Dedicated September 28, 1912
ca. late 1930s
THE GINKGO TREE and
12 MILE MARKER
In 1911, land for the purpose of a public park was offered as a gift to the city by Julia Isham Taylor. Newspaper accounts reveal that Mrs. Taylor’s gift was intended to preserve green space and views from her father‘s land—a central, natural high point in the area. A bit later, Julia’s aunt Flora bought and added land to the gift “just to preserve the view” to the Hudson River. The gifts of land from the Isham family are detailed on a bronze plaque in the stone wall surrounding a circular paved terrace situated above Broadway between 214th and Isham Streets.
Samuel Isham, Julia’s brother, is quoted in the New York Times on March 24, 1912: “My father . . . re-graded the whole hill from top to bottom, planted nearly all of the trees that now remain . . . .” So the enormous gingko tree still seen at the Broadway entrance just above Isham Street, the former entrance to the estate, may have been planted by William Isham in the late 1860s.
When roadway workers were removing a red sandstone mile marker, William Isham had it installed at the right side of his entrance gate on Broadway. Part of the road system of the Old Albany Post Road, the stone indicated the 12 mile distance to City Hall in Downtown Manhattan and can still be seen today, although the text once engraved on it no longer exists.