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Looking Back Through a Window in Time


The late afternoon sun lights the southern face of West Rock, as seen in this view
from Valley Street, just north of Blake Street, in October 2015.
 
West Rock Park History Revealed in City of New Haven Yearbooks
While working on projects at West Rock, I have thought of many questions about the history of the park. In particular, I wonder when the trail system was designed, and when certain features were added the park, such as the stone steps on the Red Trail, the stone walls at the South Overlook and Judges Cave, and the pavilion at the South Overlook. I have started to come across some of the answers while doing research online and in books, but still have other questions to be answered.

I discovered online copies of about 30 volumes of the City of New Haven Yearbook from the 1870s to the 1920s. The New Haven Free Public Library, Ives Main Library, 133 Elm St., has copies of the yearbooks from 1860 to 1952 in its History Room, which is open during select hours on a daily basis (http://nhfpl.org/collections/local-history). I took photos of the books from the years from 1899 to 1939 that I could not find online, and have been transcribing that information before uploading it. While at the library, I found a collection of Parks Department reports from the 1930s, which supplement the Year Book reports, and are also included here.

In 1934, the books were greatly reduced in size from 500 to 800 pages in the older editions, to little more than 100 pages, so in later editions from 1934-1952, the information regarding West Rock is minimal to non-existent. In some of these years, the year books were called the Annual Report of the City of New Haven

These yearbooks from are a compilation of reports from city agencies. From 1889 when the Parks Commission was formed to 1933, the parks reports are typically broken down into three sections: an overview of the parks system as a whole, a financial report for the parks system and specific parks, and an individual report for each park.

Transcribing these old reports for this website is tedious and slow work, as I need to read through books that are about 580 pages long. The reports from the 1890s and later have an index, which can streamline the process. The online versions can be searched by keyword, but this feature does not work in the downloaded PDF versions.

Once I find the relevant pages, I copy the information about West Rock for this website. Some PDF documents allow me to copy and paste the information, but this feature does not work in every one, sometimes necessitating typing out the information.

This website includes the West Rock reports, as West Rock Park was a City of New Haven park until the formation of West Rock Ridge State Park by legislation in 1975 with the actual land transfer taking place in 1982.

Included here are the West Rock-related sections of the overview report, the financials for West Rock, and the individual annual report for West Rock. Some yearbooks contained an overview of the parks report written by the president of the Park Commission. If that report mentions West Rock, I include it on this page, and if not, it is omitted, and I only share the report from the Park Superintendent.

My research is far from complete, but this is the latest version. In some cases, I have question marks to note where I have incomplete information that I will update when I get back to the library for additional research.

Famous Names
In some reports, I include the names of the park commissioners, as it is interesting to see how long some of these people served, plus their last names appear on roads and other features at city parks, including English, Farnam and Trowbridge Drives at East Rock Park. There was also Simeon E. Baldwin, for whom Baldwin Drive was named, and Gustave X. Amrhyn for whom Amrhyn Field at the foot of West Rock was named in 1931.
Among the names listed here, Rice Field at East Rock Park was named for Frank J. Rice, mayor from 1910 to his death in office in 1917.
Gustave Xavier Amrhyn was New Haven’s first superintendent of parks (alternately titled general superintendent), who emigrated from Switzerland. He was hired in 1900 and was park superintendent in until his death on Dec. 5, 1929. West Rock Park was literally built during his 29 years of service, including Regicide Drive to the South Overlook and Judges Cave, and the footpaths later blazed in these colors: the Red Trail from Springside Avenue to the South Overlook, the Blue-Yellow Westville Feeder from Amrhyn Field to Judges Cave (incorporating part of what is now the Blue-Blazed Regicides Trail), the Teal Trail around the base of the south face of West Rock, plus Amrhyn Field, and other improvements.

The East Rock Park reports were also informative, seeing information about the construction of the Soldier and Sailor’s Monument, the Pardee Rose Garden, and the various roads. I will leave transcription of that information to the Friends of East Rock Park.
The drive discussed in these reports is through 1929 is Regicide Drive, the road from the main entrance up to Judges Cave and the South Overlook. Baldwin Drive from the main entrance to West Shepard Avenue was built during the 1930s under Parks Commission guidance with funds from the Simeon E. Baldwin Fund, and the Works Progress Administration (WPA).



Baldwin Drive at West Rock was named in honor of Simeon E. Baldwin,
New Haven Parks Commissioner and later Connecticut governor.
This view is from the Gold Trail, March 2015.
Park Reports

1890 (year 1889): Commission of Public Parks formed; only East Rock had a report; pages 289-292 (pages 298-301 of the PDF)

Excerpts from the following:

Report of the Commission of Public Parks.

To the Honorable Court of the Common Council:
The Commission of Public Parks respectfully submits the following report for the year 1889:
By the special act of the legislature passed March, 1889, and ratified by the town of New Haven on the thirteenth of June following, the Commission of Public Parks was created…(The new commission was comprised of members of the East Rock Park Commission and other appointed members).
By the provisions of the act this new board was to assume the care and direction of East Rock Park and of all other parks acquired by the City after the passage of this act; and they were also empowered to select and purchase other sites for park purposes, payment for which was to be made from funds to be obtained by the sale of $200,000 of bonds, which the town of New Haven was authorized to issue for this purpose.

Henry F. English, Secretary

* * * * *

City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1892
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government, Annual Reports of the City Departments; and Public Documents.
Compiled By George T. Shanley, Assistant City Clerk
New Haven: Press of O.A. Dorman, 696 Chapel Street, 1893

Mayor, Hon. Joseph B. Sargent, Term expires January 1, 1893.

Pages 313-314 (pages 320-321 of the PDF) and page 320 (page 327) of the PDF

Third Annual Report of the Commission of Public Parks
Year Ending November 30, 1892

West Rock Park
A large addition has been made to the park possessions by the donation of John W. Alling, Esq., of some 25 acres on the west slope of the Rock, and extending from the summit in a line of nearly half a mile to a contemplated highway along the base of the Rock, which has been surveyed and staked by Engineer Hill. This donation is accompanied with the condition that the said contemplated highway shall be open with an eight years from the date of said donation, which was in May, 1892. To supplement this gift and complete the part ownership of the west slope, as far as said roadway will extend, the purchase of intervening piece of about eight acres was made from another owner for $160.
In the early part of the present year the driveway to Judge’s Cave was completed, while an extension at its northern end was afterwards added, thus affording an easier and more attractive entrance-way. In this latter improvement the Selectmen have cordially co-operated, by widening and grading the old Town highway leading to the drive. The public have shown their appreciation of the results by a very general use of the new driveway and a universal commendation of it.
There have also been constructed two important foot paths. One of them starts at Mechanic street, immediately north of the bridge and leads from that point of the western slope of the Rock, to a point about a quarter of a mile from the Cave, where it branches into two parts, one continuing on until it meets the driveway at a point near the Cave; the other, turning in the opposite direction and forming a junction with the same drive near Sunset Point. The second footpath commences at the driveway, about two rods east of its junction with the last name branch path, and proceeds southwardly leading to the south front of the Rock, following the west edge most of the way, and commanding the fine views westwardly, through nearly its whole length. At certain exposed portions of this path iron railings are now being played for the public protection. Both these paths are from five to six feet in width and substantially constructed, and have been much used and enjoyed by pedestrians.
The appropriations to West Rock during the year, including a balance left over from 1891, have amounted to $4,369.00. Of this amount there have been expended in the above improvements $3,441.31.

Treasurer’s Report, Commission of Public Parks
December 5, 1891 to November 30, 1892

Receipts

To Balance from old account
$859.00
To appropriation from annual town appropriation for parks
$2,850.00
To Cash, from E.G. Stoddard, Town Treasurer, from avails of park bonds, appropriation for land
$160.00
To Cash, from E.G. Stoddard, Town Treasurer, from avails of park bonds, appropriation for road
$500.00
Total
$4,369.00

Expenditures

By Labor, road to Judge’s Cave
$2,520.77
By Labor, foot-paths
$799.29
By General labor
$59.96
By Tools and supplies
$242.76
By Explosives
$124.25
By Purchase of land
$160.00
By Insurance
$8.60
Balance to new account
$458.37
Total
$4,369.00

By order of the Commission, Respectfully submitted
HENRY F. ENGLISH, Secretary.
NEW HAVEN, December 30, 1892.

* * * * *

City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1893
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government, Message of His Honor, the Mayor; Annual Reports of City Departments; and Public Documents.
Compiled By Edward A. Street, Assistant City Clerk
New Haven: Press of O.A. Dorman, 696 Chapel Street, 1894

Mayor, Hon. Joseph B. Sargent, Term expires January 1, 1895.

Pages 328-329 (pages 333-334 of the PDF) and page 336 (page 341) of the PDF

Somebody back in history made an error because the year ending 1892 was listed for the parks as the “Third Annual Report,” while the year ending 1893 was listed as the “Fifth Annual Report.” My guess is that the 1982 report should have been the fourth, since the first report was for the year ending 1889, even though that year was not described as the first annual report.

Fifth Annual Report of the Commission of Public Parks.
Year Ending November 30, 1893

West Rock Park
The early part of the summer was employed in clearing the grounds along the line of the driveway, and also in repairing the damage done by the destructive washouts of March and April. Three additional culverts have been provided, together with large quantities of top dressing along the entire length of roadway. A substantial iron railing now guards the footpath at the top of the rock, extending along the Cliffs for several hundred feet. A new foot-path has also been constructed in continuation of the former, from its junction with the driveway, near Sunset Point, through the woods to the Cave. Another path has been begun and nearly completed from the cave to the high point north of it, this being the greatest elevation in the park (420), and which commands not only a fine view of the cave, but also a wide prospect south, west and north. Portions of the path originally laid out on the slopes to the summit had suffered badly by washouts; these have been rebuild in a substantial matter, as well as greatly improved. A finde and permanent well of excellent water has been opened in the grove just south of the Judges’ Cave, and a pump has been placed over it, while the surrounding grounds have been cleared and otherwise prepared for further improvement. Among other improvements, should be mentioned a bridle path, constructed chiefly by Town work, on the southwest slope and connecting Mechanic Street with the cart road which skirts the southern face of the rock, thus making a continual bridle path from Rock street to Mechanic street, which must be greatly prized by equestrians, when it becomes better known. On roads and foot-paths, including culverts and railings, there has been expended $1850.35, while $48.61 was devoted to incidental expenses, including guide-boards and signs. There remains an available balance of $420.21.

Treasurer’s Report, Commission of Public Parks
December 1, 1892 to November 30, 1893

Receipts

Balance from old account
$458.37
To Cash, appropriation from general park fund
$2,000.00
To Cash, balance appropriation for purchase land
$969.24
Total
$3,427.61

Expenditures

By Foot paths
$500.98
By Labor on roads
$1,037.35
By Iron railings
$172.70
By Culverts
$139.32
By Pumps and supplies
$28.07
By Labor about grounds
$139.20
By Road signs
$20.54
Balance to new account
$1,389.45
Total
$3,427.61

By order of the Commission, Respectfully submitted
HENRY F. ENGLISH, Secretary.
NEW HAVEN, December 21, 1893.

