History of the Conservancy
The NPC was founded by a group of passionate citizens in 2005, and it is the only charitable organization designated to raise funds for Nyack’s Village-owned parks and public spaces.
Since its creation, the NPC has raised funds that have enabled the Village to create new basketball courts, a dock for rowing vessels, the new children's playground, a butterfly garden, the Nyack skate park and a children’s summer program in Memorial Park. The NPC also funded scholarships benefiting the Village of Nyack Recreation Programs. The NPC, with support from Scenic Hudson, funded the Comprehensive Master Plan for Memorial Park design.
Funds raised by the NPC have also supported extraordinary repairs and maintenance of Memorial Park.
The Hudson River shoreline is Nyack’s most treasured natural asset, and defines our unique identity as a waterfront Hudson village. Few towns have Nyack’s proximity and access to the Hudson – the river that has shaped the history of our community, and our country. Memorial Park was deeded to the Village of Nyack in 1935 by the Tappan Zee Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Park Association and is Nyack’s primary public access to the Hudson. This generous donation by veterans, and local families to commemorate the service and sacrifice of their children in defending our nation, is a sacred trust.
This endowment places in all of us a responsibility to create and maintain a park worthy of this gift. The NPC is working to ensure that the park’s ideals are realized so it can be a setting where citizens and visitors, young and old, of all backgrounds and abilities, can interact with nature and one another and enjoy the natural beauty and serenity of the Hudson River Valley.
Enhancing the Park will also bring economic benefits to Nyack’s citizens and local business community. Visitors to the park will shop in Nyack’s stores, eat in our restaurants, and enjoy our cultural institutions, providing the foundation to strengthen our community for generations to come.
The Nyack Park Conservancy Inc. and the Village are fully committed to this challenge, and invite you to join us in this wonderful endeavor.
Full History of Memorial Park:
(as reported on the American Legion Nyack Post 310 website)
CharlesR. & Raymond O. Blauvelt Post 310, Nyack, New York
August 25, 1919
Let's take a trip back in time, circa 1919. A group of veterans and business men from the Nyacks, Grand View and Piermont formed The Tappan Zee Soldiers and Sailors Association. One of their objectives was to find a suitable site for a Memorial Park. So intent were these individuals on accomplishing this goal they formed a separate sub-committee, The Tappan Zee Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Association, which was later incorporated. The Memorial Park would not only serve to honor "our boys" who participated in the Great World War, but benefit the community by providing a place for recreation.
At the same time, another group of veterans had petitioned the American Legion for a Post in Nyack. The petition was granted and was assigned the Post number 310 with a temporary charter effective 25 August 1919 (Permanent Charter effective 27 March 1921). Robert Morrow became the first Post Commander as they began to hold regular meetings in the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) rooms in the Village. The Post was charged a sum of $75.00 per annum for use of the rooms.
The DePew family had an open tract of land right on the Hudson River in the Nyack area that they had purchased in 1732. The Tappan Zee Solders and Sailors Memorial Association had proposed to secure a portion of that land on Piermont Avenue now known as the "Shoddy Mill Property" ("shoddy" due to the inferior materials used in making its garments). At one time, this site was a beautiful garden with greenhouses. Now with the mill abandoned and neglected, the Association felt this would be an ideal place to restore the land to its former self and be a fitting home for a Memorial and a park. The DePew family, Peter and his wife Katharine, Anna DePew¬Blauvelt and Ira Blauvelt, by the last will and testament of Tunis DePew, conveyed that portion of the property to the Tappan Zee Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Association, by a deed dated July 26th, 1920, as recorded in the Clerks Office of Rockland County. The Association then formulated a plan and began to raise funds to execute the program of park development. Funding was not a problem, the community gave money generously and even volunteered their time to make this project a reality. They razed the "shoddy" three-story mill and cleared the land. The work went on for months. Then the landscaping began. The Garden Club of Nyack planted Memorial trees along Piermont and DePew avenues. Nine of the trees were planted as a tribute to the ten fallen men of the Great World War. A bronze tablet was placed on each one and inscribed with the following:
"This tree was planted here as a tribute to the memory of (Name),
who gave his life for his Country in the World War 1917-1918."
Following are the names placed on the tablets:
Charles R. Blauvelt and Raymond O. Blauvelt (on one tablet),
Conrad Crawford, William H. Gardner, Charles Gernard, Samuel Hyman,
Roy John Ingalls, Paul Leggett, Halliday Smith and Goelet Tiffany.
A tenth tree was planted in memory of Teddy Roosevelt, and another one, given by the children of Nyack (through the efforts of Mrs. Grace A. M. Sayers of the Liberty Street School), was named and christened the "Tree of Light". The tree was then lighted each year during the Christmas season.
In the meantime, the newly formed American Legion Post 310 of Nyack, had adopted the names of the two Blauvelt brothers, a Legion tradition, and was now known as the Charles R. and Raymond O. Blauvelt Post 310. The Post was now actively seeking a place of its own to call home to hold its regular meetings and conduct its business and activities. The G.A.R. rooms they had been using were not always available and were in need of repair. At times Post 310 had to meet at other locations such as Orangetown Fire Company #1 in South Nyack and in the basement of the Presbyterian Church.
