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The Secrets of Forest Park, Ossining, NY

Village of Ossining, NY

Merry Christmas

                         and Happy Chanuka

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The Secrets of Forest Park

When I was a kid in OHS (Class of 63) there was a large bronze plaque on the wall near the entrance of the high school building.  What I remember is that all the names on the plaque were also names of streets in what was one called “Forest Park”. For years I have wondered about those names – but this is a secret because the plaque no longer exists. I am still searching for the “Secrets of Forest Park”.

Israel has been my home since 1963. Here I am retired, but still the author of two blogs about touring Israel. One in Hebrew hoshvilim.com and one in English IsraelandYou.com. This post is on the English language blog so that my friends in Ossining will be able to understand me.

I Grew up on Forest Avenue

My childhood home in Ossining was at 23 Forest Avenue. My siblings and I sold the house after our parents passed away and now there are new immigrantes speaking a different language. What a lovely, quiet, clean street. It was a little United Nations. My Father came from Czarist Russia and my Mother immigrated from Canada. Other families on the block came from so many countries and they all got along together very well. Sometimes the mailman (perhaps I should write “mailperson”?) would leave us the Norwegian language paper instead of the Yiddish newspaper. We had a coal bin for the winter. Bread and milk were delivered by van. We had our own brook to play in. Moms would block off the street after a snow fall so that we could ride our sled from the top of Robert Place all the way down to Park Avenue. My home was in walking distance of Roosevelt School. Officer Whellan helped us every day to cross Croton Avenue safely on the way to school and back. The principal, Mr. Carpenter, a copy of President Lincoln before his beard, would hold fire drills and air raid drills just in case the Commies would decide to send us an atomic bomb. The high school was in walking distance too, although the students’ parking lot began to overflow into the teachers’ lot.

Google Map Street View 23 Forest Ave, Ossining, NY i
Google Map Street View
23 Forest Ave, Ossining, NY

The Secret Names of the Streets in Forest Park

  • Calam Avenue was named after the Calam Farm. Calam Avenue was named after the farmer who originally owned the land -Theodore Mackiness Calam and his wife Maria Auser. In Dale Cemetery there is a mausoleum with the name Calam. The Calams later lived at the corner of Croton Ave and Clinton Ave.
  • Charles Place: Charles E. Hindle, once president of the Cambridge Instrument Company, and one of the men responsible for the development of Forest Park, c. 1920.
  • Flavelle Place: Flavelle Place was named after Capt. John Flavelle Jenkins, former town supervisor and village postmaster.
  • Forest Avenue: When Forest Park was developed the road was laid out on the edge of the forest. [“Forest is the 47th most popular street name in the USA.] 
  • Forest Park: Development from Calam Avenue to Sherwood Avenue ca. 1920
  • Ferris Place: Ferris Place was named for the William H. Ferris farm that was in the area where the street is located.
  • Marshall Place: Steven Marshall Sherwood, landowner.
  • Park Avenue: Street laid out on the boundary line of the Calam and Sherwood properties taken for Forest Park. “Park” is one of the twenty most common street name in the USA. Park is the most popular street name in New York State: there are 451 Park streets in New York State. Park is the fourth most popular street name in NYC.
  • Robert Place: Robert E. Lent a leading figure in the development of Forest Park.
  • Sherman Place: Sherman Place named after Gen. W. T. Sherman
  • Sherwood Avenue: Sherwood Avenue were named after Steven M. Sherwood, longtime grocer and one time president of the Bank of Savings. Owner of the farm where this street is located. One of the barns from the original Sherwood Farm was on the property on Sherwood Ave.
  • Spaulding Place: Possibly named for developer. [Can any one help me find who Spaulding was?]
  • Stephen Place: Stephen Place named after Steven Marshall Sherwood, landowner.
  • Stone Avenue: Stone Avenue named after Sumner A. Stone, New York banker and summer resident.
  • Ward Place is named after Major General Aaron Ward (July 5, 1790 – March 2, 1867), born in Sing Sing, was District Attorney of Westchester County from 1819 to 1822 and representative in the United States Congress.

It is very interesting to learn the names of the streets in Forest Park, in comparison with Briar Knoll which was also built in the 1920’s: Ramapo, Iroquios, Mohawk, Seneca, Mohegan, and Pocantico. Groups of streets in one area are sometimes named using a particular theme.

The Real Estate Description of my old home

23 Forest Ave, Ossining, NY is a multiple occupancy home  (Duplex (2 units, any combination) that contains 2,280 sq ft and was built in 1920 and last sold for $XXXXXXX. It contains 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.  Nearby schools include Park School, Roosevelt School, Claremont School, Anne M Dorner Middle School and Ossining High School. This area is very walkable — most errands can be accomplished on foot. Transit is available, with a few nearby public transportation options. There is a minimal amount of infrastructure for biking.

