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Cherry Blossom Time | Newark, New Jersey

April 12, 2022

cherry blossoms

The cherry blossom trees in Branch Brook Park are being celebrated again! Branch Brook Park has gone pink and white! 


The Cherry Blossom Festival was held for the first time in over 2 years. The Festival was called off the last 2 years due to the coronavirus pandemic. 


Branch Brook Park is located in Newark, New Jersey. It is home to the annual Cherry Blossom Festival


Newark’s has MORE cherry blossom trees than the famous ones in Washington, DC! 


Washington DC is only a pretender to the cherry blossom crown in the United States. DC has only about 3,000 cherry trees. Newark has over 5,000! 


The Branch Brook Park Alliance brags:


Essex County Branch Brook Park has the largest and most varied collection of flowering Cherry Blossom trees in a park within the United States. 


Branch Brook Park Has A Long History 


According to the Branch Brook Park Alliance


The land we now know as Branch Brook Park was then the property of the Newark Aqueduct Board. Much of that land was commandeered in July of 1862, at the outbreak of the Civil War; known as Camp Frelinghuysen, it was used as a training ground for New Jersey volunteers. Between 1862 and 1864, six regiments encamped there before fighting in every important battle from Antietam to Appomattox. 


The Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, most famous as the architect of New York’s spectacular Central Park. It was Essex County’s first county park. 


The Cherry Blossom Trees Arrive

In 1927 the Park received a gift from Caroline Bamberger Fuld


Caroline Bamberger Fuld donates 2,000 Japanese flowering cherry trees to a display in Newark that would rival that in Washington, D.C. The Olmsted Brothers' firm laid out the trees naturalistically on the tiered slopes along the narrow valley of the Second River, evoking the way the trees would be seen in Japan and distinguishing Branch Brook Park's display from all others. Eventually the collection would grow to more than 3,000 trees. 

There are now more than 5,200 flowering cherry trees in Newark!


I visited them on April 11th.

cherry blossoms
cherry blossoms
cherry blossoms
cherry blossoms


You can check out the Branch Brook Alliance website, filled with information about the park and the cherry blossoms!


Also see my other posts about gardens!

To see what I am reading and writing, please check out my books and writing blog: The Literary Lioness!

Please check out my post about The Clara Barton Schoolhouse in Bordentown, New Jersey!

This week I will be linking to:

Unlimited Link Party @ Grammy's Grid

Wordless Wednesday @ Wordless Wednesday
Thursday Favorite Things @ Katherine's Corner 

Skywatch Friday @ Skywatch Friday

Friendship Friday @ Create With Joy 
Pink Saturday @ How Sweet the Sound


Thanks for visiting New Jersey Memories!

Clara Barton Schoolhouse | Bordentown, New Jersey

January 28, 2022


The Clara Barton Schoolhouse 


Bordentown is a lovely town on the Delaware River which was critical during the Revolutionary War. 


The Clara Barton Schoolhouse in Bordentown, New Jersey was one of the first public schools in the state.


Clara Barton is most famous as a Civil War nurse and as the founder of the American Red Cross


But before all that, she taught school. 


The original schoolhouse was built in 1839. 


According to the Bordentown Historical Society


When Clara Barton began teaching in 1852, the building was described as “dilapidated” and repairs were undertaken at that time. On the first day she taught, she began with only 6 students. After a year, there were 600 students, and by 1853, a new eight room schoolhouse had been built in Bordentown to accommodate them. Thereafter, the original schoolhouse was unused for many years and by 1919, it was in a deteriorated state. It was purchased for $300 at a Sheriff’s Sale by a community minded couple, Mr. and Mrs. George Swift, so that it could be preserved. In September of 1920, they sold it to the President of the State Board of Education for $1 “in trust for and [o]n behalf of the Schoolchildren of the State of New Jersey and to be forever preserved as a memorial of Clara Barton, deceased.” 


photo of sign


Please read my post about historic The Little Red Schoolhouse in Florham Park. 


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Holsten's Brookdale Confectionary | Bloomfield, New Jersey

January 24, 2022

stools at counter

Holsten's Is A New Jersey Legend


Holsten’s ice cream parlor has been a legendary meeting spot in Bloomfield, New Jersey for over 75 years. 


They are famous for their homemade ice cream and candy. 


They also serve burgers and other classic American food. 


It still holds old-school charm in its d├ęcor. 


