Wave Hill is a renowned botanical garden and cultural center nestled in the Bronx suburb of Riverdale. Once a private estate, it features 28 lush acres dotted with majestic trees and spectacular views of the Hudson River and the Palisades.
19th Century Mansion Becomes a Gift to the City
In the 1800’s, many wealthy Manhattanites built their country homes in this picturesque area of the Bronx, drawn by the beauty of the Hudson River highlands and the stunning vistas of steep cliffs across the river known as the Palisades. In 1843, jurist William Lewis Morris built Wave Hill House as his summer home. It was expanded further by later owners which included publishing magnate William Henry Appleton and J.P. Morgan partner George W. Perkins, who added greenhouses, a swimming pool and the facility which now serves as the Ecology Building. Perkins also bought the adjacent property and called it Glyndor House. It is now Wave Hill’s cultural center, featuring an art gallery and hosting educational programs.
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Over the years, the estate was enriched with the goal of maximizing the beautiful views. The gardens were carefully cultivated and rare trees were added to the landscape. Perkins’ daughter Dorothy and her husband Edward W. Freeman renovated Wave Hill House in 1933, and the Perkins-Freeman family gifted the estate to the City of New York in 1960.
The Gardens at Wave Hill House
Wave Hill is a slice of heaven for garden lovers and nature enthusiasts. It features 28 acres of woodland, carefully planted gardens and grounds dotted with benches perfect for sitting and admiring the surrounding beauty. Numerous specimens of trees including sugar maples, dove trees and bigleaf magnolia provide a majestic backdrop for the varied gardens that are planted throughout the year.
Highlights of this remarkable property include the Flower Garden, which showcases a stunning selection of plantings including new and vintage perennials, exotic flowers and annuals that burst with color.
Delicate plants from around the globe thrive all year round in the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory. Named for the estate’s founding horticulture director, the Conservatory is comprised of three glass houses: the Palm House with exotic plants such as bright South African bulbs, the Tropical House featuring plants from humid regions and the Cacti and Succulent House which is home to plants that come from areas in the world with little rainfall.
Inspired by the wild garden planted by notable 19th century garden designer and Irish writer William Robinson, the Wild Garden at Wave Hill boasts a selection of wild species from around the world. Visitors will be delighted by the vistas from this area of the estate as well as the gazebo which dates back to the early 1900s.
The 16th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, was just 12 years old when his family first rented Wave Hill in the summer of 1870. The family was taken with the beauty of the home and they spent the summer of 1871 at the sprawling estate as well.
From 1901 to 1903, celebrated American author Samuel Clemens, more commonly known as Mark Twain, leased Wave Hill. Author what is often referred to as the “Great American Novel” Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain was taken with the beauty of the grounds and constructed a treehouse in the branches of one of the great chestnuts on the lawn. Other illustrious tenants included renowned conductor Arturo Toscanini who leased the house from 1942 to 1945, as well as two British UN delegates.
Weddings and Special Events at Wave Hill
It isn’t surprising that such a picture-perfect venue is a popular choice for those planning a wedding in New York City! Wave Hill offers indoor and outdoor venues for weddings all year round with special event planners available on-site to assist with menu and party planning.
Corporate conferences can also be accommodated at Wave Hill, and the grounds can be booked for commercial or private photo shoots.
Visiting Wave Hill in the Bronx
The front gate of Wave Hill is located at West 249th Street and Independence Avenue. The estate is approximately 30 minutes from midtown Manhattan.
Location: West 249th Street
Click to visit Wave Hill official website.
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