CROTON POINT PARK
Croton Point Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson , Westchester County, New York; (914) 271-3293
Saw Mill Parkway north to exit for Hawthorn; left turn at light onto Route 9 north; get off at the exit for Croton Point, just after the green mileage marker indicating 21 59. Turn left (west) toward the railroad station. Travel 1 mile to the big parking lot. A minimal fee is charged from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Named for the Indian sachem, Kenoten, which means "wild wind". Also for the Croton River which presents the finest river delta in the Hudson River on the south side of the Croton Point. The oldest oyster shell middens on the North Atlantic Coast uncovered by archaeologists on Croton Point confirm that the peninsula was inhabited by Native Americans as early as 6950 B.P. (Before Present). In the 17th century, Indians of the Kitchawan tribe of the Wappinger Confederacy occupied a large fortified village on the high flat at the neck of Croton Point which they called Navish. This Indian fortress was one of the most ancient and formidable fortresses south of the Hudson Highlands. The marsh separating the Point from Croton Neck was called "Senasqua" by the Indians. A plaque marks the spot where a peace treaty was signed with the Kitchawank.
The Teller family obtained possession of Croton Point in the late 1600s. It is believed that they were the first whit settler in what became the Town of Cortlandt. They were related by marriage to Stephenus, first Lord of the Manor, when one of their sons married his sister, Sophia Van Cortlandt.
During the American Revolution, Croton Point was a place where "moonshiners" encamped. The British spy Major Andre, the ship, The Vulture, anchored off Croton Point. When the moonshiners at Croton Point ssw the ship they began to fire their muskets and small cannon at the ship. (It was actually a ceremonial toy cannon given to them by Sybil Luddington so they could act as lookouts and sound a warning, but the British didn't know that). The Captain of the Vulture beat a hasty retreat which left Andre stranded and he had to change his plans, which in turn led to his capture in Tarrytown.
In 1804 the area of 250 acres was purchased by Robert Underhill, owner of the flour mills along the Croton river. Underhill was a prosperous farmer. It is told that during the War of 1812, Underhill planted eight acres of watermelon in order to supply the New York City market which was cut off from its normal supply.
Robert Underhill's two sons, Dr. Richard and William A. Underhill, developed a successful business Dr. Richard (who gave up his career in medicine) produced the famous Croton Point wine. He carried out numerous agricultural experiments. He developed a yellowish green grape which came to be known as the Croton Grape.
William confined his energies to the northern section of Croton Point. The clay in the area made possible the making of bricks. Brick yards started about 1830. These were among the 34 brick yards in the eighteenth century along the Hudson in the Town of Cortlandt.
A village grew up around the brickyards. There was a store, a school, tavern, and other facilities for a small village. Most of the streets were in the area of the present-day parking lot.
1924 -- some old frame buildings and a group of shacks known as tent city, along with an old dance hall, were demolished for the coming park. The beach was opened and some 20,000 people enjoyed the summer at Croton Point. (French 1925:986)
Among the achievements of William Ward and the parks commission was the creation of an overall plan for recreational areas in Westchester County: Rye Playland opened in 1928. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Croton Point Park, Glen Island Park, and Kingsland Point Park were also developed. Croton Point opened for public recreation in 1924.
Source: A fact sheet prepared by Marion F. Graves of the Friends of Croton Point.
A delta jutting into the Hudson River.
Much of the lawn area is fill. Along the beach farther to the south, winter storms often tear off great chunks of soil, exposing bottles, plastic bags -- old garbage that has been used to support new land.
At low tide you can walk along the grassy picnic area you will approach the beach. Treasures can be found here. The driftwood alone would be hard to resist. There may be huge trees, some with roots still intact, polished to a silver sheen by the water's action. There are tiny pieces of driftwood in animal shapes.
Two favorite things to search for are caltrops and clay babies. Caltrops are seed from the water chestnut, a plant that grows under water. They are black and hard, with four points.
Clay babies are unique formations made when water seeps through the banks of clay that line Croton Point (clay from which bricks were once made). When the water meets an obstruction (such as a grain of sand), lime, precipitated out, forms weird shapes. Geologists call these "concretions." They are light gray in color, and they feel chalky when they are rubbed.
