This playground honors Timothy L. Woodruff (1858-1913), a prominent businessman, and influential political leader who served as the Lieutenant Governor of New York for three successive terms from 1896 to 1902. Woodruff lived for many years at 25 Eighth Avenue in Brooklyn.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut on August 4, 1858, Timothy Lester Woodruff graduated from Yale University in 1879 and became a successful businessman. In 1881, Woodruff moved to Kings County. Rising through the ranks of the local Republican club, Woodruff eventually became the head of the entire Republican organization in Brooklyn. Elected Lieutenant Governor of New York, in November of 1896, Woodruff served alongside 1898 Governor Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), who went on to become U.S. President in 1901.
As Lieutenant Governor, Woodruff took a leadership role in the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (founded in 1901) to help implement Article XIV, Sec 1 of the New York State Constitution, protecting New York’s prized natural land. Commonly known as the “forever wild clause,” the law sought to protect the forest from the devastation of clear cutting and large scale damming projects. The group included wealthy men like J.P. Morgan (1837-1913), who owned many of the private estates or game parks in the Adirondacks which they sought to protect.
After three terms as Lieutenant Governor, Woodruff became Chairman of the Republican State Committee (1906-1910), serving as a delegate from New York to two successive Republican National Conventions (1904, 1908). Timothy L. Woodruff died on October 12, 1913. Of Woodruff, in his 1913 autobiography, Theodore Roosevelt said, “He was my staunch friend throughout the term of our joint service.”
This playground, located on Stanley Avenue between Autumn Avenue and Hemlock Street, is jointly operated by the Parks Department and the Board of Education. Opened in 1963, it was known as P.S. 224 Playground before the name was changed in 1985. Recent renovations include 1998 improvements to the chain link fence, the guide rails, and the steel fences for a cost of $19,904. In 1999, Mayor Giuliani provided $314,139 for renovation of the play equipment, safety surfacing, and additional site work.