About Brookdale Park

Brookdale Park, designed in 1928-1930 by the world renowned Olmsted Firm, is the fourth largest park in the historic Essex County Park System (est. 1895 as the first county park system in the US). With 78 acres in Bloomfield and 43 acres in Montclair, Brookdale is a serene oasis in an otherwise densely populated area. 

Brookdale Park offers the public access to both passive and active recreational activities as well as picturesque vistas. Trails for walking and running, lush groves and extensive lawns, sports fields, track facilities, tennis courts, an archery range, a playground and stadium with grandstand are just some of the numerous attractions that make Brookdale Park a magnet for nature lovers, families, and physical fitness enthusiasts for miles around. 

One of the park's most notable attractions is the Essex County Rose Garden (est 1959) which features more than 100 species of roses.

Park History

Photo taken during construction of the original running track in Brookdale Park, Essex County, NJ - 1935

Brookdale Park is located in what once was a gathering place for the Lenni Lenape Indians. During the 17th Century, Dutch settlers transformed the area, then called Stonehouse Plains, into farming and grazing land. In the 1800s, when the area got its own post office near the Third River, the neighborhood came to be known as Brookdale.

In 1928, land purchases began and the basic work was completed by 1930. With the onset of the Depression, construction schedules slowed as money was needed elsewhere. As unemployment spread, agencies such as the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) were organized and subsequently provided most of the funding and labor needed to construct the park. Brookdale Park was completed in 1937.

Capital Development Timeline

1928-1931 “Stone House Plains” Land Purchasing

1937 Brookdale Park Completed

1959 North Jersey Rose Society donates 750 Rose Bushes, Rose Garden formally opens

1984 Tennis Courts Revitalized

1995 Brookdale Pond Drained

1997 Rose Garden Renovation

1997 Playground Improvements $150K

2003 Playground Rubberized Safety Surface Installed $217,000

2004 Athletic Field Improvements (rubberized track, artificial turf field for football/soccer field hockey/lacrosse/field events, electronic scoreboard) $1.6M

2006 Sports Meadow Renovation (drainage and irrigation) $1.15M

2007 1.2-acre Dog Park Construction $300K and modernization of Tennis Court Facility $1.2K

2008 Dog Park Realignment $100K

2009 Road, Parking Lot and Pedestrian Path Repaving $777K

2010 Rose Garden Improvements

2012 Planting of 140 street trees in partnership with NJ Tree Foundation In-Kind

2013 Phase 1 & 2 Roadway and Pathway Decorative Lighting with Park Amenity Improvements $870K

2014 Phase 3 Pathway Decorative Lighting with Park Amenity Improvements, Outdoor Fitness Course, Athletic Track & Field Improvements $1.3M

2015 Playground Reconstruction $1.2M