If the tide is low enough, you can walk along the beach to a small cove where a short steep trail leads to the top of the bank. Otherwise, retrace your steps along the beach, and look for a trail going into the woods on your right where the lawn begins. Up this trail you will arrive at the camp area.
Huge picnic area here. The Hudson River came over the wall here -- can see the line or residue. They had a freak storm a couple of weeks ago. At the south end of the protective wall there is bad erosion. Root system of a tree completely revealed. Looks like a cave.
Bird with black head, white neck; dives under the water; small bird
waves quite noisy today;
big pieces of trees thrown up on the sand like beached whales
October 18, 1992
Christopher Leets and Tom Lake
Pearl Roach or Golden Shiner (European)
10-100 million fish -- a migration that compares with bird migration
White Pearch caught here
They used a bag seine net with pocket
if seine after rain, get freshwater fish
Fluke or summer flounder turned brown to match color of bucket
Tom cod -- spawn under ice in winter
Silverside or Sperring or White Bail (Mainedia)
4 spine stickleback -- found in grass in water
Can tell the types of fish they will catch by the time of the year and the salinity of the water.
three types of shrimp:
large shore shrimp
tiny grass shrimp
Pipe fish -- long and skinny; head like sea horse
stickleback -- other fish spit them out
damselfly nymph in brackish water
Killifish from Croton Reservoir
Yellow bullhead from elsewhere; not common here; likes freshwater; caught in eelpot
Bullhead, catfish family; small eyes
Tom Cat related to Atlantic Cod
larger 14-15 inches long, usually less than 10 inches
river 6 or 7 degrees colder on average this summer. 58 degrees today.
Leptocephalus found (larval form of eel); spawns in salt water and lives in fresh water. This is called following a catadramous pattern. The more usual pattern is called anadromous.
They go to the Sargaso Sea. In spring walk in water; baby eels come in on upriver surge of tide with moon changes; they are transparent, you can see their shadows however.
99% of lakes in Adirondacks have females that live 18-30 years of age. Males are in saltwater and live from 12 to 15 years of age. The sexes are separate and then get together to spawn.
Zebra mussel; several hundred thousands per meter density
2 types of Silversides:
1) Atlantic -- the one they caught
2) inland -- pelvic and anal fin right over each other
While I was there in Apri1 7, 2000 I talked with Connie Lansing, who was picking up garbage left by the various park visitors. She said that the eagles were returning and that even a harbor seal was spotted at the Point.
Playground, picnicking, hiking/walking, fishing, ball fields, cross-country skiing, nature study, camping, beach, model airplane field, wine cellars, nature center, handicapped accessibility.
Westchester County as of 2003 plans a nearly 47 mile long Hudson River shoreline trail to be called River Walk. It will utilize the Old Croton Aqueduct, Croton Point and Kingsland Point parks, Metro-North Railroad property, Camp Smith and passes though riverfront development sites (including Harbor Square in Ossining, General Motors site in Sleepy Hollow and Yonkers' developments at Hudson Park and Alexander Street).
forest shrub layer dominated by Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney (with the Torrey Botanical Society and Dr. William F. Standaert)
Acer negundo (boxelder maple) 4/07/00
Acer platanoides (Norway maple) 4/07/00
Acer rubrum (red maple) 4/07/00
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Betula papyrifera (white birch)? planted?
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Catalpa sp. (catalpa)
Celtis occidentalis (hackberry)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)?
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Fraxinus pensylvanica (red ash) planted
Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo)
Gleditsia triacanthos (honey locust)
Ilex opaca (American holly) planted
Juglans nigra (black walnut) 10/13/00 fruit around
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Magnolia sp. (star magnolia) 4/07/00
Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn red wood) planted
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Ostrya virginiana (American hop hornbeam)
Picea abies (Norway spruce) 4/07/00
Picea sp. (spruce)
Pinus sp. (2 needled, needles longer than 3")
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Pinus sylvestris (Scotch pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Platanus x hybrida (London plane)
Populus alba (white poplar)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Prunus sp. (plum?) Shiny, folded leaves; spurlike stubs on branches?
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Salix alba var. vitellina (golden willow) planted
Salix babylonica (weeping willow) 4/07/00
Salix fragilis (willow)
Salix nigra (black willow)
Salix x sepulcralis ‘Chrysocoma' (golden weeping willow) planted
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Thuja occidentalis (arbor vitae) planted
Tilia americana (American basswood) fruit found in the wrack on the beech
Tilia cordata (small-leaved linden)
Ulmus americana (American elm)
Ulmus pumila (hybrid?) Siberian elm
Ulmus rubra? (slippery elm?)
