This parkland, like the road that bounds it, is named for a nearby rock quarry that, according to local lore, became the cellar of the Lorillard Mansion. The Lorillards were a wealthy Bronx family who made their fortune in tobacco. Legend has it that upon the death of the founding patriarch, Pierre Lorillard, in 1837, an obituary writer coined the term “millionaire” to describe his vast wealth.
Hughes Avenue, the eastern boundary of the park, was named in 1895 for Archbishop John Hughes (1797-1864). Hughes founded St. John’s College (now Fordham University) in 1841. He was appointed archbishop on July 19, 1850, and during his tenure he oversaw the construction of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. During 1861 and 1862, he traveled extensively in Europe, as President Abraham Lincoln’s unofficial representative, to bolster foreign support of the Union during the Civil War.
Quarry Ballfields is in the East Tremont section of the Bronx. This area was known as Upper Morrisania until the 1850s, when the local postmaster, Hiram Tarbox, noticed that his mail was getting mixed up with that of nearby Morrisania. It is said that he renamed the town Tremont for the three nearby hills: Fairmount, Mount Eden, and Mount Hope.
Parks received the bulk of this property in February 1993. Another parcel was acquired from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development in May 1993, and in March 2000 the Department of Civil and Administrative Services transferred the parcel on the corner of Quarry Road and 181st Street to Parks. This most recent addition brings the total area of Quarry Ballfields to 5.04 acres.
Today, Quarry Ballfields is a lively center of activity for the surrounding neighborhood. The Urban Renewal Plan organizes activities for children in the park, and local Little League teams use the ballfields. The ballfields were extensively renovated, including the addition of a comfort station, beginning in 1998, at a total cost of $1,272,080. This project was funded by Council Member Jose Rivera.