Fort Tryon Park Historical Timeline
- 1917: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. begins
to acquire the properties that form today's Fort Tryon Park
- 1927: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. engages
Olmsted Brothers to design Fort Tryon Park
- 1935: Construction of park completed;
Columbus Day park opening attended by Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Rockefeller, Jr.
and sons Laurance and Nelson
- 1938: The Cloisters Museum opens
- 1950: Plantings begin to disregard the
Olmsted Brothers design
- 1970: Budget cuts during fiscal crisis
drastically reduce maintenance of the park
- 1983: Plans for a Capital Renovation;
the Greenacre Foundation approaches NYC Parks with offer to restore the Heather
Garden and funds a master plan for Fort Tryon Park. Council Member Stan Michels
commits significant funds for the garden’s infrastructure.
- 1985: Under Parks Commissioner Henry
Stern, Park Administrator Jane Schachat oversees the restoration of the Heather
Garden landscape by the Parks Department gardeners. She builds upon its success
and partners with the Friends of Fort Tryon to reclaim other areas of the
- 1988: The Greenacre Foundation continues
to provide funds to sustain the Heather Garden. Council Member Stan Michels
directs City Capital funds to advance the park’s revitalization, providing
close to $10 million for upgrades by 2001
- 1990: Through the 1990s, the Garden is
maintained by a staff whose numbers fluctuate widely
- 1998: Manhattan Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Joseph
Pierson and Edie Kean initiated the Heather Garden Committee Endowment (today
the Fort Tryon Park Trust) to begin a fund to ensure the ongoing care and
preservation of the Heather Garden
- 2001: $200,000 Challenge Grant to
the Heather Garden Endowment Fund launched by the Rhodebeck Charitable Trust
- 2003: First Heather Garden Benefit, honoring
- 2006: $250,000 gift from Arthur Ross
Foundation to create a Winter Walk, featuring evergreens and other plants
of winter interest
- 2007: $500,000 gift from the Peter Jay
Sharp Foundation initiates the restoration of the Alpine Garden and Grotto
on the Broadway side of the park, a catalyst for the Broadway initiative to
revitalize the entire eastern side of the park
- 2008: $50,000 gift received from
the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation enables drinking foundations and irrigation
to be installed on the park’s Broadway Side. One week before his death,
the Stan Michels Promenade is dedicated, in recognition of Michels’
tireless commitment to the park’s revitalization.
- 2009: Joan K. Davidson is honored at
Sunset on the Hudson Benefit. Public Garden designer Lynden Miller is engaged
to develop a Heather Garden Framework
Plan for enhancing and sustaining the Heather Garden
- 2010: Fort Tryon Park’s 75th Anniversary Year. Mayor
Michael R. Bloomberg dedicates the Linden Terrace as the David Rockefeller
Linden Terrace, in recognition of his generous support of the Fort Tryon Park
- 2011 The Fort Tryon Park Trust honors Bette Midler for her catalytic revitalization work in Northern Manhattan Parks.
- 2012 The second phase of Lynden B. Miller and Ronda Brands Heather Garden Framework is completed.
- 2012: 250 trees are damaged during Hurricane Sandy and the entire landscape of the park required reconstruction.
- 2013: Sunset on the Hudson Gala honoring Adrian Benepe and The Trust Founders Circle. Restoration of landscapes destroyed in Sandy is complete.
- 2015: Sunset on the Hudson Gala honoring public garden designer Lynden Miller