* * * * *

City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1894
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government, Inaugural Address of His Honor, the Mayor; Annual Reports of City Departments; and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Edward A. Street, Assistant City Clerk
New Haven: Press of O.A. Dorman, 696 Chapel Street, 1895

Mayor, Hon. Joseph B. Sargent, Term expires January 1, 1895.

Pages 336-337 (pages 344-345 of the PDF) and page 343 (page 350) of the PDF

Sixth Annual Report of the Commission of Public Parks
Fiscal Year Ending November 30, 1894

West Rock Park
The new work done during the past year has been chiefly of two kinds. First, in clearing out the underbrush and dead wood on the east slope of the Rock, so as to give the young trees a chance to grow in properly develop, and to remove danger from fires, which are heretofore done great injury. Other benefits accrue in opening up views from the foot-paths, giving greater ease and pleasure in rambling, and also promoting the floral displays of the dogwood and Laurel. About two-thirds of the Eastern slope has thus been improved at a cost of $538.53.
The other principal work has been on the southwest part of the Rock, in extending the stone Road, or bridle path, ultimately to be widened to a carriage drive, which begins at the “crusher” on Rock street, and skirts the front face of the Rock, under the precipitous cliffs. Some six hundred feet of this is been built during the past season, most of it supported by a substantial stone wall, and probably more expensive than any future portion. The cost has been $420.52, while a similar amount should carry the road very nearly to the summit. When it connects to the present driveway it will make a notable addition to our present road system, as it will then enable pedestrians, riders, and even carriages to ascend West Rock on one side and descend by the other.
Besides the foregoing new work, there has been expended in improving foot-path $483.68, and for maintenance of road, $445.87, mostly on account of washouts. In other work, including the setting of bounding posts, placing pump and watering tubs at the summit, new guide boards, tools and supplies, $80.85. Total expenditures $1969.45; balance on hand, $450.76, after deducting unexpended balance of appropriation for purchase of land, $969.24.

Treasurer’s Report, Commission of Public Parks
December 1, 1893 to November 30, 1894

Receipts

Balance from old account
$1,389.45
From general park fund, appropriation
$2,000.00
Total
$3,389.45

Expenditures

For labor about grounds
$538.53
For labor, foot-paths
$483.68
For labor, bridle-path
$420.52
For maintenance of road
$445.87
For tools and supplies
$80.85
Balance to new account
$1,420.00
Total
$3,389.45

By order of the Commission,
HENRY F. ENGLISH, Secretary. A true copy.
NEW HAVEN, December 29, 1894.

* * * * *

City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1895
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government, Inaugural Address of His Honor, the Mayor; Annual Reports of City Departments; and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Edward A. Street, Assistant City Clerk
New Haven: The Price, Lee & Adkins Company, 1896

Mayor, Hon. Albert C. Hendrick, Term expires January 1, 1897.

Pages 336-337 (pages 344-345 of the PDF) and page 345 (page 352) of the PDF
Google book link: (I did not record this and could not find it again)

Reports of the Commission of Public Parks
Of the City of New Haven, Conn.

West Rock Park
The most important work on this park during the past year has been that on the new road, running from the main drive toward the top of the bold cliffs at the south front of West Rock, of which about one-third has been built, at a cost of $1,390.40. This fine summit drive, when fully completed, will afford a series of charming, far-reaching views of land and water. Other improvements consist in the clearing away of dead trees and also underbrush on the entire east slope of the park; a little work on the proposed bridle path along the western slope; and finally, the necessary care of the footpaths and the drive to the “Cave.”
There remains an apparent balance of $1,300.81, of which amount $969.24 must be credited to land appropriation.

Seventh Annual Report of the Treasurer of Commission of Public Parks
December 1, 1894 to November 30, 1895

Receipts

Balance from old account
$1,420.00
From general park account, appropriated
$2,000.00
Total
$3,420.00

Expenditures

For new summit drive to cliffs
$1,390.40
For maintenance of roads
$354.37
For labor about grounds
$347.76
For tools and supplies
$26.66
Balance to new account
$1,300.81
Total
$3,420.00

By order of the Commission, Respectfully submitted
HENRY F. ENGLISH, Secretary.
NEW HAVEN, December 30, 1895.

* * * * *

City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1896
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government, Annual Address of His Honor, the Mayor; Annual Reports of City Departments; and Public Documents.
Compiled By Edward A. Street, Assistant City Clerk
New Haven: The Price, Lee & Adkins Company, 1896

Mayor, Hon. Albert C. Hendrick, Term expires January 1, 1897.

Pages 316-317 (pages 323-324 of the PDF) and page 305 (page 313) of the PDF
Google book link: (I did not record this and could not find it again)

Seventh Annual Report of the Commission of Public Parks

West Rock Park
The work accomplished during the past season with the small amount of funds available has not been extensive, but so far as it has gone represents material progress in the scheme of development. It consists mainly in the further extension of the new Cliff road toward the front of the Rock, about nine hundred feet, a good part of the way being through solid rock, which necessitated considerable blasting. The cost of this work was $1,018.34. There remains to be built, in order to complete the driveway, about fifteen hundred feet, the principal portion of which will be comparatively easy work and of moderate cost. Besides labor on the new drive, there has been some attention paid to the proper care of the existing roads and footpaths, besides cutting out a great quantity of underbrush from the woods along the drives. These and other minor improvements amounted to $441.39. There remains on hand an apparent balance of $959.33, but this was already been set apart for the purchase of land.
The placing of an artistic bronze tablet on the Judges’ Cave by the Society of Colonial Wars in October last, in commemoration of the regicides, proved an interesting event in the history of the park, besides adding materially to its attractions. The acquisition of the southwest slope by deed from the Proprietors’ Committee and also the Selectmen was another important feature of the year. The park territory now comprises 198.68 acres.

Pages 316-317 (pages 323-324 of the PDF) and page 305 (page 313) of the PDF

Eighth Annual Report of the Treasurer of Commission of Public Parks
December 1, 1895 to November 30, 1896

Receipts

Balance from old account
$1,800.81
From general park account, appropriated
$1,100.00
From sale of stone
$80.00
Total
$2,480.81

Expenditures

For labor, Cliff road
$645.38
For general labor
$398.01
For foot paths
$43.38
For supplies
$11.75
Balance to new account
$959.33
Total
$2,430.81

By order of the Commission,
HENRY F. ENGLISH, Secretary and Treasurer.
NEW HAVEN, December 17, 1896.

* * * * *

City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1897
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments; and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Edward A. Street, Assistant City Clerk
New Haven: The Price, Lee & Adkins Company, 1898

Mayor, Hon. Frederick F. Farnsworth, Term expires first week day of June, 1899.

Pages 298-299 (pages 306-307 of the PDF) and page 305 (page 313 of the PDF)
Download from: https://books.google.com/books?id=zUlNAAAAMAAJ

Ninth Annual Report of the Commission of Public Parks
Of the City of New Haven, Conn.
For the year ending November 30, 1897

West Rock Park
During the early spring months considerable work was expended in repairing the drive leading to Judges’ Cave, which was badly washed by the heavy rains of that season. Owing to the difficulty of getting a good supply o flaom for top dressing near the summer of the Rock, it seems likely that these annual outlays for repairs will continue until the roadways can be covered with a top dressing of fine broken stone.
For the summer, the work consisted chiefly in extending the new road along the top of the Rock toward the cliffs, for a distance of between six hundred and seven hundred feet, at a cost of about one dollar a linear foot. This drive now comes within one thousand feet of its proposed termination, and ought, if possible, to be completed next year.
In addition, there has been expended about $250 in repairs to footpaths, cutting away underbrush and other miscellaneous labor. Balance to a new account, $1,013.54, of which $969.24 is already appropriated for land.

Annual Report of the Treasurer of Commission of Public Parks
December 1, 1896 to November 30, 1897

Receipts

Balance from old account
$959.33
From general park account, appropriated
$1,000.00
Total
$1,959.33

Expenditures

For Cliff road, labor
$645.38
For maintenance of roads and footpaths
$298.26
For Supplies
$2.15
Balance to new account
$1,013.54
Total
$1,959.33

By order of the Commission,
HENRY F. ENGLISH, Secretary and Treasurer.
NEW HAVEN, December 28, 1897.
 
* * * * *



City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1898



This yearbook did not have a report on West Rock Park. It only had a report on East Rock Park.



* * * * *
 
City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1899
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By James B. Martin, Assistant City Clerk, 1900

Link: No online version found.
Pages 497-498 and 506

West Rock Park

The first work of the season consisted in completing the drive leading from the main road to the face of the Rock. This occupied about a month, the entire roadway being now in good condition and much patronized by the reason of the magnificent views afforded. Immediately thereafter, the old drive to Judges’ Cave, which would become much broken up by use, was entirely reconstructed for the nearly half a mile nearest the Cave, and was covered with find broken stone three inches in thickness, this being top dressed with loam. The rest of this drive was also repaired and improved throughout its whole length, to the Springside road; these two operations consuming the greater part of the available appropriation. In addition to this, the footpaths have been somewhat improved, and progress made in clearing up underbrush and objectionable trees on the east slope. These various improvements, including superintendence, there was expended $1,753.86.

During the month of October the City, by contract, constructed a highway along the western edge of the park, extending from Mechanic street to within about 600 feet of its northerly boundary; this work being in fulfillment of a condition stipulated by John W. Allning, Esq., in 1891, in his deed of land for park purposes. The cost of this road was limited to $1,000, and although not as satisfactory in grade and finish as the park driveways, it is nevertheless quite passable, as well as susceptible been greatly improved at slight cost. It seems likely become a favorite drive, and as the commencement of a thoroughfare through the Second Gap, to connect with the system of roads on the east slope of West Rock, is a step of great importance and future value.



ELEVENTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TREASURER OF COMMISSION

PUBLIC PARKS. JANUARY 1, 1899 TO DECEMBER 31, 1899



Receipts



Balance from old account
$993.51
From general park account, appropriated
$1,800.00
From rent of cottage
$27.00
Total
$2,820.51



Expenditures



For maintenance of drives
$1,157.28
For labor about grounds
$418.47
For foot-paths
$102.42
For blacksmith shop
$46.83
For tools and supplies
$19.26
For city water
$6.00
For insurance
$3.60
Balance to new account (appropriation for land, $969.24)
$1,066.65
Total
$2,820.51







Two of the boulders that comprise Judges Cave
are seen in this view from the back of the cave.
 
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City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1900
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By James B. Martin, Assistant City Clerk
New Haven: The “Mac” Printing Company, 1901

Hon. Cornelius T. Driscoll, Mayor

Page 542-545, 547-548, 556-557 (pages 555-558, 5601-561, 569-570 of the PDF)

Commission of Public Parks
COMMISSIONERS
Chairman HON. CORNELIUS T. DRISCOLL, Mayor, ex-officio
President, HENRY T. BLAKE, Residence, 361 Temple Street.
SIMEON E. BALDWIN, Residence, 44 Wall Street
WILLIAM W. FARNAM, Residence, 335 Prospect Street
HENRY F. ENGLISH, Residence, 38 Hillhouse Avenue
EDWARD E. BRADLEY, Residence, 353 York Street
Alderman HARVEY G. SHEPARD, Term expires June 1, 1900, Residence, 159 Blatchley Avenue
Councilman HENRY HILLMAN, Term expires June 1, 1900, Residence, 1082 Chapel Street

SECRETARY AND TREASURER, HENRY F. ENGLISH, Office, 132 Orange Street
ASSISTANT SECRETARY, JAMES E. ENGLISH, 839 Chapel Street.