Forest Park

The 1920 housing project, between Calam Ave. and Sherwood Ave., was originally called Forest Park. Forest Park (GNIS FID: 2556769) is located at latitude 41.169 and longitude -73.849 in the Village of Ossining, Town of Ossining, Westchester County. The elevation of Forest Park is 299 feet (91 meters) above mean sea level.

Forest Park becomes Sherwood Park

Forest Park became known as Sherwood Park after Sherwood Avenue.

Sherwood Park, Ossining
Sherwood Park, Ossining

The signature 1920s homes and broad sweep of Sherwood Ave set the tone for Sherwood Park, an area of quiet streets and sidewalks. Although homes here have various exterior styles including, Tudor, Garrison Colonial, Mediterranean, Craftsman and the occasional bungalow style, they all have the classic 1920s interior features. These include simple but elegant trim, hardwood floors that are often inlaid, fireplaces, sun rooms, as well as stairways and landings with custom oak woodwork.

Arthure J. Jones Park the Centerpiece of Sherwood Park

Ossining’s Arthur J. Jones Park is a centerpiece of the Sherwood Park neighbourhood. It was conceived of as a tribute to an Ossining resident killed in the September 2011 terrorist attacks. Jones’ wife, Carol, came up with the idea to build the park. She held a fundraiser at the former Parise’s Steakhouse collecting $90,000 toward the endeavour. 400 local volunteers built the park over 2 days in 2005. The site, which was officially dedicated parkland in 2006, at first received resistance from neighbours who were concerned that a park would attract “undesirables”. But as it turned out, it’s a really great neighborhood park – a real tribute.”

In 2005, a vacant lot off Park Avenue in Ossining was transformed into an oasis encircled by a wall of rose bushes and dotted with maple trees and teak benches. At the corner of Sherman Place and Park Ave, Arthur Jones Park has a peaceful grassy area with benches and rose bushes, a small basketball court and a playground that’s great for all ages, with fun and challenging climbing features, a tractor for imaginary play, 2 play structures, slides, swings and baby swings.

How Ossining Village Streets Were Named

Many thanks to Frank D Palmietto who was kind enough to scan and email me this wonderful list of “How Ossining Village Streets Were Named”.

The Beginning of Ossining

Many thanks to Ruth Ann Pottinger-Amato who sent us this lovely page about street names in “The Beginning of Ossining”.

Ossining in the Beginning
Ossining in the Beginning

The Ossining History Booklet

Many thanks to Miguel Hernandez who made the effort to send me “The Primer of Ossining History” booklet. The letter was sent on November 19, 2019 and arrived just in time for Christmas on December 24, 2019 – thanks to Black Friday!

Street Names in Downtown Ossining

In the United States, most streets are named after numbers, landscapes, trees (a combination of trees and landscapes such as “Oakhill” is used often in residential areas), or the surname of an important individual (in some instances, it is just a commonly held surname such as Smith). The first streets in the village of Ossining were named for several reasons:

The geography of the land:

  • Westerly Road: The most westerly road along the Hudson River.
  • Water Street, North Water St. – A street name can also include a direction (the cardinal points east, west, north, south, or the quadrants NW, NE, SW, SE) especially in cities with a grid-numbering system.
  • Highland Avenue: Was Highland Turnpike – also Albany Post Road
  • Spring Street (one spring was under my Dad’s butcher market)

Directional names: Many roads in  the northeastern US are given the name of the place to which they lead.

  • Main Street – [“Main” is one of the twenty most common street name in the USA.] “Main Street”  is a common name for the major street in the middle of a shopping area in the United States.
  • Central Avenue
  • Depot Plaza
  • Aqueduct Street
  • Church Street [“Church” is one of the twenty two most common street name in the USA.]
  • Eastern Avenue
  • Croton Avenue
  • Van Cortland Avenue was originally named Birney Lane. It was changed in ’59.
  • Market Street
  • Broadway – This is the most popular street name in NYC.

The Upper Village of Ossining

The Upper Village was originally farms, and soon became Ossining’s first expansion area as it grew outward from the Old Village downtown near the Hudson River. In the mid 1800s, as some of the wealthy families of Ossining expanded, and since no hilltops with river views remained unbuilt, they built grand homes in the Upper Village. From here, one could easily walk to Main Street, their waterfront commercial holdings, and the trains.

The street names of the Upper Village of Ossining include: Belleview Avenue, Birch Court, Butler Place, Cedar Place [“Cedar” is one of the twenty most common street name in the USA.], Clinton Avenue, Eastern Avenue, Eldridge Avenue, Ellis Place, Fuller Road, Gilbert Park, Linden Avenue, Martin Road, Palmer Place, Prospect Avenue, Sutton Place, Tompkins Avenue, Watson Avenue, Wolden Road

Ellis Place is under consideration for the National Register of Historic Places. Much of the Upper Village was built between 1850 and 1910, with most of the rest being built in the 1920s. Most of these homes remain basically intact.

