Friday, July 7, 2017

City Plans to Demolish Newark's Abandoned Essex County Jail

NEWARK, N.J.: Since 1837, a jail has stood at 271-285 New Street in Newark's Central Ward, at the corner of Newark Street. Over the years, the Essex County Jail complex has seen several additions, from a new building with cell blocks constructed in 1890 to a wall built to surround the massive facility. However, since 1970, this sprawling complex has largely been abandoned, as new jails were constructed on Nelson Place and later on Doremus Avenue. Now, after 180 years, the old Essex County Jail is set to be removed.

Last year, Essex County Place reported that Rutgers Law School applied to de-register the facility from the National Register of Historic Places and the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, which, in part, prevented it from being demolished. In the time since, Phillip Scott, the Director of Engineering for the City of Newark, which currently owns the 1.52 acre property, has applied to the Newark Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission to demolish the old jail, citing that "most of the roof has collapsed and the site poses a danger to the surrounding community and NJ Transit rail system." The Newark Light Rail passes alongside one of the buildings on the property just east of the Norfolk Street Station.

The Commission will hear the proposal during its regular meeting on Wednesday, July 12th at 6:15pm at Newark City Hall.

Several other historic New Jersey facilities have been demolished in recent years, including the former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Morris County, the former Essex County Hospital Center in Cedar Grove, the Essex Mountain Sanatorium in North Caldwell, and the Essex County Jail Annex in Verona.

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