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT, GUSTAVE X. AMRHYN, Room 16, City Hall

Committees for 1899-1900
West Rock Park,
Messrs. BRADLEY, BLAKE, AND ENGLISH

Meetings second Friday in each month at 8 p.m. in No. 7 City Hall, except in January, meeting fourth Friday, and in August, meeting omitted.

TWELFTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS OF THE CITY OF NEW HAVEN, CONN. 1900.
To His Honor, the Mayor, and the Court of Common Council:

Gentlemen: — The Park Commissioners respectfully submit the following statement of the work carried on during the past year. But two changes have taken place in the membership of the board during that period, these being occasioned by the expiration, in June, of the official terms of Alderman Harvey G. Shepard and Councilman Henry Hillman. In place of these gentlemen, Messrs. William P. Baldwin, M. D., and Clifford I. Stoddard were designated by the Mayor as the representatives respectively of the boards of Aldermen and Common Council. In January last Mr. Henry T. Blake was again elected president for the ensuing year, and in December following he was reappointed commissioner for the term of three years, from January 1, 1901.
As concerns the care and development of our public pleasure grounds, while their condition in general is quite satisfactory, the ever increasing cost of maintenance effectually prohibits any extensive improvements, some of which are already definitely planned. In this connection it may be stated that a new administrative office—that of general superintendent—was created early in the year, being filled by the appointment of Gustave X. Amrhyn, a native of Lucerne, Switzerland. Mr. Amrhyn brings to this field a long and varied experience in landscape work and gardening, acquired in Germany and France, as well as in the vicinity of New York City. All park work is now executed under his direction and general supervision, the beneficial results of the newly adopted policy being most advantageous, besides relieving the Commissioners of an unnecessary responsibility. At the same time it must be borne in mind that this executive management has added materially to the item of superintendence and certainly should induce more liberal appropriations on the part of the city. One
great need of our existing parks, in nearly every case, is more territory, which at present can be secured at reasonable cost. But the Commission has only meagre funds at command for such purpose; consequently the available course would be the issuance of Park improvement bonds, at a low rate of interest and subject to redemption in from ten to thirty years. Furthermore, it is to be hoped that the ever increasing interest of the people of New Haven in their park system, as evidenced by valued donations, will speedily lead to its extension and greater adornment. In every community there may be found citizens opposed to these playgrounds devoted to the health and enjoyment of a busy people; but in this city today the Park Commissioners fully realize that the great majority feel a personal pride and interest in the work already accomplished.
During the year the sum of $19,361.82 has been expended on maintenance and improvements, while there remains a balance of $3,371.62, mainly representing the amount of various annual appropriations previously set apart for land purchases. The reports for the several parks which follow give a concise account of the results accomplished.


EAST ROCK PARK
A significant memento of our late war with Spain may be seen at the summit, where directly in front of the Monument is now planted an ancient bronze cannon, which formerly frowned over the ramparts of historic Santiago de Cuba. This famous piece having been presented by the General Government to New Haven was finally located at East Rock, where it is destined to be inspected by thousands of interested visitors….

WEST ROCK PARK
For lack of funds no undertaking of special consequence was begun, yet the grounds were well kept up and a number of minor improvements successfully prosecuted. Besides putting the roads in fair order, several hundred feet of post and rail fence was constructed along the more exposed portions of the Cliff drive, while a number of circles near the summit, formed by loops in the road, were treated with rich loam and then seeded for grass. All the footpaths have also been repaired and improved, especially the one from Rock street along the edge of the precipitous cliffs, in which the former steps were strengthened and many new ones added, so that now this popular path is in excellent condition, giving easy access to the summit.
At the same time arrangements were made for the immediate use of a large tract at the base of West Rock, belonging to the Hartford Retreat for the Insane, in anticipation of its early acquisition, the entrance from Mechanic street being rendered avail able by building a neat trestle footbridge, eighty-four feet long, over West river. From this bridge two diverging paths were opened across the tract mentioned; one connecting with the foot path from Mechanic street bridge, up the west slope of the Rock to Judges' Cave, and the other turning eastwardly to join the route to the summit from Rock street. In order to make connection with the last named path, it was found necessary to purchase two small strips of land at the southern base, at a cost of $110, and this now affords the shortest and most attractive route for pedestrians from Westville post office to the south brow of the Rock. A pretty rustic gateway has been set up at the new entrance on Mechanic street, adorned with ornamental flowering shrubs; also guide boards at this point and again further along, where the paths diverge. A beginning was made in the contemplated driveway around the southern base of the Rock, from Mechanic street bridge to Rock street, by constructing a footpath, eight feet wide, which also forms an excellent and much used bicycle track over the line of the proposed road. As this path is elevated some forty feet above the plain and river, it affords for one-half its length a beautiful prospect, embodying the new portion of the park, the village of Westville, and the stream below, while that section which passes through the woods is hardly less attractive.
The amount expended in these various labors and improvements, including the purchase of land, was $1,797.69.

TWELFTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TREASURER OF COMMISSION
PUBLIC PARKS. JANUARY 1, 1900 TO DECEMBER 31, 1900

Receipts

Balance from old account
$1,066.65
From general park account, appropriated
$1,800.00
From rent of cottage
$54.00
Total
$2,920.65

Expenditures

Maintenance of drives
$304.76
Footpaths
$829.55
General labor
$312.17
Supplies and tools
$199.96
Bridge
$41.25
For land, Gustave Unger, ½ acre
$60.00
For land, Aner Thomas 1/3 acre
$50.00
Balance to new account
$1,122.96
Total
$2,920.65

Respectfully submitted,
HENRY F. ENGLISH, Secretary and Treasurer.
NEW HAVEN, CONN., February 9, 1901.

 * * * * *

No. 41: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1901
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By James B. Martin, Assistant City Clerk
New Haven: The “Mac” Printing Corporation, 1902

Link: No online version found.
Page 543, 549

THIRTEENTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS OF THE CITY OF NEW HAVEN, CONN., 1901


WEST ROCK PARK
Paths and roads were kept in good condition, and a number of dead and broken down trees removed. Certain places on the newly acquired property along West River were graded and seeded, a number of unnecessary trees removed, and a wire fence put up on the property facing Stone Street. For the benefit of the driveways, additional culverts have been placed at intervals between those already existing, these insuring to a great extent protection against future washouts. Many acres of forest land have been cleared of dead trees and undesirable undergrowth. This operation will give the much admired mountain laurel a chance to display its glorious blossoms much better during another season. For an experiment I have seeded a quantity of sumac and barberry bush seeds at the base of the Rock, among the loose stone, the idea being that that should a certain percentage of the seeds make a successful growth it would soften the appearance of the fields of stone.

Respectfully submitted,
GUSTAVE X. AMRHYN, General Superintendent
January 10, 1902

THIRTEENTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TREASURER OF COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS OF THE CITY OF NEW HAVEN, CONN.
JANUARY 1, 1901 TO DECEMBER 31, 1901

Receipts

Balance from old account
$1,122.96
From annual park appropriation
$1,000.00
From Clinton Park, transferred
$230.76
Total
$2,353.72

Expenditures

For Land damages, Retreat for Insane tract
$1,200.00
For Road and footpaths
$468.74
For Forest clearing
$251.49
For General labor
$323.39
For Trees and shrubs
$20.10
For Tools
$18.10
For Beaver Ponds Park, transferred
$25.00
Balance to new account
$46.90
Total
$2,353.72

* * * * *

No. 42: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1902
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By James B. Martin, Assistant City Clerk
New Haven: The “Mac” Printing Corporation, 1903

Link: No online version found.
Page 543-544, and 550-551


FOURTEENTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS OF THE CITY OF NEW HAVEN, CONN. 1902

WEST ROCK PARK
Owing to the small appropriation made for this Park only a few improvements were made. The West side drive, opened a few years ago as a public highway, has been widened and repaired for one-third of its length. In that section two new culverts and a small bridge were built to secure safe traveling. Several improvements were made on the triangular piece of land recently purchased by the city, situated between Blake Street and West River and Stone Street. First an old house and its surrounding fences, opposite the Greist manufactury were torn down; later the cellar was filled and the whole surface graded and rolled. A new wire fence was erected along Blake Street and Stone Street, leaving a narrow opening in each street for a passageway, which has been much used b the nearby residents. A new path has been made for their convenience, leading along the riverbank and passing by an excellent well, fitted with a new pump.

A dozen stationary settees were placed beneath the shade trees in that vicinity. Several acres of forest land on the easterly slope were cleared of dead and superfluous wood. The park cottage has been repaired and painted.

The necessity a for strong iron fence surrounding Judges’ Cave having been referred to at a meetings of the Commission and mentioned the newspapers, Mr. Frederick D. Grave of this city made an offer to the Commission to erect at his own expense such a protective railing around the historic monument as the Commission should direct. His offer was gratefully accepyed and the plans for the fence having been prepared and necessary surveys of the plat made by the city engineer, the contract for construction was awarded by Mr. Grave to Julius Waas of the city, who is now engaged in the work with the promise that the fence shall be erected early in the spring.

ANNUAL REPORT
TREASURER COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS
For the year ending December 31, 1902.

Receipts

Balance from previous year
$46.90
From annual park appropriation
$1,000.00
From sale of wood, etc.
$46.00
Total
$1,217.90

Expenditures

For drives and footpaths
$457.40
For Grading and filling
$256.37
For Forest clearing
$119.53
For Care of buildings
$116.70
For General labor
$184.12
For Surveys at quarry
$65.00
For Tools
$12.25
Balance to new account
$6.53
Total
$1,217.90

Respectfully submitted,
HENRY F. ENGLISH, Treasurer.
NEW HAVEN, CONN.

* * * * *

No. 43: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1903
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Thomas C. Moran, Assistant City Clerk
New Haven: The “Mac” Printing Corporation, 1904

Hon. John P. Studley, Mayor

Pages 561-564; 567, 576 (pages 566-569; 572, 581 of the PDF)

FIFTEENTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE Commission of Public Parks

To the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of New Haven:
Such permanent improvements as were made have been effected in great part through private generosity." On West Rock Park a handsome and substantial iron fence around Judges' Cave, costing over $500, has been set up at the expense of Mr. Frederick D. Grave…

By vote of the Board of Aldermen last September, the tract of land bequeathed to New Haven in 1826 by Elijah Thompson, which is situated near the Woodbridge town line and contains about fifty acres, was turned over to this Commission to be cared for as a public park. This tract, which is about five miles from the City Hall, consists of rocky wild land, mostly covered with a growth of small forest trees, and on account of its distance and inaccessibility is not likely to be needed or used by our citizens for park purposes for many years to come. In time it may become a valuable feature in our park system, but for the present, while it will call for some attention and expense from year to year to protect it from trespassers and deterioration, it will not be expedient to devote any considerable sums to its development. Doubtless for an indefinite period in the future this Commission will find abundant use for its annual appropriations in properly maintaining and judiciously improving those parks which are nearer to the centers of population and in constant use by the public.

