Carrie Fuld knew how to give a gift. The story told is this: Caroline Bamberger Frank Fuld went to Washington to see their famed cherry blossoms. When she returned, Fuld decided that such trees were just what Newark needed. In 1926, she purchased trees, nurtured them on the grounds of her South Orange estate on Centre Street, and then dedicated them to the city. The 2,000 trees were the first planted in Branch Brook Park—like our own South Mountain Reservation, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted—where cherry blossom trees now number some 4,100.
Fuld, who was married to philanthropist Felix Fuld until his 1928 death, was the sister of Louis Bamberger, department store magnate, who lived next door on their 33-acre estate in South Orange. The estate included lush gardens—Caroline Fuld was known as an avid gardener—and a working farm. Her gift to the city wasn't widely reported at the time, perhaps because her other gifts claimed more attention. The Fulds gave money to fund Newark Beth Israel Hospital and the YMHA/YWHA, as well as Newark Museum and a settlement house that bore Caroline Fuld's name. However, her signature gift to the people of New Jersey was the establishment of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, which brought Albert Einstein to the United States.
Her brother, Louis Bamberger, was successful in business—a millionaire several times over—and quietly dedicated to philanthropy. He was a major donor to the New Jersey Historical Society, and he was an early patron of the Newark Public Library. Likewise, when the Newark Museum was still borrowing space on the upper floors of the library, Bamberger announced plans to fund the construction of a building. He hired the noted architect Jervis Hunt to design the limestone building; the $700,000 cost of design and construction was paid for entirely by Bamberger. His donations weren’t limited to money; he gave his extensive autograph collection to the Historical Society. Among the autographs, Bamberger had one for each of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Though the Newark Evening News readers voted Bamberger “One of Newark’s Leading Citizens,” he preferred to stay out of the limelight. At home in South Orange, he lived quietly on Centre Street.
The estate, which the Fuld-Bamberger family gave to become the Veterans' Hospital, still has a few cherry trees around the perimeter. Fuld's bequest, however, blooms dramatically in Branch Brook Park each spring, reminding residents of the Fuld-Bamberger family legacy.