Doris Campbell Hector passed
away on June 2, 2002 at the age of 81
This narrative, on the gradual egress of the populace living in
the Down Neck area of Newark, is based partially on oral history
and my own subsequent observation, but after the fact.
In my previous narrative, I explained how the Diocese of Newark
set imaginary boundaries necessary for the establishment of a new
parish. This method continued, as the exodus started, and necessitated
additional new parishes to address the religious needs of the relocated
people. The actual parish and/or area where to locate these new
parishes within the Newark city limits, seemed to be determined
by ethnic background.
At this time, I will digress from the Down Neck exodus and briefly
mention the early Newark which was the precursor of Down Neck. The
early settlers chose to work and reside close to the Passaic River.
That location gave them the mobility necessary to travel by boat
and/or horse and carriage in their personal and business lives.
(On a personal note my great-great-great-grandfather owned the Clarke
Carriage Company on Commerce Street in Newark and is so listed in
the 1829 Newark Directory.)
The early settlers from the late 18th century to about the 1830's
lived and worked from the (now) Penn Railroad in the east, to High
Street in the west and Broad Street in the north and south. This
era of Newark is in need of more research and should include the
Morris Canal, which was a major factor in the commercial growth
As more affordable and reliable transportation grew, the demographic
mosaic of the Down Neck section changed. The populous had other
options regarding the accessibility to the workplace so the need
to live within walking distance of the place of employment was no
longer an issue. Thus, the gradual egress began.
As the 20th century approached, the influx of Irish immigrants
to the Down Neck section of Newark leveled off. In their stead were
the first-generation-born Americans whose goals and ambitions perhaps
differed from their forefathers. The infrastructure of the city
presented them with more options in their lives. In this time frame,
Newark had several main traffic arteries East to West High Street,
bisected by Market Street. It was from this point that Springfield
Avenue, South Orange Avenue and West Market Street, fanned out in
a westerly direction. Springfield Avenue, west-south-west; South
Orange Avenue, directly straight to the west, and, West Market Street
in a west-north-west direction. The remaining arteries in this grid
are Broad Street, bisected by Central Avenue; and Orange Street,
bisected by Mt. Prospect Avenue to the north. (The grid is factual
and can be verified and perhaps honed, by reviewing a map of the
city of Newark. However, the remainder of the narrative is oral
history and my own observation.)
For the sake of expedience, and to remain focused on the exodus
itself, I will divide the egress into three sections. I can't attest,
however, to the accurate chronological order of the relocation.
This can be verified by researching the records of the Diocese of
Newark to determine the dates the churches were established to accommodate
1. St. Joseph Church - West Market Street, Newark
2. St. Antoninus Church - South Orange Avenue, Newark
3. Sacred Heart Church - South Orange Avenue, Newark
1, St. Joseph Church parishioners were mainly Irish immigrants
who came to America during or after the Spanish-American War. The
parish encompassed Clifton Avenue to the east, West Market Street
to the juncture of Central Avenue and the southside of Central Avenue
east to Clifton Avenue, and to the south, 13th Avenue. Littleton
Avenue is in this area, as is/was Old City Hospital, now the New
Jersey Medical School Hospital on Fairmount Avenue; St. Vincent
Academy on West Market Street and the Old Lutheran Hospital on Newton
Street were Clara Maas was a nurse.
2, St. Antoninus parishioners reflected almost the same ethnic
background as those in St. Joseph's parish. I am not too familiar
with the north and south boundaries of what I call the numbered
I.e., No. 10th - So 10th, etc. I am not certain about the west
boundary either. It was 15th Street or perhaps Grove Street.
3, Sacred Heart - The nuclei of this parish were former parishioners
of St. James Church. In the early 1930's the very, very popular
pastor of St. James, Rev. John J. Murphy, was made pastor of Sacred
Heart Church in Vailsburg.
It is regrettable that at the present time conditions in the areas
of the last-mentioned churches make it unsafe to tour the local
neighborhoods to observe the architectural structures, which would
give you insight into the financial affluence at the time of their
development into neighborhoods.
The relocation of the Germans in what was known as "Dutch
Neck" was at a much slower pace than the Irish from St. James
Parish. Those residents who chose to relocate went via Springfield
Avenue from Bergen Street in the east to west direction beyond the
Newark city line on to Irvington, joining the German immigrants
to came to America after them, as was the case with the Irish.
Refer to the first paragraph titled "Irish". I have,
regrettably, a dearth of information on this group of people and,
therefore, can't give an accurate account of their exodus from the
Down Neck/Ironbound section of Newark.