Founded in 1666, the Newark community has a long history reflecting significant change over the course of centuries. What began as a rural, agrarian settlement has grown into the state's major urban center, and the city's physical appearance has transformed in the process. Luckily for those with a passion for history, Newark today is home to landmarks and historical sites that help chart its transformation. From quaint farmhouses to massive office buildings, gothic churches to gleaming, modern college complexes - a tour of Newark's landmarks is a journey through history. Please consult the following list for information about Newark's most notable buildings and points of interest.
THE BALLANTINE HOUSE(43 Washington St.)
The last vestige of Victorians bordering Washington Park, the Ballantine House was built by one of Newark's major brewers, John Ballantine, in 1885. It features stained-glass windows, heavy use of paneling, massive fireplaces, and one of the few examples in the country of embossed leather wall covering.
80 PARK PLAZA (Raymond Blvd. and Park Pl.)
The million-square-foot, glass-sheathed, 26-story structure is the headquarters of Public Service Electric and Gas Co. It overlooks the Robert T. Smith Amphitheater, which is used by many community groups for outdoor activities.
BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NEW JERSEY (33 Washington St.)
This ribbed, white, 18-story building has held the headquarters of the state's largest health insurer since 1970. The company has operated in Newark since the 1930s.
BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NEW JERSEY (3 Penn Plaza)
The new headquarters of the state's largest health insurer, located squarely in the city's Penn Station/Gateway business hub, formally opened in 1992, ensuring the company's continued presence in Newark.
BRANCH BROOK PARK
The first part of the nation's oldest park system, Branch Brook Park was developed in the 1890s by the Essex County Park Commission. The firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of New York's Central Park, assisted in the original plan. The park is noted for its varied recreational facilities, its lakes and streams, and the springtime splendor of its 3,500 varied pink and white cherry trees -- more than Washington, D.C.
BROAD AND MARKET STREETS
Newark's "Four Corners" is an intersection that has been known as one of the busiest in the United States. The crossroads for the city's major north-south and east-west arteries, the intersection was used by the early settlers and was home to the community well. These two streets were the focal point of planning in 1666 when the community officially was laid out.
CATHEDRAL BASILICA OF THE SACRED HEART (89 Ridge Street)
A classic French Gothic cathedral resembling the great cathedral at Rheims, France, its construction was first proposed in 1896. In 1899, the cornerstone was laid, and the church was completed in 1954. Its towers soar 323 feet, and the cathedral covers some 45,000 square feet, comparable to Westminster Abbey. Sacred Heart is the fifth largest cathedral in North America, and it was granted minor basilica status by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Newark in October 1995. It features a heavy use of stained glass, including three rose windows; vaulted ceilings; a variety of wood paneling; imported and domestic marble; and crystal, silver, and bronze chandeliers.
One of the newest developments in Newark has been the growth of higher education and the construction of new buildings by five colleges. The development is within a few blocks of Broad Street, and the campuses are within blocks of each other.
EBERHARDT HALL (323 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.)
Built in 1856-57 as the Newark Orphan Asylum, this red brick and brownstone Elizabethan Gothic building was the South Park Calvary Presbyterian and St. James A.M.E. Churches. It now serves as the administrative offices of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
ESSEX COUNTY COURTHOUSE (50 West Market St.)
Completed in 1907, this imposing structure was designed by the renowned architect Cass Gilbert. Considered by experts to be one of the most beautiful and tasteful buildings of its type in the nation, the courthouse features marble exterior and interior columns, a glass-domed roof, and ornately paneled courtrooms and offices. On either side of the main entrance are statues symbolizing "Truth" and "Power," and over the pediment stand nine allegorical statues. In front of the courthouse is Gutzon Borglum's celebrated statue of Abraham Lincoln in an informal pose, seated on a bench, which was dedicated in 1911 by President Theodore Roosevelt.
THE FEIGENSPAN MANSION (710 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.)
A fine, simple four-story mansion designed by Sanford White, the Feigenspan Mansion was built in 1905 by Christian Feigenspan, a wealthy brewer. The house contains extremely fine bodywork throughout.
FERRY STREET (East of Penn Station)
One of the main arteries through the Ironbound Section (so named because of the railroad tracks that border it), Ferry Street is the commercial heart of the city's Spanish and Portuguese community.
FIRST BAPTIST PEDDIE MEMORIAL CHURCH (572 Broad Street)
A Byzantine granite structure inspired by the Baths of Pisa in Italy and built through gifts made by Thomas Baldwin Peddie, philanthropist and mayor of Newark in the 1860s, the church was erected in 1890. It features an unusual use of interior spaces, rich paneling, 200 doors, 173 windows -- most of which are stained glass -- and a dome 80 feet above the main auditorium.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (820 Broad St.)
When Newark was founded in 1666 as a theocracy, First Presbyterian was established as a meeting house. The structure that stands was built and known as Old First Presbyterian. It was started during the Revolutionary War but was not completed and opened until January 1, 1791.
