What New Name Would You Give to Memorial Park?
The Academy Heights Neighborhood Association has been working on cleaning up Memorial Park and is requesting the Village to officially change the name of the park to “Founders Park” in hopes that it will draw better attention to its uniqueness.
The Village wants to ask the entire Village for your feedback before we move forward. What do you think the new name should be?
In the late 1800's, Abijah Tillou deeded property to the First Presbyterian Church for the area across from Fifth Street between Valley Street and the Morris-Essex Train Line to be used as a cemetery. The church operated the area for a number of years, but eventually deeded it to the South Orange Cemetery Association, which operated it for about 70 years. Their supervision ended in the 1920's, the Village forbade any more interments at the property, and gradually the cemetery fell into abandonment and disrepair.
In 1970, the Village received approval to convert the cemetery into a memorial park. Work then began on the park design that would be reminiscent of a cemetery. During construction, no bodies were removed from the area, but headstones were relocated underground to the central area and under the crescent retaining wall. At the center of the park is a column with the names of those interred in the park / cemetery. Many of South Orange’s streets are named for the families who are memorialized on the column.
The generic name “Memorial” has generated confusion over the years. Some residents think the name is a memorial to veterans and not to the origins of the buried. Some people have never heard of Memorial Park in South Orange, but instead travel to Maplewood to visit their Memorial Park.
Please take a moment to select below what you think the name of the park should be. Thank you for your participation!