174th Street Playground
What was here before?
This site was once part of the estate of William Watson (1849-1917) known as "Wilmount." Watson owned a substantial amount of land in the Bronx. His estate extended from the Bronx River at West Farms Square, across Westchester Avenue to Bruckner Boulevard. A manor house was once located in the vicinity of today’s James Monroe Educational Campus, one block south of this site. After Watson's death, his estate was divided into lots and streets. Manor Avenue, which begins at the southeast corner of this site, refers to Watson’s former house.
How did this site become a playground?
This playground was built as a part of the Bronx River Houses housing project, which is named after the nearby river. The land for both was acquired by the City in 1948 by condemnation. The playground opened on September 14, 1950, and the housing complex was completed soon after on February 28, 1951.
The playground was renovated in 1999. In 2020, updates to existing play areas and the addition of adult fitness equipment, spray showers, and a new in-ground mini-pool were part of Parks' Community Parks Initiative—a multi-faceted program to invest in under-resourced public parks and increase the accessibility and quality of parks throughout the five boroughs. Improvements to the comfort station were made in 2022.
What is this playground named for?
This playground is named after the adjacent 174th Street, which was formerly known as Beacon Avenue where it met the Bronx River. The section of this street from Grand Concourse to Webster Avenue was once called Spring Street, while the portion of the street in Morrisania was called 12th Street.