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Briarcliff Manor Village

Briarcliff Manor Village Hall is located at 1111 Pleasantville Road, Briarcliff Manor NY 10510; phone: 914-944-2782.

Beginnings [1]

The Village of Briarcliff Manor (formerly part of "Sing Sing") is an area of Westchester County originally inhabited by the Sint Sinck Indians, one of the Algonkian tribes. The Dutch Patroons came in the late 1600s. The property of one such man, Frederick Philipse, covered a vast area from what is now the northern end of Manhattan almost to Croton-on-Hudson, Westchester County. By 1742, however, the Manor of Philipse was divided into eleven towns or small manors; one of them was Sing Sing, later called Ossining. English, Dutch, French Huguenots and African slaves were among the inhabitants in 1790. The Whitson family owned about 400 acres in the area in the early 1800s. Scarborough Road was "a dirt thoroughfare lined with willows."

By the 1890s, the Macy, Vanderlip, Vanderbilt, Law and other prominent families were buying and building estates in this part of Westchester County and commuting on the train to New York. Walter W. Law was the key to the development of the village. He bought up some 5,000 acres for his Briarcliff Farms, including the former estate of Reverend Ogilby. The farms produced renowned dairy products and roses ("the Briarcliff Rose"). Law built a congregational church (1896) and the Briarcliff Lodge (1902), a resort hotel visited by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Tallulah Bankhead and other celebrities. It had the largest outdoor swimming pool in the world. Law combined Ogilby's "Briar Cliff" when he named his farm operations. The village was called Briarcliff Manor even before its incorporation in 1902. (Law's friend, Andrew Carnegie, called him "The Laird of Briarcliff Manor.") After Briarcliff Farms moved to Pine Plains, NY in 1907-1908, large tracts of land were opened for residential development. The post World War II period was the largest building boom, with the Village population doubling between 1950 and 1960.

  1. Gwen Feher, David Overholt, and Teresea Norton, Briarcliff Manor; and Peter D. Shaver, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, All Saints Episcopal Church, Westchester County, New York, nomination document, 2001, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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