New Jerseyans have known about Holsten’s for many years. 


ice cream parlor
candy counter
stools at counter


Holsten's Becomes World Famous

But in 2007, Holsten’s suddenly became world famous. 


The producers of the HBO classic series, The Sopranos, decided to film the very last scene of the series at Holsten’s. 



  This is the very table where the scene was filmed: 



The Tony Soprano Table


When the star of The Sopranos, James Gandolfini, died several years ago, there was a special tribute to him.


The booth was "reserved" for "Tony Soprano" that night. No one sat at that table. 


Gandolfini was from New Jersey. 


James Gandolfini dead at 51: Holsten's Ice Cream Parlor reserves booth where 'Sopranos' filmed final scene  


It was even spoofed recently in a Trump-Russia opening skit on Saturday Night Live, since Trump and Michael Cohen have apparent mob connections: 




You can check out their website here: Holstens Brookdale Confectionery 


The restaurant is part of the Sopranos tours that are still going on many years after the show ended 


♪ Don't Stop Believin'♪


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Bellevue Avenue Branch of the Montclair Public Library | Upper Montclair, New Jersey

January 21, 2022


The Bellevue Avenue Branch Is A Carnegie Library


The Montclair Public Library - Bellevue Avenue Branch in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, USA is a Carnegie Library.


A Carnegie library is a library built with money donated by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.


I took photos from the front, back, and the interior of the building.


Previously on the Montclair Public Library website:

The Bellevue Avenue Branch Library officially opened its doors on December 7, 1914, after fifteen years of using a rented room in the real estate office of John Mancini on Bellevue Avenue. This building, partially financed with a $40,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation, endures with the same architectural design despite a major renovation nearly three decades ago. Designed by F.A. Nelson, the architect of the Upper Montclair Women’s Club, Post Office and other prominent buildings in town, the library is on the National Register of Historic Places. Many have called the branch building a gem—a treasure which celebrated its centennial in 2014.


Photos Of The Bellevue Avenue Branch


You can see in these photos how lovingly the Bellevue Avenue Branch Library was built and is being maintained:



There is a quote from Isaac Barrow above the door:


He that ever loveth a book will never want a faithful friend - a wholesome counsellor - a cheerful companion - an effectual comforter 



The back of the library:



The interior of the library: 


library interior
library interior


More Reading About Libraries


If you love libraries, I have written about the 125th Avenue of the New York Public Library and about the New York Library lions, Patience and Fortitude.


You can also read about Carnegie Libraries in New Jersey.


Thanks for visiting New Jersey Memories!

American Labor Museum and the Pietro and Maria Botto House | Haledon, New Jersey

January 14, 2022

Strike meeting at the Botto House 1913 by Mike Conner.

Home of the American Labor Museum


New Jersey was the home of many silk mills during the last century. 


It is now the home of the American Labor Museum.


Thousands of people were employed in those silk mills, under deplorable conditions. 


Long hours doing difficult and back-breaking work was the norm. Pietro and Maria Botto, immigrants from northern Italy, were two of those workers. 


So was their daughter.

Pietro and Maria Botto house in Haledon, New Jersey. Home of the American Labor Museum.

In 1913, the workers decided to go on strike. 


Over 25,000 of them walked out, shutting down the silk industry. 


They wanted an eight-hour day, among other demands. 

Pietro and Maria Botto House in Haledon, New Jersey


The workers were forbidden to strike in Paterson, so they moved over the town line to neighboring Haledon. 


Pietro and Maria had a modest house in Haledon, but the front balcony was perfect for giving speeches. At the time, there was much free space and lawns for large crowds to gather in front of the house. 


Soon labor leaders from around the country descended upon this home. Upton Sinclair, the author of The Jungle, a famous and muckraking novel of conditions in factories and mills, was one of the speakers. 


The Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.), better known as the “Wobblies”, also were there. They were considered the “outside agitators” of the strike. 


This is a wonderful and succinct video of the strikes: 



The Botto house is now an official National Historic Landmark and the American Labor Museum is located there.


Pietro and Maria Botto
The Dining Room


More About the American Labor Movement

 To see how the other half lived, you can check out my photos from 2014:  Lambert Castle Parts 1 and 2  

To read more about the silk strikes of 1913: Paterson Silk Strikes of 1913

If you are interested in reading books about labor, please read my reviews of Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich, and Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee by Alex Frankel.  


Thanks for visiting New Jersey Memories!