Great Saw Mill River Cover Up In Yonkers
Joan Jennings, President of the Friends of Philipse Manor Hall, presents The Great Saw Mill River Cover-up on Saturday, April 25, at Beczak Environmental Education Center.
The program begins at 7:00 PM and the cost is $5 per person, including live music and refreshments.
Jennings uses maps and illustrations to tell the dramatic story of The Great Saw Mill River Cover-up. In the mid 1600s, this pristine river’s waterfalls drew Adriaen van der Donck to settle alongside it and build the lucrative sawmills and gristmills that became the hub of downtown Yonkers. Yet since 1922, the Saw Mill River has been contained in a flume underneath Getty Square, North Broadway and Larkin Plaza, emptying unceremoniously into the Hudson River immediately north of the Yonkers Recreation Pier.
“It’s quite possible that if Henry Hudson sailed back up the Hudson River today, he wouldn’t recognize the section that is now Yonkers,” says Joan Jennings. “There was a huge bay where Larkin Plaza now is, a series of waterfalls between what is now called ‘N-Valley’ (running alongside Nepperhan Avenue) and Getty Square and a substantial pond between Warburton and North Broadway.”
The centerpiece of Jennings presentation is the earliest view of the Saw Mill River in existence, dating back to 1784. Known as the “Stauffer View,” this illustration shows one more surprising feature of the Yonkers waterfront—cliffs. “Very few people realize that there were Palisades on this side of the Hudson,” says Jennings. “The cliffs provided the stone and soil that were used to fill in the bay where the Saw Mill River entered the Hudson.”
The Great Saw Mill River Cover-up is the fourth in Beczak’s Hudson Quandricentennial Lectures. Each one has been a sold-out event.
Upcoming Hudson Quadricentennial Lectures include The Dutch Influence on the American Kitchen on May 30 with food historian Peter G. Rose and The Mannahatta Project on June 27 with Dr. Eric Sanderson, a landscape ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society.
ABOUT BECZAK ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER
Beczak Environmental Education Center is a non-profit environmental education facility that presents exhibits and programs for all ages to raise environmental awareness and to encourage informed stewardship of the Hudson River, the Saw Mill River and the Bronx River.
Located on the banks of the Hudson in the City of Yonkers, at River Mile 18, Beczak Environmental Education Center is an adaptive reuse of the former Social Club for Habirshaw Cable & Wire. Named after Joe Beczak, a Yonkers fisherman and environmentalist, this spacious interpretive center welcomes over ten thousand visitors each year. Outside, the two-acre park features a riverfront lawn, an easily accessible tidal marsh and a beach used for river exploration and seining. Approximately ten feet off shore is an Estuary Monitoring System, a water and weather monitoring station that posts real-time data on Beczak’s website.
Founded in 1989, Beczak has become a vital part of river communities from Staten Island to Poughkeepsie providing schools with multidisciplinary programs that are easily integrated into their educational curriculums. The Center also hosts numerous river-related programs including professional development for teachers, River Explorers for children, Lunchtime Learning for seniors, public forums and cultural and social events.