FOREST HILL HISTORIC DISTRICT
Forest Hill is a pre-World War II neighborhood in the North Ward. It is bound by Branch Brook Park, Verona, Mt. Prospect and 2nd Avenue. It was first developed by Elias Heller, who owned a file factory in North Newark. From the mid 1800s to the 1920s generations of wealthy Newarkers built hundreds of stately homes in the area in various styles, including Beaux-Arts, Victorian, Colonial, Gothic, and Spanish Revival. Forest Hill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
GATEWAY CENTER (3 Gateway Center)
Comprised of a total of 2.5 million square feet of office space and a 250-room Hilton Hotel, this multi-building, high-rise complex was constructed in the 1970s at a cost of more than $200 million.
GRACE EPISCOPAL CHURCH (950 Broad St.)
With the aid of the "Old Trinity," this congregation was organized in 1837 and met in a frame structure until the present facility was completed in 1848. The building, in the English perpendicular Gothic style, has finely detailed Stations of the Cross in the nave, exceptional stained-glass windows, and a delicately ornate ceiling.
THE HOUSE OF PRAYER (407 Broad Street)
Newark's third oldest Episcopal church, the House of Prayer was designed by Frank Willis in an English Gothic style.
THE JAMES STREET COMMONS
The James Street Commons is a 20-block section of townhouses along Washington Park, Halsey Street, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., and James Street.
THE KREUGER-SCOTT MANSION (601 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.)
Believed to be the most expensive home ever built in Newark, this 40-room baroque mansion was constructed in 1888-89 at a cost of about $250,000 for Gottfried Kreuger, a wealthy brewer. In 1958, the building was purchased and renovated by Louis Scott, Newark's first African-American millionaire.
LINCOLN PARK HISTORIC DISTRICT (Broad St. and Clinton Ave.)
This four-acre park was laid out in 1850. Opposite it is Clinton Park, where a copy of the Venice's Colleoni equestrian statue stands. Around the park are brownstone mansions, most of which were constructed in the mid-19th century as the homes of the city's elite. Among these are the Dorothy Ball House at103 Lincoln Park and the Newark Community School of the Arts at 89 Lincoln Park (occupying two former private houses and a carriage house).
MILITARY PARK (Broad St. between Rector St. and Raymond Blvd.)
Designed as a training place for soldiers when the city was planned in 1667, it became known in 1869 as the Town Commons or Lower Commons. The park contains a number of important pieces of statuary. The largest and most impressive work is the “Wars of America” monument created by Gutzon Borglum, which was unveiled in 1926. The newest work is a bust of John F. Kennedy by Jacques Lipschitz unveiled in 1965.
MT. PLEASANT CEMETERY (375 Broadway)
The oldest cemetery in Newark, Mt. Pleasant opened in 1814. It is the burial ground for many prominent Newarkers and other New Jerseyans.
MUTUAL BENEFIT LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY(520 Broad St.)
This 18-story office building houses Mutual Benefit's corporate headquarters and eastern home office. The building was completed in 1957 after the company reversed a decision to move away from Newark, a decision that subsequently sparked other major downtown development.
NEW JERSEY BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY (540 Broad St.)
Built from 1927-29 in a style known as "American Perpendicular," New Jersey Bell's headquarters rise 275 feet. The 20-story structure's facade is adorned by massive Egyptian-style bas-relief sculpture. Its temple-like main lobby, in marble and bronze, depicts telephone communications in classical themes.
THE NEW JERSEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (52 Park Place)
Founded in 1845, the New Jersey Historical Society houses collections of books, pamphlets, paintings, furniture, and memorabilia about New Jersey.
NEWARK CITY HALL (920 Broad St.)
Opened in 1908, the five-story domed structure was built at a cost of more than $2.6 million. As one of the nation's finest Beaux Arts-style buildings, it features massive interior carved marble and fine paneling, a grand central staircase, stained-glass skylights, and decorative plaster and wrought-iron works. The central dome inside is made of copper and is flanked by atria with glass ceilings. The three-door main entrance is approached by a 20-step stairway.
THE NEWARK CITY SUBWAY
A 3.8-mile underground and ground-level rapid transit system, one of the few in the nation using trolley cars, the subway operates in what was once the bed of the Morris Canal. It was built as a WPA project and opened in 1935. A trip on the subway, from beneath Penn Station to its terminus at the Newark-Belleville border, takes 11 minutes. The underground stations feature tiled walls and murals depicting various industries.
NEWARK LEGAL CENTER (One Riverfront Plaza)
A 20-story office building with a 462-car garage underneath, the facility offers high-tech communication linkages with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's teleport to Staten Island. The $75 million structure was developed by the Port Authority and the Newark Economic Development Corporation. The Legal Center is home to some of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the state.
THE NEWARK MUSEUM (49 Washington St.)
Founded in 1909, the Newark Museum houses treasures from around the world. In 1989, a $20 million addition designed by world-famous architect Michael Graves was constructed, adding 66 galleries to the museum's expanse. Several of the collections here are among the finest of their type in the country, including the internationally acclaimed Tibetan collection. The spacious garden behind the building is the setting for several pieces of contemporary sculpture, the Fire Museum, a carriage house, and the Lyons Farms schoolhouse, a one-room structure built in 1784.
