Ivy Hill

by Charles McGrath

How did the Ivy Hill name and section of Newark evolve? I often thought about that question over the years. I never read or found anything that gave me an explanation. I often thought it may have been related to the of the name of a 1920's housing development but it never appeared on any old maps.

Vailsburg was a independent borough from 1895 -1905. Rightly so it was called Vailsburg. In 1905 it was annexed by the City of Newark. Neither the name nor the section Ivy Hill existed at that time. So where did it come from?

I took advantage of a few key points that came from an article that a Frank J. Prail wrote 40 years ago. The following is my contention on how section was acquired and named.

A portion of the present day Ivy Hill Section of Newark was purchased by the City of Newark from South Orange Township in 1890. The original plan called for a reservoir. This is the highest portion of Newark and it was probably going to be a holding reservoir not unlike the old reservoir on South Orange Avenue. I'm sure most of us remember that one being across the street from Saint Antoninus Church. That type of reservoir was similar to our present day above ground water tanks rather than Wanaque or Round Valley Reservoirs.

The construction of the reservoir never materialized and on it's proposed site the new Alms House was built. It was designed by J. O'Rourke and engineered by George Knight in circa 1914.

In 1926 another 110 acres were purchased from the Maplewood Township Committee. These two large tracks of land were attached to the southwestern side of the Vailsburg section of Newark.

The southwestern portion of the Vailsburg section of Newark was developed in the late 1920's. Lincoln School was built in 1910 and was the only public school in that area. Lincoln School's facilities eventually became inadequate and a new addition was added in 1932.

Lincoln School
87 Richelieu Terrace






Ivy Street School was built in 1931 to educate the large influx of new students. Ivy Street School not surprisingly was built on Ivy Street.

Ivy Street School
(present day Vailsburg Middle School)






Ivy Street runs from Sandford Avenue to Tuxedo Parkway which adjoins Ivy Hill Park.

Ivy Hill Park







Both are on top of a hill that may have hosted ivy at one time; therefore, the name "Ivy Hill".

I think Varsity Road and Underwood Avenue were the northern boundary of the Ivy Street School District. If that was so it would have also made the imaginary demarcation line between Vailsburg and Ivy Hill sections of Newark.

That's my contention.


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