|Copyright © 2006-2014 by Friends of
Anderson Park, Inc. Website design by
Park's story stretches as far back as the Ice Age (represented by boulders that
now attract young climbers) and touches on the Space Age (the childhood home
of the astronaut Buzz Aldrin sits at the park's southern border).
But the park's pivotal moment came in 1902, when Charles
W. Anderson, an insurance executive and a prominent Montclair citizen, offered
to donate land for a park.
gesture came at a time when Montclair's population was about to double within
a decade, and there was brewing concern that residents needed breathing space.
Town leaders feared the squalor of dense urban living, already rampant in New
York tenements, and by 1906 the development of Anderson Park became part of
a broader campaign for parks throughout town, with one local doctor urging voters
to consider the needs of "the poor mother airing her sick baby in the summertime."
Park before construction looking north along railroad
tracks. Courtesy of the National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.