Crotona Park

bounded by Fulton Avenue (west)., Crotona Park N (north), Crotona Park E (east), and Crotona Park S (south), Bronx, NY

127.5 acres


History:

Weckguasgeeck Indians lived in the area.

mid-1600s  --  the Morris family settled 2000 acres of land in southeast Bronx.

Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816), one of the forgotten founding fathers, owned a 1,900 acre estate in what is now the South Bronx.

The area was once known as Bathgate Woods.

1847   --  Andrew Bathgate, a Scottish immigrant, was the manor foreman on the land of the Gouveneur Morris estate and by hard work was able to buy 140 acres from Gouverneur Morris II. Bathgate and his family controlled the land from 1847 to 1884. The family opened Indian Lake area to the public for picnicking and recreation.  And they leased the rights to harvest ice from the lake to a local brewery.

1884  -- Bathgate descendants sold the property to the city for use as a park.  The family expected the park to be named after them, but following a surveying/border dispute between the city and the Bathgate family, city officials spitefully titled the new park "Crotona" from Croton, a Greek colony in southern Italy, noted for its athletes.  (The city also bought the 38-acre holding of Martin Zborowski, a western neighbor of the Bathgates, and created Claremont Park.). The new park was just one of many to be established in the Bronx Park System.

1888-90 --  purchase of lands for Van Cortlandt, Claremont, Crotona, Bronx, St. Mary’s, and Pelham Bay Parks as well as the Mosholu, Pelham, and Crotona Parkways. Suddenly, the city’s parkland had increased fivefold.

1977  --  U.S. President Jimmy Carter visited the park to discuss urban renewal.  He saw urban decay with old cars filling the park's lake and with gangs of men roaming the lawns.

early 1980s --  President Reagan visited the park and said that it was "worse than the London Blitz."

1996 --  the Friends of Crotona Park created to improve the park.


Source: http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/historical_signs/hs_historical_sign.php?id=11612