Lincoln Park at Kennedy Boulevard and Belmont Avenue is Jersey City's largest and most elaborate park. It was called West Side Park until 1930, and the name was changed with the installation of the Lincoln Memorial at the Boulevard entrance.
The "seated" Lincoln statue, known as "Lincoln the Mystic" or "The Statesman," was designed by sculptor James Earle Fraser. Mounted on a pedestal, it is a heroic sculpture of Lincoln familiar in the 1920s and 1930s. It was commissioned by the Jersey City Lincoln Association on the organization's sixty-fifth anniversary in 1930.
Designed by landscape architects Daniel W. Langton and Charles N. Lowrie in 1905, the park of approximately 273 acres is maintained by the Hudson County Parks Commission, begun in 1903 to establish a parks system. It reflected the national parks movement and its mission to preserve public space for recreational activities in urban communities. Langton and Lowrie were part of the "City Beautiful" movement and founding members of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Lowrie later succeeded Langton as Landscape Architect for the Hudson County Park Commission for thirty years. He designed several parks like Stephen R. Gregg Hudson County Park in Bayonne.
Most of the park's original acreage was the marshy and undeveloped woodlands called Glendale Woods at the city's Hackensack River shoreline and the site of razed houses and properties purchased by the Park Commission. Florence Pond Graham, author of Jersey City: As I Remember It, recalls the park's development: Homes on lower Belmont Avenue were demolished or removed, "but some four story flats were bought and the new owner had them moved to the northeast corner of the Boulevard and Communipaw Avenue" (Graham 19). According to Graham, the city's first baseball club was at Belmont and West Side Avenue; the baseball diamond was at the park's ornamental fountain (16).
Lincoln Park is divided into Lincoln Park East and Lincoln Park West. The entrance to Lincoln Park East is on Kennedy Boulevard and extends to Truck Routes 1&9 between Communipaw and Duncan avenues. Two shelter pavilions are beyond the park's Kennedy Boulevard entrance and Lincoln Memorial.
Designed by the sculptor Pierre J. Cheron, the fountain is 53 feet high and 108 feet in diameter. Completed in August 1911 and costing $6,500, it is decorated with water-spouting frogs, bronze sculptures from Paris, scrolls, seashells, gargoyles, and allegorical figures like the Greek god Triton. Restored and rededicated on July 10, 1990, the fountain underwent a $7.2 million renovation of its mechanical, electrical, and filtration systems and was again rededicated on June 16, 2016.
Lincoln Park - East and West
Lincoln Park East includes areas for passive and active recreation. There are walking paths, picnic areas, and athletic facilities for handball, basketball, soccer, and Charlie Mays Memorial Track. Lincoln Park West is along Truck Routes 1 & 9 and is between Communipaw Avenue/Truck Routes 1-9 and Duncan Avenue. It adjoins the old Plank Road and former swampland on the Hackensack River. The property has Saint Peter's University athletic field, a baseball complex, a commercial driving range, batting cages, a tidal pond, and wetlands.
The tennis courts at the southwest end of the park date back to approximately 1909. In 1928, the Hudson County Park Tennis Association built The Lincoln Lodge, an American Arts & Crafts-style clubhouse overlooking the lake. Due to its distance from the tennis courts, however, it was not used as intended and briefly served as the Summer Museum of the Jersey City Free Public Library. In 1950, the lodge was leased to restauranteur Ray Dillman. He adapted the property into the popular Casino-in-the-Park as a restaurant and catering hall. After 80 years in operation, the Casino closed in 2017. Landmark Hospitality has partnered with Hudson County Improvement Authority to reconstruct and design a new building for dining and events; it will be owned by the County of Hudson.
Conte, Michaelangelo. "Lincoln Park Landmark Is Undergoing Renovation." Jersey Journal 9 January 2015.
Gomez, John. "Hold That Wrecking Ball!" Jersey Journal 29 April 2019.
Graham, Florence Pond. Jersey City: As I Remember It. Jersey City, NJ: Owl Printing Co., Inc., 1964.
"New Lincoln Monument Is Unveiled Today." Jersey Journal 14 June 1930.
Villanova, Patrick. "Fountain at Lincoln Park to be Rededicated." Jersey Journal 16 June 2016.
Zeitlinger, Nicholas. "Jersey City's Lincoln Park Fountain Is Lit in Rededication Ceremony." Jersey Journal 18 June 2016.