Driving along Kennedy Boulevard, between Gates and Seaview Avenues, it is hard to imagine that the city block to the west was once the locale of a thriving amusement park. The city block is today occupied by Walgreens and was previously the site for Republic Container.
The property for the amusement park was originally purchased in 1875 by the United Shooting Society for a rifle range. Charles Armbruster bought the grounds in 1881 with other family members. They owned several other Schuetzen parks that were popular with German immigrants living in the Greenville section of Jersey City and New York.
Regarded as an innovator of the amusement park industry, Armbruster was known as a "pioneer in the schuetzen era" (Weidemann). He extended the use of his Schuetzen Park in Greenville by employing the use of naphtha for illumination. It permitted visitors to stay at the park well into the evening. Armbruster also expanded the park to have a capacity of five thousand visitors.
For nearly fifty years, Schuetzen Park was noted for its social and athletic events. Clubs and organizations rented spaces in the park for gatherings. Some of the churches and organizations that held picnics in the park were: St. Aloysius, St. Peter's, Holy Rosary, St. Paul's R.C. Church, the Royal Order of Moose, and Jersey City Lodge of Elks, No. 211. Company outings were held there by Mueller's, Colgate's, Tide Water, and Lembeck & Betz Brewery. They enjoyed the gazebos for dancing, a children's playground, and tree covered picnic grove. There were also national and international revolver, pistol, and rifle matches, equestrian races, political outings, and an array of sports activities. Fine dinner and dancing were available in a grand ballroom. German cuisine was available.
For some years the traditional Schwaben Fest was held on Labor Day and the following Tuesday. It symbolized the harvest of fruits and vegetables.
William Armbruster, a pictorial photographer and brother of Charles, captured the park in his work as well as the scenery of nature and people in Greenville and Bayonne. The image on the top of the page to the left is Police Inspector Archibald and Captain Cox sitting in a horse and carriage in front of Schuetzen Park taken by Armbruster. A collection of his photographs, such as "Morris Canal-Greenville" and "The Smithy," is in the Jersey City Museum.
Raynor, Vivien, "Views Aimed at Civic Pride, and Photography by a Romantic." New York Times 3 November 1991.
Weidemann, Edward H. "Old Schuetzen Park." 1936.