The Hillsdale Town Hall Public Garden

The Hillsdale Town Hall Public Garden

Before I moved to New York I lived in Pasadena, California. Anyone who has been there knows that it is a lovely city with restored historic buildings lining the streets of its commercial district, making it a true destination to shop, walk and eat.

Years ago, downtown Pasadena was a dilapidated, mostly empty ghost town, but today it is a perfect example of what a good urban plan can create.

I now live in the small historic town of Hillsdale, NY which was founded in 1788. Unlike Pasadena it is a tiny hamlet, but it holds many beautiful historic buildings waiting for restoration just as Pasadena once did. In an effort to revitalize the hamlet, the town purchased the empty library building that will soon serve as our New Town Hall. This lovely neo-Georgian building is a little gem, perfectly proportioned and beautifully detailed. Next to the building is just enough land to create an intimate public garden, so I, along with my fellow members of the Hamlet Committee, have re-designed it to be a functional and beautiful public space.

The Town Board approved the garden design as well as our idea of who it would be in tribute to ~ The Hillsdale Farmer, Past, Present and Future. Hillsdale has always been (and largely remains) a rural farm community and it only seemed fitting that the amazing people who provide delicious food for our tables should get some long overdue credit.

The design of the garden takes its cues from the building itself ~ classic, simple and elegant. Off the central axis of the symmetrical side fa├žade will be an oval courtyard – a gathering place with four garden benches in the shade of two mature maple trees. Directly behind the oval will be a tall hedge that will conceal the parking lot while separating the more formal front courtyard from the casual picnic garden at the back.

Fundraising is underway, and if all goes as planned, the garden will be largely finished by fall. To contribute to this beautification effort, please send a check in any amount to the HECDC, and note that it is for the Town Hall Public Garden. Your tax deductable contribution may be mailed to the Hillsdale Town Hall, POB 305, Hillsdale, NY 12529. A bench with your family name (or the name of a loved one) engraved on it may be sponsored for $1500. A bronze plaque will be mounted in the garden naming all those who contributed $250 and above.

If you love small, historic American towns, this is the perfect way to make a big difference in a very special little place.

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