Street Names sent by my Facebook Ossining Friends

Don’t underestimate the value of your “Facebook Friends”. All of the following found the interest and time to write me what they know about the names of streets in the Village of Ossining. Some were my classmates at OHS, some were my neighbors, but most were just great folks who wanted to help me. Thanks to all of you:  Karen Apostolico RyanPeggy BerrettaNancy BoldtRobert Brady,  Charles LaMonte BrieantLaura Butler,  Bonnie Coe,  Brian ChrapowitzkyJb CavanaughBev Dykstra CentofantiLynda Cleveland MilesRonald ConsagaBernadette Caputo RyanNancy DarbyJim Drohan,  Kathy DrohanWayne DykstraRobert DymesMaureen Eurell, David H. Feldman, Georgiana FranciscoEdie GarveyDavid Goewey, Linda Griffin, Kim L. Jeffrey, Annie JusticeGary KellerJoseph E Koegler JrDonohue,Sheelagh Smyth,  Maryann Stevenson KyerRosemary Jowitt LloydNancy McGingle, Anastasia MigliozziTina Martin, Amy Bruen Montague, Ruth Ann Pottinger-AmatoTommy T. RedJeanne RockettBarbara ReddyWill SecorPatrice Scully-MurrayHowie Taxiera, Jennifer Fields Tawil, Kristin VotavaSteve Worthy, Joan WalkerMaureen WestrickJessica Redway WirthSusan Yasinsky

In the USA many streets are named after famous or distinguished individuals, sometimes people directly associated with the street, usually after their deaths. Naming a street is a sort of  for immortality. Naming a street for a person is very common in many countries, often in the honorand’s birthplace, to commemorate a person who lived or worked in that area or to associate a prominent street in a city after an admired major historical figure even with no specific connection to the locale.

Local Farmers and their sons

  • William Street, Edward Street, James Street and Everett Street were named for the 4 sons of the farmer (Acker?) that owned that land.
  • Ferris Place and Sherwood Avenue were named for the farms that were in the area where those streets are located. One of the barns from the original Sherwood Farm was on the property on Sherwood Ave.
  • Calam Avenue was named after the farmer who originally owned the land – Theodore Mackiness Calam and his wife Maria Auser. In Dale Cemetery there is a mausoleum with the name Calam. The Calams lived at the corner of Croton Ave and Clinton Ave. (Charles, Marshall, Robert, & Ward Places are believed to be named for Calam’s sons.)

Soldiers who lost their lives in military action

  • Minkel Road, Bracken Road, and other Stonegate Development roads off of 134
  • Ganung Drive was named after Leroy Ganung who was killed in World War I.
  • Mancuso Drive is named for fallen Viet Nam hero Sal Mancuso.

Local elected officials

  • Fuller Road named after Vincent Fuller, mayor of Ossining at one time.

Famous residents

  • Audubon Drive for John James Audubon, author of “Birds of America”
  • Havell Street for Robert Havell Jr., Audubon’s colorist for “Birds of America.”
  • Prospect Avenue was renamed (?) after the famous actor, Peter Falk, who grew up on the west side of lower Prospect

American Heros

  •  Pershing Avenue is named after General John J. Pershing.

Americal History

  • Independence Place, also known as 4th of July Hill, from when we gained Independence from the Revolutionary War. Overlooking the majestic Hudson river. Also the home of Henry Gourdene. In the United States, many streets are named after a combination of trees and landscapes such as “Oakhill” in residential areas).

Local Businessmen

  • Secor Road is down by the Hudson. The Secors lived where the OHS is now. Secor Road named after Isaac Secor who owned a lumber yard, brick yard and ship building business at the Ossining waterfront and pushed the building if this road for easier access to the waterfront. The Secors were where the OHS is now(?).
  • Barlow Lane

My Family Effort to Name a Street for Capt. Sol Bobrov

Sol (Isaiah Isaac son of Jacob Zvi) Bobrov was born on Oct. 5, 1914. After completing his medical degree Sol moved to Ossining, NY, was married and open a dentist office. In WWII he served in the 169 Infantry. Sol was awarded the ★ Purple Heart. Capt. Bobrov was killed in action (KIA) in the Pacific on June 11, 1943 (age 28). He was buried in the Agudath Achim Cemetery Los AngelesCalifornia.On the grave stone the date of death is March 22, 1945. This may refer to the re-burial when the body was brought back to the USA.

Sol’s parents, who lived in the Bronx, decided to move to California to be near his grave. Sol’s wife move to New York City. His uncle (my father) Abe Cohen, of 23 Forest Ave., endeavoured to have a new street named after him in Ossining. However since the grave was not in Ossining and his parents had moved to the west coast and his wife had moved to NYC, the Village of Ossining did not agree to name a new street after him. Now only the Ossining Historical Museum remembers him. 