THE NEWARK PUBLIC LIBRARY (5 Washington St.)
One of the city's architectural gems, this Italian-Renaissance building was constructed in 1903 and is now the heart of an 11-branch library system housing more than 1.3 million volumes. THE NORTH REFORMED CHURCH (510 Broad St.) The church, built between 1857-59, was constructed without the use of steel or iron.
PENNSYLVANIA STATION (Market St. and Raymond Plaza)
Completed in 1933, the 293-foot long structure, finished in Indiana limestone, contains many Art Deco details, including aluminum wall relieves and ceiling sculptures.
THE POLHEMUS HOUSE (69 Washington St.)
A four-story townhouse built in 1859, the Polhemus House became a stop on the Underground Railroad runaway slave route.
THE PLUME HOUSE (407 Broad St.)
A Dutch colonial farmhouse built around 1710, the Plume House has served as the rectory for the House of Prayer since 1850. Rev. Hannibal Goodwin invented flexible film, the basis for the motion picture industry, in the top floor laboratory in 1887.
THE PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY (745 Broad St.)
The 24-story white marble tower in the heart of the downtown business district, known as the Plaza Building, was opened in 1960. Established in 1875, the Prudential got its start in a basement operation on Broad Street. The company subsequently occupied a mammoth Gothic structure, which was finished in 1901 and razed in 1952 to make way for the present tower.
ST. JAMES A.M.E. CHURCH ( 588Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.)
Built in 1852 as the High St. Presbyterian Church, this Gothic greystone building features towers, four steeples, and cathedral memorial windows. The congregation, which at one time included a number of local and state leaders, merged with that of Old First Presbyterian Church in 1926. It became an African Methodist Episcopal church in 1944.
ST. JOHN'S CATHOLIC CHURCH (24 Mulberry St.)
The oldest Roman Catholic church in the city, St. John's was built in 1826 and was the first in the state to have a resident pastor. The church also was the first in Newark to have chimes, which were installed in 1859. Through its special services and consideration of the poor, the church has been known as "the people's church."
ST. JOSEPH'S PLAZA (233 West Market St.)
Irish immigrants completed the building of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in 1880. The structure recently has undergone renovation and restoration and has become a center of community involvement. It houses three restaurants -- the Priory, the Atrium, and the Sandwich Shop -- along with the New Beginnings Spa and Wellness Center, a piano lounge, and a variety of community service agencies.
ST. PATRICK'S PRO-CATHEDRAL (91 Washington St.)
This massive Gothic brick structure, built in 1849, was Newark's first Roman Catholic Cathedral, serving as the seat of the Archbishop of Newark until Sacred Heart Cathedral was completed.
THE SYDENHAM HOUSE (The Old Road to Bloomfield)
The home of Mr. and Mrs. D.J. Henderson, this early-18th century farmhouse has been faithfully restored by the couple over more than 20 years. The original portion of the house is believed to have been built around 1710 and enlarged four times over the centuries. It remained a possession of the Sydenham family until the 1920s and stands today as the oldest private home in Newark. George Washington is said to have considered using the house as his headquarters at one time.
THE SYMINGTON HOUSE (2 Park Pl.)
A stately red brick townhouse built in 1808 as the rectory of Trinity Cathedral, the Symington House was purchased by Robert Symington in 1888. Also known as Continental House, it has solid mahogany floors on the first floor, fireplaces in every room, 18-inch thick walls, and English-made bathtubs encased in oak paneling.
NEWARK SYMPHONY HALL (1020 Broad St.)
Built by the Shriner's Salaam Temple in 1925 at a cost of more than $2 million and known then as the Mosque Theater, the four-story building houses the 3,500-seat Sarah Vaughan Concert Hall -- one of the state's largest theaters -- and has been used as a cultural center since it was leased from the city in 1965. Symphony Hall's interior features a combination of Greek and Egyptian motifs, marble columns, a crystal chandelier, gold-leaf fret work, and two-columned side promenades.
TRINITY AND ST. PHILIP'S CATHEDRAL (608 Broad Streets)
Originally built in 1746 on a half acre at the north end of the "training ground," now Military Park, the church was used during the Revolutionary War as a hospital and suffered heavy damage. A new church, retaining parts of the old church building and the steeple and portico, was constructed in 1809.
Now surrounded by commercial and public buildings, the park has been vital to the city since its founding in 1666. Statuary in the 3.4-acre park includes likenesses of George Washington, Christopher Columbus, Seth Boyden, and Abraham Coles. At the park's north end stands a sculpture stanchion -- "The Indian and the Puritan" -- by Gutzon Borglum, who has three other works in Newark.
THE WILLIAM CLARK MANSION (346 Mount Prospect Ave.)
Now known as the North Ward Center, this imposing 28-room mansion was considered one of the most handsome homes in the country at the turn of the century. It was built in the 1870s at a cost of some $200,000 by the man who founded the Clark Thread Company during the Civil War. Ornate wood paneling and mantles, a massive front staircase with a large stained-glass window, and decorative ceilings are some of the house's features.