Lenoir Preserve – Old Croton Aqueduct

August 13, 2016 – Yonkers, NY

Difficulty: easy

Length: approximately 3.5 miles

Route type: lollipop loop

Lenoir Preserve is a 40-acre nature preserve comprising woodlands and field habitats. It is located in Yonkers, NY. It is adjacent to the Old Croton Aqueduct on slopes overlooking the Hudson River. The property was formerly home to two Hudson River estates, only one of which stands today. I have been here several times and was not really impressed. They have blazed trails, but they are not well kept and overgrown in places. However it is in close proximity to another estate which has some really interesting architecture, the Old Croton Aqueduct (OCA), and Untermyer Park.

Lenoir Preserve

Lenoir Preserve

Plaque on stone wall at entrance.

Plaque

Plaque

On the day of this hike it was extremely hot with high humidity. An extreme heat warning was in effect with “real feel” temp at 107. With that being said, I chose a hike that wasn’t strenuous, offered some shade and was photo worthy. I decided on Lenoir Preserve as a starting point. I know my way around so I didn’t bother with any maps, although they are available. From the parking lot we walked south past the Nature Center on a blacktop path.

blacktop path

blacktop path

When we came to a fork in the paved path, we stayed to the right.

IMG_6993_HDR_marked

fork in the paved path

Almost immediately we came to the Butterfly Garden. I wasn’t too interested in butterflies so I took a shot of it and kept it moving.

Butterfly Garden

Butterfly Garden

We walked past the Butterfly Garden, staying to the right and in a minute we saw the rear of Lenoir Mansion on our left.

Lenoir Mansion

Lenoir Mansion

We continued south on the paved path which led towards the edge of the property.

south on the paved path

south on the paved path

At the edge of the Lenoir Preserve property was a wall with an arch that led to another estate.

wall with an arch

wall with an arch

This is Alder Manor also known as the W. B. Thompson Mansion. It was built around 1912 by William Boyce Thompson, a mining tycoon and financier, as his weekend home. At the turn of the century, large riverside estates characterized much of Yonkers; today the Thompson Mansion is one of the few to have survived the city’s 20th century urbanization. The Thompson family lived there until the mid 20th century; afterwards it was willed to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York and became Mary Elizabeth Seton High School, the first Catholic school in Yonkers.

Alder Manor - March 16, 2016

Alder Manor – March 16, 2016

After ten years as a high school, it was upgraded to a junior college. A few years after merging with Iona College, the campus was closed. While the other buildings on the property were repurposed, the mansion fell into neglect and was looted until Tara Circle, an Irish American cultural organization, bought it from the city. To raise money for its restoration, Tara Circle holds occasional events there and rents it out for weddings and filming for movies such as Mona Lisa Smile and A Beautiful Mind. The manor is private property.

The architecture on this property is very ornate and although much of it is in ruins, it has a certain appeal. It is rich in Hudson Valley history.

other side of wall with arch entry

other side of wall with arch entry

The wall extends from west to east along the edge of the property.

wall on edge of the property

wall on edge of the property

There was a lot to photograph on the grounds. I have read that it is sometimes referred to as a mini Untermyer Park. There was a gazebo like structure with a shallow tiled pool.

gazebo like structure

gazebo like structure

The north side of the manor.

north side of the manor

north side of the manor

north side of the manor

north side of the manor

The walled gate that leads to the Lenoir Preserve property.

walled gate

walled gate

At the east end of the property towards Broadway (Route 9) is a columned area.

columned area

columned area

To the right of the columned area is an archway which leads to the front of the house.

archway

archway

Facing west, a tiled mosaic pool.

tiled mosaic pool

tiled mosaic pool

This place was quite interesting and had a lot of unique features. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.

The north wall of the manor.

north wall

north wall

A built in bench on the west side of the grounds.

built in bench

built in bench

Stairs leading east.

Stairs leading east

Stairs leading east

Back on the Lenoir property the high wall of Alder Manor as it runs from west to east.

wall of Alder Manor

wall of Alder Manor

wall of Alder Manor

wall of Alder Manor

The other side of the gate that leads to the grounds of Alder Manor previously shown.

gate that leads to the grounds of Alder Manor

gate that leads to the grounds of Alder Manor

After heading east along the wall, we turned left towards Lenoir Mansion.

Lenoir Mansion

Lenoir Mansion

We continued past the mansion until we caught up with the trail which led to this stone gazebo.

stone gazebo

stone gazebo

We passed the Butterfly Garden again and just to the right there was a trail that led to a castle like arch. This part of the trail was a bit overgrown, but it was short lived once we passed through the arch.

castle like arch

castle like arch

After passing through the arch, the trail led downhill then split. We continued towards the right and down the hill which would lead us to the Old Croton Aqueduct (OCA). Once we passed through the gate we turned left and headed south along the aqueduct.

gate

gate

Old Croton Aqueduct

Old Croton Aqueduct

The OCA was a level straight walk which was nicely shaded on this sweltering August day. Once we got to this rock cut…….

rock cut

rock cut

There was a stone building with bars on the windows on the left that looked very much like a jail of some sort.

stone building

stone building

stone building

stone building

IMG_7087_HDR_marked

stone building

IMG_7149_HDR_marked

stone building

stone building

stone building

After capturing some images of this interesting looking structure, we continued south on the aqueduct passing a stone ventilator.

stone ventilator

stone ventilator

We crossed the road and continued on the OCA until we came to the rear gate of Untermyer Park on the left.

rear gate of Untermyer Park

rear gate of Untermyer Park

Beyond the gate were ruins which I believe used to be the gatehouse.

gatehouse ruins

gatehouse ruins

Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.

Although this was an easy hike the heat was brutal so we took a seat in the shade and relaxed for a while. Then I headed to the gate house to take some more shots.

gate house

gate house

As I got closer to the gate house I noticed a guy sleeping towards the back. He looked like he was in a deep sleep so I stayed in the front and took some shots from there.

gate house

gate house

gate house

gate house

We decided not to walk up the somewhat steep hill into Untermyer Park because it was too hot and we had been there numerous times. So we headed back to the aqueduct that was on the other side of the gate.

gate

gate

We headed north on the aqueduct back towards the Lenoir Preserve. We proceeded up the steps and through the gate that separated the OCA from the Lenoir Preserve.

steps

steps

Once through the gate we hiked up the hill and as the trail split, we stayed left and continued uphill until we got back to the Nature Center. From there we headed to the parking lot, jumped in the vehicle and blasted the AC. It was a hot one, but we still got our hike in and captured some nice images as well. I hope you enjoyed today’s hike, I know I did. Be sure to follow my blog and stay informed about my journeys. Until next time folks, keep on trekking…….

keep on trekking

keep on trekking

 

 

 

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