An Irvington family’s love for the community and for a special piece of parkland along Harriman Road inspired recent efforts by family members, the Village administration, and student volunteers to restore Hastings Memorial Park. More than fifty family members and Village residents gathered to celebrate the installation and rededication of a new sign for the Park by Irvington Mayor, Jon Siegel.
The Hastings Memorial Wildflower Park occupies a sloping, tree-studded triangle of village-owned land bisected by a lively brook along Harriman Road next to the old pump house. The Garden Club of Irvington-on-Hudson originally planned and planted the park in 1971 in memory of its member, Mrs. Addison Hastings, whose passion was wildflowers and whose three daughters had walked by and through the woodland every day on their way to school. In May, 1975, following a heavy planting and clean-up effort, the Park was dedicated by former Mayor Robert Reisman and the Club to the preservation, protection, and enjoyment of our native plant heritage. At the time, the Park was informally planted with shadbush, dogwood, white pine, rosebay rhododendron, mountain laurel, summer-sweet high-bush blueberry and wild azaleas, as well as ferns and wildflowers transplanted from members’ gardens.
When Peggy Hastings Sanford returned to Irvington this spring for her Fiftieth Reunion at Irvington High School, she visited the Park and was dismayed by its condition. She contacted Joe Archino, Head of the Parks and Recreation Department, who orchestrated efforts to clean up the area. Sam Siegel, son of the Mayor, and his friend Howard Wiess volunteered dozens of hours clearing invasive vines and dead wood, to fulfill a community service obligation for their school. They were assisted by Sam’s brother Elijah Siegel. Peggy and her two sisters, Caroline Goering and Mary Kitses, donated a beautiful new sign designed by Sign Extreme of Tarrytown.
With more than two dozen Hastings-family children and grandchildren in attendance from across the Northeast, as well as Garden Club members, and others on several Village boards, this second dedication reminded all of the importance of contributing to our community, preserving our natural environment, and protecting our native plants.