Fritz Reuter Altenheim and Schuetzen Park
|Location||North Bergen, New Jersey Coordinates:|
|Area||3 acres (1.2 ha)|
Schuetzen Park is a privately owned park in North Bergen, New Jersey, United States, that has existed since 1872 and is located on the ridge of the Hudson Palisades at Kennedy Boulevard and Bergen Turnpike just north of the Marginal Highway. Its southern and western perimeters are shared with the Fritz Reuter Altenheim, a retirement community named for the German author, Fritz Reuter, and Columbia Park, a large shopping center. The German-American Volksfest has taken place there annually since its construction.
In 1864, nearby Union Hill was set apart from North Bergen as a separate municipality that had been originally settled by a group of German-Americans as early as 1851. In 1872, the United Schützen Association opened a park on the site of the "Old Mansion" of the Wright family (see 1873 map illustration), featuring a new dancing pavilion, music stand and shooting gallery in addition to the landscape elements and green houses "just as Mr. Wright left them." The Plattduetsche Volksfest Vereen organization of New York and New Jersey (PVV), which was created in 1874, purchased the property in 1894. It expanded into an amusement park that featured three dancing pavilions and ten bowling alleys, which entertained up to 50,000 attendees at a time with vaudeville performances and tournaments, parades, and fireworks. Schuetzen is a derivative of the German word Schütze, meaning "shooter" or "rifleman". Originally encompassing about 32 acres, the park's location on the western cuesta of the Hudson Palisades was chosen so that bullets could be directed into the side of the hill. Target practice continued at the park until 1935. Over the years much of the property was sold off, a large portion of which was acquired by the government to build Route 495 leading to the Lincoln Tunnel.
In a 1911 ad in which it is called Schützen Park, proprietor Fred Hager claimed it as the "largest park of its kind in New Jersey", offering 600 x 200 feet rifle ranges, 10 modern bowling alleys, and three dancing pavilions, which could accommodate roughly 50,000 people. The park also contained a variety of attractions, such as vaudeville performances, parades, fireworks and tournaments. The park was one of the venues in Hudson County that catered to the large German-speaking population. Armbruster's Schuetzen Park and Pohlmann's Hall, are among the many others. From 1945 to 1975, when the sports field was sold to a real estate developer, Schuetzen Park was the home of Hoboken FC 1912.
Today the park is used for banquets, weddings, receptions, and public sporting events such as boxing and mixed martial arts matches. The park, along with the retirement home, the Bergen Crest Mausoleum, the Garden State Crematory, and the many cemeteries that characterize the area along the western slope - Flower Hill Cemetery, Grove Church Cemetery, Hoboken Cemetery, Machpelah Cemetery and Weehawken Cemetery - constitute a string of green open spaces in North Hudson County. The German-American Volksfest has taken place there annually since 1874. Fears were expressed that the 2015 Volkfest may be the last, owing to the amount of club members who have moved away.
- Keller, Susan Jo. "At Schuetzen Park, a Bit of Germany and a Tradition of Charity". The New York Times. October 6, 1996
- Fritz Reuter Altenheim's official site, accessed December 4, 2010.
- Google Maps
- Schuetzen Park in North Bergen Archived 2011-02-03 at WebCite, Germany in NYC, accessed November 28, 2010.
- "End of the Volksfest [scan] ". The New York Times. September 1, 1895.
- "The Fritz Reuter Home [scan] ". The New York Times. September 1, 1895.
- Feldra, Robert (1917). History of Hudson County Genealogies of Prominent Families. Michel and Rank.
- "The National Schützenfest". Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. August 3, 1872. p. 333.
- Schwartz, Art (August 30, 2015). "Farewell to a century-old tradition?: 141st annual German festival at Schuetzen Park may be the last". The Hudson Reporter.
- 50th Anniversary of the Incorporation of the Town of West Hoboken, N.J.. Datz Co. 1911. p. 50
- National Association of Letter Carriers (U.S.) (1900). "The postal record". 13–14. National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO: 186. ISSN 0032-5376. OCLC 1762712. Cite journal requires
- "Bowling tourney this week [scan] ". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 15 July 1900.
- Armbruster's Schuetzen Park
- Villanova, Patrick. "Boxing's back in North Bergen, and the crowd loves it", NJ.com/The Jersey Journal, August 2, 2008
- Wilshe, Brett. "Pre-holiday Mixed Martial Arts bouts set", Hudson Dispatch Weekly, December 2, 2010, page 3
- North Bergen Crematory. NJ.com. accessed May 10, 2010
- "Grove Church Cemetery: Hudson County, New Jersey". Interment.net. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- Hudson County New Jersey Street Map. Hagstrom Map Company, Inc. 2008. ISBN 0-88097-763-9.
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