Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

New Jersey Historic Trust Affiliated with the Department of Community Affairs

Essex County Jail

Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund
Historic Site Management Grant
Grant Award: $50,000 (2010)
Grant Recipient: City of Newark
County: Essex
Municipality: Newark

The Essex County Jail was designed by John Haviland in 1837. Haviland, in addition to being a noted architect, also gained notoriety for his innovative jail designs, including Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The Essex County Jail was designed in the Greek Revival style. The building is the oldest government building in Essex County and among the oldest in the City of Newark. The jail complex, which includes the additions of major wings in 1890 and 1895, occupies an entire city block. The Haviland section includes the warden’s house and east wing. In total, eight additions were made to the complex, the last occurring in 1909.

The jail closed in 1970 and was vacated in the 1980s. In 2000 the City of Newark purchased the building as part of the expansion of the Science Park. In 2001 a major fire resulted in significant damage to many of the jail buildings and the brownstone wall surrounding the site.

The Trust grant helped fund the preparation of a study to determine existing conditions and potential for reuse of the buildings. The project will develop a definitive reuse plan that is satisfactory to the various stakeholders in the property.

For more information, visit:

to top