Today I reach into that digital memory box I was speaking about the other day. Here we have a series of pictures from Branch Brook Park, NEW JERSEY, and naturally- I must again mention that this is an Olmsted Park. : ) Frederick Law Olmsted was the chief architect of this park and “some other parks,” such as Central Park, New York City. It is worthwhile to branch off from this site and read about them, here.
Branch Brook Park’s claim to fame is its annual Cherry Blossom gala. It is the largest such event in our nation. At more than four thousand cherry blossom trees, it easily dwarfs the Washington DC and New York cherry blossom displays.
The reason for digging into the archives for today’s post is a) I am quite happy with these pictures and some are hanging on the walls here at the Wyman Estate and b) we have had an unlucky bit of weather that might hinder this year’s showing.
Unlike in the photos which were taken during the peak bloom period last year, about half the trees are presently in bloom now and the other half are in pre-bloom. It is too early for them to be flowering right now- the pictures throughout this post were taken the week of April 22nd last year. We have had a number of very mild days so far this year, and that follows a winter with only one snowstorm. That combination has had an effect on the plant life, and they seem poised to pay the price because the weather will be in the twenties tomorrow night. We are even supposed to get a few snow flurries.
The first Cherry Blossoms were donated by Mrs. Caroline Bamberger-Fuld. Caroline’s family, the Bambergers, were a source of early wealth in America and she was one of six children in her Bavarian-immigrant household. Caroline outlived two husbands and never had any children. Instead, she used proceeds from her portion of her family partnership in the L. Bamberger & Co. department store to live a life devoted to philanthropy.
And just like everything else about studying New York and New Jersey history, it all comes full circle: Just shy of the stock market crash of 1929, L. Bamberger & Co. was sold to a still-present day household name: R. H. Macy & Co.
I tried to make a point here about the value of surnames names and a early desire to build America. Caroline Bamberger-Fuld passed away at a remarkable 80 years of age in 1944, but I’d still like to thank her for her generous gift to our park- which has become a real movement in subsequent years.
It was a lot of work to take these pictures in a manner that makes us feel like we are the only ones there, but in fact there were thousands of people in the park that day. This park is approximately three miles in length and has several roads, all of which you can park along. That day… parking was scarce. Open green grass was scarce from all the families having picnics, games, et cetera.
But we did our best and we came away with some great pictures.
*As it turns out they have a bike race next Saturday, but I’ll have to miss it due to another event that has much more personal importance to me. Stay tuned…