Amorpha fruticosa (false indigo)
Baptisia tinctoria (wild false indigo)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) 4/07/00 soon
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush) planted
Comptonia peregrina (sweetfern)
Cornus alternifolia (alternate-leaved dogwood)
Cornus sericea (red osier dogwood)? Planted
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Forsythia sp. (golden bells) 4/07/00
Ilex glabra (inkberry) planted
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly) planted
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Myrica pensylvanica (bayberry)
Rosa carolina (Carolina rose)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Taxus baccata (yew) planted by owner Dr. Richard Underhill
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum) planted
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (porcelain berry) covering lots of other plants
Aristolochia macrophylla (Dutchman's pipe)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Humulus japonicus (Japanese hops)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) 10/13/00 a few in bloom
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Polygonum scandens (climbing bindweed)
Sicyos angulatus (bur cucumber)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vincetoxicum nigrum (black swallowwort)
Vitis riparia (riverbank grape)
Vitis sp. (grape)
(unknown white mustard) 4/07/00
Acalypha virginica (three-seeded mercury)
Agrostemma githago (corn cockle) seen by Carol Gracie
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Aquilegia canadensis (columbine)
Arctium minus (lesser burdock)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asarum canadense (wild ginger)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Aster acuminatus (sharp-leaved aster) 10/13/00
Aster cordifolius (heart-leave aster) 10/13/00
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster) 10/13/00
Aster lanceolatus (panicled aster) 10/13/00
Aster pilosus (aster) 10/14/00
Aster racemosus (aster) 10/14/00
Atriplex patula (orache)
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd's purse) 4/07/00
Cardamine hirsuta (hairy bittercress) 4/07/00
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed) 11/11/01
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed) 10/14/00
Chelidonium majus (celandine) 10/13/00
Chenopodium album (pigweed) 10/14/00
Chenopodium ambrosioides (Mexican tea) 10/14/00
Cichorium intybus (chicory) 10/13/00
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower) 10/14/00
Conyza canadensis (horseweed)
Cuscuta sp. (dodder)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) 10/13/00 1 in bloom
Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches) 4/07/00
Duchesnea indica (Indian strawberry)
Erigeron strigosus (lesser daisy fleabane) 10/13/00 one
Eupatorium fistulosum (trumpetweed)
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot) 10/13/00
Euphorbia maculata (spotted spurge)
Galium sp. (bedstraw)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Hedyotis sp. (bluet) 4/07/00 lots and lots of them on the lawn
Helianthus sp. (sunflower)
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Hepatica americana (round-leaved hepatica) 4/07/00
Impatiens capensis (jewelweed)
Lamium purpureum (purple dead nettle) 4/07/00
Leonurus cardiaca (motherwort) 10/14/00
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper) 11/11/01
Lespedeza capitata (round-headed bush clover)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs) 10/13/00 waning
Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco lobelia)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) 10/13/00 a couple still blooming
Melilotus alba (white sweet clover) 10/13/00 waning
Mirabilis nyctaginea (heart-leaved umbrellawort) 11/11/01 by the Croton on Harmon RR station
Mollugo verticillata (carpetweed)
Myriophyllum sp. (Eurasian milfoil)
Nepeta cataria (catnip) 10/13/00 one in bloom
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose) 10/13/00 11/11/01
Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel)
Phytolacca americana (pokeberry)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum arenastrum (common knotweed)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) 10/13/00
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Polygonum lapathifolium (nodding smartweed) 10/14/00
Polygonum scandens (climbing false hempweed)
Polygonum virginianum (Virginia smartweed; jumpseed)
Potentilla argentea (silvery cinquefoil)
Potentilla norvegica (cinquefoil) 4/07/00
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal) 10/13/00
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black-eyed susan) 10/14/00
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)
Sanguisorba minor (salad burnet) found by Carol Gracie
Sanicula canadensis (sanicle)
