Bailey Arboretum

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Bailey Arboretum is a 42-acre (17 ha) arboretum located in Lattingtown, New York, a small village on the North Shore of Long Island.[1] It opened to the public on Aug. 5, 1969 after being donated to Nassau County in 1968 by the heirs of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Bailey.[2] Through an agreement with the Village of Lattingtown, admission to the arboretum was limited to 200 people at any one time.[3]

The arboretum was created by financier Frank Bailey, who used many rare trees and plantings.[4] He purchased the property between 1911/1912 from Joseph R. Clark, a former president of the Board of Aldermen of Brooklyn.[5] [3] The original farmhouse on his estate was once owned by an uncle of Winston Churchill's mother.[4] This estate had been the summer home of the Baileys and was called "Munnyskunk."[6]

Besides the farmhouse, other buildings on the property include an educational center, visitors' cottage, workshops, garages and storage sheds.[5]

Bailey, nicknamed "Mr. Brooklyn" because of his large real estate business in Brooklyn, was president of Title Guarantee & Trust Company and treasurer of Union College in Schenectady, NY from 1901-1953..[7][4][8] His real estate holdings included areas in Brownsville, Bensonhurst, Borough Park and Long Beach.[4] He successfully led the Brooklyn Botanical Garden through the Great Depression. This put him in contact with the great plant collectors of the world and enabled him to amass this collection. Other gifts followed including a rare dwarf evergreen collection. He died on Aug. 26, 1953 at home. He was 88 years old.[4] His wife, Marie Louise Lambert Bailey died on Feb. 19, 1964, also at home. She was 87 years old.[7]

Stewarded by the Friends of Bailey Arboretum, the arboretum of exotic trees covers 98% of the property. The property also includes a carriage barn with meeting rooms, a greenhouse, two man made ponds, 35 acres (14 ha) of woodland trails, and "Munnysunk", a 200-year-old manor house used for education, fundraising and rentals.

The collection of exotic trees makes Bailey Arboretum unique. Two hundred different species of trees are registered on Arbnet's international database, and another 300 trees are pending identification. Fifteen champion trees remain in the Bailey Collection including the dawn redwood planted by seed from China in 1947. In 2007 the Metasequoia Society found the Bailey tree to have the largest girth of any dawn redwood in the world. Seven acres (2.8 ha) are landscaped grounds with a rose, perennial, vegetable and annual gardens.

After the property was donated in 1968, the county restored the farmhouse and created a visitors parking lot. In addition, The North Shore Garden Club donated the materials to create a new rose garden.[3]

In 1973, students from the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), created an interpretive nature trail as part of their coursework. As well as the trail, students transplanted plants and created bridges and dams. [6]

The main building was beginning to fall into disrepair in the early 1990s so in November 1993, 13 decorators from the Locust Valley area donated their time and funds to make the repairs themselves. They refurbished 15 rooms on the first and second floors of the building as well as one of the hallways. Walls were restored, plaster was repaired and a ceiling replaced in one of the bathrooms. Wall-to-wall carpeting for staircases and hallways was donated by the Locust Valley Chamber of Commerce.[9]

In 2010, the North Shore Garden Club of Long Island, Inc. restored one of the greenhouses on the property. The greenhouse was dedicated on June 13, 2010 in honor of a former member of the Garden Club, Saidie E. Scudder. Another greenhouse on the property was torn down in 2008 because of its state of disrepair. The restored greenhouse was repaired following its original design including an exact copy of its main door. Other partners for this project included: Nassau County, Harry Whaley & Son, LLC, and Oakwood Construction. [10]

There are several specialized areas at the Arboretum. Bailey Arboretum has one of the first sensory gardens on Long Island. Handicap-accessible, it appeals to all senses enabling the sight- and mobility-impaired to enjoy a garden. This garden, called the Secret Walled Garden, is maintained by the Locust Valley Garden Club.[11]

The Arboretum's Children's Habitat outdoor classroom is accredited by Nature Explore of the Arborday Foundation.[12] It is the first accredited outdoor classroom located at an arboretum in New York State and has been certified since 2007. The Habitat has a picnic grove with tables, a music/movement area with a stage, a nature art area and a climbing/crawling area. Natural materials used include logs, stumps and wood chips. [13]

