Durand Eastman Park
|Durand Eastman Park|
Location of Durand Eastman Park within New York State
|Location||Rochester and Irondequoit,
Monroe County, New York
|Nearest city||Rochester, New York|
|Area||977 acres (3.95 km2)|
Durand Eastman Park is a 977-acre (3.95 km2) park located partly in Rochester, and partly in Irondequoit, New York. It is administered by the Monroe County Parks Department under agreements with the City of Rochester and the Town of Irondequoit.
The 977-acre (3.95 km2) park contains several lakes; the two largest are Durand Lake and Eastman Lake. The park's northern boundary is defined by 5,000 feet (1,500 m) of Lake Ontario coastline. The most commonly used parts of the park are within Rochester; the more remote areas are part of Irondequoit. The park is almost completely surrounded by Irondequoit, and is connected to Rochester by an easement.
At the turn of the century, Dr. Henry S. Durand owned a summer camp in Irondequoit. He and his friend George Eastman saw a need for a public park in the area, and towards this end, bought a number of farms around the Durand property. On January 28, 1907, they offered their land to the city of Rochester, "to be used as a public park forever, a tract of land of about 484 acres situate in the Town of Irondequoit on Lake Ontario", thus giving the common citizen rights to nearly a mile of public beach and adjacent lands on the Lake's shoreline. One year later the land was transferred to the city.
Durand-Eastman Park was formally dedicated on May 22, 1909. Historically, the beach at Durand-Eastman was much wider than it is today. In 1915, bath houses were built on the lakeshore. They became unusable in 1949 due to rising water levels. The buildings were eventually demolished. There once was a zoo in the park, home to numerous animals.
In 1961, the City of Rochester made a 99-year agreement with the County of Monroe to maintain, administer and regulate Durand-Eastman Park. This agreement was later modified in 1975, but forms the basis for Durand-Eastman being a county park. In 2001, the City of Rochester sold the 90.9 acres (36.8 ha) along the western edge of Durand-Eastman Park, commonly known as Camp Eastman, to the Town of Irondequoit. The city remains responsible for maintenance of the park's beach.
Flora and fauna
Durand-Eastman Park has a variety of trees and wildflowers. A 1937 source claims that the park "contains 395 varieties of native and foreign trees, shrubs, and plants." The park's Slavin Arboretum contains an impressive collection of trees.
Recreation and facilities
The park has a municipal golf course, built as a 9-hole course in 1917, that was redesigned by Robert Trent Jones in 1933. Now it has 18 holes and a club house. There are hiking trails. Swimming was permitted at the park's Lake Ontario beach in 2006 for the first time in forty years. In May 2007, the beach opened for the second straight season with a slightly larger swimming area, extending an additional 25 yards (23 m) west. The beach is staffed by lifeguards, groundspeople, and security personnel.
The legend of the White Lady exists in Durand Eastman Park. The legend of the white lady is very popular among locals, often used to scare teens who go there seeking privacy, making it a common spot for lovers to slip off to. The white lady herself was very protective of her daughter. She often warned her to never go near any men, telling her that they were ill-willed. Some say that her daughter followed her mother's wishes, and others say that she would sneak out to see boys in the night. On one of these nights, the daughter told her mother that she was going out for a walk along the shore, and would be back soon. When her daughter never returned, the woman was positive that her daughter had been raped and/or murdered. Every evening the neighbors would see her walking along the shores of the beach, calling her daughter's name. Other times they would see her walking in the forest with her German Shepherd, looking for where her daughter was buried, always in a white dress. She grew so grief-stricken that she threw herself over a cliff into lake Ontario, committing suicide. The locals say that on foggy nights, or nights of the full moon, you can see her misty form looking for her daughter, with her German Shepherd by her side. They also say that she takes a certain disliking to men, especially those who are hurtful towards woman. Some say that she even rattles their cars, and chases them toward the lake, but never harms the woman accompanying them.
- "Durand Eastman Park". Monroe County Parks Department. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
- West, Maude I. Irondequoit History. Irondequoit, New York: Town of Irondequoit, 1957.
- "Chapter 127: Parks — Maintenance by County of Monroe" (PDF). Ecode360. September 15, 2003. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
- "2009 Comprehensive Plan (Draft), Section 7: Parks and Recreation Master Plan" (PDF). Town of Irondequoit. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 15, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
- "Durand Eastman Park and Beach". City of Rochester. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
- Rochester and Monroe County: A History and Guide. Rochester, The Genesee Book Club of Rochester: 1937.
- Cook, Richard J. "Durand Eastman Park: Slavin's Arboretum." Upstate Gardeners Journal Winter 1998.
- The Cause of Bacteria at Durand Eastman Beach Dec 11 2006. Jan 15 2007
- Schlosser, S. E. "The White Lady"