Weequahic Park

Meeker Avenue & Elizabeth Avenue
Newark, NJ

Submitted by: Wilbur McNeil

Weequahic park is the second largest developed park in Essex County with 311.33 acres & an 80-acre lake.

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Why It Works

Weequahic Park is located in the eastern section of Essex County in the city of Newark, NJ. It is the second largest developed park in the county system. The name Weequahic stems from the language of the Lenni-Lenape Indians. It is said to mean "The head of the cove." It has an 18-hole golf course. The Weequahic Park Association Inc. has revitalized this historic park with the addition of a unique rubberized track for walkers and runners from the community and beyond. The track encircles the park's magnificent lake, providing a magnificent view for its users. It is constructed of state of the art materials, compatible with existing terrain features and a rubberized overlay that provides a cushion effect, absorbing the impact of pounding feet. The track is 2.2 miles long and is set apart from all others in that it is the longest resilient surfaced track in the world.

What Makes Weequahic Park a Great Place?

Weequahic Park has a long legacy as a place where people gathered and still gather. Early settlers met here to exchange farm products. It was called the Waverly Fair Grounds when the state agricultural fair was held from 1867 to the 1890's. There was a racetrack for trotters. President Ulysses Grant rode here.

Students have worked with the Weequahic Park Association placing $100,000 worth of ornamental and shade trees and other materials.

It is becoming an Urban Paradise. WPA has celebrated Founders' Day. The event recalls the history of the nine historic figures who established the dividing line between Newark and Elizabeth, NJ. This year's celebration, WPA's fourth, began with an Olmsted Walk/Race, bringing to an end the week long National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP) Spring Conference held in Newark, hosted by the WPA. After the race a brunch honoring Bill Payne was held in the Fieldhouse.

It has a magnificent landscape with rolling hills and attractive monuments, ballfields, basketball, two playgrounds, and tennis and paddleball courts.

History & Background

A bit of history about the man whose company in Boston designed the acreage that surrounds us as well as the grounds of parks and reservations in Essex County: Frederick Law Olmsted was one of America's greatest landscape architects. His input on landscape planning was sought throughout the world. Olmsted lived from 1822-1903.

In addition to the architectural excellence of Mr. Olmsted, the Weequahic Park Association honors him for his outspoken opposition to the evil of slavery. He wrote about the inhumanity of bondage when others were silent. Weequahic Park Association acknowledges him because his spirit is the essence of Weequahic Park and he would surely be supportive of what the WPA has tried to do at Weequahic Park. The Franklin Murphy Monument erected by the Essex County Park Commission in honor of Franklin Murphy, a park commissioner who became the Commission's first president and went on to become governor of New Jersey. His foresight helped preserve sites like Weequahic Park for future generations.

Contact Info:

Wilbur J. McNeil, President of Weequahic Park Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 2248, Newark, NJ; 973-643-7850
or Kevin Moore, Project Director for Weequahic Park

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