All of which is respectfully submitted.
HENRY T. BLAKE, President of Park Commission
New Haven, January 20, 1904

REPORT OF SUPERINTENDENT OF PARKS
To the Honorable Board of Park Commissioners:

GENTLEMEN: I herewith submit my report for the past fiscal year, giving an account of the work done on all the parks under your direction.

WEST ROCK PARK
Valuable improvements were made in this park: first, by the erection of a neat and strong iron fence around Judges' Cave, donated by Mr. Frederick D. Grave; then by the construction of a large wooden shelter near the Cave, in a location most central for equestrians and pedestrians. The structure is very plain and substantial, and fills a long felt want. Here the same forest clearing was carried on, the results of which will be very beneficial, especially in the event of fires. Roads and paths were properly repaired and well maintained.

Respectfully submitted,
GUSTAVE X. AMRHYN, General Superintendent
New Haven, Conn. January 8, 1904

ANNUAL REPORT
TREASURER COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS
For the year ending December 31, 1903.

Receipts

Balance from previous year
$6.53
From annual park appropriation
$1,600.00
From sale of wood
$19.50
Total
$1,626.03

Expenditures

Picnic shelter
$323.29
Forest clearing
$272.21
Roads and foot paths
$414.49
Surveys
$50.48
General maintenance
$372.86
Tools and repairs
$23.80
Fort Hale Park, transfer
$150.00
Contingent Fund, Transfer
$10.00
Balance to new account
$8.90
Total
$1,626.03

Respectfully submitted,
HENRY F. ENGLISH, Treasurer.
NEW HAVEN, CONN. February 9, 1904

* * * * *

No. 44: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1904
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Thomas C.  Moran, Assistant City Clerk
New Haven: The “Mac” Press, 1905

Hon. John P. Studley, Mayor

Link: No online version found.
Page 558-560, 563, 574


SIXTEENTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS
...At West Rock park a commodious and useful baseball and football field has been prepared during the last summer which has been much availed of and enjoyed by the young men of Westville. It will be further improved and utilized during the coming season…

All of which is respectfully submitted,
Henry T. Blake, President Park Commission, New Haven, February 6, 1905

REPORT OF SUPERINTENDENT OF PARKS
To the Honorable Board of Park Commissioners:

Most forest work has been accomplished during the past year and some planting has been done along the drives and around Judges’ Cave. The planting used there being all indigenous, such as barberries, rosa lucinda, rosa setigera, and other running prairie roses. Considerable time has been devoted to the grading and seeding and fertilizing of a tract laying between Stone street, West river, and the Rock. A part of these grounds has been arranged for a baseball ground, which, with some additional grading, can be turned into a good athletic field; the location is an excellent one and the plan should be carried out. A new stone basin replaces the old wooden tubs, formerly used as a drinking arrangement for horses near the shelter. The barn near the park cottage received some necessary repairs, the most cost being a new roof; roads and paths were kept in good order.

ANNUAL REPORT TREASURER OF COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS
For the Year ending December 31, 1904

Receipts

Balance from old account
$8.90
Annual appropriation
$1,400.00
Sale of wood
$9.00
Transfer from Contingent Account
$70.00
Transfer from Clinton Park
$10.00
Total
$1,497.90

Expenditures

For Grading and Planting
$272.97
For Forest clearing
$81.68
For Seats
$48.62
For Drinking Fountain
$59.60
For Tools and supplies
$37.15
For Roads and paths
$363.09
For Buildings
$119.97
For General labor
$503.39
For Legal services
$11.40
Balance to new account
$0.03
Total
$1,497.90

* * * * *

No. 45: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1905
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Ambrose V. Beecher, Assistant City Clerk
Press Of Samuel Z. Field New Haven, Conn. 1906

Pages 594-595 (pages 601-602 of the PDF)
Commission of Public Parks
Chairman (ex-officio) HON. JOHN P. STUDLEY
President, HENRY T. BLAKE

PERMANENT MEMBERS,
Department of Public Parks
SIMEON E. BALDWIN, 44 Wall Street
WILLIAM W. FARNAM, 335 Prospect Street
HENRY F. ENGLISH, 38 Hillhouse Avenue

APPOINTIVE MEMBERS
HENRY T. BLAKE, Term expires February 1, 1907.
RUTHERFORD TROWBRIDGE, Term expires February 1, 1908.
HERBERT C. WARREN, Term expires February 1, 1909
HENRY H. TOWNSHEND (Alderman), Term expires January 1, 1907.
ANDREW P. ALLEN (Alderman), Term expires January 1, 1907.

SECRETARY AND TREASURER, HENRY E. ENGLISH, 839 Chapel Street.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY, JAMES E. ENGLISH, 839 Chapel Street.
GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT, GUSTAVE X. AMRHYN, Room 16, City Hall

Standing Committees
West Rock Park,
Messrs. BLAKE, ENGLISH, AND FARNAM

Pages 597-601 (pages 604-608 of the PDF)
SEVENTEENTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC PARKS
To the Hon. John P. Studley, Mayor of the City of New Haven
…The ball ground in West Rock Park has also been in constant use through the season…
…At West Rock Park there has been acquired a strip of land on the south bank of West River, in the rear of Valley street, which will be converted into a picturesque foot path, along the river bank, in the course of next season…
Respectfully submitted,
HENRY T. BLAKE,
President of the Park Commission
New Haven, Conn. January 30, 1906

Pages 604-605 (pages 611-612 of the PDF)
REPORT OF SUPERINTENDENT OF PARKS
To the Honorable Board of Park Commissioners:
GENTLEMEN: — I herewith submit my report for the year ending December 31st, 1905:

WEST ROCK PARK
In this Park much time has been devoted to forest clearing. The necessity of such work here is very pressing since the welfare of the entire wood land on West Rock is absolutely depending upon its judicious treatment. The annual ravages of woodfires can only be suppressed in this way and these are every year very serious. The park cottage has been supplied with spring water and a sewage drain. The baseball field, near Stone street, was regraded in the most uneven places and many park seats were placed nearby to accommodate the visitors.
The addition of land to this park between West River and Valley street, which was obtained from the New Haven Water Company and other owners along the river banks, has been availed of to create a new and attractive riverside walk on the south bank of the stream, for which purpose a retaining wall has been built along a portion of the bank, thereby not only enlarging the area of the banks, but also protecting them effectively against washing away in time of freshets. It is to be hoped that these improvements will be taken up for completion early next year.
Tables and benches should be set up in suitable places for family picnics or gatherings of school children, etc.
West Rock Park is worthy of more attention than it has heretofore received. Its approaches should be improved in various ways and more paths to different points should be built. The driveway should be top dressed and a water supply is necessary for the sprinkling of the drives. I recommend to this Commission to urge a permanent appropriation of not less than $5,000 per annum to carry out these much needed improvements.

All of which is respectfully submitted,
GUSTAVE X. AMRHYN, General Superintendent
New Haven, Conn. January 12, 1906

Page 615 (page 622 of the PDF)
ANNUAL REPORT TREASURER OF COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS
For the Year ending December 31, 1905

Receipts

Balance from old account
$0.03
From annual appropriation
$1,850.00
From sale of wood
$35.50
From fire insurance recovered
$85.37
Total
$1,970.90

Expenditures

Forest clearing
$361.01
Retaining wall, West River
$292.04
General labor
$511.24
Tools and repairs
$100.49
Drives and foot paths
$291.07
Playground
$30.33
Composting
$73.10
Water supply
$91.68
Buildings
$38.52
Land
$75.00
Transfer to land account
$21.81
Balance
$86.01
Total
$1,970.90

Respectfully submitted,
HENRY F. ENGLISH, Treasurer.
NEW HAVEN, CONN., January 12, 1906.

* * * * *

No. 46: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1906
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By A. Oswald Pallman, Assistant City Clerk
Samuel Z. Field, New Haven, Conn. 1907

Link: No online version found.
Pages 576, 588

West Rock Park
Much time has been devoted during 1906 to forest clearing in this park, and this work and the work of former years are beginning to show good results. The next treatment will be the planting of pines, hemlocks, etc., throughout the whole wooded land of the park.
The paths were kept in good condition but such has not been the case with the roads, owing to the fact that their surfaces have become more and more sandy and consequently in worse condition for driving. Crush stone top dressing should be put in the entire drive system in the near future.
Improvements have been made on park land at Stone Street where the roadway has been widened at a point opposite the end of Hard Street. The widening of this thoroughfare extends about halfway across the river bed. In this improvement the building a retaining wall between the street and the river became necessary. Material used for filling behind the wall was obtained from an old, narrow river channel nearby which being thus widened and deepened now takes a part of the water flow of West River and thus creates a small island between the old channel and the new one.

Receipts

Balance from old account
$85.01
From annual appropriation
$1,900.00
From Sale of wood
$58.75
Total
$2,043.76

Expenditures

For grading and composting
$643.43
For Grounds
$647.96
For Forest clearing
$280.63
For General labor
$169.83
For Tools and repairs
$161.13
Transfer to Stable Account
$100.00
Transfer to Beaver Ponds Park
$15.00
Balance
$25.78
Total
$2,043.76

* * * * *

No. 47: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1907
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Michael A. Moran, Jr., Assistant City Clerk
The Hon. James B. Martin, Mayor
New Haven, Samuel Z. Field, 1908

Link: No online version found.
Pages 591-592, 599

West Rock Park (Area 215.30 Acres)
Roads and paths have been kept in good repair. A row of Pin oaks have been planted along Stone street, from Blake street to the base of the Rock. Considerable forest clearing has been done during the whole year throughout all woodland. Other improvements made in this park have been of small importance.
The park area has been increased through the purchase of land from Thomas Corrigan of 3.83 acres and from Walter C. Kay and others of 2.12 acres. Both pieces front on Springside avenue and are very important acquisitions for the park.
The buildings on the first named property were in a very dilapidated state. Repairs on the house became immediately necessary and were attended to and the land cleared of rubbish.

