Opening of Soverel Field

Prior to its use as a park and a playground, the property belonging to Mathias Soverel was mostly known for its large lake (Springdale) which supplied the Oranges with blocks of ice for their ice boxes in the days before electric refrigerators. But there was also a smaller pond that was used for recreational skating in the winter time. You can read about this earlier history of the site HERE.

1881 Map


2014 Google Satellite Map

Adults and children are gathered on Soverel’s Skating Pond for sleigh rides in this photo taken on Christmas morning, 1896. A mule is hitched to the sled, which appears to have rows of bench seats for multiple riders.

To celebrate the opening of Soverel Field as a playground in 1929, a variety of activities were held including this marbles tournament.

East Orange was one of the first cities to take advantage of surplus war materials. Circa 1950, park director, Graham M. Skea (inset), asked the Navy for a surplus fighter plane. It was granted, provided that he could remove it from the depot in Philadelphia. Skea secured a truck and, with the aid of some of the park department’s maintenance men, brought the plane to Soverel Field. You can read more about this famous plane at the Stockton School Blogspot.

Today (2014) according to the city Web site, Soverel Field, located in the 1st Ward of the City, borders Springdale Avenue, Brighton Avenue and North Park Street. Soveral Park is the largest park in East Orange. It has 2 baseball fields, a softball field, a walking track, 3 basketball courts, 7 tennis courts, 2 playground areas, and a field house. Little league baseball and soccer are played at this park. It is the practice field for East Orange Jr. Jaguars Football Team.

Back to Interactive Timeline of East Orange History