Thornden Park

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Thornden Park
File:Thornden Park.jpg
Thornden Park's main entrance
Thornden Park is located in New York
Thornden Park
Location Roughly bounded by Ostrom Ave.
Madison St.
Beech St.
Bristol Pl.
Greenwood Pl.
Clarendon St.
Syracuse, NY
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Area 76 acres (31 ha)
Built 1875
Architect William Harradance; et al.
MPS Historic Designed Landscapes of Syracuse MPS
NRHP Reference # 94001490[1]
Added to NRHP December 29, 1994

Thornden Park is a 76 acres (31 ha) park in Syracuse, New York, which is the second largest in the city after Burnet Park. It was purchased by the city in 1921 and has become a favorite wedding location in the Syracuse park system.[2] It is located in Westcott, and borders the University Neighborhood and University Hill neighborhoods. The park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994[1] as part of the Historic Designated Landscapes of Syracuse, New York.[3]


Thornden Park began as a farm owned by Zebulon Ostrom, who sold it to a wealthy salt miner James P. Haskins around 1850. In 1921 the city purchased the land as part of the nationwide City Beautiful movement and added recreational features such as the ballfields and swimming pool.[3] During the 1960s, however, budget cuts threatened the cleanliness of the park, a threat that was countered by neighborhood initiatives. The 1970s brought the Dutch Elm Disease, which killed approximately 600 elm trees in the park. Maple trees were planted as replacements. The Thornden Park Association was founded in 1983 to advocate for, restore and revitalize the park.

Mills Rose Garden

File:Mills Rose Garden-1.jpg
Rose Garden in June.

One of the more popular attractions in the park is the E. M. Mills Memorial Rose Garden, dedicated in 1924 on 2 acres (8,100 m2) at the southwest entrance to the park, across Ostrom Avenue from Syracuse University. Since 1970, the Syracuse Rose Society has maintained the garden in cooperation with the City of Syracuse Department of Parks. Currently, the garden hosts 368 different varieties of roses (3850 plants in all) that surround a central gazebo.[4]

The Amphitheatre

The Amphitheatre was built in 1933 under the Roosevelt era WPA Project (Works Project Administration). It was originally named the Sylvn Theatre. The opening day ceremony in 1933 was rained out but the subsequent opening was attended by 10,000 people. It is built to seat 6,000 people in its concentric rings and open lawn in the middle of the amphitheatre. The Syracuse Opera puts on a free show the first Sunday in August each year and, since 2003, the Syracuse Shakespeare Festival has presented its free, Shakespeare-in-the-Park program the second and third weekends of August, before the NYS Fair.[citation needed]


  • Swimming pool (50 m)
  • One multi-purpose field
  • Five tennis courts
  • Three basketball courts
  • Playground
  • Fitness trail
  • E.M. Mills Memorial Rose Garden
  • Outdoor amphitheatre
  • Lily pond


  1. 1.0 1.1 Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Thornden Park". Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs. 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dudley C. Breed, Jr., Marc J. Morfei, Christine B. Lozner, and Peter V. Auyer (July 1994). "National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation: The Historic Designed Landscapes of Syracuse, New York" (pdf). National Park Service: 54. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Visit the Mills Rose Garden". Syracuse Rose Society. Retrieved 2009-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links