and modified in the classical revival
style with beaux arts elements in 1913 in order to additionally
house the Police Department and Town Government.


Branch Brook Park Historic Site
Lake Street and Ballantine Parkway
Newark, NJ 07104

(Photo courtesy of

This is the oldest park in the first county park system established
in the United States. The Essex County Park Commission,
formed in 1895, acquired the first 60 acres from the City
of Newark that year. Later land donations and purchases
expanded the park by the mid-1930s to its present 2-mile
length in Newark and Belleville.

Davis Homestead
409 Franklin Street
Bloomfield, NJ 07003

(Photo by Bill Coughlin, courtesy of

The Homestead figured prominently in the American Revolution.
A tunnel in the cellar that led to the foot of Orange Mountain
allowed women and children of the town to escape the British,
the Davis women nursed a wounded British soldier to health
in the house, and Generals Washington and Knox dined
here on their way to Morristown.


First Presbyterian Church - "Old First"
820 Broad Street
Newark, NJ 07104

(Photo by Bill Coughlin, courtesy of

First Presbyterian Church organized in 1666,
Abraham Pierson, minister.
Two edifices preceeded this one, begun in 1787


First Primary School
22 Valley Road
Montclair, NJ 07042

(Photo by James True, cortesy of

1878-1879 Vernacular/Early Classic Revival Style

This is the second oldest school building still standing in
the Township. It was built to meet the needs of a community
which almost doubled in population during the 1870's.


Hampton House
467 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042

(Photo by James True, cortesy of

1890 Late 19th Century Commercial with Art Moderne Facade

Peter Doremus opened a general merchandise store on this site in 1812. His son, Philip, constructed the present building, adapting his business to a suburban clientele. Town offices were once located on the upper floors. Hampton House Furniture, founded in 1947 by Carl E. Fisch now occupies the entire building.


Historic Plane Tree
60 Park Place
Newark, NJ 07102

(Photo by R.C., courtesy of

Having been on this spot before the
Revolutionary War, is the oldest now
standing in Newark.


Madison Building
42 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042

(Photo by James True, cortesy of

1912 Beaux Arts revival Style - Architect: Van Vleck & Goldsmith

Named for the Edward Madison Company, stationers, booksellers and printers, this building was designed with offices and studios and intended to bring together an association of arts, trades and professions under the Madison roof. Montclair's first elevator was installed in this building.

Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Broadway and Nursery Street
Newark, NJ

(Photo by James True, cortesy of

Mount Pleasant, Newark's oldest remaining cemetery, opened in 1844. One of the first secular cemeteries, it is a masterpiece of landscaping. Its 36 rolling acres and varied monuments reflect romantic Victorian attitudes toward death. Many New Jersey leaders of government, business, education and the arts are resting here. The distinctive brownstone Gothic gateway, designed by Thomas Stent, was built in 1877.


Old Burying Ground of First Presbyterian Church of Caldwell
Bloomfield Avenue
Caldwell, NJ 07006

(Photo by Bill Coughlin, courtesy of

The First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell Land given in 1779
for a church and for
“ . . . a place of burial for said Congregation and Inhabitants.”
Contains graves of early Caldwell area families, including
veterans of The American Revolution The War of 1812,
and The Civil War. Reverend Stephen Grover, the church’s
first pastor and for whom President Grover Cleveland was
named, lies here.

Old Dutch Church
Belleville, NJ

(Photo by Bill Coughlin, courtesy of

Second River New Jersey Organized 1697 Belleville school
system started here Many members of early town founders
interred here.


Paper Mill Playhouse
Brookside Drive
Millburn, NJ 07041

(Photoby Bill Coughlin, courtesy of

Paper was manufactured here by 1795. Standing on the
site of a forge and sawmill in colonial times, this was one
of the first mills to use the power of the west branch of the
Rahway River. Despite fire and changing times it continued
as a mill until 1926 and in 1934 the Paper Mill Playhouse
was founded and the building remodeled.


Penn Station Historic Site
1 Raymond Plaza West
Newark, NJ 07102

(Photo by Bill Coughlin, courtesy of

Penn Station, designed by the architectural firm of McKim,
Mead and White, opened in 1935 and is an outstanding
example of Art Deco exterior and interior design. Penn Station
replaced the Pennsylvania Railroad's old Market Street station
which had occupied this site since the 1830's and was unable
to handle the growing number of rail passengers traveling
through Newark in the early 20th century.


