BRONX PARK lies on both sides of the Bronx River, between Williams-bridge and West Farms. The river, which took its name from Jonas Broncks, one of the early Dutch proprietors, rises near the Connecticut line, and flows into Long Island Sound. It is a river in name only, and one only needs to look upon the narrow and shallow stream to appreciate the humor of the command sent by the British authorities to Lord Admiral Howe, to "send a couple of frigates up the Bronx River to protect our forces and fire into the enemy whenever seen."
The river as we see it in the bronx park is a picturesque stream flowing between rocky dells and through peaceful reaches, and presenting many charming bits of scenery. It was resorted to by artists and pictured on many a canvas long before the conversion of the territory into a park revealed its loveliness to the public eye. As with other recently acquired parks which have absorbed private estates, Bronx Park retains relics of a former occupancy. On the river slope in one of the most charming glens is the Lorillard mansion, which was built about 1855 by Pierre Lorillard, and is now used for park and police purposes. On the opposite side of the stream below the bridge is the site of the old Lorillard snuff mill, whose wheels turned by the Bronx waterpower ground out in snuff the Lorillard fortune. Appropriately enough, the Botanical Garden gardners now grow near the old mill specimens of the several varieties of tobacco.
An interesting natural feature of the bronx park is the Rocking Stone. This is a granite boulder deposited in the glacial epoch, and poised so perfectly upon a granite pedestal that the human arm may cause it to rock in an arc of about 2 inches. The stone is 7 feet high, to feet broad and 8 feet through, having an estimated weight of 30 tons. It is in the Zoological Park. Of the 662 acres comprised in the Park area, 250 have been given to a botanical garden, and 261 to a zoological park. Both institutions are corporations, managed by trustees and occupying their sites by an arrangement with the city.
The NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN, in Bronx Park, near the Bedford Park Station of the Harlem Railroad, is open daily, Sunday included, from 9 to 5; the Museum from 9:30 to 5. Admission is free. The Museum contains collections of Economic Botany, showing vegetable products, processes of manufacture and uses to which put, as various fibers, wood made into paper, sugar cane into refined sugar, chocolate, cork, cottonseed wines, cereals, turpentine, etc.
The collections of Scientific Botany include the famous Torrey Herbarium deposited by Columbia University and valued at $175,000. The conservatories contain tens of thousands of growing plants, shrubs and trees, gathered from all quarters of the globe, many rare and costly, such as the palms given by Miss Helen Gould and the wonderfully great anthurium given by Mrs. F. L. Ames, of North Easton, Mass. The outdoor beds and plantations show many family groups of plants, flowers, shrubs and trees; and there are miles of walks with flower borders. In value and completeness the Garden will rival the Kew Gardens of London and the Jardin des Plantes of Paris.
The NEW YORK ZOOLOGICAL PARK has an ideal site in Bronx Park, and is in plan and extent unequalled by any institution of its class in the world. The houses and outdoor ranges for mammals, the reptile house and the vast flying cage for birds have been prepared with a view to approximating as closely as possible the natural conditions of life of the occupants, and the very successful way in which this has been accomplished enables us to see the animals as they are in nature. The Society's Official Guide may be procured at the entrance.
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