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Re: Where Did These Nick Names Come From?
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See below for some good background info about Mosquito Park (did you also know that JC had a championship minor league baseball team known as The Jersey City Skeeters)?

Mosquito Park Overview:
The Dr. Leonard J. Gordon Park at Jersey City Heights is best known for the sculptures of Buffalo and Bears (c. 1907) that one sees when passing on Kennedy Boulevard as well as for its nickname "mosquito park" after the pesky New Jersey insect.

Its development took place at the time of the "City Beautiful" movement in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. The movement's purpose was to revitalize industrialized communities with public spaces for recreational purposes. The Jersey City Charter Company owned the undeveloped hillside woodland site with stone boulders and sold it to Jersey City for $46,000 on September 19, 1907.

The 5.7 acre park was designed by the landscape architect John T. Withers who left much of the rocky terrain as he found it. Appointed by Mayor H. Otto Wittpenn as the municipal landscaper, Withers was also responsible for the Mary Benson Park on Newark Avenue and the Bayside Park in the Greenville section of Jersey City. According to local historian J. Owen Grundy, "Withers had made quite a reputation in Jersey City at the turn of the century by giving illustrated lectures before various organizations showing how attractive a city could be if the citizens and public officials cared" (Grundy).

The larger-than-life stone statues of the buffalo and bear were the work of sculptor Solon Hannibal Borglum (1868-1922). As an artist he was influence by the many years he spent on the Western plains of Utah and later Nebraska, where his father owned a ranch. It allowed him to foster an appreciation for the peoples and animals of the land. He visited the Sioux, who revere the buffalo, at their South Dakota reservation; it resulted in his work Sioux Indian Buffalo Dance (1899).

Art commentator Meredith Bzkakm remarks that "Borglum's Buffalo and Bears are unusual works for their time. The animals are depicted in a naturalistic fashion, lying directly on the grass and therefore completely within the space of the viewer; they are unencumbered by a base or pedestal. These works . . . typify his spontaneous style. Forgoing strict anatomical illustration, Borglum preferred to simply suggest an animal's form and to infuse the work with a sense of movement" (Bzdak 57). Among his other works are Lassoing Wild Horses (1898) and On the Border of the White Man's Land (1899); they represent his theme of frontier life recurrent in his work. Borglum's brother, Gutzon, is the noted sculptor of Mount Rushmore and the statue of Abraham Lincoln in front of the Essex County Court House in Newark.

According to Grundy the naming of the new park came from the opinion of William H. Richardson. He was a member of the city's Board of Shade Tree Commission and "believed that all city parks should be named to honor distinguished citizens" (Grundy). Two years prior to the founding of the park, Dr. Leonard J. Gordon (1844-1905) had died, and city leaders agreed that his legacy to the city merited the park naming. Mayor Mark M. Fagan said at a memorial for Dr. Gordon, "No better man or more useful citizen ever lived in this city" (Quoted in Grundy).

Dr. Gordon, a New York native, served in the Union army during the Civil War. After moving to Jersey City, he obtained his medical degree from Bellevue in 1875 and completed his internship at the Jersey City Charity Hospital that predated the Medical Center. His contributions to his adopted city were the placement of the sculpture Soldiers and Sailors Memorial by Philip Martiny in front of City Hall and the advancement of the Free Public Library of Jersey City. He championed the founding of a public library for the city, coming up against the vote of a municipal referendum. When the approval and appropriations for the library were finally granted, Dr. Gordon became the president of its board of trustees and then the library's director. His brick, Queen Anne-style home by the architect William Milne Grisnell, built in 1888, was at 485 Jersey Avenue, not far from the library at 472 Jersey Avenue. A memorial window and a bust of Dr. Gordon at the entrance of the main library on Jersey Avenue and were donated by local residents in February 1907.

An iron fence that is anchored in concrete piers surrounds the urban park. In the center is a circular gazebo or bandstand. On November 9, 1930, the Hudson City Soldiers and Sailors Welfare League, Inc. placed a World War I memorial statue Dough Boy in the park. There is also an American eagle atop a granite shaft that was placed there by the Raymond Sipnick Post of the Jewish War Veterans.

Posted on: 2009/5/26 16:13
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Re: Where Did These Nick Names Come From?
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Quote:

Binky wrote:
Quote:

JerseyCityNj wrote:
Mosquito Park isn't infested with mosquitoes.


I'm too young to remember, as are most others, the world before DDT and other modern insecticides. Before the 40's or 50's, and before the meadowlands were drained to the degree they are now, the lowlands west of the heights were indeed infested with mosquitos, and they would rise up into areas like the park to feed in the evening.
All hearsay to me, as I'm too young and didn't live here besides, but that's what I read somewhere in a book on local history.
Perhaps a native can confirm that.


I've lived in the area for 60 years -- and this even predates me! My father (born in the area back in 1917) told us this story about Mosquito Park when we were growing up. In fact, many of his contemporaries still wouldn't go into Mosquito Park in the 1960s and 1970s when the weather was warm or humid, for fear of catching some disease that the mosquitoes who inhabited the area might be carrying.

Posted on: 2009/5/26 5:09
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Re: Where Did These Nick Names Come From?
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Quote:

Binky wrote:
Quote:

JerseyCityNj wrote:
Mosquito Park isn't infested with mosquitoes.


I'm too young to remember, as are most others, the world before DDT and other modern insecticides. Before the 40's or 50's, and before the meadowlands were drained to the degree they are now, the lowlands west of the heights were indeed infested with mosquitos, and they would rise up into areas like the park to feed in the evening.
All hearsay to me, as I'm too young and didn't live here besides, but that's what I read somewhere in a book on local history.
Perhaps a native can confirm that.

That makes sense, for why it would be called Mosquito Park. I am native to Jersey City though just not old enough to know when or how the names started.

Does anyone know how The Oaks got its name?

Posted on: 2009/5/26 3:26
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Re: Where Did These Nick Names Come From?
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Quote:

JerseyCityNj wrote:
Mosquito Park isn't infested with mosquitoes.


I'm too young to remember, as are most others, the world before DDT and other modern insecticides. Before the 40's or 50's, and before the meadowlands were drained to the degree they are now, the lowlands west of the heights were indeed infested with mosquitos, and they would rise up into areas like the park to feed in the evening.
All hearsay to me, as I'm too young and didn't live here besides, but that's what I read somewhere in a book on local history.
Perhaps a native can confirm that.

Posted on: 2009/5/26 1:57
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Where Did These Nick Names Come From?
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I have always been curious where did the parks The Oaks (Enos Jones Park) and Mosquito Park ( Leonard Gordan Park) get there nick names? Are there any old time residents that know how or when these names started? The Oaks isn't lined with Oak trees and Mosquito Park isn't infested with mosquitoes.

Posted on: 2009/5/26 1:45
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