UNTERMEYER PARK
945 North Broadway, Yonkers, Westchester County, NY (south of St. John's Riverside Hospital)


History:

1814 -- Samuel J. Tilden born in Columbia County, NY. He was educated at Yale and the University of the City of New York.

1841 -- He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1841. He amassed a large fortune from corporate law.

1840s -- Tilden became a leader of the Barnburners, a Democratic faction committed to free-soil principles. He later abandoned his free soil convictions.

1845 -- he was a member of the New York state legislature.

1848 -- a delegate of a faction to the Democrat National Convention.

Civil War -- Tilden worked against the supposed threat of tyranny by a powerful centralized government in Washington.

1864 -- John T. Waring was the original owner of the Yonkers estate, known as Greystone, later owned by Tilden. Waring built a hundred-room stone villa. Waring had started manufacturing hats in Yonkers in 1840.  He was the head of the Waring Hat Manufactory.  Waring, as President of the Village, administered the oath of allegiance to 60 men, Yonker's first volunteers for service in the Civil War.  

post Civil War -- Tilden condemned Radical Reconstruction.

1866 to 1874 -- Tilden was chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee.

1871 -- Tilden examined the bank accounts of the Tweed Ring and proved that the ring had stolen millions from the city. Tilden had launched a vigorous attack on the corrupt Tammany Hall, the Democratic machine in New York City led by William M. Tweed (who had swindled somewhere between $75 million to $200 million dollars from 1865 and 1871).

1874 -- elected governor of New York in 1874.

1876 -- Tilden, a Democrat, runs for the presidency in 1876 against Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. Tilden had actually won the election, but there was an electoral dispute that was compromised away by giving Hayes the presidency, giving the Democrats the end of Reconstruction (with the withdrawal of federal troops there), and giving Tilden the shaft.

1879 -- Waring sold the estate to Samuel J. Tilden. Tilden started altering the house and grounds.

1886 -- Tilden died at Greystone in Yonkers, N. Y. $3 million of his $5-million estate went to help found the New York City Public Library.

1899 -- Samuel Untermeyer bought the estate and made the gardens one of the best in the area. Untermyer was born in 1858 in Lynchburg, Virginia. He received his LL.B. from Columbia Law School in 1878. In 1912 he attained prominence by helping to curb financial excesses. He became a highly successful corporate lawyer.  He was a delegate to six Democratic Conventions from 1904-1932. He served as attorney for Herman Bernstein's suit against Henry Ford for anti-semitism. He died in 1940 at his winter home in Palm Springs, California and is interned at Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, N.Y.

The massive villa was bulldozed and St. Johns Riverside Hospital stands there now. Just beyond the hospital in the wood are the ruins of the old garden. These include "stone pediments, toppled logias, pieces of trellises, and parts of an old potting shed." (Randall 1995:24)

The house is gone, but part of the gardens are here. Marble statues and reflecting pools grace the park today.

The classical colonnade can be seen from the Old Croton Aqueduct trail.

The park is an Historic Landmark of the United States National Register of Historic Places.
There is an impressive walled in garden area. Here there is a long narrow pool leading to the opposite wall where winged lions sit atop two columns each. Another narrow pool crosses east -west. There is a larger pool at the center. The lions sit behind the largest of the pools. The enclosed garden abuts the St. Johns Riverside Hospital. On the west side, there are fourteen Corinthian columns in a circle (without a roof) with view of the Palisades. It has an intricate tile design on its floor.

By the hospital fence, there are steps down towards the river with still another view of the Palisades.

There is a columned gazebo on top of a raised small mountain; there is a tunnel passageway to a view west one floor below the top with more steps down to the ground; waterfall in center and to the right as you look east at the gazebo.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) recently helped the City of Yonkers purchase 19 acres of undeveloped land to expand the park. The 13-acre park was thereby  more than doubled in size.


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = 8/10/2003, date plant found in bloom


Trees:
(blue atlas cedar) planted
Acer platanoides (Norway maple) lots
Acer pseudoplatanus (sycamore maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus sylvatica (copper beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Gleditsia sp. (honey locust)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Magnolia sp. (magnolia)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Paulownia tomentosa (empress tree)
Pinus nigra (Austrian pine)
Prunus sp. (kwanzan cherry)
Pyrus calleryana (callery pear) planted
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus rubrum (red oak)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

Shrubs:
Acanthopanax sieboldianus (five fingered aralia)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Buxus sp. (boxwood) planted
Cornus kousa (kousa dogwood)
Cornus mas (Cornelian cherry dogwood)
Euonymus alatus planted and wild
Forsythia sp. (golden bells)
Ilex aquifolium (English holly) planted
Juniperus sp. (juniper bushes)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel) planted
Pachysandra terminalis (pachysandra)
Rhododendron maximum (rosebay rhododendron)
Rhodotypos scandens (jetbead)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Syringa sp. (lilac)
Viburnum sp. (leather-leaf viburnum?) planted

Vines:
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (porcelain berry) lots and lots of it
Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed) *
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Hedera helix (English ivy)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vinca minor (periwinkle)

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (common yarrow) *
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) *
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed) * soon
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Artemisia stelleriana (beach wormwort or dusty miller) planted
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Chenopodium album (pigweed)
Cirsium vulgaris (bull thistle) *
Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower) *
Conyza canadensis (horseweed)
Cymbalaria muralis (kenilworth ivy) *
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) *
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pileweed)
Erigeron annuus (common daisy fleabane) *
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Galinsoga sp. (gallant soldiers) *
Geranium sp. (geranium) * planted
Hosta sp. (hosta) * planted
Hydrangea sp. (hydrangea) * planted
Lapsana communis (nipplewort) *
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs) *
Medicago lupulinus (black medick) *
Melilotus alba (white sweet clover) *
Monarda didyma (bee balm) *
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel) *
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) *
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) *
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed) huge patch of it
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal) *
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Senecio vulgaris (common groundsel) *
Solanum nigrum (black nightshade) *
Tagetes sp. (marigolds) * planted
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) *
Trifolium pratense (red clover) *
Trifolium repens (white clover) *
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain) *
Viola sp. (violet)
Viola sp. (pansy) * planted
Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle) planted
Zizia aurea (golden Alexanders)

Rushes:
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Sedges:
Cyperus lupinus (sedge)
Cyperus esculentus or strigosus (nut sedge)

Grasses:
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Digitaria sp. (crab grass)
Echinochloa crus-galli (barnyard grass)
Eleusine indica (zipper grass)
Eragrostis (pectinacea?) (Carolina love grass)
Lolium perenne (English wild rye grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass) *
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Setaria sp. (foxtail grass)

Ferns:
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)