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Utica Parks and Parkway System Timeline

Park Day, Utica. Mayor Wheeler accepting the parks in behalf of the City of Utica. (Image c/o the Oneida County Historical Society, Utica, NY) FT Proctor Park, Utica, NY. (Image c/o the Oneida County Historical Society, Utica, NY) Valley View Golf Course, Utica, NY. Front view of the 5th green. (Image c/o the Oneida County Historical Society, Utica, NY) Newly fenced parking/pavilion area planted with hydrangeas,  Photo (c) 2014 Roger B. Smith Arbor Day 2015: Ceremonial tree planting with CNY Conservancy Board members, Assemblywoman Claudia Tenny, NYS Commissionare RoAnn Destito and Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri. photo (c) April 2015 Roger B. Smith

1850:

Forest Hill Cemetery formally opened in June 1850. Almerin Hotchkiss (noted American landscape designer) integrated curving paths, uneven terrain, ponds, plantings, and roads into the plan which emblemized the spirit of the rural cemetery movement.

1899:

Thomas R. Proctor initiates the development of the park system for the City of Utica when he opens 60 acres on the grounds of his Bagg's Hotel Farm for public recreation.

1902:

T.R. Proctor promotes urban improvement and the realization of the City Beautiful movement in Utica when he gives a speech before the Chamber of Commerce advocating paving all streets, planting trees, and establishing playgrounds and parks.

1904:

Thomas R. Proctor acquires large farms along the southern border of the City of Utica with the intention of uniting the properties into a city park system.

1906:

Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., speaks at the Utica Academy and advocates the establishment of urban parks. Thomas Proctor consults with the Olmsted Brothers Firm in Brookline, Massachusetts. The firm begins creating plans for locating roads, paths, gardens, fields, active recreational spaces, terraces and woodlands to shape the lands of the developing Utica Park System.

1907:

Thomas R. Proctor introduces local dignitaries to the parks he is developing for the City of Utica by driving them around the green spaces in a cavalcade of automobiles.

1909:

The park lands become more accessible to Utica's residents through transportation improvements. The public rides trolley cars south on Mohawk Street to Pleasant Street. Automobiles enter the parks via the new Parkway, which is completed from Genesee Street to Elm Street. Eighty acres of Roscoe Conkling Park is allocated for a zoological society (now the Utica Zoo).

1910:

Swan Fountain, designed by sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies, is installed at the Parkway and Elm Streets in memory of Utica attorney Robert Swan. This is the first of what eventually becomes 14 monuments and statues sited along the entire length of the Memorial Parkway.

1911:

The Parkway is completed from Elm Street to Mohawk Street on a route parallel to Pleasant Street, an early city road built in the 19th-century.

1914:

Baron von Steuben Monument is dedicated at Genesee Street and the Parkway.

1915:

Spanish-American War Soldiers and Sailors Monument (The Hiker) is dedicated at the Parkway and Oneida Streets.

1919:

East of Mohawk Street, the new, wide, divided Parkway boulevard continues to the east through undeveloped farmland to link with Culver Avenue and the adjacent Frederick T. Proctor and Thomas R. Proctor Parks. Harry W. Roberts and his Tilden Realty Company engage the Olmsted Brothers Firm to create land use designs that result in a gracious residential neighborhood bordering the Parkway from Mohawk Street to Tilden Avenue.

1921:

Thomas R. Proctor Monument, designed by George T. Brewster, is dedicated on the Parkway.

1927:

Golfers welcome the opening of the municipal Valley View Golf Course adjacent to Roscoe Conkling Park. The course is designed in 1916 by Walter J. Travis, champion amateur golfer and golf course designer.

1929:

The bronze Eagle by sculptor Charles Keck, is located on elevated land near the cemetery boundary overlooking Roscoe Conkling park and the City of Utica.

1930:

General Casimir Pulaski Monument is located on the Parkway at Oneida Street.

1931:

The bronze bust of George Dunham by Filippo Scarlatta of Rome, Italy, is dedicated on the Parkway median, east of Holland Avenue.

1937-1942:

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) improves recreational opportunities in Utica's parks by constructing 9 new tennis courts, 6 wading pools, 2 baseball diamonds, 1 new playground, a ski area, toboggan runs, fireplaces, a golf house, swimming pool, and bath house. Gravel and paved roads and parking lots are also added.

1941:

Golfers celebrate completion of the 50-acre expansion to Valley View Golf Course. Robert Trent Jones, the golf course architect, redesigns the course's fairways, shapes 18 new tees and greens, and adds a water system to irrigate the greens, which results in a challenging course that is widely appreciated for its beauty. These major improvements are funded almost entirely through the Works Project Administration.

1950:

A replica of the Statue of Liberty is placed on the Parkway near Elm Street.

1952:

Christopher Columbus, a statue designed by Enrico Arrighini, is dedicated on April 25, 1952, at its original location on Oriskany and Johns Streets in downtown Utica. It is re-dedicated on October 12, 1966, when it is moved to its present location at the Parkway and Mohawk Street.

1985:

The Vietnam War Memorial is dedicated at the Parkway and Holland Avenue.

1992:

The POW-MIA Memorial is dedicated on the Parkway, across from the tennis courts.

2000:

The World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict Memorial was dedicated on the Parkway, across from the tennis courts.

