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Morristown Green, N.J. -- George Washington Slept Here . . . A lot

By Anna Cheng Young, RLA, LLA, Dewberry,
LASN Editor Stephen Kelly




The Morristown Green redesign included a new concrete promenade, reconstructed and enhanced pathways that connect the major features of the park, and new lighting.
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On the Morristown Green in New Jersey, George Washington stands in a 21st century park and does not appear to be out of place. The Morristown Green, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a 2.5-acre privately owned public park where a recent renovation revitalized the park for modern use, while making history tangible through a series of installations.

During his first encampment in Morristown in 1777, General George Washington headquartered at the Green in Arnold’s Tavern. Today, retail establishments, restaurants, places of worship, a theater and community facilities surround the Green. It is also the “backyard” for major redevelopment efforts underway in the Town of Morristown, New Jersey. When the trustees of the Morristown Green embarked on the revitalization project, they turned to the Green’s long-term consultant, Anna Cheng Young, RLA, LLA, to create a master plan and landscape design.

 




Gen. George Washington was headquartered at the Morristown, N.J. Green, in Arnold’s Tavern, during an encampment from Jan. to May 1777. He returned to Morrisontown again during the winter of 1779-80. The historic statuary on the Green includes “The Alliance,” a bronze sculpture by the Brooklyn-based Studio EIS of the Marquis de Lafayette (back to us) assuring Gen. George Washington (r) and Col. Alexander Hamilton of French financial and troop support for the American Revolution.


Cheng Young’s renovation design provides a careful balance between plantings and hardscape. A canopy of mature and newly planted trees complement low-planting beds and open lawns.

Hardscape elements are designed to highlight Morristown’s role as the military capital of the American Revolution. Brooklyn-based Studio EIS created “The Alliance,” a bronze sculpture depicting General George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette. Wayside signs tell the story of historical landmarks, including Arnold’s Tavern, burial grounds and a smallpox hospital.

Cheng Young and the trustees collaborated to create a granite medallion emblematic of the American spirit. The medallion is embedded in the center of the plaza with a map of the United States and the Latin phrase from the 1776 Seal of the United States, E pluribus unum, “Out of many, one.”

 




A distinct element is the 58-foot-long curving seat wall constructed of indigenous purple puddingstone, a sedimentary rock of sandstone and quartz. The name of the stone apparently derives from its resemblance to Christmas pudding. Concrete pavers are the hardscaping for the plaza. To further convey the historic context of the Morristown Green to new generations, a granite medallion is embedded in the center of the plaza with a map of the United States circumscribed by the Latin phrase from the 1776 Seal of the United States—E pluribus unum—”Out of many, one.”


Additional improvements include a 58-foot-long bench constructed in indigenous puddingstone, a sedimentary rock of sandstone and quartz, a center promenade, game tables, meandering brick paths and improved lighting. These park enhancements are welcomed additions for the local residents. Nearby office workers enjoy the park during the lunch break. It’s a pleasant respite for visitors and a venue for community activities.

At the project’s outset, the trustees and designers sought to create a place of respite in the urban landscape where history would provide the backdrop for 21st century life. While the project has received commendations from the State of New Jersey, the Downtown New Jersey organization, and the New Jersey Chapter of the ASLA, its greatest praise may have come from the regional newspaper’s blog (Morristown Green), whose mission is to be “an online version of the venerable Morristown Green: Where people can come together and talk about anything and everything that matters to them.”

 




The brick patio (Pine Hall Brick) was renovated and updated with benches, chess tables and a drinking fountain.

 

Morristown Green Team
Owner: Trustees of Morristown Green, Inc.,
Morristown, N.J.
Landscape Architect: Anna Cheng Young, Califon, Dewberry, Parsippany, N.J. office. Dewberry is a multidisciplinary firm headquartered in Fairfax, Va., with more than 40 locations.
Civil Engineer: Dewberry, Parsippany, N.J.
Contractor: Concrete Construction Corp.,
Hackensack, N.J.
Sculptor: Studio EIS, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Vendors
Benches—Victor Stanley
Brick Patio—Pine Hall Brick
Game Tables—Dumor Site Furnishings
Granite Medallion—Rock of Ages
Promenade—Anchor Concrete Products
Signage: Historic Features—Cornerstone Spatial Design
Site Lighting—Penn Globe Gas Light Co.


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June 18, 2019, 6:35 pm PDT

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