Location: Van Cortland Park Broadway at 246th St., Bronx
Van Cortlandt House is a mid-18th century Georgian dwelling that once served as the focal point of a large and prosperous grain plantation and milling operation. At the peak of its productivity, the plantation contained a variety of livestock, farm buildings, and two mills on Tippett’s Brook. It is likely that smaller dwelling houses for farm workers or slaves stood on the property though, to date, none of these buildings has been found.
The Van Cortlandt family were prominent members of New York’s mercantile class and its social and business milieus. The business of trade connected the Van Cortlandt’s with mercantile families in the West Indies, European ports, and other American port cities. Additionally, their Dutch heritage linked them with many wealthy and powerful New York families. Marriages forged strong ties between the Van Cortlandt’s and the Schuyler, Phillipse, Jay, DePeyster, and White families of New York.
The Colonial Herb Garden
The Colonial Revival Herb Garden was created shortly after the addition of the Caretaker‘s Cottage to Van Cortlandt House which took place about 1917. The sheltered space between the Museum House and Caretaker‘s Cottage has proven to be well-suited to the cultivation of herbs. All of the plants in the Colonial Revival Herb Garden would have been grown and used in the New York area in the 18th century. Most Colonial households kept a small kitchen garden with herbs, vegetables, and flowers for use in the home. The herbs were used for seasoning food and for medicinal purposes. The formal brick paths of this knot garden were installed in the 20th century and are not typical of the Colonial period.
Van Cortlandt Park Golf Club House
Opened in the Summer of 1895, the Van Cortlandt Park Golf Course is America’s first public course. The original course of 9 holes was concluded with a conversation piece - a hole 580 yards long. The tradition of extreme length has passed the test of time at Van Cortlandt: The present course includes two 600-yard par fives, the 2nd and the 12th, situated side by side, with the 12th hole recreating the original 9th. In 1899, the course was expanded to 18 holes by Tom Bendelow. In the 1930’s players arrived by railroad using the old Putnam line, or by subway exiting within one block of the first tee; a season’s pass cost $10 and a weekend round took six hours - after a five-hour wait! Today the Van Cortlandt Park Golf course remains an affordable and accessible option for metropolitan area golfers. For information on greens fees please call the Golf House at the number listed above.
Riverdale Equestrian Center
Riverdale Equestrian center is located in Van Cortlandt Park just north of the Broadway exit off the Henry Hudson Parkway and is easily accessible to public transportation. Managed by Rusty Holzer and Ashley Nicoll two former Olympians, the Equestrian Center offers a wide variety of services including stabling, indoor and outdoor riding rings as well as leasing and sales of horses. Program offerings include classes appropriate for young riders, adults at skill levels from beginner to advanced, refresher classes, and special programs such as camp - offered on weekdays of all major school holidays. Private, semi-private, and group lessons are also available.