In anticipation of my upcoming MWA-NY panel presentation, NY: Scene of the Crime, on Aug. 9 at
the Inwood Branch of the NYPL, I thought I might offer:
Top Five Lost Scenes in Inwood
Everyone needs a mission in life. James Reuel Smith's was to photograph The Springs and Wells of Manhattan and the
Bronx, New York City, at the End of the Nineteenth Century.
This photograph attests to the little-known
fact that Inwood had some of the freshest water in New York City.
Read more about James Reuel Smith and his quest at http://myinwood.net/inwoods-long-forgotten-springs-and-wells/
if you're from Inwood, you know EXACTLY what this picture is all about. If not, well I encourage you to find
out. To see what once lay behind that
arch (including the story of a bounder, a grief-crazed widow, greedy relatives,
a contested (possibly forged) will and poodles, take a look here: http://myinwood.net/annies-millions-a-nineteenth-century-tale-of-uptown-greed/
I'm not really that cruel. Here's a
sneak peek at what once lay behind the arch.
there on the horizon.
But you should
really take a look at the foreground.
1895, it was listed as the last wheat field in New York.
But the farming heritage of Inwood held on
for a while beyond that.
particular, what is now Isham Park was once the estate of a gentleman farmer,
complete with a freshwater spring where "Isham's horses and three cows
come to the spring about noon for their drink, the cows respectfully giving
precedence when a thirsty horse approaches by rising lumberingly and moving
away with dignified alacrity."
after William Isham's death, his daughter, Julia Isham Taylor, donated six
acres of her father's estate to the city as parkland.
The event was memorably commemorated -- to
say the least.
What I would give to have seen
that Irish Lilt at the bottom right of the clipping.
Hall: The Billings Estate
by Cornelius Kingsley Garrison Billings, the horse-fancying President of the
People's Gas, Light and Coke Company of Chicago, Tryon Hall featured a "heated
swimming pool, a two story squash court lined in maple and even a 'fumed oak' bowling alley."
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. persuaded Billings
to sell him his estate as the future location of the Cloisters museum; however,
local protest preserved the home until it was destroyed in 1926 by a fire that,
according to the Times, "spouted fire
and smoke like a volcano."