Sheridan Triangle

Sheridan Triangle

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This park is named for David Sheridan, a member of an old prominent Riverdale family who was killed in World War II. Sheridan enlisted in the United States Army as a private in 1940, and reached the rank of Second Lieutenant. He died in 1945, killed in action on the Rhine River. Riverdale is located in the northwestern section of the Bronx, and west of the Henry Hudson Parkway. Once a railroad station called Riverdale-on-Hudson, the Riverdale area began to develop into a residential neighborhood during the 1930s, when mansions were built on the picturesque land that overlooked the Hudson River. Today, Riverdale is a thriving affluent neighborhood that has remained suburban despite heavily traveled thoroughfares that cut through the area as Riverdale Avenue.

Sheridan Triangle stands across the street from the Bronx’s historic Van Cortlandt Park. Located in northwestern Bronx, Van Cortlandt Park occupies 1,122 acres. The Van Cortlandt name was first associated with the tract of land bounded by modern Yonkers city line between Broadway, Jerome Avenue, and Van Cortlandt Park East in 1694, when Jacobus Van Cortlandt bought the property. The Van Cortlandt Mansion was built in 1748 by his son, Frederick Van Cortlandt, whose family occupied the land until the 1880s. Frederick also established the family burial plot on Vault Hill where, at the onset of the American Revolution, City Clerk Augustus Van Cortlandt hid the city records from the British Army.

The City of New York acquired this parkland in 1888, but it did not name it in honor of its long-time residents until 1913. The first municipal golf course in the country opened here in 1895; a second golf course, the Mosholu Golf Course, opened in 1914. By a special act of the New York State Legislature, the Van Cortlandt Mansion was leased by the City of New York to the Society of Colonial Dames and the historic house opened as a museum in 1897. The Parade Ground was created in 1901, and the National Guard used it for training exercises until the end of World War I. In 1906, the Bronx Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated a cairn of stones as a memorial to Chief Daniel Nimham, his son Captain Abraham Nimham, and as many as 14 other Stockbridge Indians who were slain there during the Revolutionary War.

In 1913, the Cross-Country Running Course opened, featuring both 5 mile and 3 mile loops. Van Cortlandt Stadium opened in 1939, and three years later the Getty Square spur of the New York Central Railroad was removed and the property given back as parkland. The horse stables and adjoining bridle path opened in 1955. Two nature trails added in the 1980s offer hikers the opportunity to explore the wetlands and forests in this park. The Cass Gallagher Nature Trail (1984) is dedicated to a longtime Bronx resident and environmental activist, and the John Kieran Nature Trail (1988) commemorates a famed naturalist and newspaperman. In 1997, the first east-west connector trail was established and named for renowned naturalist John Muir. With facilities for football, baseball, softball, soccer, cricket, tennis, golf, swimming, horseback riding, running, and hiking constantly improving, the future of New York City’s third largest park looks greener than ever.

Although the land that is now Sheridan Triangle had been unofficially mapped as parkland since May 2, 1877, the City of New York did not officially condemn the property as a public place until July 17, 1911. The city conveyed the land to Parks later that day, and Parks landscaped the grounds as a small triangle of grass, bounded by Mosholu and Broadway Avenues. On June 25, 1945, Parks named the small triangle in memory of David Sheridan.

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