2002:

The Central New York Conservancy is established as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, with a mission of preserving and restoring Olmsted-designed green spaces in the Mohawk Valley.

2002-2004:

The Central New York Conservancy conducts research in the Olmsted Archives at Fairsted (Brookline, MA) and discovers wealth of original documents pertaining to the creation of Utica's Parks & Parkway System, including original planting and tree lists developed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.

2004:

A new map of FT Proctor Park is assembled, using documents from the Olmsted Archives that shows Olmsted, Jr.'s original planting plans for FT Proctor Park. The map is used to educate the community about the public parks system.

2005:

The Police and Firefighters Memorial is dedicated on the Parkway at Kemble Street.

The Swan Fountain, sculpted by renowned artist Frederick MacMonnies in 1910, is re-installed on the Memorial Parkway after a successful fund raising campaign by the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica. Major benefactors are William F. Locke and Family (Founder and President of the Central New York Conservancy), the Frank W. Baker Fund of The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, Inc., ConMed, and the City of Utica). The project receives technical assistance from the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute and the Oneida County Historical Society.

2005-2006:

Central New York Conservancy completes restoration work on FT Proctor Park Bath Houses, Lily Pond, and Stone Staircases originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.

2006:

Central New York Conservancy hosts a gala in FT Proctor Park in honor of the Centennial of Utica's Olmsted-designed Parks and Parkway.

2007:

Utica Parks Commissioner, Dave Short, develops a nursery as part of a grant program funded by The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, to cultivate Liberty Elms until they mature and may be planted on Genesee Street and the Memorial Parkway.

2007-2009:

The Central New York Conservancy partners with the Utica City School District on a 3-year, $250,000 grant to implement Project SAVE (Safe Schools Against Violence in Education), a character education curriculum for 5th grade students. Other partners include the Utica Zoo, Utica Marsh, and the Oneida County Historical Society.

2008:

The Central New York Conservancy's application on behalf of the City of Utica and the Utica Parks and Parkway System is approved. Utica's Parks and Parkway System is named to the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

2009:

The Central New York Conservancy launches the "Adopt-A-Monument" program to encourage individuals and groups to participate in maintaining and enhancing the 14 monuments that line the center median on the Memorial Parkway from Genesee Street to Culver Avenue. Immediately, 6 monuments are adopted.

The Central New York Conservancy is awarded the John J. and Wilma B. Sinnott Conservation Award for 2009 by the Utica Zoo. The Conservancy is recognized for its work to enhance FT Proctor Park and the Memorial Parkway.

2011:

The 9/11 Memorial is dedicated at the corner of the Parkway and Sherman Drive, across from the Mohawk Valley Community College campus.

2013:

Central New York Conservancy holds first "I Love My Park Day" in Roscoe Conkling Park.

Planning and installation of the Peony Garden on the Memorial Parkway occurs. The Garden is created to honor the memory of benefactress and community volunteer Elizabeth F. Canfield.

2014:

Central New York Conservancy holds the first Arbor Day program and tree planting ceremony in FT and TR Proctor Parks.

The NJROTC of TR Proctor High School plants 96 flowering cherry trees along Culver Ave. near FT and TR Proctor Parks to commemorate Utica citizens who fought and died as members of the armed services.

The 2nd Annual "I Love My Park Day" is held in FT Proctor Park.

Ms. Erica Max is recognized for her volunteer service to the Central New York Conservancy and the instrumental role she played in creating the application that led to the Utica parks & Parkway System being named to the federal and state Registers of Historic Places in 2008.

2015:

Restoration of the tree canopy designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., begins when the CNY Conservancy plants 61 new trees in FT and TR Proctor Parks and along the Memorial Parkway, as part of its Arbor Day program and ceremony in concert with the City of Utica.

A new LED lighting system, underwritten by a grant by NYSERDA, is installed at 13 monuments on the Memorial Parkway by the City of Utica. The monuments will be lit from dusk to dawn.

The Central New York Conservancy begins re-designing and planting monument flower beds at monuments sponsored by individuals and groups as part of the ongoing Adopt-A-Monument program.

To welcome the Utica Comets back to their home ice for Games 3-5 in their quest for the Calder Cup, the Central New York Conservancy installs planter boxes at the Aud.

2016:

The Conservancy begins excavation to relocate the Peony Garden to a new site at Mohawk Street and the Parkway.

The Conservancy begins plans to restore two monuments on the Parkway – the Statue of Liberty and T.R. Proctor. The Swan Fountain is assessed to restore function to its fountain.

A new partnership with the Children's Museum will commence in Fall 2016, with programming for children and families brought to Utica's F.T. Proctor Park and to the Museum.

2017:

Peony Garden completed at new location at Mohawk Street and the Memorial Parkway. Benches are installed in memory of John Patrick McIntyre.

Restoration of the Statue of Liberty and Swan Fountain monuments is completed.

Property at 1641 Genesee Street is gifted to the Conservancy by the family of the late Albert Shaheen, M.D. for its first office.

Smartphone app developed for Utica Parks and Parkway System. App is available as a free download for iPhone and Android systems.

Central New York Conservancy awarded $125,000 "SAM" grant from NY State to restore condemned bridges in Utica's FT and TR Proctor Parks.