A green space jewel set on the Hamden/New Haven border, Edgerton Park became a part of the New Haven park system in 1965 when it was contributed to the City by Frederick Brewster.
Seven years later the Edgerton Park Conservancy was formed to encourage and support gardeners and park users. Over the years that initial purpose was expanded to include preserving the park, supporting environmental awareness and enhancing the connections between nature and the arts.
Restoration, tree care, and educational programs in Edgerton Park are made possible by the members of the Edgerton Park Conservancy, Inc., a non-profit, all volunteer organization dedicated to the needs of this public park and its users.
The 22 acres making up Edgerton Park were given to the City of New Haven in 1965. Eli Whitney was the original owner of the property and it was later given to his niece Caroline Whitney. She lived on the estate in a grand Victorian house called “Ivy Nook.”
In 1906, the property was sold to Frederick F. Brewster, a New Haven industrialist, who tore down “Ivy Nook” and replaced it with a Tudor style mansion named “Edgerton,” for its location on the edge of town. The house and its grounds, designed by Robert Storer Stevenson, were completed in 1909 as a wedding present to Brewster’s wife Margaret. The estate was
intended as a retreat from the industrial city. The grounds were re-designed in the style of 18th Century English landscape gardens, to reveal both natural and man-made vistas. In 1957 Brewster’s will stipulated that the house be demolished and the grounds be given to the City of New Haven for a park after his wife’s death.
Although the main house was destroyed, the original wall, greenhouses, carriage house, gatehouse, and bridge are still standing. Edgerton Park is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. As you walk through the park you will notice other remnants of the estate still in use.
Top achievements this pastyear:
· Implemented erosion study recommendations
· Completed greenhouse complex restoration, including paths (which were hazardous), collapsing antique coal chutes, and paint throughout complex
· Studied bridge restoration
· Hosted school groups, summer camp, and annual fair (25 school groups signed up for Oct.-Dec.)
· Hosted annual free Shakespeare in the Park, attracting thousands.
Organization’s most pressing needs:
1) Control erosion -- for collapsing service road, retaining walls, sunken drains, eroding hillsides. Engineering report will estimate costs.
2) Volunteers are always needed for events, grounds, and docent program.
4) Replant trees and shrubs lost over time--est. cost $15,000.
5) With the loss of the NHPD mounted police horses from Edgerton's stables and the possible loss of Greenbrier Greenhouses (Easter Seals program for handicapped adults), EPC is planning innovative new projects, such as planting organic crops to be sold to New Haven schools (start-up costs not yet known), expansion of Horticultural Library into former police office (cost unknown), new use of stables, and hydroponic gardening in greenhouse space.
New Haven and Hamden residents with a range of gardening experience enjoy raising vegetables and flowers in the Edgerton Community Garden. Besides an enthusiasm for gardening and a desire to be a part of a gardening community, prospective gardeners are committed to the upkeep of their plots and fulfill a 2 hour community work requirement during the growing months. Those lacking experience are given instruction and advice throughout the season. An annual rental fee of $35 and membership to the Edgerton Park Conservancy are required.
The Community Greenhouses are among the many delightful legacies of the old Brewster estate. The Edgerton Greenhouses are located just off Whitney Avenue at 75 Cliff Street at the Hamden-New Haven line, and include the Sarah T. Crosby Conservatory, which houses a collection of plants from various parts of the world. It features a rainforest exhibit, a dry landscape and a beautiful exhibition of orchids. A Community Rental Greenhouse program in Edgerton Park was established in 1981 to provide area residents with winter gardening opportunities from October to June. The Conservancy accomplished major renovations to the four-wing greenhouse complex over a seven-year period starting in 1993 with masonry restoration in the Crosby Conservatory. By 1998 2 wings with 200 spaces were serving the Community Greenhouse program. At present, the south wing, which is humidified, is ideal for growing orchids, while the dry east wing is used for tropicals and indoor plants.
A grant finances material for tours and volunteer docents provide an introductory science and environmental tour of the Conservatory to New Haven public school children, at no charge.
Held in September 2012 for the 25th year, this all day event entertains children and families who come to the Park to enjoy games, dances, rides, sales, food and many other attractions, and just a great day in good company in beautiful surroundings. More than 150 volunteers and many generous sponsors and supporters help to make the day a success, raising tens of thousands of dollars that will be used to restore and maintain this beautiful public park.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Stewardship of our natural resources is essential if we wish to guarantee that present and future generations enjoy clean water, good air quality and open spaces. When you support organizations that protect the environment you address immediate need today while ensuring a greener tomorrow.
Greater New Haven’s vibrancy is linked to its communities’ support of its neighborhoods, public gardens and sports, as well as its commitment to the protection of its people and pets.
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New Haven, CT 06150
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