Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

New Jersey Historic Trust Affiliated with the Department of Community Affairs

Branch Brook Park

Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund
Historic Site Management Grant
Grant Award: $34,612 (2010)
Grant Recipient: Branch Brook Park Alliance
County: Essex
Municipality: Newark

Branch Brook Park is part of the first county park system in the United States. The Park consists of over 360 acres and is divided into three divisions. Initial design of the southern division of the park is attributed to Barrett and Bogart in 1896. Two years later, Essex County hired the Olmstead Brothers to provide a new design for the middle and northern divisions of the park. The northern division was the largest section and designed to be the most naturalistic. It was comprised of woods, water, and green space. The juxtaposition of the woodland, meadow, water, and grove is noted as an early signature design element of the Olmstead Brothers.

The northern division retains most of its original characteristics; however, decades of inappropriate forest management techniques and neglect have resulted in overgrown areas of invasive species compromising the Olmstead’s intended design. This has also compromised the original bridle path, which, because of the overgrowth, is no longer safe for pedestrians or joggers.

The 2010 Trust grant funded planning for the restoration of a portion of the Northern Division of Branch Brook Park. The project identified historic plantings, created an existing conditions map, and provided an appropriate planting plan in keeping with Olmstead’s design.

For more information visit:

to top