Amateur historian Richard A. Kennedy is the author of a new book on the tuberculosis sanatorium once located on 300 acres of the Hilltop Reservation straddling Verona, Cedar Grove and North Caldwell.
Through photographs culled from libraries, historical societies and private collections, Essex Mountain Sanatorium (Arcadia Publishing) pays homage to the institution.
A couple of women from Montclair successfully lobbied local government in the early 20th century to build the Sanatorium. It would ultimately become one of the finest tuberculosis treatment centers in the country. The very advances made in treatments there along with the development of anti-tubercular drugs, however, would contribute to the decline in need for such institutions.
Once abandoned in the early 1980s, the buildings drew everyone from curious explorers to vandals to arsonists before they were demolished in 1993.
Kennedy, one of those explorers, will debut his book on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 7:30 p.m., in the Verona Community Center, Bloomfield Avenue and Lynn Drive.
As a guest of the Verona Historical Society, the author will make a presentation on the Essex Mountain Sanatorium and discuss what enticed so many like him to become fascinated with the more than 20 buildings and their history.
He will share interesting facts, including details of an underground tunnel system that connected the buildings.
Order Essex Mountain Sanatorium online.