Structure/Property Name (Current and Original, if Different): Jerome Park Reservoir
Street Address/Location: between Goulden, Reservoir, and Sedgwick Avenues
Architect/Engineer/Other Responsible Parties: A. Fteley, F.S. Cook
Historic Use: Reservoir, Outdoor Recreation, Waterworks, Park
Present Use: Reservoir, Outdoor Recreation, Waterworks, Park
Architectural Style: Late Victorian: Civic Roman-inspired design, Art Deco, Late 19th and early 20th century Landscaping and the Pleasure Ground Movement
Period(s) of Construction: 1895-1906
Date of Decommissioning: N/A
Date(s) of Demolition: N/A
Structural System/Materials: stone, brick, asphalt, earth, water
Significant Alterations: West Basin Never Finished
Brief Architectural Description:
The Jerome Park Reservoir is a 125-acre reservoir park comprised of 94 acres of open water (25 feet), surrounded by 30 acres of constructed and landscaped earth. The Jerome Park Reservoir was designed to have four separate basins divided by two roadways, one running north-south and the other east-west. The ancient Roman-inspired basin walls, gate houses and other reservoir features are constructed of stone, with voussoir-arched inlet and outlet openings. The gatehouses are constructed of brick and stone in the Art Deco Style. The north end of the reservoir is a masonry core wall dam with sloped earthen embankments. With the city’s incorporation of the Catskill waters, the reservoir did not need to be as large as originally planned. The city built only the western half of the original plan and eliminated the two roadways. The reservoir held 773 million gallons of water when it was filled in 1905.
Brief Statement of Historic Significance:
The Jerome Park Reservoir is a significant example of late 19th and early 20th century architecture and engineering in the Bronx. It is a significant example in the areas of engineering, architecture, community planning and development, landscape architecture, and recreation. As a major component of the Croton Aqueduct System, it exemplifies one of the nation’s great engineering masterpieces. The reservoir also played a unique role in the history of NYC and the Bronx. The reservoir was a part of Frederick Law Olmsted street plan of 1877, and it became and remains the largest body of water in the Bronx. An outstanding example of a landscaped reservoir-park, it was designed during the “New Parks” movement that led to the creation of Mosholu Parkway and Van Cortlandt Park. Parts of the original landscaped reservoir grounds have been incorporated into the city’s park system.
Accessibility to Public: Not after WWII
Landmark Status: National Register of Historic Places, (2000)
Threats: The Environmental Protection Department plans to use explosives to excavate a shaft near the reservoir in conjunction with their Croton Water Treatment Plant project.
Portions of the property were stripped from the reservoir to create distinct public parks: Fort Independence Park (1915), Old Fort No. 4 Park (1913, 1931, and 1934) and Harris Park (1940). Jerome Park remains an integral part of the fabric of green space. The Old Croton Aqueduct Trailway passes along the edge of Jerome Park Reservoir. The trailway and nearby parks provide signage.
New York City Parks and Recreation, “Jerome Park”
National Register of Historic Places, 2000
FICHE PREPARED BY: Ayana S. John