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As early as 1896 C.W. Anderson became part of a town committee working to create a park that would have sprawled from Watchung Avenue all the way to Bellevue, bordered on the east by the railroad tracks and the west by North Mountain Avenue.

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Park before construction looking west from railroad tracks toward North Mountain Avenue. Courtesy of the National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.
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But landowners wouldn't donate property, despite some of it being swampy and "considered by some a nuisance to the health and beauty of the town," as The New York Times put it. In the end only Anderson donated land, and three buildings on what is now parkland had to be purchased and moved. In 1903 the nearly 14 acres was deeded to Essex County, and the in 1905 the park formally opened.