Receipts

Balance from old account
$25.78
From annual appropriation
$1,900.00
From sales and rents
$55.00
Transfer from Beaver Ponds Park-land fund
$1,955.22
Transfer from Beaver Ponds Park
$144,78
Total
$4,080.78

Expenditures

For land, Est. Thomas Corrigan, 3.83 acr
$1,455.22
For land, Walter C. Kay, et al, 2.12 acres
$979.88
For maintenance
$545.53
For general labor
$404.22
For forest clearing
$204.95
For tools and supplies
$155.57
For planting
$118.09
Transfer to Edgewood Park
$101.00
Transfer to Stable account
$50.00
Balance
$0.25
Total
$4,080.78

* * * * *

No. 48: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1908
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Michael A. Moran, Jr., Assistant City Clerk
The Price, Lee & Adkins Co., New Haven, Conn. 1909

Hon. James B. Martin, Mayor

Link: No online version found.
Pages 617-619, 625

TWENTIETH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC PARKS
To the Hon. James B. Martin, Mayor of the City of New Haven
…Two or three pieces have also been purchased as additions to West Rock Park in order to improve access to that park on Valley street and adjoining West river. These additions will materially enhance the attractiveness and utility of that picturesque portion of the park…

Very respectfully,
HENRY T. BLAKE,
President Park Commission
New Haven, Conn. January 25, 1909

West Rock Park (Area 215.30 Acres)
All the paths have been thoroughly overhauled and the drives top-dressed with loam; this material is not very desirable, but no other can be obtained unless large appropriations are provided. Forest clearing has been kept up and improvements in the forest are plainly noticeable. Two of the park cottages have been repaired and painted, and a supply of city water placed therein. A new foot-path has been commenced, which when completed will start near the Blakeslee quarry and lead to through woods on the easterly slope of the mountain by a very easy grade to a point where Regicide Drive joins Springside avenue and the road to Wintergreen Lake. The building of this path will effectually afford a pleasant walk through beautiful woodland adorned with laurels and will also reduce the danger of large forest fires. One thousand seven hundred and seventy feet of this path is completed Several small parcels of land have been purchased along Valley Street, namely, from Mrs. Mary Merriman, 0.78 acres; Peter McNeil 0.07 acres.
These land purchases been made in order to improve our boundaries and also gain territory along the West River banks.

Receipts

Balance from old account
$0.25
From annual appropriation
$1,600.00
From sales of wood, etc.
$16.50
From rent of houses
$96.00
Transfer from Beaver Ponds land account
$575.00
Transfer from Fort Hale Park
$25.00
Total
$2,312.75

Expenditures

For land, 0.85 acres
$601.61
For grounds
$447.04
For foot-paths
$176.65
For buildings, repairs
$449.57
For general labor
$306.76
For forest clearing
$177.36
For playgrounds
$121.21
For tools
$32.55
Total
$2,312.75

* * * * *

No. 49: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1909
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Frederick W. Kaye, Assistant City Clerk
Press Of Samuel Z. Field, New Haven, Conn., 1910

Commission of Public Parks
Chairman (ex-officio), Mayor James B. Martin

PERMANENT MEMBERS,
Department of Public Parks
SIMEON E. BALDWIN, 44 Wall Street
WILLIAM W. FARNAM, 335 Prospect Street
HENRY F. ENGLISH, 38 Hillhouse Avenue

APPOINTIVE MEMBERS
HENRY T. BLAKE, Term expires February 1, 1910.
Alderman EMIL LOOS, Term expires January 1, 1910.
Alderman FRANK KENNA, Term expires January 1, 1910.
RUTHERFORD TROWBRIDGE, Term expires February 1, 1911.
JOHN H. SHAW, Term expires February 1, 1912.

Pages 589-590 (pages 598-599 of the PDF)
TWENTY-FIRST ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE PARKS
Hon. Frank J. Rice, Mayor of the City of New Haven

…An important change in the previously existing park system was made during the year by the abandonment of the Woodfield tract as a park, and its exchange for a much more available, though smaller, piece of land on Valley Street in Westville, as an addition to West Rock Park. This exchange was authorized by an Act of the Legislature in 1908 and carried out by the action of the Board of Aldermen and the Mayor. The Valley Street land was conveyed to the City of the heirs of the late John M. Griest, to whom the City, in return, conveyed the Woodfield tract, the transaction being in settlement of a long-standing litigation between the parties. The exchange was not only beneficial to the park system of the City, but was gratifying as the termination of an unpleasant and doubtful controversy with the family of an estimable and public spirited citizen, deceased…
…Several new footpaths in Edgewood and West Rock Parks have not only shortened the distance for pedestrian travel between two points, but have provided new and delightful by-ways for leisurely visitors…

Respectfully submitted,
HENRY T. BLAKE,
President Park Commission
New Haven, Feb. 1, 1910

REPORT OF GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT
To the Honorable Board of Park Commissioners:
GENTLEMEN: — I herewith submit my tenth annual report of work done on the various parks during the year ending December 31, 1909 under your direction:

Pages 599-600 (pages 608-609 of the PDF)
WEST ROCK PARK (Area, 217.96 acres)
This park has been very well kept and a great deal of forestry work done in the wooded lands. A footpath, which was started during the last year, leading through the woods on the easterly slope of the mountain, has been completed to a certain point on the Regicide Drive; this addition being some what over 770 feet in length. Certain parts of the Regicide Drive have been top dressed with fine crushed stone, greatly improving its surface. A small playground has been established in the triangular piece of ground bordered by Blake and Stone Streets, directly opposite the Greist Manufacturing Company.
An addition has been made to the park area, in acquiring a piece of property on Valley Street and adjoining the Geometric Tool Company’s property. For some years the Park Commission has desired to acquire it and it has finally been accomplished through an exchange by the City of Woodfield Park for this tract; such exchange having been authorized by the Legislature 0f 1909.

WOODFIELD PARK. (Area, 45.32 acres.)
This park has gone out of existence through the exchange made for the Valley Street property, as mentioned in the West Rock Park report.

Respectfully submitted,
GUSTAVE X. AMRHYN, General Superintendent of Parks.

Pages 607-608 (pages 616-617 of the PDF)

West Rock Park
Receipts

From General Park appropriations
$1,700.00
Grounds and buildings
$22.00
Total
$1,909.20

Expenditures

General Labor
$298.78
Grounds and buildings
$458.46
Forest clearing
$147.71
Drives and Paths
$366.12
Seats
$12.50
Playgrounds
$353.36
Tools and repairs
$102.57
Transfer to Edgewood Park account
$119.70
Transfer to Stable account
$50.00
Total
$1,909.20

* * * * *
 
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No. 50: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1910
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Frederick. W. Kaye, Assistant City Clerk
A.D. Steinbach. 1911

Mayor Frank J. Rice

Pages 627-629, 632, 644-645 (pages 636-638, 641, 653-654 of the PDF)

TWENTY-SECOND ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS OF PUBLIC PARKS

(To the) Hon. Frank J. Rice, Mayor of the City of New Haven:
A third important feature of our park development during the past year has been effected by the enlargement of West Rock Park, at its north end, by some 40 acres of woodland, through the action of the Selectmen of the Town, who, as trustees of the tract under the will of Elijah Thompson, turned the same over to the Park Commission for its management under the terms of the will. This act was supplemented by the Board of Aldermen by placing in the care of the Commission a small portion of the adjoining Springside property, including the picturesque glen, formerly known as Wintergreen Falls. By these additions the north boundary of West Rock Park is extended to its natural limit at the so-called “Second Gap,” through which at some future day a highway will doubtless be constructed, connecting Wintergreen Ave nue on the east side of the Rock with the newly opened West Rock Road on the west side, thus forming not only a beautiful and romantic park drive, but by its junction with the projected Pond Lily Avenue an important public thoroughfare between Hamden and Woodbridge…

Respectfully submitted, Henry T. Blake, President
New Haven, January 11, 1911


REPORT OF GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT New Haven, Conn., January 6, 1911.
To the Honorable Board of Park Commissioners:

WEST ROCK PARK (Area 280.95 acres)
This park has been well maintained for the amount of money expended thereon. The improvements made are small. A footpath from the Blakeslee quarries to the Judge's Cave path has been built. It passes through beautiful ravines, thus opening up some of the best scenery of West Rock Park for the length of 0.29 of a mile. It also connects with a path built a year ago further north, so that pedestrians, by its use, can now reach the Lake Wintergreen section. The play ground near Blake and Stone Streets has been improved with new apparatus and the resort kept in good order. A good section of the Regicide road has been top dressed with crushed stone, this work being continued so long as the weather kept open. Forest clearing has been kept up through the whole year, but much remains to be done in this direction. Some important changes have been made in the area of the park through a lease from the Selectmen of the Town of New Haven to the City for park purposes of about 55 acres of land for 99 years, and this tract now forms a part of West Rock Park, to be developed as such in a general layout. A number of Norway Maples have been planted along Spring side Avenue, thus completing the street tree planting along this avenue from Wintergreen Avenue up to the West Rock Park woodland.

Respectfully submitted,
GUSTAVE X. AMRYHN, General Superintendent
January 6, 1911

Receipts

From General Park appropriation
$1,800.00
From Waterside Park account
$6.15
From Edgewood Park account
$10.39
From Bay View Park account
$30.08
Rents, etc.
$199.50
Total
$2,046.12

Expenditures

General Labor
$270.70
General Labor
$359.77
Grounds and buildings
565.79
Drives and Paths
347.18
Forest clearing
100.98
Tools and repairs
80.92
Seats
14.25
Playgrounds
353.08
New paths
$144.74
Lawns and planting
79.41


Total
$2,046.12

* * * * *

No. 51: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1911
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Frederick. W. Kaye, Assistant City Clerk
A.D. Steinbach. 1912

Hon. Mayor Frank J. Rice

Link: No online version available.

* * * * *

TWENTY-SECOND ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS OF PUBLIC PARKS
Hon. Frank J. Rice, Mayor of the City of New Haven
Perhaps the most important change which has affected park conditions during the past year, has been the extensive distruction of the chestnut trees in the forest parks by a new pest, which has made similar havoc elsewhere in this and adjoining states. Whether the evil has passed its climax or whether it has just begun its ravages is at present only a matter of conjecture. Following as it has the wide spread disease among hickory trees which occurred a few years ago, and concurrent also with the prevailing insect pests which are devastating our other forest and shade trees, we must recognize the fact that the acquisitions by our city of a capable in efficient City Forester has been effected none too soon…

WEST ROCK PARK (Area, 280.95 acres)
The maintenance of the park, which consisted mostly of keeping paths and drives in good order, has been well looked after. Additional cares however, have grown upon us here, as the forest clearing, which means mainly the cutting of chestnut trees afflicted with the same disease as on East Rock, and also the maintenance and care of the playgrounds have become important features. Here the children’s playground receive new apparatus, while ball field had a good top dressing of loan, but the outfield in the latter instance should be properly graded, in order to make it complete. The sidewalk along Blake Street, from the West River bridge to Stone Street, has been straightened, graded and top dressed with crushed stone. A house and barn on Springside Avenue have been repaired and make useful for the keeping of a man and teams.
The Regicide Road has received a crushed stone dressing for quite a distance, which is a decided improvement.
Respectfully submitted,
GUSTAVE X. AMRYHN, General Superintendent

Receipts

From general park appropriation
$1,800.00
From rents, etc.
$193.50
From Waterside Park account
$16.48
From Clinton Park account
$8.12
Total
$2,018.10

Expenditures















Total
$2,018.10

* * * * *

No. 52: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1912
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Frederick W. Kaye, Assistant City Clerk
Press Of A.J. Ely, 1913

Mayor Frank J. Rice

Pages 595, 608-609 (pages 606, 619-620 of the PDF)

WEST ROCK PARK (Area, 280.95 acres)
Proper care has been taken of the whole park, as far as maintenance is concerned. The hardening of the Regicides Road, from the park entrance near Springside Home to Judge's Cave, has been practically completed this Fall. It is now in good condition for driving. Some of the catch basins and culverts along the drive were properly repaired. Much has been done on the new path on the easterly slope of the Rock. This improvement was started two years ago and is now completed as far as Wintergreen Falls. The total length built this year is 3300 feet. Many culverts and small wooden bridges had to be built on the entire length of the path. A wagon shed has been added to the barn, to store wagons and implements.

