Two years later, the commission returned to the Olmsted firm, by then called Olmsted Brothers. John Charles Olmsted developed and implemented a comprehensive and viable system, respectful of natural resources while meeting community needs. Olmsted Brothers’ involvement in Essex County would span six decades, involving the development of park sites across the county, from small city squares to parks of all sizes and characters, including extensive scenic reservations. Their intended network of connective parkways, however, was only minimally implemented, with much acreage gradually being acquired by state highways.
Today the system encompasses more than 6,000 acres, with thirty parks and reservations, a series of waterways, scenic overlooks, and a network of trails. Though natural in appearance, many of the system’s expansive views and landscape features, including landforms, lakes, and plant materials, were designed by Olmsted Brothers. Although the system is not listed in the National Register of Historic Places in its entirety, a number of individual parks are, including Anderson (listed in 2009), Branch Brook (1981), Lincoln (1984), Military (2004), Riverbank (1998), Washington (1978), and Weequahic Parks (2003).