Anderson Park is a nearly 15-acre tranquil suburban oasis designed more than a century ago in Montclair, N.J., by the nationally renowned Olmsted Brothers firm for the pioneering Essex County Park Commission. Its curving pathways, wide meadow and naturalistic design reflect the aesthetic principles of Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect for Central Park in Manhattan. His stepson John Charles Olmsted oversaw Anderson Park’s creation.
Charles W. Anderson, an insurance executive and prominent Montclair resident, donated the park site in 1903, and the park is named in his honor. Extensive labor transformed swampy ground into meadows, playing fields and pathways shaded by trees and outlined by shrub beds. This Essex County park opened in 1905 as part of the first countywide park system in the nation. It inspired Montclair leaders to develop a townwide park system in 1906. For more than 115 years, Anderson Park has been a vibrant community gathering spot. Due to its significance, it is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
The park is enjoyed by strollers, dog walkers, athletes, and picnickers. Its meadow is used for volleyball, soccer, lacrosse, Frisbee, kite-flying and other activities. The paved pathways attract runners and are wheelchair-friendly.
Each June the park is the backdrop for the Music Under the June Moon chamber music concert, and every September it is host to the Fine Arts and Crafts Fair. Year-round, the park serves as a village green for the historic Upper Montclair business district and neighborhoods nearby.
Friends of Anderson Park, formed in 2006, is committed to furthering the rehabilitation of Anderson Park in the spirit of the original Olmsted design and to fostering its enjoyment and appreciation by the community.