There is also a Bog Garden for flowers and plants that prefer to grow in moist conditions and another garden with plants to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.[11]

In October 2014, the arboretum was awarded accreditation as a Level II arboretum by the ArbNet Arboretum Accredication Program.[5] It is the only arboretum in the New York metropolitan area to achieve this accreditation. Over 125 species of trees were listed on the certification application. However, there are still many tree species at the arboretum that have not been identified.[11]

A ceremony was held to celebrate this achievement on April 24, 2015 at which time a lace bark pine tree was planted - the first of its kind for the arboretum.[14]

Level II accreditation criteria includes: having a minimum of 100 species of trees or woody plants, providing educational and public programming, and having a collections policy detailing the development and management of the plants in the arboretum.[15] Other locations that have received Level II accrediation by ArbNet in the New York metropolitan area include: Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Green-wood Cemetery and Woodlawn Cemetery.[16]

Bailey Arboretum is home to the Volunteers for Wildlife Hospital and Education Center. The wildlife hospital moved from the Caumsett State Park in Lloyd Harbor to the Bailey Arboretum in November 2011.[17] The species at the center are all native to Long Island.[18] The not-for-profit organization was created in 1982 and cares for about 2,000 injured or orphaned wild animals each year.[19]

The Arboretum is open 7 days a week and there is no admission fee or charge for parking.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bailey Arboretum". Nassau County Preserves. Retrieved December 30, 2017. 
  2. ^ "County Opens Its Arboretum". Newsday. August 4, 1969. Retrieved November 17, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c "Nassau Estate Becomes an Arboretum". Newsday. August 30, 1969. Retrieved November 17, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Frank Bailey Dies; A Retired Banker". New York Times. August 27, 1953. Retrieved November 25, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c "Bailey Arboretum Awarded Level Ii Accrediation by Arbnet Arboretum Accreditation Program". Retrieved November 14, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Jones, Ben (July 5, 1973). "Teenagers Transform a Swamp". Newsday. Retrieved November 14, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "Mrs. Frank Bailey, Widow of Banker and Realty Man". New York Times. February 19, 2017. Retrieved November 25, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Frank Bailey". Schaeffer Library Union College. Retrieved November 25, 2017. 
  9. ^ Pulitzer, Lisa Beth (November 14, 1993). "13 Decorators Combine to Revamp Mansion at Bailey Arboretum". The New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2017. 
  10. ^ "The Greenhouse at Bailey Arboretum". North Country Garden Club of Long Island. Retrieved November 17, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c Crosby, Victoria R (December 2014). "A Walk in the Woods at Bailey Arboretum". 25a Magazine: 62–63. 
  12. ^ "Children's Habitat". Bailey Arboretum. Retrieved November 30, 2017. 
  13. ^ "The Nature Explore Classroom at Bailey Arboretum". Nature Explore. Retrieved November 30, 2017. 
  14. ^ Nossa, Jill (May 10, 2015). "Accreditation for Bailey Arboretum". Glen Cover Record Pilot. Retrieved November 14, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Level II Criteria". Retrieved November 25, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Morton Register of Arboreta by State". ArbNet. Retrieved November 25, 2017. 
  17. ^ Danney, Micah (March 9, 2012). "Wildlife Hospital Helps Native Animals, Fights Ignorance". Glen Cove Patch. Retrieved December 31, 2017. 
  18. ^ King-Cohen, Sylvia (January 30, 2012). "Rescuing Wild Things". Newsday. Retrieved November 25, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Volunteers for Wildlife home page". Volunteers for Wildlife. Retrieved November 25, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Contact Us". Bailey Arboretum. Retrieved December 30, 2017. 
  • Frank Bailey, Hannah Geffen, It Can't Happen Again, Alfred A. Knopf New York. 1944.
  • Friends of Bailey Arboretum, History of Frank Bailey and the Country Estate Munnysunk. 2011.
  • Friends of Bailey Arboretum archives
  • Brooklyn Botanical Garden Archives

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°53′12″N 73°35′01″W / 40.88667°N 73.58361°W / 40.88667; -73.58361