Meaning “Beautiful Town”
is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 census, the township’s population was 35,926
Originally known as “Second River” or “Washington”, the inhabitants renamed the settlement “Belleville” in 1797. Belleville was originally incorporated as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 8, 1839, from portions of Bloomfield. Portions of the township were taken to create Woodside Township (March 24, 1869, now defunct) and Franklin Township (February 18, 1874, now known as Nutley). The independent municipality of Belleville city was created within the township on March 27, 1874, and was dissolved on February 22, 1876. On November 16, 1910, Belleville was reincorporated as a town, based on the results of a referendum held eight days earlier. Belleville adopted its current township form of government in 1981.
Frank Valli and the Four Seasons formed in Belleville. The township of Belleville has given itself the nickname the Cherry Blossom Capital of America, with an annual display that is larger than the famed Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.
Belleville was once called “Second River.” The Passaic River town separated from Bloomfield Township in 1839. It was here, in 1794, that Nicholas Roosevelt built the first steam engine produced entirely in America.
Belleville Park is a mid-sized, 32.70-acre park of wooded greenery bordered by Belleville and Parkside Avenues and Mill Street along the Second River, which was once a part of the Morris Canal.
The park forms an extension of Branch Brook Park, creating a continuous green strip over 2½ miles long. Some of Branch Brook’s famous “Cherry Blossom Land” overflows into this park. Also adjacent to the park is Hendricks Field Golf Course, extending the green landscape further northward.
The land was acquired in 1915 and construction completed in 1922—the delay owing to the difficulty of obtaining labor during the war. The park was designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm and even today retains some of the original landscaping in its sweeping lawns and winding paths. Coniferous trees divide the park into sections and isolate it from the city streets. Its semi-formal character is derived from plantings of native, rare, and ornamental trees and shrubs. Open fields provide feeding habitats for small mammals and migratory birds. In 1917, to aid in the war effort, these fields were planted with corn.
The park represents an early example of urban rehabilitation, as there are a number of former industrial sites within its boundaries. A shallow depression by the south side of the park represents all that is left of an old rock quarry.