Archive Sleuth

Inscribed in Stone: The EWB Trail

In my article on the V. Everit Macy Memorial I mention a report published by the Emergency Work Bureau of Westchester County, which was created by an act of the New York State legislature in 1931 (commonly called the Wick’s Law) to provide relief for thousands of newly unemployed workers in every city & county in the state. Westchester’s EWB served the 18 towns in the county (the cities had their own relief agencies).  The EWB published a report of it’s activities during 1931 – 1933 titled “What Your Work Relief Dollars Bought For You”.

The report contains numerous descriptions and photographs of EWB projects, many of which were done in partnership with EWB labor supplied to the Westchester County Park Commission.

Well, what drew me to a certain forgotten trail along the Saw Mill River Parkway between Elmsford and Eastview, was an entry in Walkable Westchester by Jane & Walt Daniels for “Buttermilk Ridge Park” (pg. 53). Apparently there was a stone wall “where WCPS 1933 is inscribed into one of the stones”.

Hmm… I had to find this stone. Luckily for me, there was a map of the trail:

What does this have to do with the EWB you ask? Well, I went there, walked along the trail, and found this:

The inscription actually reads: WCPS 1933 EWB. I know it’s a little difficult to make out, so I’ve traced the inscription below.

But thats not all. To the left and right of the EWB stone are two stones carved with groups of initials.

This one is on the left:

And this one is on the right:

My only conclusion is that these initials were carved by the workers who built the trail. Very likely they were day-laborers provided by the EWB to the county’s Park Commission.

Now lets compare images of what they built from the 1933 report with images from 2011.

This is the stone wall where the inscribed stones are located. Here’s what it looks like today:

There’s also this lookout point:

and now:

Twin culverts:

Notice the little Beech tree to the left culverts 80 years later:

One thing I didn’t find in the EWB report was the stone & wood railings along several sections of the trail:

Lastly, I found this heavily inscribed Beech tree:

Now look closer:

It’s probably just a coincidence, but it’s possible that an EWB laborer could have carved “1933” into this tree. But making that argument would be kind of a stretch.

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3 comments on “Inscribed in Stone: The EWB Trail

  1. Chavo Viejo, from Yuma,AZ
    May 4, 2011

    Well Done, Was this part of the federal CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). Is the trail maintained by the state or fedral funds….or. I took note of the leaves in the pic’s (in front of the stones) are these oak or perhaps sycamore….?

    • lucasburesch
      May 4, 2011

      It looks like the CCC started in 1933, and was a federally funded project, while the EWB was funded by the State of New York. The EWB provided day labor to various county departments, and it was really the Park Commission who was responsible for developing the area’s park system. So in some way, the EWB work for the Park Commission was similar to the work the CCC would do later.

      The trail is on county owned land, and while it’s officially part of Tarrytown Lakes South County Park, it’s not really maintained by the county. As far as I can tell only local hikers, joggers, and mountain bikers know of the trail and use it regularily. In the map I’ve shown above, the EWB trail is marked “W”, and you’ll notice that the southern end of the trail is a dead-end. Origianlly the trail would have extended further south, but a line of high-tension power lines where built over this area after WWII. The north end of the trail also dead-ends along the shoulder of the parkway. The only easy access to the EWB trail nowadays is to walk north along the trail marked “O” from the parking area on Old White Plains Road.

      The leaves are mostly from oak trees, although there are a few beech, maple, and sycamore trees nearby.

  2. Pingback: Glenville Woods to Raven Rock and Ferguson Lake – Scenes From The Trail

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This entry was posted on May 3, 2011 by in Parks.

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