Dobbs Ferry is a river village within the Town of Greenburgh, located on the eastern bank of the Hudson River about 20 miles north of Manhattan. It is a short, scenic 35 minute Metro North train ride along the Hudson River shoreline to New York City.
Brief History of Dobbs Ferry
Dobbs Ferry was originally inhabited by the Weckquaseeks, a branch of the Mohican tribe of the Algonquin nation.The Weckquaeseek tribe's main village was located near Wicker's Creek in Dobbs Ferry. The area was latter colonized by Dutch and English settlers.
In 1698, Jan Dobbs and his wife, Abigail, moved into the Village, which was known as Wysquaqua. Their son, William, started a ferry at Willow's Point around 1730 and members of the Dobbs family ran the ferry until 1759. Martha Washington was a distinguished passenger. In honor of the Dobbs family, the village was renamed Dobbs Ferry.
During the American revolution, Dobbs Ferry played a predictably important role as a ferry landing. Information could be sent via boat to troops encamped on the opposite banks of the Hudson. In 1781, American and French troops waited in the Dobbs Ferry area for Admiral de Grasse's decision on whether the major campaign of the War would be fought in New York or Virginia.
In 1800, Dobbs Ferry was a simple rural village with farms, a tavern, a boat landing and a ferry. In the 1820s, farm land was parceled into smaller tracts and sold. Steamboats transported goods and passengers to and from New York City.
In the 1840's, villagers were affected by the building of the Croton Aqueduct and by the arrival of the railroad. The population grew as the economy shifted from rural/agricultural to one more service-centered. Wealthy professionals, such as newspaper tycoon, Henry Villard, and merchants from New York City purchased land and built manor houses overlooking the Hudson. This created a need for workers to construct and maintain these estates, as well as servants to work the homes. As the populace expanded, due to more jobs and the construction of the Saw Mill River Parkway, apartments buildings sprang up along Ashford Avenue.
In 1905, Childrens' Village, once referred to as the New York Juvenile Home, moved to Dobbs Ferry. Originally a home for problem boys and girls, it became a boys home-school in 1928. The Masters School headed by Mrs. Frances Masters and her two daughters, opened in 1877 so that girls could learn more than just social graces.
A famous resident of Dobbs Ferry was Mother Francis Xavier Cabrini, who came here in 1914. She established Sacred Heart Villa, an academy for girls. When she died in 1917, the Sisters of The Sacred Heart continued her work. In 1970, the school was demolished and the Cabrini Heath Care Center was built.
The original Dobbs Ferry Free Library was located at the corner of Main Street & Cedar Street. When it was first opened in 1909, the McKinley Free Kindergarten occupied its upper floor. Despite several renovations, the building was too small to properly serve the needs of Dobbs Ferry's 10,000 residents and it was decided that a new modern library in a new location was needed. The new building, with its distinctive Clock Tower, is more than twice the size of the old library and is located at 55 Main Street. It has a separate Children's Room; an Adult Reading Room (named after Doris Volland, a former resident, who bequeathed her two million dollar estate to the library); a large Meeting Room/Art Gallery; Conference Room and a terrace (with Hudson River views). The new library was dedicated on January 12, 2003.
Dobbs Ferry Parks & Recreational Facilities
Embassy Community Center
Located at 60 Palisade Street, the community center is used for Dobbs Ferry's senior citizen programs, teen programs and various other village events.
An 8 acre park located at Ashford Avenue. Gould Park contains a basketball court, playground, swimming & wading pools, softball field, baseball field, football/soccer field, fieldhouse and restroom facilities.
Juhring Estate - Map & A Brief History of the Juhring Estate
76 acre pristine nature preserve which offers residents a passive recreational area for hiking, walking, biking and pure enjoyment of the great outdoors.
Located on Palisade Street, this 3.5 acre park includes a basketball court, playground, wading pool, little league field, bocce court, and restroom facilities.
An 8.5 acre passive riverfront recreational facility situated directly on the banks of the Hudson River. This magnificent park contains a beach, picnic & barbecue facilities, playground equipment and restrooms.
Old Croton Aqueduct
Built in 1845, it is owned and managed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the trailway offers a scenic walk from northern Westchester County to New York City. It follows the path of the aqueduct that was once used to bring fresh water from the Croton River to New York City.
Rockefeller State Park Preserve - NYS Department of Parks
Friends of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Over 1,000 acres of woodlands, meadows, wetlands and a 24-acre lake offer a wonderful retreat from the city. Come to hike, jog, fish, cross-country ski or study nature.
Fishing licenses are required and horseback riding is allowed with a permit. Kykuit, former home of the Rockefellers and one of the valley's most popular attractions, is located adjacent to the preserve.
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