Receipts

From general park appropriations
$2,500.00
From rents, etc.
$243.00
Total
$2,743.00

Expenditures

General Labor
$219.77
Drives and Paths
633.68
Grounds and buildings
623.19
Forest clearing
231.51
Tools and repairs
$228.71
Seats
$61.75
Playgrounds
$350.04
Transfer to nursery account
$394.35
Total
$2,743.00

* * * * *

No. 53: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1913
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Frederick. W. Kaye, Assistant City Clerk
Press Of Samuel Z. Field New Haven, Conn. 1914

Mayor Frank J. Rice

Page 652 (page 659 of the PDF)
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC PARKS Office 20, City Hall
Chairman Ex-Officio Hon. Frank J. Rice, Mayor
President WILLIAM W. FARNHAM
Vice-President RUTHERFORD TROWBRIDGE

Permanent Members
SIMEON E. BALDWIN, 44 Wall Street
THEODORE S.WOOLSEY, 250 Church Street
HENRY F. ENGLISH, 38 Hillhouse Avenue

Appointive Members
JOHN H. SHAW, 90 College Street, Term expires February 1, 1915
ALDERMAN LOUIS E. STODDARD, Prospect and Harriet Streets, Term expires January 1, 1914
ALDERMAN JOSEPH T. ANQUILLARE, 216 Orchard Street, Term expires January 1, 1914
RUTHERFORD TROWBRIDGE, 46 Hillhouse Avenue, Term Expires February 1, 1924
JUNIUS C. KNOWLTON, 324 Sherman Avenue, Term expires February 1, 1916

Secretary and Treasurer
HENRY F. ENGLISH
Office, 839 Chapel Street

Assistant Secretary and Treasurer
RUTHERFORD TROWBRIDGE
46 Hillhouse Avenue

General Superintendent
GUSTAVE X. AMRHYN
Room 20, City Hall

Meetings on second Friday evenings of each month.

Pages 656-657 (pages 664-664 of the PDF)
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS FOR 1913
Hon. Frank J. Rice, Mayor of the City of New Haven:
(This report has no commentary on West Rock, but discusses work on Farnham and English Drives at East Rock. I include the farewell from William W. Farnham, president of the Department of Public Parks).
…As on December 31, 1913, my long connection with the Commission of Public Parks, a connection of more than thirty-three years, terminates, this report will be my valedictory. In resigning from the Commission, I carry with me the recollection of many years of pleasant service and I desire to express my thanks for the unvarying consideration, courtesy, and co-operation extended to me by the Commissioners, the Superintendent, and all the employees with whom I have come in contact. My interest in the development of our Park System will continue to the end, and I sever my official connection with the feeling of sincere friendship for the men with whom I have been so long associated.
Wm. W. Farnam, President
January, 1914


Pages 658 and 665 (Pages 665 and 672 of the PDF)
REPORT OF THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF PARKS
New Haven, Conn., January 1, 1914.
To the Honorable Board of Park Commissioners:
Gentlemen:—I herewith present my annual report, giving a full account of work done during the fiscal year 1913, on all public parks, city squares and playgrounds under your direction.

WEST ROCK PARK. (Area, 280.95 Acres.)
Very few improvements could be made during the year in this park, as the appropriations made barely covered the ever increasing cost of maintenance, in which the item of forestry work figures up pretty well. Considerable planting has been done throughout the woods, this consisting in the setting out of certain spruces, pines and other species. An addition has been built to the old barn which provides room for three horses and for the storage of several wagons and implements which are in constant use in the management of the park.

Respectfully submitted,
Gustave X. Amrhyn, Superintendent of Parks, Jan. 9, 1914

Page 670 (page 677 of the PDF):
REPORT OF THE TREASURER OF COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS
For the Year Ending December 31, 1913.
From a budget of $77,052.41, $2,866.51 was allocated to West Rock Park

Pages 675-676 (pages 682-683 of the PDF):
WEST ROCK PARK

Receipts

From general park appropriation
$2,500.00
From rents, sales, etc.
$264.25
Transfer from Fort Wooster account
$102.26
Total
$2,866.51

Expenditures

General Labor
$495.14
Drives and Paths
316.31
Grounds and buildings
1,321.23
Forest clearing
$272.68
Tools and repairs
$110.66
Seats
$29.35
Playgrounds
$321.14
Total
$2,866.51

* * * * *

No. 54: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1914
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Frederick. W. Kaye, Assistant City Clerk
Press of Ely Printerie, 640 Chapel St., New Haven, Conn. 1915

Hon. Mayor Frank J. Rice

Link: No online version available.

WEST ROCK PARK (Area, 280.95 acres)
Forestry work has been a large item of expense, as here too the chestnut tree disease has strongly developed, and most of the said trees are affected. Quite a number of the stems have been sold for telephone poles, the balance cut up in the cordwood. Very little timber large enough for lumbering can be found here. A portion of the Regicide road has been top dress with crushed stone. In a general way the park has been well-maintained. A small old house on Valley Street, which has for 70 years been in a rather dilapidated condition, has been torn down, as we were not able to rent this building. Fences along the drive and Springside Avenue have required a great deal of repairing.

Receipts

From general appropriation
$3,000.00
Special appropriation
$2,000.00
From rents, sales, etc.
$523.35
Total
$5,523.35

Expenditures

For General Labor
$593.73
Forest clearing
$273.36
Drives and Paths
$436.11
Grounds and buildings
$1,351.56
Seats
$9.11
Playgrounds
$195.41
Tools and Repairs
$92.06
Transfer to Workshop Account Special
$572.01
Transfer to Workshop Account
$2,000.00
Total
$5,523.35

* * * * *

No. 55: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1915
Annual Reports of City Departments, Etc.
Compiled By Frederick. W. Kaye, Assistant City Clerk
Compiled by William T. Minor, Assistant City Clerk
Press Of Samuel Z. Field New Haven, Conn. 1916

Page 408 (page 415 of the PDF)
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC PARKS Office 20, City Hall
Chairman Ex-Officio FRANK J. RICE, Mayor
President THEODORE S. WOOLSEY
Vice-President RUTHERFORD TROWBRIDGE

Permanent Members
SIMEON E. BALDWIN, 44 Wall Street
THEODORE S.WOOLSEY, 250 Church Street
HENRY F. ENGLISH, 38 Hillhouse Avenue

Appointive Members
JOHN H. SHAW 90 College Street, Term expires February 1, 1918
ALDERMAN EDMUND J. COFFEY, 27 Tilton Street, Term Expires Jan. 1, 1918
ALDERMAN JOHN W. MURPHY, 320 Blatchley Avenue, Term expires January 1, 1918
JUNIUS C. KNOWLTON, 165 Park Street, Term expires February 1, 1919
RUTHERFORD TROWBRIDGE, 46 Hillhouse Avenue, Term expires February 1, 1917

Secretary and Treasurer
HENRY F. ENGLISH
Office, 839 Chapel Street

Assistant Secretary and Treasurer
RUTHERFORD TROWBRIDGE
46 Hillhouse Avenue

General Superintendent
GUSTAVE X. AMRHYN
Room 20, City Hall

Meetings on second Friday evening of each month.

Page 409 (page 416 of the PDF)
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS
Hon. Frank J. Rice, Mayor of the City of New Haven:
… We shall try the coming year a motor truck transport for the longer hauls, noting how its higher speed (for West Rock and Fort Hale) compares with the cheaper horse in economy and efficiency. It may be that this concentration can be carried much further still to advantage…
THEODORE S. WOOLSEY, President
New Haven, Conn., January 14, 1916


Pages 430-431 (Pages 437 and 438 of the PDF)
REPORT OF THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF PARKS
New Haven, Conn., January 1, 1914.
To the Honorable Board of Park Commissioners:
Gentlemen:—I herewith present my annual report, giving a full account of work done during the fiscal year 1913, on all public parks, city squares and playgrounds under your direction.

WEST ROCK PARK (Area, 280.95 Acres)
With several thousand diseased chestnut trees on hand, forestry work had to be kept up as much as possible. A large number of chestnut trees have been disposed of, cut into saw logs, posts, and cord wood.
A special appropriation of $2,000 enabled us to do considerable work on the park drive, such as top dressing, and also to acquire several thousand feet of four by sixteen inch curb stones, a number of catch basin fittings, and about 40,000 special cut dimension blocks. All of this material will make a valuable asset for the coming year’s work, for which no special funds have been provided.
The Park Cottage on Springside Avenue, opposite the Blakeslee Quarry, has been repaired and the interior renovated.
A new fence has been built along the newly established property line on Stone Street. This change made it possible to build a seven foot sidewalk from Blake Street to Hard Street along said fence. This walk is properly graded and surfaced with fine crushed stone.

Respectfully submitted,
Gustave X. Amrhyn,
General Superintendent

REPORT OF THE TREASURER OF COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS
For the Year Ending December 31, 1915.

Pages 417-418 (pages 423-424 of the PDF):
WEST ROCK PARK

Receipts

From general park appropriation
$3,000.00
From rents, sales, etc.
$264.25
From special appropriation
$2,000.00
From transfer city squares
(special appropriation)
$369.30
From transfer nursery
(special appropriation)
$19.33
From sales and rents
$173.25
Total
$5,561.88

Expenditures

For improvements on drives
(special appropriation)
$2,388.63
General Labor
$660.34
New Paths
$43.79
Drives and paths
$258.83
Material
$196.51
Playgrounds
$246.63
Lawns, grounds, buildings, etc.
$876.74
Seats
$37.00
Forest clearing
$295.58
Tools, machinery and repairs
$280.91
Transfer to nursery account
$27.74
Transfer to stable account
$249.18
Total
$5,561.88


This unmarked trail near the Konolds Pond overlook clings to the edge of the ridge. Be careful walking here as the cliff is about 300 feet above the Woodbridge side of the ridge.
* * * * *


No. 56: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1916
Annual Reports of City Departments, Etc.
Compiled By Frederick. W. Kaye, Assistant City Clerk
Compiled by William T. Minor, Assistant City Clerk
A.J. Ely (Printer), 604 Chapel St., New Haven, Conn. 1917

Mayor Frank J. Rice, 220 Sherman Avenue, died January 18, 1917
Mayor Samuel Campner, 21 Eld Street

Page 414 (page 419 of the PDF)
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC PARKS Office 20, City Hall
Chairman Ex-Officio HON. SAMUEL CAMPNER, Mayor
President THEODORE S. WOOLSEY
Vice-President RUTHERFORD TROWBRIDGE

Permanent Members
SIMEON E. BALDWIN, 44 Wall Street
THEODORE S.WOOLSEY, 250 Church Street
HENRY F. ENGLISH, 38 Hillhouse Avenue

Appointive Members
JOHN H. SHAW 90 College Street, Term expires February 1, 1918
ALDERMAN EDMUND J. COFFEY, 27 Tilton Street, Term Expires Jan. 1, 1918
ALDERMAN JOHN W. MURPHY, 320 Blatchley Avenue, Term expires January 1, 1918
JUNIUS C. KNOWLTON, 165 Park Street, Term expires February 1, 1919
RUTHERFORD TROWBRIDGE, 46 Hillhouse Avenue, Term expires February 1, 1920

