January 15, 2021 at 1:38 am #1844ndembowskiKeymaster
I recently came across the Hidden Waters Blog entry for “Alder Brook” in Riverdale. It contains some good info and I would recommend checking it out to learn about one of Riverdale’s forgotten streams and neighboring environs. Alder Brook is basically a seasonal stream that you can still sometimes see flowing towards the Hudson after a heavy rain in a ditch on the south side of Spauling Lane.
Here is a map that the author included to show its path:
The author explains the connection between the stream and the nearby land-marked Alderbrook mansion and pool. Citing the landmarks preservation commission report for the mansion, he includes this background on the name “Alderbrook”:
“Its name is believed to have been inspired by a collection of popular stories by Fanny Forester published in 1847.”
That might be true but today I noticed some interesting things in a local deed pertaining to this particular area that made me think twice about that. The Alder Brook is used as a boundary in an 1810 deed for a 52 acre lot as you can read below:
Perhaps the marked alder bush has something to do with the name of the brook? Then again, maybe it has to do with the person that purchased the property? Check out the name of the lady who purchased the land:
Without a street grid and lot numbers, natural features such as rocks, trees, and brooks were used as boundaries for land deals. This particular brook was used in deeds well before the above-mentioned transaction. A 1685 deed to Frederick Philipse uses this brook to mark the south western boundary of what would become his 52,000 acre property–Philipsburg Manor:
Referring to this brook as “Doggwood Brooke,” this deed excerpt seems to describe the western edge of Philipse’s purchase from Riverdale to the Saw Mill River in today’s downtown Yonkers (or “Nappeckamah).”
The next time you see water flowing in a ditch by the side of the road, think that it could have had a name at one point in history–or perhaps even two names.
January 15, 2021 at 3:25 am #1845
This is the best specific piece of research I have seen in a long time. Well Done !
January 15, 2021 at 3:59 pm #1846Peter OstranderParticipant
Great use in referencing old deeds to find area namings. Of interest is the reference to a Doggwood Brooke in the 1685 deed to Frederick Philipse . Today just up the road East from Adlerbrook is a 50 Townhouse complex built in 1953 called Dogwood Close. While many local area names are real estate sales names (eg. Riverdale, Marble Hill, Fieldston) that have no real historic precedent its good to see that some real estate and builders did perhaps do their research before naming these streets and buildings in this area ( Hadley Ave , Adlerbrook Rd, and Dogwood Close )
January 19, 2021 at 4:31 pm #1851Peter OstranderParticipant
Adler Brook yesterday Jan 18 2021
south of Wave Hill looking East with waterfall
Adler Brook flowing west to the Hudson River
January 23, 2021 at 10:11 pm #1854ndembowskiKeymaster
Thanks for the photos, Peter. The second one looks like it could have been taken in a different time. And that’s interesting about Dogwood Close–I never put those things together.
The stream appears as “Dogwood Brook” on Thomas Henry Edsall’s map, which is also on the maps page in better detail:
January 23, 2021 at 11:17 pm #1855
Just an other map view of Alderbrook
January 23, 2021 at 11:28 pm #1856
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