ALLISON PARK
Allison Road, just south of St. Peters College, Bergen County, NJ
7 acres


Facilities:

Paved walking paths leading to scenic overlooks. Restrooms, water, and benches.


History:

Palisades Mountain House

1871 -- built during this year and set on the brow of the Palisades near Greycliff at present day Allison Park, more than 300 feet above the river.

1872 -- its doors open in June. The resort's principal owner was William O. Allison. His lessee was David C. Hammond, who also managed the Murray Hill and Plaza Hotels in Manhattan. The manager was William Perry. It was a gargantuan wooden structure of more than a hundred rooms and accommodating up to 500 guests; it was six-hundred feet long and five stories tall and topped by a cupola. Among the items in the mountain house were "a telegraph office, billiard hall, bowling alley, barber shop, cigar stand, reading rooms, public and private parlors, and reception rooms." There was a housekeeper and a staff of 35 male and female servants, who lived in the top-floor quarters. Many of the guests came from New York City. Coming by steamboat they would land at a private dock at the foot of the cliffs and from there be transported via stagecoach up a winding road that later became the PIP-NJ's Palisade Avenue entrance. It was held to be a health resort. Guests could go riding on rustic lanes, boating on the river, hunting, fishing.

Tuesday, June 3, 1884 -- the start of the 13th season was just a week away. The mountain house caught on fire and burned to the ground. Subsequently, it became the estate of William Allison, born in the Palisades village of Underhill.

In the late 1900s a number of wealthy estates were established along the Palisades in communities such as Nyack and Englewood Cliffs. (Serrao 1986:24)

1903 -- William Allison house burns down.

1939 -- the brick Novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph is built on roughly the same site as that of the Palisades Mountain House.

(Palisades Interstate Park Commission New Jersey Section website:
http://www.njpalisades.org/cnjun98.htm)

Allison Park was developed by the trustees of the Estate of William O. Allison (1849-1924) who was born and spent his life nearby.


05/05/2007.   Wife Rosemary taking pictures for a photo tour of the Hudson River.  Nice views of the Manhattan skyline and the George Washington Bridge.  This is a nice little park.  There are a lot of horticultural plantings, so it has in part a garden feeling.  Lots of parking.  Patrick L. Cooney


PLANT LIST:
John Serrao (1986:111); Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, * = plant blooming on date of field trip, 5/05/2007


Trees:
Acer saccharinum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Aralia spinosa (Hercules' club)
Betula spp. (birches)
Carya spp. (hickory)
Cercis canadensis (redbud)  *
Forsythia sp. (forsythia)  *
Ilex aquifolium (English holly)  *
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Pinus spp. (pines)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Prunus spp. (cherries)  *
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina  (black oak) 
Taxus sp. (ornamental yews)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Juniperus sp. horizontalis?   (cedar)
Leucothoe sp. (leucothoe) 
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle) 
Mahonia sp. (Oregon grape)  *
Pieris floribunda (andromeda)  *
Rhododendron spp. (rhododendrons)  *  lots and lots of rhododendrons and azaleas
Rhodotypos scandens (jetbead)  *
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry) 
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Viburnum sp. (leather-leaf viburnum?)

Vines:
Euonymus fortunii (Fortune's euonymus)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) 
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Herbs: 
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress)  *
Claytonia virginica (spring beauty)  *
Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley)  * soon
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily) 
Narcissus sp. (daffodil) 
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Rumex acetosella (field sorrel)
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's shield)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion)  * 
Trifolium sp. (clover)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Viola sororia (common blue violet)  *

Grasses: 
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem grass) 
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)