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History

In 1973, volunteers and community activists worked to preserve the land that is Flat Rock Brook Nature Center. These visionaries had the foresight to preserve the land in a densely populated suburb that was experiencing rapid development. However, the land that is today a nature preserve and education center has a long history of varied land use and conservation successes. Our timeline provides a historical snapshot of our preserve – one of the last remnants of the Palisades Forest – and of the Flat Rock Brook Watershed.

A Timeline History of Flat Rock Brook

pdfRead the full history of the Flat Rock Brook Watershed by Dustin Griffin, historian and former trustee of Flat Rock Brook.

1850-1900


1850 Most of the land in what later became the city of Englewood still held in large farms, long, narrow tracts extending from the Overpeck Creek to the Hudson River (so as to include hay meadow, farmland, and woodland), belonging for generations to old settler families (Van Nostrands, Van Brunts, Westervelts, Lydeckers, and Vanderbecks).
1859 The Northern Railroad reaches Englewood. Large-scale logging on the western slope of the Palisades to provide railroad ties.
1876 A pond (later known as Macfadden's Pond), is created by damming the Flat Rock Brook, first appears on a map. On an 1880 map it is marked as "Vanderbeck's Millpond," evidently the site of a sawmill.
1891 Palisade Railroad proposes construction of north-south light rail line through Flat Rock Brook land to Palisade Avenue and beyond, and begins buying land.
1893 William O. Allison buys large tract of land (including what is now the Allison Woods Park section of Flat Rock Brook Nature Center) from Garrett Lydecker.
1900 The Englewood Crushed Stone Co. (later the Prentice Co.), headquartered in Englewood, leases land and operates the quarry off Jones Road for production of crushed stone. Quarrying operations continue until about 1925.

 

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