Westcott Community

The Westcott Neighborhood of Syracuse, NY

A vibrant eastside neighborhood rich in history, culture, food and entertainment

Walking Tours

The Old Neighborhood Part II

Stop #24

Thornden Park

  • Built:
  • Architect: Unknown
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Thornden is a scenic park – developed out of a 19th-century English landscape style private estate developed by Alexander H. Davis after he purchased the property from James Haskins in 1875. Haskins had bought what had been farmland from the Ostroms (after whom Ostrom Avenue is named), twenty years earlier. Thornden Park is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places as an historic designed landscape.

Davis named his new estate Thornden and rebuilt Haskins house as an enlarged Tudor retreat, and he developed the grounds partly as an arboretum, partly as a hunting park, and he even included a small golf course. Only parts of Davis’s built vision are preserved at Thornden, but the picturesque quality of the landscape, the variety of plantings and mixed use character of the tract remain.

The City of Syracuse bought the seventy-five acre parcel in 1921 and began its transformation into a public park. Unlike New York City which has to create its great urban parks out of wasteland, Syracuse was able to create a public recreation area in the style and spirit of a Frederick Law Olmstead Park almost ready made.