Saponaria officinalis (bouncing bet) 10/13/00 11/11/01
Satureja officinalis (wild basil) 10/13/00 one in bloom
Silene latifolia (white campion) 11/11/01
Silene vulgaris (bladder campion)
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Smilacina stellata (star-flowered false Solomon's seal)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade) 10/14/00
Solanum nigrum (black nightshade) 10/13/00
Solidago bicolor (silverrod) 10/14/00
Solidago caesia (blue-stem goldenrod) 10/13/00
Solidago canadensis var. scabra (Canada goldenrod)
Solidago gigantea (smooth goldenrod)
Solidago juncea (early goldenrod)
Sonchus asper (prickly sow thistle) 10/13/00 one
Stellaria media (common chickweed) 4/07/00
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) 4/07/00 10/13/00
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)
Trapa natans (water chestnut)
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 10/13/00 11/11/01
Trifolium repens (white clover) 10/13/00 11/11/01
Typhus latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)
Vallisneria americana (water celery)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Vicia cracca (crown vetch)
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain)
Viola sororia (common blue violet) 11/11/01
Juncus tenuis (path rush)
Carex laxiflora type (sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) 4/07/00
Cyperus brevifolioides (flat sedge)
Cyperus strigosus (cyperus sedge)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Digitaria sanguinalis (crabgrass)
Eleusine indica (zipper grass)
Elymus virginicus (wild rye)
Elytrigia repens (quack grass)
Eragrostis spectabilis (purple love grass)
Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)
Poa pratensis (Kentucky blue grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)
Setaria viridis (green foxtail grass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)
Ferns and Fern Allies:
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
CROTON POINT PARK, CROTON-ON-HUDSON, WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY, N.Y. Oct. 14,
On a only slightly chilly day, the Torrey Botanical Society surveyed the blooms and remnants that the fall day offered. The story of Croton Point is the story of invasive plants. There were lots of invasive vines climbing over various small tress and shrubs, including Ampelopsis brevipedunculata, Celastrus orbiculatus, and Lonicera japonica. The group let out a hearty laugh when Sarah David Rosenbaum found Vincetoxicum nigrum (black swallowwort). The curator wanted to know why we were laughing and so we told her about the plant that ate Hook Mountain. The small forest remnants are already dominated by another invasive, Lonicera maackii (Amur honeysuckle), which is by-far the dominant shrub of the forest and edges.
This is heavily used park with lots of large groups coming on weekends. In fact, the Saturday we visited, thousands of cub and boy scouts along with their parents descended on the area. In keeping with this emphasis on humans in the park, there were lots of planted species, especially in the group camping area. Among the planted species were Cornus sericea, Fraxinus pensylvanica, Ilex glabra and I. Opaca, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, Platanus x hybrida (occidentalis x orientalis), along with lots of willows, including Salix alba var. vitellina (golden willow), S. babylonica (hybrid), S. nigra, and S. x sepulcralis 'Chrysocoma', Taxus baccata, Thuja occidentalis, Tilia cordata, and Ulmus pumila (hybrid?).
As usual in autumn, the aster and goldenrods were among the most frequent bloomers. Among the asters in bloom were Aster cordifolius, A. divaricatus, A. lanceolatus, A. pilosus, and A. racemosus. Among the goldenrods in bloom included Solidago bicolor, S. caesia, S. canadensis var. scabra, S. gigantea, and S. juncea.
Among other flowers in bloom were Chelidonium majus, Chenopodium album and C. ambrosioides, Cichorium intybus, Commelina communis, Geum canadense, Leonurus cardiaca, Linaria vulgaris, Lythrum salicaria, Melilotus alba, Oenothera biennis, Polygonum cespitosum and P. lapathifolium, Solanum dulcamara and S. nigrum, and Trifolium pratense and T. repens.
Along the Hudson River shore was lots of Amorpha fruticosa, which the maintenance staff has tried to keep cut low along the low river wall by the lawn area. On the lawns were lots of Cyperus brevifolioides. Other interesting species were Acalypha virginica, Celtis occidentalis, Comptonia peregrina, Duchesnea indica, Elymus virginicus, Elytrigia repens, Eragrostis spectabilis, Juglans nigra, Sanicula canadensis, Vallisneria americana, and Vitis riparia.
Total attendance was 9. The trip leader was Dr. Patrick L. Cooney. Thanks to Dr. William F. Standaert for plant identification and preparation of the trip plant list.