April 25, 2020 – Irvington, NY
Length: Approximately 1 mile
Max elevation: 311 ft. – total elevation gain: approximately 27 ft.
Route type: Circuit
Map: None available
Trailhead parking: Havemeyer Rd, Irvington, NY 10533
Please Note: Halsey Pond Park is open to Village of Irvington residents only.
Halsey Pond Park is a 30-acre scenic and tranquil area that is located in Irvington, NY. Nestled between a golf course and private residences, it’s a peaceful oasis drawing families and dog walkers alike. The park is touted as Irvington’s best kept secret. Halsey Pond Park is open to village residents for passive recreation activities. New York State fishing license required for fishing (catch & release). Halsey Pond Park is open from dawn to dusk. The park is managed by the Irvington Recreation & Parks Department.
A wide 1/2 mile long crushed stone path circles the scenic pond, passing old stone walls, a dam, and the Beltzhoover Teahouse that overlooks the pond. A haven for birdwatchers, on any given day, you may see ducks, geese, herons, cormorants, warblers or even an Osprey.
Rochroane castle was built between 1902 and 1905 for Melchior S. Beltzhoover, an oil and cotton magnate from Natchez, Missisippi. The 44 room stone castle, once part of a 200-acre estate overlooking the Hudson River, was designed by Arthur. J. Manning, a New York City architect who also lived in Irvington. The stone was quarried from the land upon which it was built. This “Rhine castle” featured a spectacular stained-glass window by Louis Comfort Tiffany that depicted the Hudson River view as seen from the castle.
Benjamin Halsey bought Rochroane castle in 1927, and renamed it “Grey Towers.” After Halsey’s death in 1956, his widow began donating portions of the estate to the Immaculate Conception Church, ending with the mansion itself in 1976. Gutted by fire a few months later, the mansion and 38 acres were sold to a developer who, in 1980, deeded Halsey Pond and its folly, sometimes called Halsey Teahouse, to the Village of Irvington in exchange for permission to remove Rochroane/Grey Towers and subdivide the rest of the property.
The castle’s Tiffany stained glass window, which portrays a Hudson River view from the window in which it was set, is on exhibit at the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, N.Y.
Beltzhoover Teahouse, the last remaining structure of the once-grand estate, is a little turn-of-the-century castle, with an open hexagonal tower featuring gothic arched windows and a roof terrace overlooking Halsey Pond.
Neglect and years of deterioration threatened the survival of this rare historic architectural resource. Beltzhoover Teahouse was preserved through the initiative and support of concerned citizens, the Village of Irvington Trustees and Irvington Landmarks Preservation, Inc.
There is designated roadside parking on Havemeyer Road, with room for about 8 cars.
A wide dirt path leads from the cul-de-sac, a short distance to the edge of Halsey Pond, with the Beltzhoover Teahouse directly across the pond.
Halsey Pond is a 6-acre man-made impoundment built before 1835 and is rimmed by stonework, including a controlled outlet at its western end and a channeled inflow to the east.
Turning left, the wide crushed stone path circles around the pond, passing over the newly renovated stone dam.
Halsey Pond Dam is a composite masonry and earth structure about 25 feet high, 20 feet wide and 160 feet long, located on a tributary to Barney Brook. It was built in the early 1900’s as part of the estate. The dam and spillway were renovated in 2018.
Soon after crossing the dam, the Beltzhoover Teahouse is on the right overlooking Halsey Pond. You may want to take some time to explore this awe-inspiring creation.
The terrace looks out over the pond and affords a scenic view of the park and gives visitors a chance to spot many different types of birds that inhabit the area.
Keep an eye towards the small man-made island for Green Herons. You may spot one or two sitting in a tree. If you’re lucky, one of them may make an appearance.
The path continues around the pond, passing old stone walls of the former estate with open views of Halsey Pond and different angles of the Beltzhoover Teahouse.
The road crosses an old stone bridge that spans the inlet of the pond.
Benches allow visitors to relax and enjoy the scenery on a lovely day.
The reflections on the still pond makes this a charming place for a walk.
Always in view while walking around the pond is the Beltzhoover Teahouse.
A stone fountain near the southern end of the pond.
After a walk around the pond, retrace your steps back to your vehicle on Havemeyer Road or walk around the pond again.
This is a gorgeous place for a pleasant walk around an extremely scenic pond. This park makes up for its lack of size with the history behind it and picturesque landscape. A lovely place to spend some time on a sunny day.
Historical features, Beltzhoover Teahouse, Halsey Pond, scenic area, lots of bird activity.
Park is for village residents only.
Take a walk!
- Halsey Pond Park
- Halsey Teahouse – Hudson Valley Ruins
- Irvington – Judith Doolin Spikes, Anne Marie Leone – Arcadia Publishing