Lyndhurst’s Lower Landscape
What Lyndhurst refers to as the lower landscape is the part of the estate that runs from the mansion to the Hudson River and includes historic rock outcroppings, an estate kitchen garden and pear orchard, a massive treehouse that has yet to be restored, and the historic bowling and recreation pavilion, built by Helen Gould in 1895. This is the most historic area of Lyndhurst’s 67 acres, having elements that date back to the mid-1600s, when the estate was an early Dutch tenant farm.
A $1 million restoration of the lower landscape has been largely completed. The central focus of the restoration was to restore a series of historic rock outcroppings and shaded seating areas and pathways that are likely the only surviving landscape designs of Alexander Jackson Davis, Lyndhurst’s architect. This part of the landscape now connects directly to a new southern extension of the Westchester County Riverwalk and the Old Croton Aqueduct in Irvington.
This original pathway began at the Lyndhurst veranda and connected a series of rock outcroppings and original wood benches that created shaded seating areas for private contemplation and enjoyment of the mansion and river views. Specimen trees, including Blue Atlas Cedar, Crimean Linden, Red Maple, and London Plane Tree Sycamore have been put back in this part of the landscape and will, over time, recreate the feel of a 19th and early 20th century landscape experience that would have been typical in Central Park at that time. The pathway extends down to the riverside bowling pavilion built in 1895 by Helen Gould.
First Rock Outcropping
This bench, a three-section, horseshoe-shaped, wooden bench was recreated and put back in 2020 and is the first seating area encountered when following the path from the veranda.
Second Rock Outcropping
The second rock outcropping has been replaced with a replica of the original D-shaped, lattice work bench. A Chinkapin Oak replaces the historic Chestnut that was likely original to the property from the time it was a Dutch farm and was lost to blight in the early 20th century. Flowering bushes, understory and trees including a Sweetbay Magnolias, Horbeams, Flowering dogwood, and Tupelo pines have been replanted to fill out this area and will re-establish the shaded canopy enveloped the rockeries.
Second Rock Outcropping
The second rock outcropping has a raised bench with a clear view of the Hudson River. This lattice-work bench is the exact replica of the original seating based on historic photographs. Archeology uncovered original paint drippings that indicated the exact color of the benches which you see today.
Sherry Edmunson Fry
This untitled piece of a posed young man was designed by Sherry Edmunson Fry, who was educated in sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago and in France with the Ecole des Beaux Arts. He worked closely with sculptor Frederick MacMonnies (who designed Boy with Duck). Forged in bronze by Tiffany Studios (Foundry), it was a wedding present to Helen Gould and Finley Shepard in 1913. Fry went on to become prominently associated with the earliest use of camouflage by the United States in WWI with fellow artists.
J.W. Fiske & Co.
circa late 1800s
New York City company, J.W. Fiske & Co. was the leading manufacturer of cast iron in the late 19th century and created a wide range of fountains and garden furniture. The fountain was in place in the 1960s when Lyndhurst was bequeathed to the National Trust for Historic Preservation by Anna Gould, Duchess of Talleyrand. Historic photographs of the greenhouse show that the concrete basin was installed in George Merritt’s greenhouse with a different fountainhead.
Boy With Duck
Frederick William MacMonnies
Designed 1895-96, cast by Roman Bronze Works between 1902-07
The Boy with Duck fountain was generously gifted by Sheila and Richard J. Schwartz in honor of Isabel and Peter Malkin. With a theme drawn from classical antiquity, the first case of this sculpture was installed in the Vale of Cashmere in Prospect Park in 1899 as a gift from the artist. This fountain is a part of a recently completed seating area based off historic photographs showing marble seating areas in front of the mansion. The urns and sundial leading up to the fountain are original to the property, and the Carrara bench was also a restored piece.