SETON FALLS PARK
Bronx, New York
The Siwanoy Indians inhabited the area.
1654 -- English colonist Thomas Pell purchased a large parcel of land from the Siwanoys. Pell invited farmers from Fairfield County, Connecticut to settle here,
1666 -- their town of Eastchester was incorporated.
Revolutionary War (1781) -- there was a lot of military action in the Bronx and lower Westchester. In a battle that occurred in what became the park, the patriots forced the British to retreat.
Post Revolutionary era -- owners of the area lost their land because of their loyalty to Great Britain. James Roosevelt, a relative of two U.S. Presidents, acquired the property.
A family to become prominent in the history of the future park land was that of the Setons. The family was a prominent one in the fields of political and social affairs of what was then the town of Eastchester.
1774-1821 -- Elizabeth Seton was the first American to be canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.
1803 -- her husband died and she converted to Catholicism. She moved with her five children to Baltimore. After taking her vows, she established the American Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg in 1809. It was the first Roman Catholic religious order in the United States.
1832 -- Emily Prime, daughter of Nathaniel Prime (a wealthy New York banker), announced her plans to marry William Seton, the eldest son of Elizabeth Seton.
1835 -- Nathaniel Prime buys the future park mansion (which he called "The Cedars" for the many red cedars on the property) for his daughter and son-in-law. William Seton renamed the fifty-one-acre estate "Cragdon" and transformed it into a working farm with two ponds. Rattlesnake Creek was dammed to form a waterfall.
The park is named for the Seton family and their man-made waterfalls.
early 1900s -- the site was widely, but informally, used for recreation.
1914 (June 10) -- the city acquired thirty-two acres of the former Seton estate for the Department of Health to build a hospital for contagious diseases. The community resisted the hospital plan for some fifteen years.
1930 (June 11) -- Twenty-nine acres of this parcel were assigned to Park.
1932 -- three acres were annexed to the park.
1936 -- the eastern portion of the park was improved with a baseball field. The western forest was left alone.
1981 -- in order to end flooding problems, the city spent $250,000 to build a pumping station to drain Rattlesnake Creek.
1983 -- more land added.
1985 -- more land added.
1997 -- the Seton Falls Park Preservation Coalition received a $5500 grant from the New York City Environmental Fund for the implementation of a school-based program for education about the restoration of the park's wetlands and woodlands.
The park's western portion has not been disturbed since the time of the American Revolution.