The origin of Rosewood Playground’s name, and the adjacent Rosewood Street--formerly known, at varying times, as Post Street, Locust Avenue, and Elizabeth Street--is uncertain. Possibly it comes from two Williamsbridge families, the Roses and the Woods, who lived at opposite ends of the street. It could also come from a group of Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia nigra) trees that were removed during construction of the street.
The Lorillard Tobacco Company originally owned the land that Rosewood Street is on. Pierre Lorillard’s (1742-1778) company started in 1760 in a factory on Chatham Street in Manhattan. During the American Revolution, Lorillard, a patriot, was killed by Hessians and his two sons, Peter and George, relocated the company in 1792 to the Bronx, using the Bronx River to power the mill. The Lorillard Company produced more cigarettes and tobacco products than any other company of its time until it was bought by ATC, the first American tobacco conglomerate. When Peter Lorillard died in 1843, a rushed obituary writer trying to make deadline unwittingly introduced a lasting phrase into the English lexicon; “millionaire.” The Lorillard mill is now a restaurant in the New York Botanical Garden.
Rosewood Playground is located in Bronx Park across from Rosewood Street, between the Bronx River Parkway and Bronx Park East. Bronx Park, like the surrounding borough and the river that runs through it, is named for the 17th century Swedish sea captain who settled the area, Jonas Bronck (1600-1643).
After Bronck, this property passed through several different families before the City acquired 640 acres of it between December 1888 and January 1889. The City of New York allotted another 250 acres to the New York Zoological Society in 1898 to build a park to preserve native animals and promote zoology. The Wildlife Conservation Park, better known as the Bronx Zoo, opened in 1899 and remains one of the largest wildlife conservation parks in the United States, housing 4,000 animals representing more than 650 species. Bronx Park has many recreation areas including playgrounds, bicycle paths, baseball diamonds, tennis and basketball courts and football and soccer fields.
Rosewood Playground first opened on June 25, 1941, with see saws, slides, swings, a sand pit, comfort station, shower basin, drinking fountain, flagpole, and benches. An upcoming renovation will bring new play equipment with safety surfacing and a new shower basin to Rosewood Playground.
Directions to Bronx Park
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