Photos by Jared Kofsky
Several of New Jersey’s most historic sites are located within a few miles of each other in Newark. A newly-launched self-guided walking tour allows residents and visitors to see nearly all of them.
A ceremony was held in October to launch Newark Walks, a 3.1-mile trail through Downtown Newark, University Heights, and the Central Ward. Newark, the third oldest city in the United States, is celebrating its 350th anniversary this year, and many events are being held to celebrate the city’s history. The kick-off event featured several activities, including face painting and an exhibit regarding the history of horses in Newark. Children who attended were able to meet officers and see police horses from the Newark Police Department’s Mounted Division.
There are more than 80 points of interest on the Newark Walks tour, several of which feature interpretive panels that provide an overview of each site’s history. Transportation hubs like the 115-year-old Broad Street Station, the facade of the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, and Newark Penn Station are among the sites, as are schools like Arts High School, the first visual and performing arts high school in country, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s castle-like Eberhardt Hall, which served as the Newark Orphan Asylum from 1857 to 1948.
Other sites symbolize the changes currently underway in Newark. The Second Presbyterian Church across from Washington Park is becoming an engineering and development hub for Amazon-owned Audible.com, the Hahne and Company Building on Broad Street will soon contain a Whole Foods Market location and the new headquarters of City National Bank, and the New Jersey Bell Headquarters Building is being converted into more than 260 apartments,
Several sites on the tour can be explored by visitors. The 1885 Ballantine House and the 1784 Lyons Farm Schoolhouse are located on the grounds of The Newark Museum, which is free to Newark residents. Plus, the National State Bank Building on Broad Street is now the Hotel Indigo, which features a rooftop restaurant called the Skylab. The Essex Club Building now contains the museum of the New Jersey Historical Society, and next door, WBGO’s studio houses a free art gallery. Other sites open to the public include the Newark Public Library, the Newark Main Post Office, and City Hall.
The new walking trail was established by the Greater Newark Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and is funded by a $300,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation.
Those interested in taking the tour can either download the Newark Walks app, available on iPhone and Android, or can pick up a print copy of the tour map at the Newark Happening Visitor Center, located at 60 Park Place, between East Park and Center Streets, across from Military Park.