A behind-the-scene glimpse into how Anderson Park evolved is revealed in a decades’ worth of correspondence. Field notes detail John Charles Olmsted’s initial impression of the potential park site when he visited it for the first time.  Letters among the Olmsted Brothers, the Essex County Park Commission, the Township of Montclair, and the developer of the adjacent Oakcroft subdivision show how the park’s southern border was established, how Oakcroft’s houses would relate to the park, how the park’s design would evolve, and other details.

These documents, written between 1902 and 1912, are in the Library of Congress’s Manuscript Division and can be viewed here.  Combined with historic maps, newspaper articles, Park Commission minutes, and other archival material, they tell the story of Anderson Park’s creation.

John Charles Olmsted in 1907 (J.E. Purdy, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site)

Credit: These documents are from the Olmsted Associates Records: Job Files, 1863-1971; Job 2125; Montclair Park, Anderson Park; Essex County, N.J., 1902-1912. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Olmsted Associates Records.