The Westchester County Parks system is celebrating its 100th anniversary. A traveling station detailing the Park Commission history will be on view at various parks, beginning with Mohansic Golf Course in Yorktown Heights, Wednesday July 20th, as this property was the Commission’s first purchase, which cost $1. The exhibit will be viewable at Rye’s Edith Read Sanctuary from September 7th through September 13th.
In 1922, the Westchester County Board of Supervisors was authorized to appoint a commission to acquire land for a parks system, creating the Westchester County Park Commission, which laid the foundation of the current Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation.
“Our parks system is incredibly rich in history and are the backdrop to our childhood memories,” said Rye guy and County Executive George Latimer. “I encourage you to visit our traveling station to learn more about your favorite parks and all that went into making them what they are today.”
Beyond Rye Playland, Rye enjoys two County nature parks. The 147-acre Marshlands Conservancy was created in 1967 after an initial land gift of 120 acres from Zilph Palmer Devereux. Another donation of 17 acres was contributed by Fanny Wickes Parsons in 1977. The Conservancy was originally part of the Jay Estate dating back to the mid-1700s and of Lounsbury, the estate that has been owned (and still is) by the Parsons family since the early 1800s. Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary is the newer park, with the 179 acres (including an 85-acre lake) designated as forever wild in 1985 and named after Rye citizen and environmentalist Edith Read. Both parks are designated Important Bird Areas.
Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, Kathy O’Connor said, “To think the 18,000 acres of Westchester County Parks began with a $1 purchase of Mohansic Park, 100 years ago, is incredibly humbling. We take tremendous pride in our Nationally Accredited Park System and I am thrilled to share the history of the Park Commission and parks with our residents.”
The launch of our 100-Anniversary traveling station coincides with Park and Recreation month in July, acknowledging that parks are at the center of so many experiences and memories, something that the Westchester County Parks system has brought to the community for a century.