Cedar Grove, New Jersey: One of Essex County's largest abandoned complexes is no more.
"After opening about 140 years ago, the old Essex County Hospital Center is now totally demolished", Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. tweeted today.
The abandoned complex, which was also known as Overbrook Asylum, was one of Western Essex County's best known landmarks. It was located along Fairview Avenue in Cedar Grove, near the Verona border. At the time of its creation, the facility was in a rural area far from the City of Newark, where most patients came from. However, in the 1950s and 1960s, the surrounding area saw an increase in development as more people moved from Newark to the suburbs.
Several county facilities were also located in the area, including the Essex County Penitentiary and the Essex Mountain Sanatorium. Both complexes have already been demolished, as was the former Hospital Center fire station.
A new Essex County Hospital Center opened along Grove Avenue ten years ago, causing the old facility to be completely abandoned. The old site was visited by many trespassers interested in exploring the building, causing the Essex County Sheriff's Office to frequently patrol the property. Dozens have been arrested at the Essex County Hospital Center in the past few years, and the facility has been featured on SyFy and the Travel Channel.
Now, a 77-acre park is coming to some of the property. Essex County Cedar Grove Park will include the Robert J. O’Toole Community Center, walking paths, benches, bocce courts, and a playground. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in May. In addition, hundreds of K. Hovnanian townhouses are coming to part of the land.
Abandoned hospitals across the state are either being converted to new use or are being demolished. The State of New Jersey recently demolished the former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany, Morris County. The site will become part of the Central Park of Morris County. In addition, the former Essex County Isolation Hospital in Belleville is being converted into apartments, and a vocational technical school is being built at the site of the former United Hospital in Newark. The former Hospital Center at Orange could soon see redevelopment, while the lot where the convalescent branch of the Newark City Hospital once stood on Irvington Avenue in the city remains vacant.
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