A Favorite Walk

by Charles McGrath

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In 1889, an unidentified Newarker wrote in the "Elizabeth Daily Journal" that his favorite walk was from Elizabeth to Newark following the "picturesque old road to Newark through Lyons Farms."

"After passing the stately mansions in Elizabeth," he said, "we come to Evergreen Cemetery, 'God's acre,' with nothing to disturb the solemn solitary stillness of the place but the chirps of birds and the click, click of the monument makers on the other side of the street as they form their letters on marble to tell future generations virtues of the departed ones."

He continued, "We stroll onward glancing on either side at the farm houses as we pass along until we reach the pond where Elizabeth's young men and maidens, old men and children skate in the winter time." This pond was located near the old Lehigh Valley Railroad station.

"In front of us stands the blacksmith shop and we wonder as we go by how many more generations will have their Dobbin's shoes fastened on here. In front stands the old car horse with head hung down, blinking his eyes in the sunlight as it streams from over the pond to the west of us. He is waiting to be hitched up and draw his load of farms people to the city to shop," the article continued.

"To our right is the old Lyons Farms store where in the evening the farmers will betake themselves to have a chat about the crops and kindered topics before retiring," he said. This was the first general store operated by Horace Greeley Looker. Opposite in addition to the blacksmith shop were the horse barns for the horse cars and Looker's hall.

"The road to our left looks inviting," the walker continued, "but we don't have time to go up it." If he had he would have found the old Red School House in Hillside Avenue.

"Climbing up the little rise of ground and past a deserted crumpling building to our left and the many smiling doorways of well-to-do country squires we come to the Old Stone School House," he asserted. This school stood in Chancellor Avenue near Elizabeth Avenue, Newark.

"We see the Farms Church on its high eminence overlooking the road," he wrote. He did not indicate which church he was passing. The Lyons Farms Presbyterian Church was formed in 1849 and stood near Chancellor Avenue, while the Lyons Farms Baptist Church organized in 1769 stood near Lyons Avenue.

"Still a little further we are at the long hill and see farmers and wagons returning from Newark and the turnouts of city folk visiting the country. We can see the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks, green meadows and white sails of boats on the bay," he concludes his visit to Lyons Farms.


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