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History of Tibbetts Brook Park

During the American Revolution, Sachem Daniel Ninham (see Ninham Mountain, Putnam County) and his people joined Ethan Allen and fought in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey against the British and the Iroquois. Ninham actually rose to the rank of captain. On August 30 and 31, 1778 Ninham's men, along with a company of Americans, fought British troops at the Battle of Tibbet's Brook. Ninham, his son, and forty of his men died during the battle. They were buried where they fell, a place now known as Indian Field. (Peggy Turco 1990:76)

The Old Croton Aqueduct Trail goes west to east across the northern and northeastern part of Tibbets Brook park. The trail has an interesting history. A cholera epidemic in 1832 and a disastrous fire in 1835 led to awareness that a more adequate water supply was needed for New York City. The most abundant source of water was from the Croton watershed in upper Westchester County. Workers began constructing the aqueduct in 1837. The aqueduct went into operation on July 4, 1842. The Croton dam is just a little south of Peekskill. The aqueduct descends 46.3 feet at the rate of 13.25 inches per mile and travels 32 miles to its terminal point at 173rd Street in upper Manhattan. The High Bridge over the Harlem River was completed in 1848. It was not until 1872 that the neo-Romanesque water towers was constructed at the Manhattan end of the bridge.

The aqueduct delivered as much as 100 million gallons of water per day to Manhattan. But it was soon obsolete and a new Croton Aqueduct system with three times the capacity, was constructed between 1884 and 1893 (no trail was included in that project). This in turn was supplemented by the Catskill Aqueduct system, built between 1907 and 1917. (A trail on top of this aqueduct may be followed, with many interruptions, from Yonkers all the way to the Catskill region).

In 1966, at the urging of the Croton Aqueduct Association, the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference, and other outdoor groups, the state under Governor Nelson Rockefeller assumed responsibility for the trail north of the New York City line. The longest continuous stretch of the aqueduct runs about nine miles from a point slightly south of the Tappan Zee Bridge down to Yonkers, about 10 miles north of the George Washington Bridge. It goes from Lyndhurst through Irvington, Ardsley, Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, crossing Broadway, Hastings-on-Hudson, Yonkers, Untermeyer Park, goes just east of Trevor Park, and ends at Lamartine Avenue. After a break the trail starts up again in Tibbets Brook Park.