Plume House
University Avenue and Broad Street
Newark, NJ 07102

(Photo by Bill Coughlin, courtesy of

Built about 1710 by Plume family. Became House
of Prayer Rectory, 1850. Rev. Hannibal Goodwin invented
celluloid film here, 1887.


Saint Lucy's Church
118 7th Avenue
Newark, NJ 07104

(Photo by James True, courtesy of

Founded in 1891, this parish has been built and
sustained through the labor, generosity and faith
of Italian immigrants and their descendants.
St. Lucy's long was the religious and cultural
heart of Newark's "Little Italy", the old 1st Ward.
This church, designed in Romanesque Revival
style by architect Neil Convey, was dedicated
in 1926. It is magnificently adorned with an ornate
altar, imported statues, stained-glass windows,
and huge murals by Gonippo Raggi. In the church
is the National Shrine of St. Gerard Maiella of
Caposele, Italy, an 18th century benefactor of the
poor and a patron of mothers. His feast,
celebrated here since 1899, draws thousands
each October for special services and
street processions.


Sydenham House
29 Old Road to Bloomfield
Newark, NJ

(Photo courtesy of

One of the oldest structures in Newark, built in 18th Century.


St Peter's Church
155 Williams Street
Belleville, NJ 07109

(Photo by Bill Coughlin, courtesy of

Fourth oldest church in the Diocese of Newark.
First mass Dec. 2, 1838 by the Right Rev. John Dubois third
Bishop of New York. First priest Rev. Francis Ferrall.


Station Square
295 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042

(Photo by James True, courtesy of

1892 Late 19th Century Commercial with Queen Anne
and Romanesque Elements
Architect: Jesse H. Lockwood

Also known as "The Crawford Block" this eclectic building
is unique in Montclair. In 1909, early urban planner
John Nolan described it as an excellent example of
commercial design in a suburban town.

The Crane Building
460 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042

(Photo by James True, courtesy of

Circa 1889 Italianate Commercial Style

This is one of the finest examples of late 19th Century
commercial buildings on Bloomfield Avenue. The building
served as the location of the successful hardware and
plumbing business of I. Seymour Crane, a founder of the
fire department and member of the Town Committee.


Thomas Edison's Home - The Glenmont
Honeysuckle Road in Llewellyn Park
West Orange, NJ 07052

(Photo by Bill Coughlin, courtesy of

In 1886 Thomas Edison bought Glenmont as a gift for
his bride, Mina Miller. After moving in, Edison said that the
23-room Victorian mansion was “a great deal too nice
for me, but it isn’t half nice enough for my little wife.”

The Edisons and their children often used the grounds for
sports and games, to entertain visitors, and to relax.
During your visit, take time to explore some of
Glenmont’s 13½ acres and enjoy the estate that
Thomas Edison called home for 44 years.

Thomas Edison's West Orange Laboratory
Main Street
West Orange, NJ 07052

(Photo by Bill Coughlin, courtesy of

In the fall of 1887, Thomas Edison moved into his new laboratory
complex in the town of West Orange, N.J. For the next 44
years Edison directed teams of research assistants in his
“Invention Factory” and created a model for modern
research and development laboratories.


Trinity Church
Broad Street and Rector Street
Newark, NJ 07104

(Photo by Bill Coughlin, courtesy of

Newark’s second oldest house of worship was
organized in the 1730s, and chartered by the
Church of England (forerunner of the Episcopal
Church in America) in 1746. Part of the tower
dates from 1743, but most of the present church
was built in 1810. It was designed by Capt. Josiah
James, a leading parishioner, in a medley of styles.
Trinity was designated the cathedral in the
Diocese of Newark in 1944. It is the nation’s
oldest Episcopal cathedral building, and the
mother church of many New Jersey parishes.
St. Philip’s Church merged with Trinity in 1966.

Vreeland House
216 Chestnut Street
Nutley, NJ 07110

(Photo by Bill Coughlin, courtesy of

This building constructed about 1702, present home of
Woman’s Club, was occupied during the Revolution by
British sympathizers; confiscated for that reason, it was
acquired by Captain Speer, Patriot soldier.



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