The first American woman to take a solder’s part in the war for liberty and be wounded on the battlefield during the struggle to be free of foreign governance, and the first woman to receive a military pension, was Margaret Corbin (1751-1800?) In 1776 the Continental Army was trying to hold back the British supported Hessian mercenaries from a strategic point in upper Manhattan now known as Fort Tryon Park.Â When her husband fell in the battle she took over his cannon and continued the fight.
Over 66 acres, the park was originally inhabited by the WeckquaesgeekÂ Tribe until the early 17th century.Â Later called “lang Bergh” (Long Hill) by the early Dutch colonists, renamed Fort Washington by the Continental Army in 1776 and finally the British renamed the area Ft. Tryon for Sir William Tryon – Major General and the last British governor of colonial New York.Â
Located on one of the highest points in Manhattan with a clear view up and down the Hudson River, Fort Tryon was always a strategic military point
In 1917 John D. Rockefeller, Jr. bought the landÂ and existing mansion, hired the Olmsted Brothers (famed for their work in Prospect and Central Park) who began landscaping the property with promenades, terraces, wooded slopes plus 8 miles of pedestrian paths affording spectacular views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades.
In 1931 Rockefeller donated the land to the city and it was designated park land the same year.Â A few years later, after Rockefeller bought sculptor George Grey Barnard’s collection of medieval art, The Cloisters Museum, a reconstructed French medieval monastery, Â openedÂ in the Northern part of the park. Â Now a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it was designated an official New York City landmark and houses nearly 5,000 medieval works
Carved out of boulders cliffs and deep wooded areas, the 66.6 acres of Ft. Tryon has panoramic views of the lower Hudson River, the George Washington Bridge and New Jersey Palisades. Â Â Here is one of the few unspoiled river views in Manhattan.
River traffic on the Hudson River. Most days big ships can be seen as they are being pushed up river by Manhattan’s famous tug boats where they are anchored until time to reload and ship out
Just inside the south entrance (190th Street – conveniently a subway stop on the A train) is a spectacular heather garden and other plantings designed to fit into the natural beauty of the environment. WalkingÂ paths link the best spots for viewing.Â Much of the land is still wooded area.
Late summer the park is taken over for the day by a Medieval festival – knights and ladies in appropriate dressÂ provide traditional entertainment, demonstration of crafts, fighting skills and horseback duels, games, food
A year round destination for the local community and tourists alike, sports, culture, organized and individual sports and playgrounds have replaced the wars of earlier days.