-- From an advertisement by the
American Real Estate Company, circa 1911.
In 1888, the American Real Estate Company established the Park Hill section of Yonkers. They created a community amid one of the most naturally beautiful areas in Westchester County. The neighborhood quickly attracted people who worked in Manhattan, but who wanted to live in a more tranquil setting.
Among Park Hill's early residents were celebrities from the stage, screen and radio. The English actor Richard Bennett and his daughters Joan and Constance lived here. Dennis O'Brien, the corporate counsel for United Artists, hosted parties at his Park Hill home where guests included Charlie Chaplin, George M. Cohan, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. Alfred and Dora McCann broadcast their WOR radio program from their Park Hill house, and drummer Gene Krupa made his home here.
A variety of artists still live here in a distinctive community where they are neighbors with plumbers, doctors, secretaries, clerks, teachers and others with blue collar and professional occupations.
About four hundred neighborhood families are active members of the Park Hill Residents’ Association (PHRA). The Association, founded in 1912, works to preserve the natural beauty of Park Hill, to enhance cultural life and to promote public policies that improve Southwest Yonkers.
The PHRA publishes The Park Hill Reporter, it's quarterly newsletter and sponsors an annual picnic or social event in the fall.
The PHRA also sponsors House Tours that introduce Park Hill to hundreds of visitors from the area. The tours raise money for the Yonkers Land Conservancy, an organization which plants trees throughout the neighborhood and provides tax benefits for preserving undeveloped parcels of land in a natural state.
The Park Hill Racquet Club offers swimming, tennis, bowling and social activities to help turn neighbors into friends. The club is the site for the PHRA's Candidates Nights before elections and the annual PHRA meeting.
The Luther Burbank Garden Club runs the annual tree lighting ceremony in December, and has overseen the care of the Rumsey Road mall since 1923.
Park Hill is located in southwest Yonkers on a wooded plateau 300 feet above sea level. Standing at the plateau's edge in Leslie Sutherland Park, you can enjoy a view that stretches 20 miles, from the buildings of midtown Manhattan up the Hudson almost to the Tappan Zee Bridge. In the fall, the New Jersey Palisades, directly across the river, are especially beautiful.
The engineers and architects of Park Hill preserved the natural beauty of the forest hill by designing roads around trees and rocks. Today, the natural rock outcroppings and centuries-old oaks maintain the atmosphere of natural beauty envisioned by the original planners.
Park Hill includes a variety of architectural styles, ranging from Queen Anne, Shingle Style, Arts&Crafts, Tudor and Mediterranean, through Cape Cod, Ranch, Split Level and more. Many visitors remark wistfully that the homes remind them of their grandparents! In addition to the expansive porches and handsome oak doors, many of the homes are enhanced by marvelous gardens.
In addition to the Racquet Club, Park Hill enjoys access to an array of city and county parks. Pelton Park and Sullivan Oval Park abut the neighborhood, and the spectacular Tibbetts Brook Park and Van Cortlandt Park are within walking distance. Whatever your interest --cycling, horseback riding, tennis, swimming, baseball, soccer, hiking -- these wonderful parks can accommodate you. Golfers have a short trek to Dunwoodie, a county course with a driving range, and dozens of other public and private courses are within a short distance.
Yonkers public schools offer a choice of over thirty different magnet school programs. The public schools have been the focus of a well-financed revival that has combined a commitment to fundamental skills with innovative programs that prepare the children for the challenges they will face as they grow up.
Several parochial schools are within walking distance, and others are a short drive away. Three excellent private schools -- Fieldston, Horace Mann and Riverdale Country Day -- are three miles south in Riverdale.
As of March 20, 2005, the historic memorabilia and archives of Park Hill are available for viewing at the Riverfront Library in downtown Yonkers. Historic signage, postcards, photographs, newspaper articles and original real estate brochures are but a few of the items showcased in this exciting compilation of neighborhood history.