Downing Park

Newburgh, Orange County, New York


Newburgh-Beacon Bridge west to exit 10; turn right onto Route 32 (South Robinson Avenue); drive 0.8 of a mile; the Park is on the left, at the southeast corner of the intersection of Route 32 (the park's western boundary) and South Street (the park's northern boundary).  DuBois Street is the eastern boundary and Third Street the southern boundary.  You can park along some of the side streets and walk into the park. 


1815 – Andrew Jackson Downing, the father of landscape gardening, born in Newburgh.

1852 – at the age of 37, Andrew Jackson Downing dies while trying to save the life of a fellow passenger in a steamboat tragedy.

late 1890s ? – Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, students of A. J. Downing, dedicate Downing Park in the memory of their mentor.

The Smith house gave a great view of the Hudson River and was also used as a tuberculosis sanitarium. The house was demolished and a Pergola put in its place to serve as a place for evening parties.

The pond at the southwest corner of the park was known as the "Polly." The pond could be easily seen from the WPA-built 1936 Shelter House (restored in 1997).

There was a bust of the Italian Dante Algheiri (that was later moved to the front of the Newburgh Free Library on Grand Street.)

There was also an observatory.

A lot of musical performances were held at the old bandstand.

1910 – the Fireman’s Monument was moved from Miller’s Marble Works to Downing Park facing Dubois Street.

1926 – Downing’s house demolished.

1992 – the Civil War Monument in Downing Park was replaced and the white alabaster stone cleaned.

1999 – the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra performed the first orchestral music in some 30 years at Downing Park’s bandstand.

(Source:  Kevin Barrett. 2000. Images of America: Newburgh. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press.)


5/02/2005.  Ceferino Santana, dog Sonar and I investigated the park.  No trails, per se, but there are lots of asphalt paths.  We parked along Third Street near the pond in the southwestern section of the park.  The Visitors Center is located by the pond.  Worked our way up to the northwestern section.  We then walked over to the north eastern section past the band stand.  Finally we investigated the south eastern section and then returned to the car. Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

* = blooming on date of field trip, 5/02/2005

Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer platanoides var. (purplish Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Acer pseudoplatanus (sycamore maple)
Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) *
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carya sp. (hickory)
Cercis canadensis (redbud) *
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Crataegus sp. (hawthorn)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fagus sylvatica (copper beech)
Gingko biloba (gingko) planted
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Magnolia  x soulangiana (saucer magnolia) *
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Picea pungens var. glauca  ?   (Colorado blue spruce)  ?
Pinus sp. (pine)
Pinus thunbergii ? (Japanese black pine) ?
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Prunus sp. (weeping cherry)  *
Pyrus sp. (crab apple) *
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Salix alba var. (weeping willow)
Taxus sp. (yew)
Thuja occidentalis (arbor-vitae)
Tilia sp. (basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) *
Cornus mas ? (Cornelian cherry dogwood)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Forsythia sp. (golden bells) *
Leucothoe sp. (leucothoe)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Philadelphus sp. (mock orange)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Staphylea trifolia (bladdernut)
Vinca minor (periwinkle) *

Convolvulus arvensis (field bindweed)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) *
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Antennaria sp. (pussy toes) *
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress) *
Capsella burs-pastoris (shepherd's purse) *
Cirsium sp. (thistle)
Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley)
Galium sp. (bedstraw)
Geranium sp. (geranium)
Linaria vulgaris (butter-and-eggs)
Narcissus sp. (daffodil)  *
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Potamogeton crispus (curly pondweed)
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil)
Potentilla recta (rough-fruited cinquefoil)
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Sedum sp. (sedum)
Stellaria media (common chickweed) *
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) *
Tulipa sylvestris (tulip) planted *
Trifolium pratense (red clover)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Veronica serpyllifolia (thyme-leaved speedwell)  *
Viola sororia (common blue violet) *

Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Elytrigia repens (quack grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)
ornamental grasses