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Walking Through East Orange History

7/18/13

Frederick Goode is mentoring a group of young men this summer. He decided to take the group on a walking history tour since Cicely Tyson School is so close to many East Orange historic sites.

 
View East Orange Historical Map in a larger map
Tour Map   Interactive History Map on Google

You can follow their tour on this map, beginning at Cicely Tyson School (A) and ending at the East Orange Public Library (I). You can also jump to the Interactive History Map on Google for more information.

 

The tour began at near-by Rowley Park (B). It would be interesting to travel the same route to study urban ecology and find good things to eat growing free all around, like the wild carrots blooming just behind the fence. Anyway, the class learned much of the History of Rowley Park that we have on this site, since Mr. Goode is one of our Museum Caretakers and helped put the exhibits together.

The next stop is right next to Rowley Park on the corner of William St. and Arlington Avenue. It is the first hotel built in East Orange, The Marlborough (C). History is more fun when you can learn it first hand and get into the picture to become part of history yourself. An ecology class could study the plants climbing up the building since it was closed down.

Just down the street to Munn Avenue the class finds the old 1929 East Orange Police Station (D) which is supposed to be part of a sixteen million dollar health complex for the city that began in 2012 and should have been completed by now. I'm sure the cost has gone up in the meantime and these young men will have to eventually pay for it through their taxes. They might as well learn some economics along with their history lesson. The above view is from the back of the building where all of the construction is currently taking place. Nothing to eat around here except the grass coming up between the sidewalk blocks.

At the corner of Munn Avenue and City Hall Plaza, the class passes by the old U.S. Post Office building, modernized with a wheel-chair ramp and solar panels but otherwise unchanged since it was built in 1929. Off to the left is the Senior Garden (E), dedicated in 1963 and now relegated to two wooden buckets of flowers provided by the Historical Society.

The class passes under the elevated train tracks and decides to take a side trip up the steps to the tracks. The East Orange Station (F) was built at ground level in 1883, then elevated in 1922.

The 1922 decor of the East Orange Station is an interesting contrast to the sleek modern electric trains that now use it. The train arrived just in time to cause some excitement in the class. Everybody likes trains!

From the elevated train station, we can see the next objectives in the walking tour. On the left, in the distance, is the former public library and now municipal court. In the center is the First Presbyterian Church. The tall tower to the right of the church shows the location of today's police station, which is not on today's trip. The East Orange Public Library is at the far right, but partially hidden by trees.

The next stop on the tour is the building built by Andrew Carnegie in 1903. It was then given to the city for use as the first Public Library. In 2009, the building was converted into the current Municipal Court (G). Straight across the street is the next spot on the tour, the First Presbyterian Church.

The First Presbyterian Church (H), also known as the Munn Avenue Presbyterian Church, has been here since 1864. No one wants to stand in the sun on the steps for a photo because from here they can see the air-conditioned public library, last stop on the tour.

The temperature is in the high 90's, so the students are happy to get into the East Orange Public Library (I) and out of the heat as their walking history tour ends.

The next step for those who don't already have one, is to get a library card, their ticket to the past, present and future through the use of the public library's resources.

Now the history tour can continue in a different way, through the use of the Library's WiFi, for those who have phones, through the use of the library's computers, books, newspapers and magazines.

Back to Interactive Timeline History of East Orange