Collection Description

The Westchester County Archives received this collection in the fall of 2002. This online version replicates the entire series as held at the Westchester County Archives in Elmsford, New York. Eventually the collection will be available at the Library of Congress, as well as on its American Memory website.

Series Title

Historic American Engineering Record, Bronx River Parkway Reservation

Series Number



3 cubic ft.


All photographs in the collection, both historic and modern, are stored with the printed report. The oversized engineering drawings required map-drawer storage. The first 79 photographs (PH1-PH79) are arranged geographically, following the Bronx River Parkway from the Bronx to Kensico Dam.

Scope and Content

The Historic American Engineering Record, Bronx River Parkway Reservation collection consists of 124 photographs, 22 engineering drawings and a 126-page report. These items were the product of research and documentation by the HAER Bronx River Parkway Reservation project during the summer of 2001. The project’s mission was to enhance a scholarly understanding of the historical origins, engineering accomplishments, cultural significance and current conditions of the Bronx River Parkway Reservation.

The HAER project’s report provides an overview and description of the Bronx River Parkway Reservation; an in-depth historical analysis of the process of its development with particular focus on significant engineering aspects; a description and analysis of problems and changes that have occurred at the Parkway Reservation; and a consideration of the overall significance of the Parkway Reservation, not only to the residents of Westchester County and New York City, but also its legacy in American engineering heritage.

The Historic American Engineering Record, Bronx River Parkway collection includes 124 photographs, 88 of which were taken by David Haas during September and October 2001, (nine of these images are xerographic copies of color transparencies). These images focus on the historically significant engineering aspects of the Parkway. The photographs provide a companion to the descriptive overview of the Parkway at the beginning of the 126-page HAER report, and they illustrate the features of the modern Bronx River Parkway from the Bronx to the Kensico Dam in Valhalla.

Thirty-six of the photographs are historical photos from the Bronx Parkway Commission Photograph Collection and the Park Commission Photograph Collection at the Westchester County Archives. These historic images document the construction of the Parkway and many follow the "before" and "after" format that the Bronx Parkway Commission utilized in their annual reports.

The 22 engineering drawings provide original drawings, maps, and descriptions, as well as historical images, to illustrate the significant engineering accomplishments of the Bronx River Parkway Reservation. Some of the significant aspects explored include the landscape development and innovative parkway design features, such as limited access and the rigid frame, concrete-arch bridge design.

Related Series

Series 94: Bronx Valley Sewer Commission Final Report. 1896
Series 95: Bronx Parkway Commission Annual Reports. 1907-1925
Series 103: Bronx Parkway Commission, Appraisal Commissioners, Minutes. 1916-1922
Series 104: Bronx Parkway Commission, Appraisal Commissioners, Appeals. 1916-1924
Series 105: Park Commission, Appraisal Commissioners, Appeals and Minutes. 1927-1935
Series 109: Bronx Parkway Commission Land Acquisitions. c.1906-1933
Series 118: Bronx Parkway Commission Minutes. 1907-1925
Series 166: Bronx Valley Sewer Records. 1907-1911
Bronx Parkway Commission Photograph Collection. 1912-1924
Park Commission Photograph Collection. 1912-1961

Creator of the Records: Historic American Engineering Record (HAER)

The Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Program was created in 1969 by the National Park Service, the Library of Congress, and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to document nationally and regionally significant engineering and industrial sites. HAER was consolidated with Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in 1973. As the oldest Federal historic preservation program, HABS was chartered in 1934 to document historic architecture--primarily houses and public buildings--of national or regional significance.

Documentation of the Bronx River Parkway Reservation was conducted in 2001 by the Historic American Engineering Record (Eric DeLony, Chief), part of the Historic American Buildings Survey/ Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER), E. Blaine Cliver, Chief, a division of the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Department of the Interior. The project was funded by Westchester County, Andrew J. Spano, County Executive, and administered by the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation: Joseph Stout, Commissioner; Dr. Jack Robbins, Deputy Commissioner of Conservation; David DeLucia, Director of Park Facilities. The Department of Information Technology, Norman Jacknis, Chief Information Officer; The Westchester County Records and Archives Center, Patricia N. Dohrenwend, Director; the Westchester County Department of Planning, Joyce Lannert, Commissioner; and the Bronx River Parkway Reservation Conservancy, Betsy Dolan, Executive Director; Lowell Tooley, President, provided additional support.

The summer 2001 documentation team worked under the direction of Christopher Marston, HAER Project Leader, and Tim Davis, HAER Historian. The field team consisted of field supervisor and landscape architect Tanya Folger, architects Brandon Andow (Rhode Island School of Design) and Kamalahasan Ramaswamy (US/ICOMOS, India), landscape architect Karolina Buczek (US/ICOMOS, Poland), and historian Dawn Duensing. Large-format photography was produced by David Haas.