Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Eldridge Park


"The passenger on the Erie Railroad, as he leaves Elmira for the west, passes, as he emerges into the open country, a miniature lake, a velvety lawn, with statues, fountains, magnificent drives, neat buildings and ponds. To his inquiry, reply is made that this is Eldridge Park.

The drive to the park is through a willow-bordered avenue leading up to a broad English gateway, with its gate open; no hostile warder warning one away from its loveliness.

Passing through this gateway, we see just in front, under the shadow of a large tree, three mounds surrounding a jetting fountain. On two of these mounds stand white statues of the only two seasons known in this climate, and on the third the figure of a deer, which stands as if ready to seek freedom beyond the inclosure.

 Before us is the circular lake, of about fifteen acres in extent, encircled by a necklace of willow-trees.

Around this is a splendid drive, while right and left wind roads in most enticing curves, and views of beauty startle the eye at every step. Turning on the firm gravel to the left, we drive past a boat lying close to the beach, where the lapping waves make a low and peaceful murmur, and delightful vistas are just through the trees, . . .

while opposite is the statue of Andromeda, the daughter of Cepheus, king of Ethiopia; her mother, Cassiope, boasted of beauty superior to the Nereids. As a punishment for such presumption, Andromeda was chained to a rock in the sea, to be devoured by a sea monster. She was rescued by Perseus, who, after a desperate conflict, slew the monster, and claimed her as his bride. This is a fine copy of a statue by Lawrence McDonald, and which belongs to Queen Victoria. It adorns the Queen’s palace, at Osborne, Isle of Wight.

 Rounding the delightful curves and viewing the slopes, skirted by emerald escarpments, whence shoot at every turn sweet surprises, we pass the bowed form of another statue, "Contemplation," who, with pensive head, seems to review the long past.

As we reach the top of the plateau we gaze off over a delightful vista of lake and trees, of flowery nooks, and white, gleaming statues, sparkling fountains, wild dells, beds of flowers, stately trees, and delightful arbors, and a paradise it seems before us; beyond is Sabrina, . . .

 . . . and over the trees the lake; around us a spacious lawn inclosing another basin, where, as if floating in her boat of shells, stands the "Maid of the Mist," just risen from the sea; a veil of thinnest gauze, air woven from the myriad drops that shoot upwards around her, half-hiding her beautiful form. As we turn, a rainbow kindles the mist, as if Iris herself was hiding there, and the maid is transformed into some aerial being.

"Eldridge Park, from its natural advantages, and from the munificence and taste of its owner and projector from whom it gets its name, has become one of the most worthy objects for the observation of the lover of what is beautiful that exists in the country. It is situated in the immediate vicinity of the city of Elmira, Chemung Co., N.Y., and is admirably adapted by nature for the purpose to which it has been put. It covers in extent about one hundred acres, its chief feature being a lake, circular in shape, of about fifteen acres. Around this the surface of the land is so broken that drives and winding walks laid out with great skill and taste, make the extent of the Park seem indefinite. The art of landscape gardening has been applied with admirable judgement at every spot, and at every turn in the road or walk the spectator is surprised by charming and novel effects, produced with no apparent effort or change to the natural look of the scene. Almost every variety of scenery is to be observed, from the calm and placid beauty of the lake, set like a diamond in the midst of the emerald bluffs, to the rugged and uncared-for picturesqueness of a native forest.

Scattered here and thereat available and suitable points, are various pieces of statuary. As you enter the broad gateway from the city, the first that strikes your eye are the figures of winter and summer, and a deer, surmounting three distinct mounds that partially surround a fountain.

Proceeding along the drive that skirts the borders of the lake is to be perceived, set very appropriately on some rocks a few rods from the shore, the statue of the ill-fated Andromeda.

To the left a miniature lake, artificially set, is the statue of Sabrina, the nymph of the Severn: high on a bluff beyond, the bronze figure of an Indian and his dog. 

Following the road to the south and eat on an elevated plateau, we see successively the statues of Contemplation,


and the Maid of the Mist, the latter so exquisitely arranged that on a sunny day she seems surrounded by both the spray from the fountain and bits of rainbow.

Coming back to the level drive around the lake, the trout ponds are soon reached, and a spring of sulphur water.

Still further around and turning north from the drive, situated in a grove of trees of several varieties, and in a natural amphitheatre, around which the carriage-way leads, is the Chapel or Tabernacle, fitted up with a pulpit and rustic seats, where every pleasant Sunday, thousands from all about the neighbourhood gather to hear services conducted by some clergyman of the city. A fine brass band furnishes the instrumental music on these occasions. Within the pulpit, or open, covered and highly ornamented stand for speakers, is placed a statue of an angel kneeling, and with arms and wings folded. It adds much to the impressive beauty of the spot. 

Returning to the lake is passed on of the finest figures on the grounds, called Eva.

Through the summer season, Eldridge Park is the favourite resort of people from everywhere, who carry away from it memories that will not soon die.
Throught he property of a private person, Dr. Edwin Eldridge, of Elmira, it is for  the benefit of the public, and will be a donation to the city of which it forms one of the most notable features. Constant improvements and additions are being added to it in every shape to make it year by year one of the loveliest spots on the face of the earth.

Stereoscopic Views of all points if interest in the above Park, and also complete sets of WATKINS and HAVANA GLEN VIEWS constantly on hand and for sale by J. E. Larkin,

118 Water St, Elmira, N.Y.


American Girl





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