History

welcome2003spohn01Mount Vernon School is locatedĀ in the West Ward of Newark, New Jersey. Two former sections Ivy Hill and Vailsburg make up this neighborhood.

Originally the Ivy Hill section was a part of South Orange Township. It was bought from the township around 1890. Vailsburg was an independent town from 1894 to 1905. Vailsburg was annexed to Newark on January 1, 1905. This annexation was the last time the City of Newark annexed any territory.

Today both Ivy Hill and Vailsburg are referenced as the Vailsburg section of Newark, this section stands out from the rest of Newark like a peninsula and is separated from the rest of the city by the trench of the Garden State Parkway. As of 2000, Vailsburg had a population of 34,348. Vailsburg is divided into Upper and Lower Vailsburg by Sanford Ave (Lower Vailsburg is to the east).

The primary service and advocacy organization in Vailsburg is Unified Vailsburg Services Organization (UVSO). Founded as an ecumenical coalition with a mission to stabilize the neighborhood in 1972, UVSO now serves an average of 1,200 Vailsburg residents every day through a wide range of programs. These include three preschool centers, four public school-based after school programs, a teen center, a senior center, transportation, meals on wheels, home makers and visiting nurses, community organizing, and housing development.

There are two major parks in this area Valisburg and Hill Park. The land for Vailsburg Park was originally “Electric Park,” an amusement park owned by the Krueger brewing family. The residents of Vailsburg believed that Electric Park harmed the peace of the neighborhood and lobbied to have the amusement park converted into a park for passive recreation. Ivy Hill Park is a neighborhood park on the westernmost border of Newark, between Seton Hall University and Mt. Vernon Place. The 18 acres for Ivy Hill Park was purchased by the Essex County Parks Commission in 1927 from the City of Newark. Ivy Hill Park is a small, unadorned park, yet one heavily used.

Vailsburg has a significant stock of Dutch Colonial and Victorian inspired homes, most of them having been built between 1945 and 1947. Upper Vailsburg consists largely of single-family homes, while Lower Vailsburg consists of both single-family and two-family housing units. The area is also home to the Ivy Hill Park Apartment complex, five 14 story buildings on 220-250 Mount Vernon Place and 5-85 Manor Drive.

Ivy Hill Park Apartments is New Jersey’s largest privately owned apartment complex. The apartments are a mix of immigrants, retirees, and Seton Hall University students. The Ivy Hill Apartments housing over 10,000 people are extremely diverse, dubbed a “Little United Nations” by residents. Groundbreaking for the Ivy Hill Apartments took place in September 1951, with the first tenants moving in November of the next year.