Authors Share Memories of Branch Brook Park
During Discussion and Book Signing at The Newark Public Library
Newarkers born and raised, Kathleen P. Galop and Catharine Longendyck, will present a program of images from and autograph their new book, Branch Brook Park, Tuesday, October 2 at 6 p.m. in Centennial Hall of The Newark Public Library, 5 Washington Street. Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., who has been instrumental in the park’s revitalization and played baseball there as a youngster, will also speak.
The launch of the new book, published by Arcadia Publishing, coincides with the 140th anniversary in October of Branch Brook Park, America’s first county park, which was envisioned by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux when they came to Newark in 1867. The authors offer their own memories of the treasured greensward coupled with over 200 images, many of which were provided by The Newark Public Library, to take readers on a visual journey back in time through Branch Brook Park.
The inspiration for the book comes from both writers' desire to share their love of the park with others. "It is our hope that the book creates a greater appreciation for the history of Branch Brook Park and its significant role in the development of urban parks throughout this country," they write. "We feel our book will attract more visitors to Branch Brook Park and serve as a springboard for continued restoration and improvements to park facilities. It is our hope that readers will gain a more positive impression of the City of Newark by virtue of the stability that this cultural gem has contributed to one of the most urban areas of the country."
While Galop now lives in Murray Hill, Longendyck continues to reside within a few blocks of Branch Brook Park near the clay tennis courts where both met in high school. A retired corporate executive, she trains her golden retrievers for obedience competitions and is an active member of the K-9 Obedience Training Club of Essex County, New Jersey.
Galop co-founded the Newark Cherry Blossom Festival in 1975 to celebrate Newark’s positive attributes by focusing on the springtime splendor and beauty of the park’s cherry blossom treesmore than Washington, DCthat bring visitors from around the world to Newark each April. Several years later, she successfully nominated Branch Brook Park to the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. She has remained active in the rehabilitation of the park through the Branch Brook Park Alliance.
A graduate of the Dickinson School of Law of Pennsylvania State University and Caldwell College, Galop is an attorney and principal of Preservation Possibilities in Summit, a practice focused on historic preservation. She is recognized as an expert on historic and cultural landscapes, and a founding trustee of the National Association for Olmsted Parks in Washington, DC.
Also born and raised in Newark, Library Director Wilma Grey too has fond memories of Branch Brook Park. She recalled the ice skating rink, boats on the lake, and cherry blossoms framing the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
"Newark is fortunate to be home to some of the most beautiful parks in the nation," she pointed out, noting that the Library houses a wonderful collection of historic photographs on these green spaces, including pictures capturing Branch Brook Park over the course of two centuries.
"We’re pleased to have contributed to this publication and proud that its authors have chosen the Library to debut their new book," she said. Grey will host the October 2 book signing.
Galop and Longendyck expressed their "profound appreciation" to The Newark Public Library for making its collections of postcards and photographs available for inclusion in their book. "The glorious photograph of children participating in a model boat event at the Branch Brook Park Lake, which we selected for our cover, is just one example of the quality and originality of the photographs in the Library’s collection," they said.
Books will be available for purchase at The Newark Public Library the evening of the event. The program is open to the public free of charge. The public is invited to meet the authors and to journey with them through the beauty and the history that are Branch Brook Park. For additional information, please call 973-733-7793.
©2007 The Newark Public Library