Williamsbridge Reservoir was a natural lake (despite its name) measuring 13.1 acres (5.3 ha) just south of Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, New York. Specifically the body of water was located at 208th Street and Bainbridge Avenue. It was shaped like a saucer and was normally 41 feet (12 m) deep. Its water level dropped approximately 14 feet (4.3 m) in mid-August 1901. On April 3, 1934 Commissioner of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity, Maurice P. Davidson, proposed that it be offered to Robert Moses to be used as a park site. The reservoir had ceased to be used after 1919.
History of reservoir site
A site for the Montefiore Home, first organized in 1884, was acquired in the West Bronx, between Columbia Oval and the Williamsbridge Reservoir, in January 1910. On the plot a hospital for treating various diseases replaced the previous site of the Montefiore Home, a building at Broadway (Manhattan) between 137th Street and 138th Street.
In June 1928 a four-year-old boy, Frederic Fleishaus, of 3315 Rochambeau Avenue, the Bronx, drowned in Williamsbridge Reservoir. He gained access to the water through a small opening in an eight-foot fence which had been erected for protection.
The Williamsbridge Reservoir property came under the control of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation on June 27, 1934. A new sport and play area covering 20 acres (8.1 ha), known as the Williamsbridge Oval Park and Williamsbridge Playground and Recreation Center, opened there on September 11, 1937. A Works Progress Administration project, the facilities cost $1,500,000 to build. It features a Beaux Arts landscape and Art Moderne recreation center.
- "2 Reservoir Sites To Serve As Parks". The New York Times. April 4, 1934. p. 23. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- "New 20-Acre Playground Opened In Bronx; Moses and Lyons Dedicate It Before 2,000". The New York Times. September 12, 1937. p. N1. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- "Boy Drowns In Reservoir". The New York Times. June 12, 1928. p. 28. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- "Mr. Birdsall On Bronx Water Supply". The New York Times. August 16, 1901. p. 12. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- "Montefiore Home's New Site". The New York Times. January 21, 1910. p. 8. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- "Cultural Resource Information System (CRIS)" (Searchable database). New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2016-03-01. Note: This includes Corinne Engelbert and Daniel McEneny (February 2015). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Williamsbridge Oval Park" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-03-01. and Accompanying photographs
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
- "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 5/11/15 through 5/15/15. National Park Service. 2015-05-22.