Secretary and Treasurer
HENRY F. ENGLISH
Office, 839 Chapel Street

Assistant Secretary and Treasurer
RUTHERFORD TROWBRIDGE
46 Hillhouse Avenue

General Superintendent
GUSTAVE X. AMRHYN
Room 20, City Hall

Pages 415 (pages 420 of the PDF)

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS
OF THE CITY OF NEW HAVEN, 1916

Hon. Frank J. Rice, Mayor of the City of New Haven:
…The gradual disappearance of the horse drawn vehicle has put the Park Commission in a rather curious dilemma. The drives in the two mountain parks in construction and grade were built for horse use but are no longer used by horses. They are ill adapted for motor use yet the motor car is the only vehicle which desires to use them. Must they then be entirely reconstructed, or must they lie idle, used only by foot passengers.
The way out of this dilemma is not easily found. But the Commission has gone so far as to commit itself to the opening of the main West Rock Park drive for motor car use if it can be arranged with safety. Now it remains for the engineers to tell us whether further top dressing of stone with a binder, the turns being strengthened with Belgian blocks, is enough, or whether total reconstruction if necessary…
THEODORE S. WOOLSEY, President
New Haven, January 12, 1917

Page 435 (page 440 of the PDF)
WEST ROCK PARK (Area, 280.95 Acres.)
During the whole Winter season the men were kept busy with forestry work. Still a large number of deceased chestnut trees remain standing. All houses and outbuildings have been painted and repaired. Material for filling along Valley Street has been obtained from nearby excavations, which is to be used in raising-the land along the West River bed. A large number of forest trees have been planted throughout the woodland, where dead chestnut trees had been removed previously.
Nothing has been done to the drive this season. No special appropriations were made for this purpose, except for the purchase of crushed stone, which is to be used another year in the rebuilding of the road; for the details of this work the Engineering Department is making a survey of the drive.

Respectfully submitted,
Gustave X. Amrhyn,
General Superintendent


Page 422 (page 427 of the PDF)
WEST ROCK PARK

Receipts

From general park appropriation
$3,500.00
From rent and storage
$502.00
Total
$4,002.00

Expenditures

General Labor
$457.01
New drives and paths
$529.00
Drives and paths
$221.06
Buildings
$666.12
Playgrounds
$124.66
Lawns, grounds, etc.
$568.19
Tools, machinery and repairs
$144.88
Transfer to zoo account
$300.00
Transfer to stable account
$623.17
Total
$4,002.00

* * * * *

No. 57: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1917
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Hugh J. Murphy, Assistant City Clerk
S. Z. Field, Printer, 44 Crown St., New Haven, Conn. 1918
Link: No online version available.

The Hon. Mayor David E. Fitzgerald

Pages 383, and 395-396.

WEST ROCK PARK (Area, 283.22 Acres)
A tract of land containing 4.27 acres belonging to the City and formerly under care of the Director of Public Works, has been given to this department in compliance with some charter changes of a few years ago. Said land is situated north of the junction of Springside Avenue and Hard Street, and extending along Springside Avenue to land now part of West Rock Park, the inventoried value being $1,390.00. The stables and sheds have been enlarged considerably, to accommodate an increased number of rolling stock. A great deal of forestry work has been done during the latter part of November and the whole month of December. There still remain 2,400 chestnut trees to be cut, most of this wood will be converted into posts and lumber.

The reconstruction of the Regicide Drive, from the park entrance to Judge’s Cave, was taken seriously in hand last spring. Contracts were awarded for the necessary curbstone, about 5,000 feet, to New Haven Stone, marble and Tile Company for 48¢ per linear foot delivered on the grounds. The contract for the various sizes of crushed stone used in the rebuilding of the surfaces was awarded to C.W. Blakeslee & Sons viz: 85¢ per ton for No. 2 stone; $1.10 for No. 3 stone; and 85¢ for screenings at the quarry The work of regrading, curbing and paving the road begin in September and stopped at the end of November. About four-fifths of the entire length has been practically completed. Many new drains and catch basins have been established in the new construction, to properly take care of surface drainage and prevent washouts. The expenditure so far has been $15,568.99, which is someone higher than my estimate, which was made at the beginning of the year. Increase of wages and higher prices for materials will account for any additional cost.

Receipts

From General Appropriations
$3,500.00
Park Bonds, Series 1917
$16,394.32
Rents and sales
$718.70
Transfer from Quinnipiac Park Account
$471.16
Transfer from Waterside Park Account
$2.73
Transfer from Central Green Account
$174.31
Total
$21,261.22

Expenditures

For New Drives
$16,644.32
General Labor
$652.52
Drives and Paths
$498.91
Grounds and Lawns
$665.95
Playgrounds
$210.35
Buildings
$525.81
Forest clearing
$1,379.07
Tools, Materials, etc.
$479.38
Transfer to Stable Account
$205.21
Total
$21,261.22

* * * * *

No. 58: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1918
Containing Lists of the Officers of the City Government,
Annual Reports of City Departments and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Hugh J. Murphy, Assistant City Clerk
S. Z. Field, Printer, 44 Crown St., New Haven, Conn. 1919

Mayor David E. Fitzgerald

Page 19 (page 28 of the PDF)
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC PARKS Office 20, City Hall
Chairman Ex-Officio MAYOR DAVID E. FITZGERALD
President THEODORE S. WOOLSEY
Vice-President JUNIUS C. KNOWLTON

Permanent Members
SIMEON E. BALDWIN, 44 Wall Street
THEODORE S.WOOLSEY, 250 Church Street
HENRY F. ENGLISH, 38 Hillhouse Avenue

Appointive Members
JOHN H. SHAW 90 College Street, Term expires February 1, 1921
HAYES Q. TROWBRIDGE 100 Edgehill Road, Term expires February 1, 1920
ALDERMAN HENRY H. GRISWOLD, 143 Huntington Avenue, Term Expires Jan. 1, 1920
ALDERMAN HARRY W. HITCHCOCK, 459 Ellsworth Avenue, Term expires January 1, 1920
JUNIUS C. KNOWLTON, 324 Sherman Avenue, Term expires February 1, 1922

Secretary and Treasurer
HENRY F. ENGLISH
Office, 839 Chapel Street

Assistant Secretary and Treasurer
HAYES Q. TROWBRIDGE
100 Edgehill Road

General Superintendent
GUSTAVE X. AMRHYN
Room 20, City Hall

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS

Hon. David E. FitzGerald, Mayor of the City of New Haven.
Sir: — In making this report to you of the problems and prospects of the city park system, I am obliged to confess that the past year has been a disappointing one. We had much important work begun or planned and little has been accomplished. Not only has help been dear and inefficient; it was not to be had. We have not therefore maintained the parks as they should be kept; we have not finished the Regicide Drive; ….
…two months work will finish the drive to Judges Cave;

Respectfully submitted,
THEODORE S WOOLSEY. President N.H. Commission of Public Parks


Pages 433-434, 440-441, 453-454 (pages 446-447, 453-454, 466-467 of the PDF)
REPORT OF THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF PARKS
New Haven, Conn., December 31, 1918.
To the Honorable Board of Park Commissioners:

Gentlemen:—I herewith present my annual report, giving a detailed account of work done on the parks and squares under your direction during the past year.

WEST ROCK PARK (Area 286.22 Acres)
This park has also suffered its share in the maintenance, which was quite noticeable. An effort to accomplish a thorough forest clearing, viz: to cut out all diseased chestnut and other trees succeeded fairly well. A lot of logs were sawed up into useful lumber of all sorts, while small timber was converted into fence posts and cord-wood. Later in the season the large open lot opposite Springside Home was cleared of all brush, leaving it in good condition, with a growth of young cedars, which in New England characteristically adorn the Hillsides.
In June work began on the Regicide Drive and continued until November. The upper section of the Drive, upon which we worked, involved a lot of rock-cutting and blasting and also required, in some places, the building of heavy, retaining walls; the expense of all of which this year amounted to $9,905.00. Labor conditions and prices of material figure largely in this amount. About 250 linear feet of the Drive remains to be done to complete it as far as Judge's Cave. I hope the remainder of the road leading from this point to the front of the Rock will be re-built at once, in order to open to automobiles the whole length which leads to one of the most picturesque points of view in this State and will afford visitors of this city the fairest conception of the charming location of New Haven.
Efforts must be made to convince the city authorities of the immediate necessity of re-constructing the roadway from Springside Home to the Park entrance, upon which will hinge the use of the park when completed.

Respectfully submitted,
GUSTAVE X. AMHYRN

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TREASURER OF COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS        
For the year ending December 31, 1918.

Appropriations (and Expenditures)
Receipts

From General Appropriations
$4,000.00
West Rock Park Bond, series of 1917
$9,805.85
Rents and sales
$1,359.25
Transfer from Kimberly Playgrounds
$433.86
Transfer from Band Concerts
$122.61
Total
$15,721.57

Expenditures

For New Drives
$9,929.66
General Labor
$703.73
Drives and Paths
$1,017.27
Grounds and Lawns
$769.79
Playgrounds
$263.64
Forest clearing
$2,844.36
Tools, material
$193.12
Total
$15,721.57

Respectfully submitted,
Henry F. English, Treasurer

* * * * *

No. 59: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1919
Lists of the Officers of the City Government, Annual Reports of City Departments, and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Hugh J. Murphy, Assistant City Clerk
S. Z. Field, Printer, 44 Crown St., New Haven, Conn. 1920

Mayor David E. Fitzgerald


Pages 449, 457 and 470 (Pages 456, 464, and 477 of the PDF)

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT
(To) Hon. David E. FitzGerald, Mayor of the City of New Haven.

Another job finished is the motor drive to Judges Cave which has been freely used by automobilists and much appreciated. The road from the Almshouse to our entrance, for some years in shocking con dition, has been paved by the Board of Public Works, and now at last West Rock is really accessible. Our plan is to harden a branch of the Regicide Drive which extends southeasterly along the ridge, giving extensive views over the City, harbor and the region to the north. A few months more should see this accomplished. I may add that this drive to Judges Cave stands the wear well and the orderly procession of cars observing the speed regulations with apparent cheerfulness is good for the soul…

THEODORE S. WOOLSEY, President

REPORT OF THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF PARKS
New Haven, Conn., December 31, 1919.
To the Honorable Board of Park Commissioners, New Haven, Conn.:

Gentlemen:—In accordance with the requirements of this office, I beg to submit my annual report, giving a detailed account of work done in the parks and squares, under your honorable board's direction:

West Rock Park Area 286.551 Acres
It was not until August 2nd that the Regicide Drive was completed as far as Judges Cave and thrown open to auto traffic. The drive has been enjoyed by thousands of automobilists and is a novelty and attraction of great merit. The reconstruction of the drive leading from Judges Cave to the Summit was started and most of the curb is set up and much of the block gutter is laid. The completion of this improvement will cost quite a little, as some blasting of rock is to be done, especially at the very end of the road, where a fair-sized parking space for autos has to be provided which will afford room for at least 100 cars. Permission has been obtained from the Legislature and the Honorable Board of Aldermen to make an exchange of property between the City and the Geometric Tool Company of Westville. For the above exchange the City transferred a certain strip of land north of the Geometric Tool Company's property, containing 0.249 acres, to that company and received in its place a piece of land west of the above company's land containing 0.580 acres. In this transaction we made a slight gain of area and also obtained additional control of water rights of West River which we did not heretofore own. It in fact gives us at present the riparian rights of West River in its entire length through West Rock Park. We have accomplished a great deal in forestry work during the year. I believe another season will complete the forestry work in this park as far as the removal of dead chestnut trees is concerned.

