Untermyer Gardens: Bridge to Crafts Careers Interns Keep America’s Greatest Garden Beautiful

Nestled on a hill overlooking the Hudson River, Yonkers’ Untermyer Gardens has been described as  America’s greatest forgotten estate garden.  This property was originally built in 1865 for hat manufacturer John Waring as “Greystone,” a 99-room granite mansion.  Prominent lawyer and civic leader Samuel Untermyer purchased the estate of Greystone in 1899.  16 years later, Untermyer commissioned Beaux-Arts-oriented architect William Welles Bosworth to develop his massive estate sitting on 150 acres.  Completing the project in 1918, Bosworth, whose other designs included the AT&T Building in Manhattan and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Cambridge Campus, created an elaborately planned assemblage of terraced garden rooms consisting of pools, ornamental structures, and exotic plantings.

The estate, fusing Indo-Persian, Greek, and Roman aesthetic forms and motifs, was heavily adorned with classical columns, extensive mosaics, and figurative sculpture.  Intended to mimic paradise on earth, the estate featured numerous gardens with magnificent stone features and crisscrossing canals.  The stairs cascading down to the Hudson River were modelled after Villa D’Este on Lake Como, one of Italy’s most indulgent waterfront properties.

Untermyer provided weekly public admittance to his magnificent gardens until his death in 1940.  The wealthy attorney left the estate to the City of Yonkers which opened it as a park in 1946.  Untermyer Gardens was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.  Since that time, Untermyer Gardens has been the site of an extensive historic preservation effort focused on retaining key landscape features.  Founded in 2011, Untermyer Gardens Conservancy facilitates the restoration of this public garden of national significance.

On Monday, March 27 our dedicated group of Bridge to Crafts Careers (B2CC) interns came to Yonkers with a wealth of enthusiasm and excitement.  From morning till noon, interns were on the go preserving the beautiful and iconic landscape of Untermyer Gardens.  They also stayed for a guided walking tour of the gardens while taking in the majestic views from the vista.  As we strengthen our communities by growing the preservation workforce, we celebrate our self-motivated, hard-working, and passionate interns.

To learn more about Woodlawn’s B2CC program, please click here.