Capt. Sol Bobrov should not be confused with another cousin also Sol A. Bobrov.

The Ossining Historical Museum shows a photo of Sol Bobrov, a local Ossining resident and dentist, who was killed in action in the Pacific in WWII. Sol was a cousin of mine.
The Ossining Historical Museum shows a photo of Sol Bobrov, a local Ossining resident and dentist, who was killed in action in the Pacific in WWII. Sol was a cousin of mine.
Grave of Capt Sol A. Bobrov Photo: Brooke Schreier Ganz
Grave of Capt Sol A. Bobrov
Photo: Brooke Schreier Ganz

Village of Ossining

Early 17th century Dutch maps of the Hudson River Valley show an Indian village, whose inhabitants were part of the Mohegan Tribe, named “Sint Sinck.” That phrase, when translated, means “stone upon stone” and refers to the extensive beds of limestone found in the southern part of the village.

In 1813, the village of Sing Sing was incorporated – the first incorporated village in Westchester County to be state chartered. In the early 1800s, the Old Village of Ossining was the shipping, commercial, and industrial hub for Northern Westchester. Captains of ships, commerce, and industry built homes with the finest river views on the higher elevations of Ossining and built many of the surrounding homes for associates and employees.

In 1838 Benjamin Brandreth built a manufacturing facility for his Vegetable Universal Pills which became one of the most successful patent medicines in the United States. Brandreth’s business became very successful and his firm was at one point the nation’s leading proprietary advertiser. Brandreth became President of the village for many years.

In 1845, the New York State Legislature created a new town out of the northern part of what had been the Town of Mount Pleasant. A local Indian authority suggested the town be named Ossinsing, a different form of the name Sing Sing. One year later the last “s” was removed for ease in pronunciation. In 1881, the town considered changing its name to “Garfield Plains” to honor the recently assassinated President of the United States, James Garfield, but dropped the idea after the much larger city of White Plains in southern Westchester County objected.

Until 1901, the village was known as Sing Sing. It changed its name to avoid the stigma of association with Sing Sing Correctional Facility, which is still Ossining’s largest employer.

In seasons 1–3 of AMC’s TV series Mad Men, Ossining is home to lead character Don Draper and his family. It remains the home of his ex-wife, Betty, and their children through much of season 4, until they move to Rye

The Village of Ossining had a population of 26,162 as of July 1, 2019. Ossining ranks in the upper quartile for Population Density and Diversity Index. The formal boundaries for the Village of Ossining encompass a land area of 3.17 sq. miles and a water area of 3.28 sq. miles.

Alternate unofficial names for Ossining: Hunters Landing, Mount Pleasant, Sing Sing.

Town of Ossining

Frederick Philipse bought the area which presently constitutes the Town of Ossining from the Sint Sinck Indians in 1685. The Sint Sinck are members of the Wappinger Confederacy who inhabited the land east of Hudson River between what is now Tarrytown and Croton. His Manor extended from Spuyten Duyvil Creek on the border between present day Manhattan and the Bronx to the Croton River.

The land was leased to tenant farmers of Dutch, French, and English origin.

The last Lord of the Manor, Frederick III, was a Loyalist in the American Revolutionary War who fled to England, so the State of New York confiscated the manor in 1779. Many of the farms were sold to the tenant farmers who had work them, especially those who had supported the American cause.

The Town of Ossining is a town located along the Hudson River in Westchester County, New York, United States. The population was 37,674 in the 2010 census. It contains two villages, the Village of Ossining and part of Briarcliff Manor, the rest of which is located in the Town of Mount Pleasant.

Location of Ossining (town), New York Credit:Rcsprinter123
Location of Ossining (town), New York
Credit:Rcsprinter123

Street Names in my New Home Town in Israel

The street we live on is called “Gan Or Street“. This name also has a story. When we move to Hoshaya there were no street names or numbers – just post office boxes.  The citizens of the Village of Hoshaya decided to vote for street names and called for suggestions to name the name-less streets in the community. Among the losing suggestions were names of trees, flowers and my ballot (names of heroic Jewish women such as: Anne Frank, Bruriah, ChanaDeborahEsther, Golda Meir, etc.). Finally the wining decision was  to name each street for one of the communities in Gush Katif bloc of 17 Israeli settlements in the southern Gaza strip. Their communities were demolished as part of Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip in August 2005. All the streets in Hoshaya are named after the former Israeli settlements in Gush Katif: Gan Or, Morag, Shirat Hayam, Pe’at Sadeh, Dugit, Katif, Bedolah, Gadid, Ganei Tal, Elei Sinai.

Media Search Streets of Ossining, Westchester County, New York

About Israel and You

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