As work was progressing in the park, the original design concept that was illustrated never came into being. The Architectural firm of Marshall and Henry Emery came up with an alternative design to link the "upper level" with the undeveloped "lower level", to reach the shoreline and the Hudson river. Henry Emery designed a monument, to be made of stone, with stairs leading to the shoreline and Bronze Tablets placed in niches on a landing that would "break" the steps. Since this would be the main access to the lower level, the public would have to pass by the tablets and this would afford them the opportunity to pay proper respect to those who served. Besides the Central. Memorial Tablet, flanked on each side were two tablets with the 423 names of those who served. (400 in the Army, Navy and Coast Guard; 5 in the Red Cross; 10 with the Y.M.C.A.; 6 in the Student's Army Training Corps; and 2 with the Salvation Army). This plan was approved and the Memorial monument was constructed.
It's now 1927 and Nyack's Post 310 has had no luck in finding a site for its new home. An attempt at securing a building around Franklin and Sickles avenue had just fallen through. Seeking to try and obtain help and support from other veterans, Post 310 approached the Tappan lee Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Association. The Post was very surprised and grateful when the Association not only was willing to help, but offered a piece of their land to build our new home. On the 22nd day of June, 1927, an agreement was reached between the Association and Post 310. That on “ this day, for the sum of $1.00, the Tappan Zee Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Association does hereby grant, to Charles R. and Raymond O. Blauvelt American Legion Post 310, the right to occupy and use the grounds south of the highway bridge culvert, east of Piermont avenue and north of the Ackerman property, to erect and maintain a club house, for patriotic, fraternal and social purposes; this grant shall not be revoked so long as said land shall be used by Post 310 for said purposes”.
Signed and sealed on this date by:
J.D. Dunlop, President, Tappan Zee Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Association
Bradford M. Johnson, Commander, Charles R. and Raymond O. Blauvelt,
American Legion Post 310.
WE HAVE A NEW HOME!!!!!
By the end of 1927 things were really looking up for Post 310. Membership was growing and plans for the new building were just about complete. As the New Year came, so did the beginning of construction of our house. Although the exact "move in " date, could not determined from the information available, past minutes from the Post dated in May of 1930 indicate that "during the later part of the summer of 1929, our Post had allowed Mazeppa Fire Engine Company of Nyack, the use of our new quarters for a social affair."
As the years went by and times were prospering for Post 31O, things were not going as well for the Tappan Zee Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Association. Membership was dwindling and it was becoming harder to maintain and police their portion of the park. The few remaining members met to decide on what course of action to take on the upkeep of their beloved park. The Village of Nyack had been making overtures and the members thought that to properly maintain the park, the Village had far more resources than the Association. An agreement was made on the 29th of January 1935, between the Association and the Village. On this day, for the sum of $1.00 and other valuable considerations, the Tappan Zee Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Association does hereby grant and release unto the Village of Nyack, its successors and assigns forever the parcel of land, with borders described, known as the Tappan Zee Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Park. This conveyance is subject to the rights of the Charles R. and Raymond O. Blauvelt American
Legion Post 310 and also upon that the said premises shall be used exclusively as a public park for recreational, athletic and entertainment purposes and also as a perpetual Memorial to the Soldiers and Sailors who served in the World War from this community, and for the proper maintenance and care of the Memorial monument erected upon said premises. Signed and sealed by A. B. Churchill, President, Tappan Zee Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Association.
NYACK HAS A NEW PARK!!!!!
As time progressed the park was used as intended and enjoyed by all. In 1955 the Village saw an opportunity to extend the park and it took advantage of it. The thruway was building a bridge. It was determined that the park could be extended by using the fill from the thruway project.
A series of barges were sunk as a "water break" as fill was placed and the lower level was developed. With the lower level completed many changes were taking place to enhance its use by the community. The park's visitors had grown in numbers and more activities were being planned as time continued. The park continues to make changes as the years roll by, always with the community in mind. With more improvements in the works, the new century holds even more promise as we look to the future.
The Charles R. and Raymond O. Blauvelt American Legion Post 31O has also seen many changes through time and just like "our park home" we too are making improvements. As one of the fastest growing Posts in Rockland County, we are constantly striving to make our home more inviting and accessible to everyone. We are also strengthening and updating our community out¬reach programs. We are keeping current on the various veteran issues that may affect our members. Most of all, we are attempting to preserve the history and values that we hold sacred in our hearts. To never forget those who have gone before us and made that supreme sacrifice in service to their Country. We members are now the "living" history of our Nation's conflicts.
From the Civil War through Iraq, men and women have answered our Nation's call and served with honor and pride. We want these service men and women to know that there will be a place for them in our home and someone to be there when needed. We must never forget those who have passed before us and are with us in spirit. As you hopefully enjoy this and future Memorial Day celebrations, I urge you to reflect upon the real meaning of this day. Take a moment in your hearts and prayers to say "Thank You" to those who served. Remember those men and women; they're the ones who forged our park and our home. To us Legionnaires, you will never be forgotten.