Respectfully submitted,
GUSTAVE X. AMHYRN
Superintendent of Public Parks


ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TREASURER OF COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS        
For the year ending December 31, 1919

Receipts

From General Appropriation
$3,599.60
West Rock Park Bond, series of 1917
$7,935.79
Rents and sales
$455.40
Total
$11,990.79

Expenditures

For New Drives
$7,984.74
General Labor
$903.92
Drives and Paths
$859.15
Grounds and Lawns
$717.28
Playgrounds
$336.20
Forest clearing
$852.30
Tools, material
$337.20
Total
$11,990.79

Respectfully submitted,
Henry F. English, Treasurer

Hikers cross the walkway over the Lake Wintergreen spillway in this view from the frozen lake in early March 2015.

* * * * *

 
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No. 60: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1920
Lists of the Officers of the City Government, Annual Reports of City Departments, and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Hugh J. Murphy, Assistant City Clerk
S. Z. Field, Printer, 44 Crown St., New Haven, Conn. 1921

Mayor David E. Fitzgerald

Pages 478, 490, and 493 (pages 485, 497, and 500 of the PDF)

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC PARKS        
For the year ending December 31, 1920

WEST ROCK PARK (Area, 286.551 Acres)
The work on the new auto-drive could not be continued, during the past year, which is very much to be regretted. An effort must be made to continue this work next Spring until completed. Very little work was done on the park since it was almost impossible to get labor to go outside of the city. Late this Fall we started some forest clearing work and also made thorough repairs on the foot-paths.

Respectfully submitted,
GUSTAVE X. AMHYRN
Superintendent of Public Parks

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TREASURER OF COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS        
For the year ending December 31, 1920

Receipts

From General Appropriation
$4,396.93
Sales, Rents, and Donations
$407.00
Total
$4,803.93

Expenditures

For General Labor
$995.16
Drives and Paths
$1,352.91
Grounds and Lawns
$363.18
Playgrounds
$157.07
Forest clearing
$801.12
Tools, Material, etc.
$952.98
Grading and Filling
$61.17
Buildings
$120.34
Total
$4,803.93

Respectfully submitted,
Arthur D. Mullen, Controller
January, 1920

* * * * *

No. 61: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1921
Lists of the Officers of the City Government, Annual Reports of City Departments, and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Hugh J. Murphy, Assistant City Clerk
S. Z. Field Company, New Haven, Conn. 1922

Mayor David E. Fitzgerald
Pages 477-481, 488, 498, and 504 (pages 486-490, 497, 507, and 513 of the PDF)
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS OF THE CITY OF NEW HAVEN 1921.
Annual Report of the President

Hon. David E. Fitzgerald, Mayor of the City of New Haven.
…Each park has its own foreman, who lives near by. Three parks, West Rock, Edgewood, and Beaver Ponds, are served by the Western Division stables on Crescent Street…
On West Rock itself, the branch of the Regicide Drive which was planned last year has made great progress. This leads from the crest of the ridge southwesterly to the Rock tip where a concourse is arranged to hold a hundred vehicles. The outlook in every direction is spectacular, not matched by any park in the country. It is a pity that the road from Westville, the natural approach to this wonderful drive, is not in better shape.
Respectfully submitted,
THEODORE S. WOOSLEY, President

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF PARKS
New Haven, Connecticut,
December 31, 1921.

To the Honorable Board of Park Commissioners, New Haven, Conn.
Gentlemen: I beg to submit my annual report dealing with the work of Our
department which has been greater than in any former year. The maintenance work was carried out to the full extent of the appropriation, while many improvements have been performed with the financial aid of the bond issues.

West Rock Park (Area 286.551 Acres)
The Drive to Judges Cave has been very much used and enjoyed by autoists and it appears that the wearing surface of the road stood up very well so far. Work has been started again on the Summit Drive and kept up all Summer. I really expected to complete this Drive by December 1st; this however failed. While starting to blast away the rock where the parking place is located at the end of the Drive we found the rock extremely hard, in fact so much so that the drilling became real slow and again the retaining and protection wall, which circles the parking space proved to be a rather heavy job. Furthermore water had to be brought to the Summit to feed the boilers, sprinklers, etc. This was accomplished by laying a surface pipe line from the keeper's cottage, on Springside Avenue, to the Summit, and connect same with a 6000 gallon tank. The tank is properly set up on a stone foundation and housed in, in order that it may last for a good many years to come and supply the Summit with water in the Summer time. A gasoline engine and triplex pumps connected therewith was set up at the keeper's place to do the necessary pumping. This outfit was also properly housed in. We expended $21,456.00 for all this work during the season.
A very handsome stone fireplace and concourse was erected by the Camp Fire Girls, in memory of the late Miss M. Fisher, which is located on the banks of West River beneath the cliffs of West Rock.

Respectfully submitted,
GUSTAVE X. AMRHYN,
Superintendent of Public Parks.

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TREASURER OF COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS        
For the year ending December 31, 1921.

WEST ROCK PARK
Receipts

From city appropriation
$4,311.46
Rents
$324.00
Sales, etc.
$170.90
Transferred from Beaver Ponds Park
$62.11
City park improvement bonds
$23,247.16
Total
$28,115.63

Expenditures

For Regicide Drive
$23,247.16
Drives and Paths
1,660.55
Grounds and Lawns
770.37
Playgrounds
336.42
Forest clearing
634.06
Buildings
309.36
General Labor
1,037.91
Tools, repairs, materials
119.90
Total
$28,115.63

Respectfully submitted,
HENRY F. ENGLISH, Treasurer.
New Haven, February 10th, 1922

* * * * *

Invasive wineberry (a non-native raspberry plant) grow freely along the edge of Amrhyn Field, named for Gustave X. Amrhyn, New Haven's first superintendent of parks.

* * * * *


No. 65: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1925
Lists of Officers of the City Government, Annual Reports of City Departments, and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Dominic W. Celotto, Assistant City Clerk
The Columbia Printing Co., New Haven, Conn. 1926

Mayor John B. Tower
Link: No online version available.

Pages 598, 619

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF PARKS
New Haven Park Commission
For the Year Ending December 31, 1925.

West Rock Park (Area 286.55 Acres)
The most important improvement of the year is repaving of Springside Avenue from Blake Street to the park entrance beyond Springside Home. This work was done and paid for by the Paving Commission with the exception of the cutting down of two embankments on the west side of the avenue on park land. The straightening of sharp curves necessitated this work, and about fourteen hundred yards of sand stone were removed by us and dumped along the easterly embankment of the avenue. The approach to the park is now in good order from Westville at least. Forestry work has been kept up during the Winter months, and roads and paths were kept in good condition.

Respectfully submitted,
GUSTAVE X. AMRHYN,
Superintendent of Public Parks.
December 31, 1925

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TREASURER OF COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS        
For the year ending December 31, 1925.

WEST ROCK PARK
Receipts

From City Appropriations
$4,511.21
Rents and Sale of Wood
$524.00
Park and Playground Acquirement and Development Bond
$1,206.13
Total
$6,241.34


Expenditures

For Grading and filling
$1,170.34
Forest clearing
$489.68
Drives – Maintenance
$994.80
Paths – Maintenance
$614.77
Grounds
$266.12
Playgrounds
$402.17
Buildings
$378.51
Tools
$161.56
General labor
$1,257.05
Transferred to Beaver Park
$506.32
Total
$6,241.34

* * * * *

No. 66: City Year Book of the City Of New Haven for 1926
Lists of Officers of the City Government, Annual Reports of City Departments, and Other Public Documents.
Compiled By Dominic W. Celotto, Assistant City Clerk
The Columbia Printing Co., New Haven, Conn. 1927

Mayor John B. Tower
Link: No online version available.

Pages 436-437, 457-458

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF PARKS
New Haven Park Commission
For the Year Ending December 31, 1926.

West Rock Park (Area 286.55 Acres)
Forestry work was carried out during the Winter months throughout the wooded slopes and in the West River Valley. Roads and paths were kept in good condition.
Improvements were made to the park keeper’s cottage by adding a bathroom and a toilet with sewer and septic tank connections. The interior and exterior of the building have been repaired and painted.
Mr. Charles Berggren rented the sales stand on the summit for the sum of one hundred dollars for the season. A small comfort-station should be set up there during the coming season. The cost will certainly be a minor matter compared with the necessity thereof.

Respectfully submitted,
GUSTAVE X. AMRHYN,
Superintendent of Public Parks.
December 31, 1926.

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TREASURER OF COMMISSION OF PUBLIC PARKS        
For the year ending December 31, 1926.

WEST ROCK PARK
Receipts

From City Appropriations
$5,809.26
Park and Playground Acquirement and Development Bond
$50.98
Rents and Concession
$665.00
Sales
$48.00
Wm. S. Pardee Trust Fund
$121.00
Total
$6,694.24

Expenditures

For Drives
$901.60
Paths
$411.46
Grounds
$987.27
Cutting Grass
$192.56
Forest Clearing
$588.16
Playgrounds – New Apparatus
$212.66
Playgrounds – Maintenance
$441.26
Buildings
1,706.55
Tools and Machinery
$255.15
General labor
$501.60
Transferred to Washington Playgrounds
495.97
Total
$6,694.24

* * * * *

East Rock and New Haven, along with the woods of West Rock in this view from the overlook on the Red Trail of Farm Brook Reservoir, partially seen at left.

* * * * *






This view of Wintergreen Brook is just downstream from Wintergreen Falls,
on the property of the West Rock Nature Center.

1 comment:

  1. All of this is amazing! I've been working at CGHS on Springside Ave as an environmental educator for a few years now, and have admired west rock park for a few more. Ever since I started going to this park, I've noticed bits and pieces of its history, and the efforts of those who worked the land there.

    I've recently been very curious (slightly obsessed) about the historical facts surrounding the park, the lands it's comprised of, and the individuals who made it all possible. The most fascinating part for me is how time seems to bend, soften, and erode, if you will, the factual history of this beautiful place..

    One assumption I've been fed was that the springside home was once located on what is now common ground's campus. I never believed it. To the best of my abilities, I have decided that the almshouse or springside home was located somewhere past the new haven jobs corps. Am I in the right location?

    Another mystery for me has been the stone foundations near the sharp hair-pin turn on wintergreen ave (just south of lake wintergreen). What was that?! Seem somewhat substantial.

    Yet another mystery is this stone pillar, standing between 1'-2' tall, found along what is now marked as the teal trail. I've also seen them across springside ave, in an abandoned lot located opposite of wintergreen brook from the horseshoe pits.

    So many mysteries out there! Thanks for these resources!

    Dan DeCamillo
    daniel.decamillo@nhep.com

    ReplyDelete