Crawford Park is a 36 acre preserve located off Ridge Street in Rye Brook, New York. The Park contains an early 20th century mansion, hundreds of mature trees, an expansive lawn, a playground, a large picnic pavilion and a sunken garden.
Edna and Everett Crawford, previous owners of the estate, wanted future generations to enjoy a natural oasis in the midst of suburban development. Their property was therefore donated to the town of Rye upon Mrs. Crawford’s death in 1971.
An avid gardener, Mrs. Crawford was particularly interested in beautifying the grounds of the estate. Mr. Crawford, a stock broker and banker, built stables on the grounds for this prize-winning horses. There was also a large indoor riding ring on the estate during the 1920s and 1930s.
Called Shanarock by the Crawfords, their mansion was an elegant center of the local scene. Mr. and Mrs. Crawford often found occasions to open their home to the public for the welfare of the community.
In 1911, the Crawfords hosted a polo match for the benefit of United Hospital, which they had help establish. In later years, the home was open to the community for Little League games, garden tours and Easter egg hunts.
In November of 1926, the Crawfords hosted their 25th wedding anniversary celebration described in the Rye Chronicle as the most brilliant event of the season. A detailed account of the party followed: The riding ring was beautifully transformed for the event, with pine trees and other evergreen decorations along the sides and around the stages, and about 360 guest participated in a most enjoyable occasion. The article stated that Edna Crawford has worn her original velvet wedding gown without any alteration.
In October of 1996, a non-profit, 501 C-3, organization called the Friends of Crawford Park was formed, under the leadership of Eleanor Herman. Its purpose was the beautification of the park grounds, as well as preservation of the Crawfords legacy.
Working with the Rye Town Council on it Model Plan for the Park, they have created a half mile path last year – so helpful for enjoying the park all season. They have also restored Mrs. Crawford’s sunken garden, created the Sunset Site, which featured a renovated stone wall and indigenous plants, and planted hundreds of bulbs throughout the park.
Under the Family Tree program, begun in 1992, donations of trees may be made in memory of a loved one or in honor of some special occasion.
The Crawford mansion, the pavilion and the ball fields are available for rental to Rye Town residents through the Town of Rye, call 914-939-3075 for more information.